Remembering Gary Gygax

Michael O. Varhola

Following is a brief piece I wrote a few days after Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax died in March 2008 and which I am sharing here on this fifth anniversary of his death. I can recall being pretty upset at the time. This item was the first of several that appeared in a memorial to Gary on our old website and responses and independent posts from other readers followed it. 

I met Gary Gygax Easter weekend, 2000, in Virginia Beach, Va., at the short-lived Alti-Egos Con, and was almost ecstatic when he agreed to allow me to interview him for our Skirmisher Online Gaming Magazine. From that first experience with him, I was impressed with what a generous spirit he had and how willing he was to devote some of his time -- a time that was now so clearly finite -- to other gamers.

In the eight years since meeting him, I went on to work with him on a number of projects, and was grateful for every opportunity to do so. I won't pretend he was always easy to work with, at least if one was his junior partner on some venture, but that would be too much to expect of anyone and my intent here is not to canonize him or pretend he was perfect. But he was always cordial, and supportive, and professional, and every compliment and word of encouragement from him meant as much at the time as it does now in retrospect. 

Gary Gygax was my friend, and having lost him there is not a lot I or the rest of of us who cared about him can do. This section is a feeble attempt to provide a venue for some of us to express what he meant to us and the impact he and his work had upon our lives. 

A picture of Gary Gygax taken during Gen Con 2007.