Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Legend of Gary

I spoke with an old buddy this weekend, wherein we revived the topic of using the Marvel FASERIP or the 4C System with Rifts. I still contend it just might do Rifts better than Rifts itself, but that’s not my main topic today.

No, we got on the topic adding skills Castles & Crusades, wherein I mentioned that one of the last things Gary wrote was an optional skill system for C&C’s Castle Zagyg. There was a pause on the line, and my friend said “Really?” with more than a hint of deep respect in his voice.

Among most of my gaming friends, we still have a reverence for Gary Gygax and what he did. Some of us started playing after AD&D 1e, some of us were hardcore readers of the early Dragon Magazine, and others go indie all the way. But one of the common things that binds us is that the opinion or words of Gary Gygax are not lightly discounted. Certainly we don’t agree with everything he’s written, but he still commands our respect to the highest degree. We aren’t all OSRers, or 4ers, or exclusive D&Ders, but we are Gamers, and those that weren’t around for some of Gary’s highlights are now picking it up secondhand. A new generation of gamers progresses, and soon enough, they’ll know about him, too, so long as gaming endures.

That’s the way legends grow. And in a world where we’re expected to be hyper-critical and cynical (and yes, I definitely put myself in there), it’s nice to still have legends. We know Gary wasn’t perfect, but none of the best legends are, are they?


Havard: said...

I think the idea of playing in a certain way because Gary did so, or because people played so in a certain decade is absurd. I play the way I do because it works for me. I borrow ideas from early day gaming and gaming from the later eras, but the bottom line is that it has to work for me and my group. :)

Loquacious said...

I am not a real big follower of the "cult of Gary" (as I JOKINGLY call it)- I find some importance in knowing he was first and/or trailblazer type, but his work doesn't have relevance to me or my style. That's me, though.

Zachary Houghton said...

Legend doesn't necessarily mean emulating Gary or gaming by the light of his Dragon articles. It means a healthy respect for what was, I think.

And, to be fair, in 1978, 1998, or 2010, Gary wasn't relevant to how some gamers played. He is to others, sometimes in surprising ways, I think.

Anonymous said...

@havard and loquacious:




Zachary Houghton said...

...ok, the Yaks might be a little much.

Matthew Arcilla said...

I'm pretty sure diseased yaks were used at one point by Gygax to discipline unruly players.

da Trux said...

Gygax never meant much of anything to me. I had been playing games for at least 10 years before I had even heard of him (I was not raised on DnD) and that was on an episode of Futurama.

Since then, every where I turn it's "Gygax-mania!!!"

I've read the old DnD books he wrote and found them to be dry, boring, and near-impossible for me to read through. He had cool ideas, but they aren't worth the migraine they gave me trying to find them.

and sure, he can arguably be said to be the guy that started it all, but once again, that doesn't really mean much to me. The first doesn't mean the best.

Zachary Houghton said...

I can understand that. Different experiences, and all that. I'm sure there are enclaves of gamers who haven't heard of Gygax, or if they haven't, don't much care for him. I've had the opposite experience, largely, but it all comes down to the anecdotal stuff, as usual.