Wednesday, March 05, 2008

You Can Score A Man's Life By the Lives He Touched

I shouldn't have been surprised to find out how many of us bloggers were also players of Gygax' games. They were a gateway drug for geekdom.


In his memory I offer this tribute.




Dungeons & Dragons co-creator dies at 69
By EMILY
FREDRIX
Associated Press Writer

Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy
game Dungeons & Dragons and is widely seen as the father of the role-playing
games, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69. He had been
suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal
aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.


Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974
using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly
shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was
turned into video games, books and movies.


Gygax always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted
fans, many of whom would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, about 55
miles southwest of Milwaukee, his wife said. Despite his declining health, he
hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as January, she
said.


"It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the
years about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what he
gave them," Gail Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."


Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and
carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The
quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later
inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in
popularity.
Born Ernest Gary Gygax, he grew up in Chicago and moved to Lake
Geneva at the age of 8. Gygax's father, a Swiss immigrant who played violin in
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, read fantasy books to his only son and hooked
him on the genre, Gail Gygax said.


Gygax dropped out of high school but took anthropology classes at
the University of Chicago for a while, she said. He was working as an insurance
underwriter in the 1960s, when he began playing war-themed board
games.


But Gygax wanted to create a game that involved more fantasy. To
free up time to work on that, he left the insurance business and became a shoe
repairman, she said.


Gygax also was a prolific writer and wrote dozens of fantasy books,
including the Greyhawk series of adventure novels.


Gary Sandelin, 32, a Manhattan attorney, said his weekly Dungeons
& Dragons game will be a bit sadder on Wednesday night because of Gygax's
passing. The beauty of the game is that it's never quite the same, he
said.


Funeral arrangements are pending. Besides his wife, Gygax is
survived by six children.


1 comment:

Real Debate said...

There is no saving throw for stupidity.