Bye Gary, Thanks for the Memories and My Ability to Design
I wanted to write this much sooner but it kinda got lost in the back burner. Sadly, half of the population, depending on your age, may or may not know of this piece of news.
On March 4th, I received an email from a old friend, someone who I have not seen and heard for a very long time. It was a link to a news page that reported that Gary Gygax had passed away. I was shock to say the least.
Generally seen as the grandfather of Role Playing Games, more specifically the Dungeons and Dragons game, his work was an immense influence to many people in my generation. Incidentally the last time I caught up with that old friend was over a game of Dungeon and Dragons.
Blake from The Innovation Diaries could not have described Gary Gygax’s body of work any better:
Gygax himself was an innovation master – exhibiting many of the key behaviors that are the cornerstones of impactful creativity. He used the writings of Tolkien, world mythology, and medieval history as stimulus to propel his thinking. He exhibited bravery and curiosity in the breaking of the rules of what a ‘board game’ could look like (namely, boardless). And he and his partners designed the rules of the game as loose guidelines, encouraging building and improvisation by the players themselves. And the impact of this innovation? A billion dollar empire of role playing games. Not to mention a lasting influence on the literature, television, movies, and video gaming content of today.
I played D&D throughout much of my teenage life. It was through this game that I learn of my love of drawing maps, creating the most wondrous environments and inhabitants (and traps!) for my friends to travel in. The game thought me spatial awareness, the ability to visualize objects and environments in my head, and most important of all the fantastic ability of storytelling. I think all vital skills for a then budding designer.
Bye Gary, and thank you very much for all the memories and for being such a big influence in my formative years.