Saturday, June 21, 2008

E. Gary Gygax. Farewell, and thank you!

E.Gary Gygax - July 27, 1938 - May 4, 2008

I know, I know, he died in May and here it’s June before I get around to this.  Well, let me explain.  For a long time, I thought this guy was one of the bad guys.  Stealing the original D&D game from Dave Arneson and going on to make a bundle of $$ off someone else’s work.  Well, time and age make one do research and it turns out that my youthful derision of EGG was pretty much based in bullshit and here-say.  So, my apologies.  The delay, therefore comes from not really knowing what to say about a guy who changed your life, but you never met him.

Some folks relax by knitting, working on cars, gardening or whatever.  My particular, and favorite method, is Role Playing Games.  When not in one, I like to think about and modify the things that are going on in my world.  Not every waking moment, mind you, but my free time.  I find the mental challenge, the creative expression and the pure satisfaction of creating something to be very relaxing and enjoyable.  I wouldn’t have that were it not for EGG.  Surely, someone else would have done it, maybe better, maybe worse, but in this dimension, it was EGG who did it, and there ya go.  Thanks EGG!

He went through alot of crap in his life, especially when he was in charge of TSR.  He did manage to weather it all and kept doing RPG stuff through his whole life.  In 2007 he was publishing source books for the D20 system.  Pretty cool.

Now, here is a stretch for you.  Do we owe modern pop culture to E. Gary Gygax?  Let me explain.  Gygax makes a game called D&D.  It’s a pen and paper RPG, but then they come out with the Personal Computers (Apple II, Commodore 64 etc).  What games are pushing well on these?  Computerized RPGs.  Yes, there are a bunch more games and software than RPGs, but the D&D type games are a huge push in the industry.  Video technology is pushed by the needs of the game industry.  Some of the BIGGEST selling games ever, on any system, are RPGs.  Final Fantasy, NeverWinter Nights, Oblivion, Daggerfall and a host of other games are all computer RPGs.  I won’t even mention EverCrack, and World of Warcrack.  All this industy, all this development to perfect a system that was originally printed in a chainmail magazine...

Makes you wonder... maybe... a little.

I’d love to ruminate more, but I have to work on Pam’s character a bit so we can play a bit of 4E tonight :)