Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gary Gygax Misses His Last Saving Throw Against Death

Sad news, the true king of all gamer geeks has passed away at a mere 69 years old. The man responsible for thousands of teenagers (self included) huddling in basements rolling dice and poring over dog-eared hardcovers of books such as the "Dungeon Master's Guide" and "The Temple of Elemental Evil" has moved into another plane. It spawned a cottage industry, though I imagine people carved their own 12-sided dice at one point. I bet they're on ebay, too.

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (AP) -- Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.

He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.

Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.

Gygax always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted fans, many of whom would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, about 55 miles southwest of Milwaukee, his wife said. Despite his declining health, he hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as January, she said.

"It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the years about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what he gave them," Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."

Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in popularity.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Besides his wife, Gygax is survived by six children.
I think I'm going to rent "Mazes and Monsters" starring Tom Hanks and laugh, remembering the look of horror on my mom's face when she thought that I'd grow up to be someone with swords all over his apartment. Oh, wait.

Maybe I'll just put on "In the Garage" by Weezer and reminisce. RIP Gary, thanks for giving millions of nerds an outlet for rage, lest we follow Renaissance Fairs like Grateful Dead groupies, or worse yet, join the Society for Creative Anachronism or become a Gorean.


Rob L. said...

I search the body!

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