(July 27, 1938 – March 4, 2008)
Gary Gygax saved my life. No, he didn’t rescue me from a burning building or pluck me out of a pool while I was drowning. In fact, we never met in person. But as one of the creators of Dungeons & Dragons (along with Dave Arneson) he created a game – and many say an entire hobby and industry – that provided me years of imaginative fun and the tool to forge friendships that saved me from a downward spiral I began after middle school.
It’s a cliché, but I was that really unpopular kid with the crazy imagination, who was really smart but totally misunderstood. “Bill is 13 going on 30”, people used to say, and it’s true, I used to feel more comfortable with my teachers than my fellow students. I was always alone and found solace in my hobbies: reading, music, drawing and painting, playing Nintendo, watching movies, blowing things up. I spent a lot of time alone and felt like a stranger wherever I went. It’s no wonder Spock is my favorite character in Star Trek. You know the story. Even the AV Club wouldn’t have me.
My point is, in high school, I had a lot of trouble making friends and AD&D and the drama club (another cliché!) helped me make all my friends and filled my days with fun when I otherwise may have become destructive to myself and maybe others. So in a very real way, Gary helped save me.
What can I say about Gary that hasn’t already been said better by other people? Nothing, but even having never met the man, Gary has had a very positive effect on me, and for that, I just want to take a moment to say thank you, Gary.
Thank you, Gary.
Rest in peace.