Although this is undeniably OFN, in a lot of ways I'm not intending this blog as a newspost. More than anything, this is a means for one avid RPG gamer back in the day to post his thoughts on his passing, and the inevitable tales of how much DND occupied my life.
I suppose it is made all the more fitting by the fact I typed this up in my lunch hour, instead of doing work I would have been better served doing (now there is a little irony). The impulse to post this followed after a fifteen minute discussion with half the office about just how much Gary's work influenced all of our lives. We're all geeks, and so it felt fittingly appropriate.
I can't even begin to speculate at how many people have been affected by Gary's creation, or his hand in it. As echoed by Howard Taylor in his post over at Schlock Mercenary, the fact that CNN chose to place it under their technology post is perhaps the most telling appreciation of his importance on the geek generation anyone can afford, unintentional or no. The electronic Gamer world has much of his influence to acknowledge and I'm sure many of us who had the pleasure of enjoying first edition DND and it's subsequent evolutions can still see the influences from what Gygax began even today.
His contributions to the past time of an entire generation is geeks is simply something that lies beyond the my capability to express. The return of moral panic to the world, one of the early catalysts to the later development of electronic media based RPG's, and the creation of reams of pages of fantasy material owe their existance to his efforts. DND and all the crazies that followed it was a fantastic way to spend a university preparation session. While a veritable ton of other students would be falling over themselves and the stress, DND provided a wonderful (and occasionally, truly hilarious) release from what was a fairly normal existance attending a Melbourne university. No doubt he made life that much more interesting for geeks everywhere as a result of his work, and his efforts are responsible for the development of the Role Playing Game into what we know today. Some may dislike the direction it has taken, but nobody can deny early DND changed things from a cult status movement to something now in the cultural mainstream.
I could say a lot more about just how awesome Gary was, but it's never going to be as effective as the actions of Penny Arcade here, or the masses of other tributes that have crawled out from all corners of the internet. Suffice to say, he's someone whom as geeks, we owe a great deal to and who's passing is being deeply mourned as a response to that.
With in that in mind, thanks for everything Gary and condolences on your failed saving throw. We owe you more than a D20 can ever express.
So, I've envisioned a far more fitting tribute in mind. I'll pull the old university buddies over at some point, for another old fashioned First Edition game (I'm quite the hoarder, and the rulebooks are still in great shape). Although I doubt families will allow a few members to get quite as tanked as they used to, it'll be good for the inner geek, and perhaps even provide a moment of catharsis in relation to those many spent hours.
Maybe I'll roll up a Gnome Illusionist.