Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax has died at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin at the age of sixty-nine. According to an Associated Press report his wife indicated he had been suffering from an inoperable abdominal aneurysm for some time. As well as his wife he is survived by his six children: three sons and three daughters.
Considered the father of tabletop role-playing, Gygax, together with Dave Arneson, created the pen and paper system in 1974, after co-founding the company Tactical Studies Rules (TSR). Gygax left the company in 1985, after a management disagreement, and TSR was acquired by Wizards of the Coast in 1997 – itself now acquired by Hasbro.
Dungeons & Dragons has sold an estimated $1 billion in books and equipment, with an estimated 20 million people having played the game. The influence on video games has also been immense with almost all early computer role-playing games being inspired to some degree by the system’s rules and settings.
Although official adaptations of Dungeons & Dragons, from companies ranging from Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI) to BioWare and Capcom are legion, the influence on early titles such as Wizardry
allowed the system to also indirectly inspire many of the traditions of Japanese role-playing games.
Despite the significant crossover appeal between the two industries Gygax was never an enthusiastic supporter of video games, dabbling only in a few projects such as the aborted Lejendary Adventure
– which later became a traditional pen-and-paper game.
“There is no intimacy; it’s not live,” said Gygax of video games. “It’s being translated through a computer, and your imagination is not there the same way it is when you’re actually together with a group of people. It reminds me of one time where I saw some children talking about whether they liked radio or television, and I asked one little boy why he preferred radio, and he said, ‘Because the pictures are so much better.’ ”
Gamasutra conducted an extensive interview
with Gygax in 2002, when Lejendary Adventure
was still intended as a video game.