Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gary Gygax has died

I'm primarily a wargamer and boardgamer, with a bit of historical miniatures thrown in, but I still played D&D back in the day. I had a set of the original rules, for example.
I'll always remember my introduction to D&D: I was at the MIT Strategic Games Society c. 1980 playing armor miniatures. During a command conference for the opposing side we had to leave the hall so we wandered upstairs where there was a loud bunch of guys playing something.
Out of the din we heard the words "OK, I'm going to shoot the dragon with my DRAGON!"
Well, a little investigation revealed that they were playing some game called Dungeons & Dragons and this group was playing some kind of time- or dimension-travelling adventure that had plunked a bunch of Vietnam-era U.S. soldiers in a sword & sorcery fantasy world. They were literally firing a DRAGON (a man-portable U.S. antitank missile) at a dragon (red, fire-breathing magical animal).
We had to go back to our more prosaic NATO vs. Warsaw Pact tank battle, but needless to say we checked out D&D at our first opportunity.
Gygax is one of the most influential people in gaming, having created an entirely new sort of game, putting him up there with a select few like H.G. Wells, Charles Roberts and Richard Garfield.
It's hard to believe he's gone.

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