Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Non-political post of the day

It's only a certain category of people who will know the name Gary Gygax, but if you're in that category, he's probably important to you.

Gary Gygax was one of two people who invented Dungeons and Dragons, the role-playing game (RPG) that's been popular among those who proudly call themselves nerds and social outcasts since 1974.

Gygax died today at the age of 69.

I've never played D&D, but my two sons play D&D and many other RPG's, so I've been in the vicinity of many a game. People are inclined to look down on the game and those who play it, but I think they're really missing something. Think a little bit about what we want our kids to do as they grow up. Among other things, we want them to be creative, we want them to learn to understand how to deal with people who are different from themselves, we want them to learn how to meet a challenge, come up with an inventive way to solve it, and to work cooperatively to achieve their goals, and D&D teaches all those things. Sure, they're battling with orcs, trolls, paladins, dwarves, and other fictional creatures, but the game isn't sitting around and wishing you were a knight, and it's not slashing and killing, it's playing roles, thinking about your character traits, and developing and pursuing a strategy.

There are kids who are going to sit in their rooms and write poetry and short stories, but a lot of kids won't do that. Still, when you're writing an adventure, you're writing fiction, and if it doesn't hold together it won't be any good.

I don't want to overplay it, but I do want to suggest that you take another look at D&D and the people who play it and the other RPG's


Blogger John said...

Not only do RPGs encourage imagination, creative thinking and teamwork, they promote friendships and camaraderie. In the wake of the news rippling through the community, post after post describes how Gygax impacted the lives of gamers by providing an avenue for friendships, passions and even careers.

Here's a link to a fitting tribute from the guys at Penny Arcade.

What is even more fitting is that March Fo(u)rth is International Gamemasters Day.

March 05, 2008 12:12 PM  
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