This week (March 4, 2008), Gary Gygax passed away.
Gary Gygax was one of the co-inventors of Dungeons and Dragons, the fantasy roleplaying game that had a large influence on gaming in the 70s and 80s. Although I never cared much for the specifics of the D&D system, I do recognize Gygax’ influence on the way games developed in these years. Many ideas floating around these days can trace a line back to the initial D&D ruleset.
Being born in 1966, I was a bit too young to experience the early days of roleplaying, and I think it was somewhere during 1982 or 1983 that I first heard of roleplaying games. I had been playing classic board wargames since years, and it was a visit to the the Tin Soldier shop in Sint-Niklaas that exposed me this ‘new type’ of game. The AD&D books were too expensive for the budget of a high-schooler, so I walked away with a copy of a new game called ‘Warhammer’ and a Grenadier blister of Undead Orcs :-)
Anyway, I was browsing through my old copies of White Dwarfs (I’m taking about the days when WD was still a roleplaying magazine) yesterday, and it is entertaining to read those old articles and see how gaming was perceived during the Gygax days. You can almost feel the pioneering spirit, and how various developers were working and expanding the initial framework laid down by Gary Gygax.
All gaming that we do today, is really standing on the shoulders of giants.