If you are not a gamer, or related to a gamer, or you do not hang around with gamers, you may be unaware of Gary Gygax, one of the co-founders of Dungeons & Dragons. Gary Gygax wrote a great deal of the early D&D and Advanced D&D books, of which I own most. His name is prominently displayed on the covers and indirectly had enourmous impact on my childhood. A large set of my friends growing up were people I played D&D and Battletech with. While we would have probably found things to do without the gaming aspects, we bonded and throve inside the gaming world that we created. No romances bloomed that I’m aware of, but of the people from high school that I still talk to, 75% of them were friends that I gamed with.
While I haven’t played any D&D in a long time (frankly, I haven’t gamed in a long time) the name Gary Gygax still pulls me back to middle school and high school game sessions, solving puzzles and killing monsters. He provided for us an environment where we could do whatever we want. His creation allowed us to explore fantasy realms that would have been unimaginable without the prompting of the game setting (I’m aware of the irony of the term “structured freedom”).
It’s been years since I was involved in anything that Gary Gygax was directly related to. His association with D&D ended in the mid 80’s and since then his other projects have been things I wasn’t interested in. His creation of the original D&D is enough legacy, though, to pull me back and to make me remark on the passing of a man who has affected so many.