It’s a sad day in floating castles, cursed forests and Dorito-flecked basements everywhere. Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, died this morning at his home in Lake Geneva, Wis. He was 69. Together with Dave Arneson and a few others in the early 1970s, Gygax developed an open-ended game that sparked the role-playing phenomenon. The original marketing for D&D left something to be desired, with its bland description of “Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature Figures.” But D&D still exploded in popularity and began sparking copycats within a year of its 1974 release. As you can see from this commercial from the 1980s, D&D was optimistically marketed as a game for the whole family, but it settled into a niche hobby of a certain demographic. Still, there are countless games, movies and books that owe their existence to Gygax. So let us bid him a fond farewell and roll one last 20-sided die in hopes of resurrecting him with only a -1 Constitution penalty.
—Posted by David Griner