Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Slaying The Dragon
As I've made clear many times on this blog, I'm a geek. Particularly, a gaming geek. I was a bit socially awkward in high school; I was still trying to work around my Asperger's, and while I talked to lots of people and hung out with folks of all sorts of crowds, I felt like I had acquaintances, not friends. It was only after reading a certain webcomic that I saw how games like D&D could help me exercise my imagination (crucial for any wannabe screenwriter) while exercising my social skills (yes, yes, I know, "learning social skills from D&D", very funny, and if that's your response, please go kindly fuck off for the rest of this piece).
Of course, being me, I really got into D&D about two weeks before I graduated high school. But when I came to college, I ended up joining gaming groups and making some very solid friendships through them. D&D helped me strengthen my skills at forming relationships with other people, and actually gave me a bit more self-esteem about my social skills.
So, it's with a heavy heart that I announce the death of Gary Gygax, godfather of D&D and, by extension, a buttload of geek culture. Sure, there's a chance that a different kind of roleplaying game could have evolved out of the social maelstrom of wargaming in the '70s. Yes, a lot of D&D was taken wholesale from Lord of the Rings. But D&D established the roleplaying game as a genre, and by extension, ushered in everything from GURPS to Call of Cthulhu to Vampire: the Masquerade to Shadowrun to HERO.
And it's not just the tabletop game, either. If you've played any sort of video game where your character has levels in a class that are earned through experience, you can thank D&D. And yes, this includes Final Fantasy (hell, a lot of spells from the first Final Fantasy game were taken wholesale from D&D), World of Warcraft, and most other video game RPGs. D&D served as a forefather to all of them, no matter how indirectly.
Godspeed, Gary Gygax. When we roll natural 20s in the future, it shall always be in your name.