Gary Gygax has died

It’s official: Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, has died.  (My friend PD alerted me to the rumor earlier.)

I credit D&D for much of my current science aptitude and creativity.  I was still in grade school when I took my first foray into the game, adventuring through (like so many others) The Keep on the Borderlands and In Search of the Unknown.  Playing D&D and later role-playing games taught me several important skills: I gained an aptitude in basic math and probability from the rules of the games (what are the odds I’ll be able to hit that AC -8 will o’ wisp?), and the development of adventures for my friends gave my creativity a workout.

Dungeons & Dragons itself grew out of an earlier set of rules for fantasy miniature wargaming, known as Chainmail, developed by Jeff Perren and Gary Gygax.  A brief description from Gygax himself about the evolution of Chainmail into D&D can be found here.

The interview also addresses another bit of D&D history: the apoplectic response of the religious right to the supposed psychological threat and demonic influences of the game.  To this, I can only observe that in my life I’ve been an avid RPG player, a heavy-metal music listener, and a player of ultra-violent video games like Grand Theft Auto: and I seem to have turned out just fine.

Gygax himself remained highly prolific in the fantasy fiction world, writing numerous other role-playing games and adventure sets, as well as quite a few fantasy novels.  I’ve been mulling over purchasing one of his more recent novels, The Anubis Murders,  recently released by Planet Stories library (in fact, while writing this sentence, I took a break and ordered it).

He obviously had a sense of humor, as well; Gygax appeared as himself (along with Al Gore) in an episode of Futurama,  as a member of a super-secret team charged with protecting the space-time continuum.

He will be missed…

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4 Responses to Gary Gygax has died

  1. Dr. Skullstars wrote “…in my life I’ve been an avid RPG player, a heavy-metal music listener, and a player of ultra-violent video games like Grand Theft Auto: and I seem to have turned out just fine.”

    I’m not sure I completely agree with that statement. 😉

  2. Jake Ryker says:

    As a former member of the gaming industry and having once worked with Gary.

    He will be missed.

    Even after he left TSR he was able to drive the new owners nuts with his Dangerous Dimension’s that later on release became Dangerous Journeys. His wit – and intelligence were to be admired.

    He Influenced a generation of gamers with Dave Arneson and created a gaming style that has since only grown with computers.

    He will be missed.

    > Salute <

  3. babs67:

    [intentional obtuseness] So you don’t think I play ultra-violent video games? I don’t understand… [/intentional obtuseness]

  4. Jake Ryker: As I well know, you’re uniquely qualified to talk about the gaming industry. Thanks for the comment, and for reminding me of Arneson’s role in D&D.

    I still remember almost like yesterday when ‘Dangerous Dimensions’ caused TSR to go nuts… good times…

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