RIP Dungeon Master - Gary Gygax 1938 - 2008

Posted by Dan on Mar 4, 2008 @ 5:09 PM

From c|net Gary Gygax, 1938-2008: Rest in peace, Dungeon Master

Gary Gygax GenCon 2007Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons and one of the fathers of tabletop role-playing games, died on Tuesday at the age of 69. He had suffered from heart problems. 

The news was first announced on the message board of Troll Lord Games, the publisher of Gygax's most recent works. It has since been directly confirmed by the company, which will post an announcement on its Web site later Tuesday.

Gygax was best known for helping create Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. He also pioneered tabletop role-playing games. The first D&D rulebooks were released in 1974 by TSR, and since then have produced three full-fledged sequels, numerous revisions and updates, and dozens upon dozens of additional rulebooks, settings, and campaigns. While Gygax hadn't had much direct involvement with D&D for many years, he developed and contributed to many role-playing games, including Troll Lord Games' Gary Gygax's Fantasy Worlds.

Categories: Games


  • OMG! That is really sad news - and so young, too. My teenage years were shaped by D & D in many ways... He made the world a richer place!
  • I second that - D&D in particular and tabletop role playing in general were enormous influences in my teen years, and Gary Gygax was the name everyone knew. RPGs did more for my imagination -and- my library research skills than any other activity I can think of, and I made friendships that are still strong today. (As well as vile enemies, but let us not dwell on their wicked influence until their utter destruction is assured...) I think we have Gary and other game design geniuses like Steve Jackson to thank for much of that.

    I honestly believe that those who are growing up on WoW and Xbox are missing out on an even greater shared fantasy experience. Nothing quite matches the intensity of building your own world - not even sophisticated 3D graphics with super-slick rendering pipelines and kick-ass physics systems (Ok, so the technology is cool...).

  • I still have my treasured first editions (and earlier sources) tucked away in an old Mac Bag, along with a a few lbs. of dice, where some day I'll be DDM (Dad Dungeon Master) when my kids are old enough to understand the game.

    Oh such fond memories of bringing a case of Dr. Pepper, or for those intense sessions, Mellow Yellow or Mountain Dew, along with a stack of frozen pizza's to be shared, playing from Saturday evening till the sun rose. Don't think I have the physical stamina for that now, but oh such glorious times.

    Then along came the unfortunate linking of D&D to the guy who tried to commit suicide in the Steam Tunnels and that 1982 TV movie dramatization of D&D gone bad in Mazes and Monsters (Starring Tom Hanks).  The game never deserved the bad publicity.


    Steam Tunnel Suicide Attempt:

    Mazes and Monsters:
  • I suspect a large number of computer programmers over the age of 30 played D&D (or AD&D if you will) in their youth. I'm sure many still play today. I think there are a lot of similarities between building and application from scratch and imagining your own universe and the cast of characters that fill them.

    I spent a good part of my youth from age 15-24 playing D&D. Not only did it help to shape my creativity (and love for reading) but it also helped me to think out problems. RPGs, like in chess, make you have to think about the steps your going to take in the future. You have a human counterpart (the DM) and you need to try to analysis where they're trying to take you. That's the way it was when we played the game anyway--as we never really played from modules but basically played on the fly. You'd have an outline of events, but the path was always based upon what the RPC did.

    It's indeed sad to see Gary's passing...

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