I must have been 11 or 12 years old the year I spent most of the summer indoors playing Dungeons and Dragons down in a friend’s basement. In early August, my mom caught on when she noticed I was pale white with no tan lines, despite the long hours I was supposedly spending at the beach. (“off to the beach, Mom. Be home later!”). I was reminded of that summer yesterday when I heard the news that Gary Gygax, the inventor of D&D , had passed away. I probably spent as much time just paging through the Monster Manual or fooling around with the elaborate set of dice as I did actually playing the game. Looking back now, it was a great exercise for the imagination – kind of a do it yourself Harry Potter. While I never became a fanatic (or a dungeon master for that matter), it allows me to understand how folks today can get caught up in Second Life, World of Warcraft, or any other all encompassing, addictive online game. Just make sure you spend enough time outdoors in the fresh air. You don’t want to make your mom worry.
Gary Gygax also did a guest star turn in one of my favorite Futurama episodes, along with Al Gore and Stephen Hawking. Here’s the clip (en espanol). Gary’s the one with the dice.