Wednesday, March 05, 2008


(Caution - Geek Content)


Sad news.

Gary Gygax, co-creator (with Dave Arneson) of Dungeons & Dragons passed away on Tuesday at the age of 69.

The acclaimed "Father of RolePlaying" had a huge impact on the nerds of the late 70's and 80's and arguably the entire gaming industry- pencil-and-paper to current PC and console videogames.

I spent a majority of my wasted youth playing RPGs with my friends down in the Keys... After all, we didn't always have money for gas for the boat to hit the reef or go skiing, and in the end it was easier to hang out at the Hobby Shop and learn strategy and combat tactics during all-day-all-night all-weekend-long D&D sessions than it was to do something more constructive with my time...

Then I turned 16, got a girlfriend, got a job, and put some of the nerdiness behind me... We only played once a week, and only if I wasn't hanging out with my friends and co-workers from the radio station where I worked.
After I got a job at the Marathon airport I rarely got a chance to play...I still went to GenCon a few times, and one game company I did a little writing for (Gamelords LTD out of Gaithersburg MD) based one of their non-player characters on me...a very odd tribute. Had something to do with the fact I scaled the outside of the hotel to the 7th floor to make a dramatic entrance from the balcony.
We did a lot of gaming...not just D&D, but other wargames- everything from the old S&T maps and cardboard unit counters, to boardgames like Risk and Diplomacy by Avalon Hill... We played many others, obscure ones like Microgames' Ogre, Rivets & Melee, TSR's Gamma World, TimeLine's Morrow Project, and TSR's Revenge of the Snitz.
Geez- I was still am a nerd.

Playing RPGs helped to refine my creativity and communication skills, and I learned a lot about strategy, social diplomacy, logic and a good bit of mathematical probability during my gaming days, since there was a lot of dice rolling and the uncertainty factor really did figure quite heavily, and it taught those lessons in a way that few other tools or experiences (including school) were able to accomplish.
Playing the RPGs helped inspire an understanding of how to engineer logical environments, social interactions and most of all communicate in conventional and unconventional fashions. All of these tools have certainly helped in my personal and academic lives.

And it forced us to use our imaginations and to read- pretty good skills to have, even these days.

Gary is gone- obviously didn't make that 2d20 saving roll... Someone go get a 10th level cleric...

TBG - Still a nerd at heart.

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