One year ago today: E. Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons and the father of the Role-Playing Game hobby that we know and love, passed away at the age of 69. I remember when I found out…I was in my office browsing news headlines and I saw it there in plain sight. I had to shut my door, fearing co-workers would see me quietly flowing tears of mourning at the news. It kinda feels silly to say that, but it’s true.
The man represented more than the gaming industry and the favorite passtime of geeks everywhere; he represented the spirit of fun, imagination, and creativity. Sure, we have our memes and our stereotypes amongst the gaming community; but what this man brought was the inspiration to dream, to share, to come together with friends and weave tales of legends and adventures of old. Through his work, modern man found a way to channel back to the stories and faerie tales of simpler times, of old Sagas of heroism like Beowulf, to walk amongst the Gods of ancient Greece, to live and die by the sword and honor of romantic feudal ages we had never known. In a way, through gaming, we can not only pretend to be something we’re not (even if just for an evening) but find out a lot about how we are, to get a glimpse as to how we think.
He was a hero to me not for the games he had written, but the attitude and spirit he had towards the hobby itself. He’s brought so much joy and wonder to not only basement kids but adults of all walks of life. Doctors, Lawyers, Scholars, Teachers…..many important and notable people today can say, with pride, they had picked up the dice and shared a story with friends.
Regardless of how the industry goes during this hard economic time, mixed with a new generation of kids ruined and spoiled by pretty graphics and details that leave nothing to the imagination…..I’m convinced the hobby will endure, and the spirit will continue to tap on the shoulders of those willing to explore.