As a former D&D player myself, and still hooked on fantasy novels and the occasional RPG on the computer, I just had to put up this editorial Geek Love by Adam Rogers, honoring Gary Gygax, who passed away this past week.
Here’s the beginning to pique interest:
GARY GYGAX died last week and the universe did not collapse. This surprises me a little bit, because he built it.
I’m not talking about the cosmological, Big Bang part. Everyone who reads blogs knows that a flying spaghetti monster made all that. But Mr. Gygax co-created the game Dungeons & Dragons, and on that foundation of role-playing and polyhedral dice he constructed the social and intellectual structure of our world.
One thought on “Geek Love for Gary Gygax”
Wow, Daniel, that is weird that he passed away. I was a serious D&D geek, from back before computer-based versions were even an option. A cousin hooked me on it when I was in grade school, and I think it had everything to do with me eventually becoming an anthropologist. It used to scare my mom (at the time, kids were getting lost in steam tunnels dressed up as wizards and warriors), but it was one of the ways that I first started to do research on other cultures. When other kids were playing Intelivision games, I wanted to go to the library to do research on Italian city-states, ship-building, Egyptology, Old Testament angels, early alchemical chemistry, and the physics of traps in tombs. Hard core geek behaviour, obviously, but not that different from what I do now, I guess.
And a note for all of us is that Gygax went back to school at the University of Chicago where he took classes in anthropology although he had dropped out of high school, according to his widow, Gail Gygax. Apparently, he never really finished in anthropology, but instead went on to be an insurance underwriter.
Over at Savage Minds, it looks like at least one other anthropologist is owning up to his or her inner D&D geek. Good on us. I still wonder how important the whole experience of contriving worlds, social systems, mythologies, and histories was to my later interest in ethnography. Rest in Peace, Gary.