RIP Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax, the father of role-playing games, died today at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. As a fellow Wisconite and lover of video games–the modern forum for Gary’s roll-playing games–I have to say this is a sad day.

Wired has a post on his passing and for those of you who don’t know much about gaming and the contribution that Gygax made to the field, it’s worth reading the Wikipedia entry on his life.

Gygax with Stephen Hawking and Lieutenant Ohura on an episode of Futurama.

Though his passing isn’t a policy issue, Gygax was one of the founders of early gaming culture which has been carried through to the PC and console platforms which are under attack today. Gygax’s passing should remind us that attacks on gaming aren’t anything new. Role playing games were also attacked when they arrived on the scene. In fact, Tom Hanks starred in Mazes & Monsters, a movie based around the death of gamer James Dallas Egbert III, resulting in hype similar to the stuff we hear today about the effects of violent video games.

Today such objections to board games seem silly. Hopefully in the next decade we’ll look back on the proposed game burnings of the 90s and today as just as foolish.