Long before bleary-eyed WoW-aholics sat slashing away at the minions of Blackrock or before Bhaal challenged the very existence of the Forgotten Realms, there was the paper-and-pen model for role-playing games. The table-top Dungeons & Dragons concept was created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1967. Earlier today, Gygax died of health complications. He was 69 and suffered from heart problems.
A true pioneer for contemporary video gaming concepts, Gygax co-founded Tactical Studies Rules and published the first version of D&D in 1974. In the following years Gygax helped expand the D&D universe through rulebooks, new settings and campaigns. TSR was acquired by Wizards of the Coasts in 1997 and as such, the D&D genre saw accelerated growth and expansion.
Gygax’s work has inspired a plethora of titles that borrow from his original concepts. From Baldur’s Gate to Neverwinter Nights and even more recent titles such as Mass Effect, Gygax has influenced and will continue to influence generations of RPGs to come. A true legend in his realm, the uncrowned king was included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2003 under the entry “Dungeons and Dragons”.
Said Gygax shortly before his death: “I would like the world to remember me as the guy who really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and his fun pastimes with everybody else.”
May he rest in peace.