R.I.P. Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax, co-creator of the popular fantasy role playing game Dungeons & Dragons, has passed away at the age of 69.
Gygax was at his home at Lake Geneva Wisconsin and had been ailing after experiencing an abdominal aneurysm.

Dungeons & Dragons, well known as D&D, is the table top fantasy role playing game where players assume the roles of various characters going on adventures under the guidance of the Dungeon master following a set of complicated rules.

Gygax and Dave Arneson created the game together and introduced it to the world in 1974, D&D was published through Tactical Studies Rule which Gygax was also a part of. Tactical Studies Rule later became TSR Inc. and was then acquired by Wizards of the Coast who continues to publish the game today.

“The essence of a role-playing game is that it is a group, cooperative experience,” Mr. Gygax said in a telephone interview in 2006. “There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in, whether it’s a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things.”

The game gained popularity with the college crowd and to this day has found fans in the younger generation with over 20 million people having played. Over $1 Billion has been spent on books and equipment.

“It initially went to the college-age group, and then it worked its way backward into the high schools and junior high schools as the college-age siblings brought the game home and the younger ones picked it up,” Mr. Gygax said.

D&D continues on in table top fashion but has also found life in the video game realm as well. It was known that Gygax was not a fan of video game method; “There is no intimacy; it’s not live,” he said of online games. “It’s being translated through a computer, and your imagination is not there the same way it is when you’re actually together with a group of people…”

Gygax always enjoyed hosting games at his home and continued doing so up until January of this year.

He was survived by his wife Gail Gygax and 6 children of 3 sons and 3 daughters.

[Thanks to the LA TIMES and vnunet.com for additional information.]

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The New York Times