A Tribute to the Gaming Legend

As a kid, I’ve always enjoyed gaming, no matter whether it involves moving the tiny metallic tokens on the Monopoly Board or the blocky tank on the TV screen to fire shots at approaching enemies.


However, the word ‘game’ for me took on a new meaning when I first flipped opened the pages of the basic rulebook from the Dungeons and Dragons box set in middle school. I never knew that gaming would involve the task of reading through a novel-length rulebook before starting the game.

Who’s Gary Gygax? For those of you readers who recall what it was like being young, you’d probably agree that remembering people’s name is not exactly an easy task for young kids – ever more true when it comes to memorizing historical figures or famous individuals that live on the other side of the world. Fortunately, it’s not hard to associate ‘D&D’ with ‘Gary Gygax’, since the books were sitting on my lap. It wasn’t until my interest in the game blossomed did I take the extra step of looking up who this ‘Gygax’ guy was. Now that was the beginning of enlightenment (or mistake, depending on how you look at it).

To the novice gamer, he was one of the members of the legendary Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association; he was one of the founders of TSR Hobbies (along with Don Kaye and Brian Blume); and most importantly, he was one of the creators of D&D.

Even though many gamers today tend to forget about the D&D creators, the name Gygax leaves a deeper impression. Well, you must also consider the fact that he remained active throughout all these years since the invention of the game. While Gygax left the D&D bandwagon, he continued to explore other gaming possibilities – which probably explain why different generations of gamer tend to associate this legend with different things, whether Greyhawk, Dangerous Journeys, or other role-playing game products.

However, to me, what makes Gygax such an important figure is that he made gaming a career. The inventor of D&D did not stop after he introduced it to the world. He contributed to the growth and expansion of the game; even though he advocated other game systems later on in his life, he stays involved with the gaming industry. He began as a gamer, made a career out of gaming, and remained one to the last of his days. That’s some stout dedication to the discipline, if you’re asking me.

Gygax created a game that could be played using only paper, pencil and dice for gamers. These gaming tools could be easily tucked into your backpack, and pulled out at any place – as long as you have a solid surface to write on and players. He demonstrated to the world that it is possible to make gaming a career; and the most important thing is that he showed the world that a gamer could leave such a deep impression on younger generations, and influence their life like how important figures from mainstream society can influence the life of ordinary citizens.

Today, D&D is slight older than thirty years old; my encounter with the game has hit fifteen years. But now one of the fathers of this game has left us. Fortunately, the thirty years has not gone wasted. Thank you, Gary, for revealing such an amazing destiny to a bunch of dreamers. Without his contributions, and if D&D never existed, many people would have walked down entirely different paths. Now, fellow gamers, wipe away your tears. It is time to pick up the legacy and carry it into the future!

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