On March 4th this year E Gary Gygax passed away, and I would just like to say a few words about this.
While Role Playing Games may have come into some form without him, the combination of story telling and war games rules may have been inevitable (I remember setting scenes for school mates when I was around the age of 7, "What would you do if Aliens invaded now?" being one I remember), Gary Gygax is never the less the father of the Role Playing Industry. With Dungeons and Dragons he set the basis for everything that followed, and as Role Players we all have been influenced perhaps more by this one man than any other. Until he died I had never really paid attention to the effect that his work had really had on my life, for example I consider myself a huge Star Wars fan, and freely credit George Lucas for the enjoyment he has brought to my life, I probably on spend an hour or so a month doing anything Star Wars related, watching the movies once a year or so, reading web-sites, books, etc. However for the past 18 or so years I have spent 2 or 3 hours a week (sometime more, sometimes far less) playing Role Playing Games, I've spent innumerable hours writing adventures, games, talking about games, doing web-sites, etc, etc. While I met L due to computer related reasons, we may not have become friends if he had not seen my large collection of RPG's, and we certainly wouldn't have met many of the others in our gaming group. Through RPG's I've met and talked with people across the world, its shaped how I spend my time, the people I am friends with, and many other aspects of my life.
So, what can I say except, thanks Gary, you shaped my life, you led me to meet some of the best people in my life, and the games you made have brought me incredible pleasure, fun and joy. Thank you, your legacy lives on through a generation of gamers.
Postscript - I decided to write this while on the train this morning while listening to a podcast where they discussed Gary Gygax, and I felt that while they made a lot of good points, they missed some as well, some that we'd made during our last play session when having a similar discussion (the major point being that none of us would actually be there together without Gary Gygax), and then discovered on arrival at work that Arthur C Clarke had died this morning, another terrible loss (although mainly remembered as a writer (especially of 2001), he was also responsible for many theories which have shaped the modern world (such as the communications satellite, without which phones, satnav, satellite television, etc wouldn't work nearly as well as they do)). So far March 2008 is sucking quite badly.