Heard the sad news last night that Gary Gygax had died at the age of 69. For those who have never heard this mysterious name before, Gary Gygax was with Dave Arneson the creator of Dungeons & Dragons – the game that kicked off the roleplaying hobby. I guess I owe much of my love of fantasy and things geeky to this guy with a crazy name who I never met.
As a teen I spent many hours living in worlds of imagination which sprung out of a red box – Dungeons and Dragons Basic Edition. D&D is a game where one player – the Dungeon Master (DM) invents a mystical world – in the early days a castle or a dungeon – and populates it with fantastic creatures and treasures waiting to be discovered and explored. The rest of the players invent the heroes of the story – their characters. Once these are done, the DM begins to tell a story based on his world, and the rest of the players explain what their characters do in response to what is heard. The DM then describes the consequences – determined by using the rules and dice rolls – and so on.
Over the years the hobby has matured and grown from this initial vision. Now games explore every genre from Space Opera, to horror stories, to superheroes and sci-fi – theres a game for everyone. The ‘stories’ told are much more intricate and varied. Just as those of us who grew up playing in the 70’s and 80’s have matured, so have the games we play.
I for one have a lot to thank Mr Gary Gygax for. Over the years the games that he created and inspired have given me more hours of fun than any other activity, have stretched my imagination and given it wings, and have brought me many great friends to boot.