The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Remembering the Dungeon Master

A political blog may seem like a strange place to pay homage to America's founding nerd...on second though, no, no it doesn't. Be that as it may, there are few people who have had as profound an impact on my life as Ernest Gary Gygax.

With his passing this week, I found myself reading the praises and personal stories from some of the millions of fans around the world and remembering fondly my own time as a knight of the dinner table.

As an angry, socially ill-adjusted teen, my one safe haven from a world that I didn't like and couldn't relate to was in the lush landscapes of my own imagination. Gary Gygax opened that door for me by creating what is to this day one of the most innovative and influential games in history, Dungeons & Dragons.

Although my parents worried, rightly, that I had escaped far to often into that world and, for a time, it became my preference to reality, the skills I developed and friends I made sitting around the kitchen table with my dice, bag of Cheetos and stack of books are ones that serve me well to this day.

As one commenter put it: "Gygax invented a game that promoted co-operation, initiative, memory skills, negotiation, imagination, compromise, planning, foresight, accountability, an awareness of cause and effect, tolerance and attention to detail. Name me an educator who has come up with a better way of introducing these skills to young minds."

In fact, I never quit being a proud D&Der. Until I moved to DC to work on this campaign, I got together every week with Greg, Gavin, Tony, Willie, Ian, Kristen, and a host of others that came and went over the last few years to hurl fireballs and thwart the plans of evil kings.

In the end, it was much more an excuse to spend an evening with friends than escapism, and the memories of those evenings are among my most cherished. For that, I have Gary Gygax to thank.


Post a Comment

<< Home