Most people have never heard of Dave Arneson, and most people have never heard of Gary Gygax. Well, most people under the age of 20 or maybe even 30. But I've heard of both of them because I grew up on a silly little game called Dungeons and Dragons. OHHHH. Now you've heard of that, right? Of course you have.
So Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax are the fellas who came up with the Dungeons and Dragons game back in the 1970's, and I'd have to say, really, all RPGs in general owe something to D&D for their origins. All of you young wizards out there, thrusting yourselves into dungeons and using such things as "hit points" or "health," have no idea that Wizard101 and all RPGs owe a lot to the roots laid down by these two fellas. You want high health on your character? Well, Gygax and Arneson invented the concept of health on your character! Get it? Good.
That's why when I saw today in this mainstream news source article that Dave Arneson died, I knew I just had to post a quick note here. I didn't know about Arneson as much until last year when Gary Gygax died, it was then that I became more aware of the story of the TSR game company. I didn't really feel remorse when these two died, but a lot of people did. They grew up on this stuff, you know? And it's the same for me in some respects. I do remember pouring over these large books of rules and inventing dungeons for my friends to die in. Here's the cover of one I kept from when I was a tween.
It's quite a hilarious piece of writing to read now, but I spent HOURS on this stuff and it was fun to design your own adventure based on the rules of this game. OH, people still play D&D . . . I just grew out of it.
Eventually when I was in my early 20's I was without a job living in the upstairs apartment of a guitarist that I use to play drums for. It was kind of a sad and very poor time in my life. Well, I traded all my early editions of my D&D books to him in exchange for rent for a month. That was the Monster Manual, the Dungeon Master's Guide, The Players Handbook, Dieties and Demi-Gods, the Monster Manual II, and a really super rare book of traps. By that time I hadn't played the game for a few years, so they didn't really matter to me. But now . . . now . . . I kind of wish I had them again just to take a look at them and laugh a bit at a few memories I had with my friends as we played that game.
Oh well . . . I can look at games like Wizard101 and remember the magic all over again. It's all still there in one way or another, just a bit more colorful and in your face than it use to be when all you had were some manuals, some dice, and a story teller in front of you.
Thanks to Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax for making up their game! Thanks for the really happy distraction.