Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gygax Died Today

Yeah, dammit. Gary Gygax died today -- he would have turned 70 this July.

So at this point I have to mourn and salute the guy. No one had a greater impact on my personality and interests than Gygax. Everything that I know about gaming, number systems, probability, statistics, logic, ancient and classical history, technology, languages, acting, the military, comparative religion, literature, fiction and nonfiction writing, vocabulary, reading for pleasure, philosophy, nature, biology, physics -- and general intellectual curiousity -- has its origins in his works and writing.

He was one of those Renaissance men who knew a ridiculous amount about everything, and utilized all of it in his creation of fantasy worlds and systems. I clearly remember reading his books at a young age, feeling that he was speaking directly to me, and lighting a white-hot fire to know more about everything he was talking about. He made it addictive to know stuff.

A lot of people can recognize him as the founder of RPG's, but he was more than that. Here's a secret that you may or may not know -- in every video game company I know of, behind the scenes, all the game designers and engineers play D&D. It's ultimately the root of every computer game, in any genre, that's been made to date. Gygax spawned not just RPG's, but the whole idea that games could be an important part of your life and a big industry to boot, video games included.

I never met Gary, but a number of times I did correspond with him by email, and he was suprisingly generous with his time and insights. That's a guy who really was unique and you won't see another one like him, I don't think, ever. We'll miss him pretty badly.

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