There’s been a big outpouring of thoughts and sadness over the passing of D&D creator Gary Gygax. The words put down by other writers are far better than I can summon, so I’ll add a very short note:
As RPGs moved beyond the foundations Gary built, it’s been easy to cast stones at the “clunky” rules and strictures of his original creations and their direct descendants. “THAC0? Alignments? Classes? Ha, that stuff’s crazy…”
I, too, like today’s more modern, streamlined games. But I’ve always kept respect for the D&D world, whether I play the game any more or not. Like so many, many others, I point to D&D as my start as a gamer. And throughout any temptation to poke fun at the game’s outdated points, I’ve always returned to one key thought: Question: Did we have fun with the game? Answer: Hell, yeah, we did.
That single truth trumps any and all dismissal of the game, and is the highest form of thanks that a game’s players can return to its maker. To have turned a clever idea into a whole new genre of gaming – wow, few of us messing with game-related design or writing will ever make a smidgen of that impact.
I never met Gary, despite a couple visits to GenCon and even a trip to the original TSR store in Wisconsin. I wish I had. He did great things.