Today it’s the first anniversary of the Gary Gygax’ passing. UncleBear is hosting a one-day Blog Memorial dedicated to Gary Gygax today, and this is my contribution.
I have to admit that I never played the original D&D and I hated AD&D 2nd Edition with a passion. When I was younger, I didn’t know who this Gary Gygax guy was, and I was pretty sure that this was no big loss. But the more I thought about roleplaying in general I realized that people like Gary Gygax were the pioneers of our hobby. Without him (and Dave Arneson of course) we would probably never have experienced all the joys of fantasy roleplaying.
In my early years at the university I made contact with Dragon magazine and when 3rd Edition was announced I started buying it on a regular basis. And one of my favorite columns in Dragon magazine at this time was Gary Gygax’ “Up on a Soapbox“. And I loved it. And I immediately understood that Gary Gygax is not just this weird American guy who designed those old D&D games (which I didn’t really like) but he was truely one of us. And the more I read about him, I realize what a great guy he must have been.
Gary Gygax, I never knew thee, and I wish I had!
Yes, EGG was a terrific guy, a consumate player, game designer (historical board games, RPGs, Miniature Rules)
and a lover of pulp fiction, good SF & F and historical pieces (primary, not general treatises) and and a follower of many other media ("Buffy.." was one of his favorites) and his favorite vampire film was "Fright Night." All in all someone I knew for 40 years. And even though you say that you did not like the "old games" if you had been with us in that time in Lake Geneva while playtesting OD&D, you would have fallen in love as we all did then with the simple concepts and friendships inspired by that synergy.
Thanks for the tribute to an very old friend and co-DM of mine.
I am honored that you commented on my post. And I agree that my perception on OD&D and AD&D would probably be different when I was there with you guys. But my first roleplaying experiences were with games like TORG and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, so I am probably spoiled. 😉
But in the recent weeks I have started to look into some of those retro clones that try to emulate OD&D and AD&D and they look quite interesting.