Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gary Gygax RIP

I've largely been disappointed by the coverage of D&D creator Gary Gygax. Ok, first I was impressed at how widespread and pervasive it was. But then disappointed because all the articles lacked depth. Usually Salon and Slate are good for that kind of thing, but on this subject they were pretty uninspired.

The Economist and New York Times came closest, but I felt let down.

I did like this line from the NYTimes: "For us, the character sheet and the rules for adventuring in an imaginary world became a manual for how people are put together. Life could be lived as a kind of vast, always-on role-playing campaign."

That totally was true. Growing up, I automatically worked up stats on people. i also grew up assuming everyone should have the same number of build points, so figured those with high str and dex must be low somewhere else. (That thought made me feel better about getting picked last in gym class). Only recently did I drop the idea that everyone is given the same endowment just allocated in different ways, though I still try to cling to it. Though now, it's more of a broader egalitarianism.

Plus, I totally dig the last Star Wars reference in the NYTimes.

3 comments:

Andy Schlesinger said...

weird. i also arrived at the same "build points" conclusion, although i never really linked it to role playing (considering i never did much of it). i actually kind of still buy it, if that's possible.

hcduvall said...

I didn't like the nytimes one...actually, I definitely think it handled the laying down of pop culture references with affection better then most, but by the facebook thing seems tacked on, or roundabout the purpose.But then, I don't like the Wired writing style at all.

I was surprised by the coverage too, but I think all the response comments is where the good stuff was. Lots of testimonials and the like, summed up as the concepts and all that is nice, but someone who created something that brought a lot of people joy passed away, and that's what people wanted to mark.

HoBs said...

andy:

i think the build point conclusion is part of general american egalitarianism. so both are very compatible.

hcduvall:

Yeah, lots of sweet testimonials, but I was looking for analysis and meaning. Usually On the Media, Salon, or Slate provide that but though all covered it, they all just echoed the the sweet misty-eyed nostalgia rather than delve into the deeper implications.

Then again, maybe there is nothing deep.