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RIP Gary Gygax

It’s old news now, I’m sure, but I didn’t want to let it go without a remark. Yesterday, one of the two creators (certainly the better known one) of Dungeons & Dragons, E. Gary Gygax, passed away at his home. He was 69 years old.

If you want to find tributes to Gary, Google will fix you up. Personally, I like this one by Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade – the strip is pretty good, too. While, like nearly every gamer, my first exposure to the hobby was D&D, I’ve never laid eyes on a copy of the original rules and only bought a version of D&D - 3rd - for the first time back in 2001. My first actual game of D&D is a study in irony; EvilHayama DMed his “red box” Basic Rules for the Cazman and I in the first or second year of High School, and of the three of us, only I became a serious hobbyist (and primarily GM). I feel I owe a more direct debt to designers like Wujcik (himself battling life-threatening illness), Costikyan and Pondsmith for hooking me into RPGs than Gygax.

Nonetheless, I have no doubt those luminaries of the gaming field would tip their hats to Gary Gygax and co-creator Dave Arneson without hesitation. So my thanks go to Gygax not just for coming up with the grand-daddy of RPGs but also for the over thirty years’ worth of hobby that he and Dave perhaps inadvertently spawned.

There’s one article written about Gary’s death that I’d like to quote from:

[Gail Gygax] said that while [Gary] used computers to help speed up the designs for his games and the writing of his books, he never really got interested in video games.

"He liked the group environment where you were with people," she said.

Rest in peace, Mr. Gygax. You’ll certainly be missed.

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