Tuesday, 4 March 2008

One last roll of the dice...

That's right, Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons & Dragons has run out of hit points and passed away.

For people of a certain age and personal history this is a big story.

He practically invented the modern role-playing game, where the imagination of the players was the only real limit, which paved the way for things as diverse as computer games like World of Warcraft, to the success of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

The days before the internet and its ability to bring like-minded people together were dark times for those of what some would call the Geek Persuasion. If you were a kid in the 80s who was poor at sports, well read, with a love of history, movies, and fantasy and science fiction books, you were an outcast. Dungeons and Dragons was the perfect vehicle for geeky kids to get together, roll odd shaped dice, shed their outcast skins and use their imaginations to become the heroes the read about in books.

There were also laughs to be had. I will always remember the game where we dispensed with our regular characters, and made up new ones with Tolkienesque sounding double entendres for names. I was Skinflute the Elf Magic User that time. Nothing heroic was achieved on that adventure, but we did have a lot of wonderfully childish laughs.

The system used by the game also inspired these kids to make up their own role playing adventure games. Many of them were pretty derivative Mad Max post-apocalyptic rip-offs, but it was kids using their heads, that was the important part.

Mr. Gygax and his imagination will be greatly missed.


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