Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Me and E. Gary Gygax

The coverage of Gary Gygax's death is just amazing to me. Not only are there tributes on all the gaming websites and in several webcomics I have also see stories in the New York Times, on BBC, NPR, Popular, slashdot, and even the Northwest Indiana Times.

My favorite so far has been from the LOLCats:

Gary Gygax Memorial Cat

I think I first became aware of the name Gary Gygax in 1977 when Peter Nelson got the basic "Blue Box" Dungeons & Dragons set from his uncle for Christmas. We spent our traditional New Year's Eve with them and he handed me the box and told me he wanted to play that night and I had to be "DM". I spent an hour or two reading then we five kids started exploring The Keep on the Borderlands. After creating characters they entered the dungeon and after checking every 10 feet for traps they got to the first encounter with a couple of kobolds. I then had to stop the game for about 30 minutes while I tried to figure out how fighting worked!

Here are my original (well used) First Edition books:

This is the title page from the Monster Manual:

Let's zoom in on the lower left corner:

In 1986 my friends and I on the UW-Platteville campus got an official, recognized gaming club started so we could use rooms in the Student Center on the weekends to game in. In 1988 the "Platteville Gamer's Association" held "Plattecon Beta" our second gaming convention, and we had Gary come as guest of honor. I got my book signed but I didn't get to play in the dungeon he ran. I did watch him Dungeon Mastering, which was a lot of fun. I saw him a couple of times at Gen Con over the years, before it moved to Indianapolis from Milwaukee.

So long Gary, and thanks for everything!