I was very happy to see Fred Hicks got to induct Erick Wujcik and the Amber RPG into the Hall of Fame at Origins this weekend. I recall reading some of Fred's thoughts on Erick, and it sounds as if esteems him as a designer and creator as much as I do. Of course, that got me once again thinking of the Wuj, and the impact he left.
If you don't know the name of Erick Wujcik, you might know some of his works. He was the author of games such as the Amber RPG and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Whether it was the fun of creating mutant animals in TMNT, or learning the art of intrigue and gamesmanship in Amber, his works always left you wanting more. Sadly, he passed in 2008, after an incredibly brave battle with cancer.
Of course, that wasn't the end to his work. His influence stretched from the early days of Palladium Fantasy to the Paranoia RPG, and even to the hit computer game Return To Krondor. But even more than his brilliance in his game design and writing was the legacy of kindness he left.
I can't tell you how many gamers I spoke to after Erick's passing who said something along the lines of "I e-mailed Erick, and he was so kind and pleasant in answering my questions". I was able to trade emails with him several times before his passing, and cherish the memory of that correspondence very much indeed.
One of the things that made me happiest in this hobby was to help get Erick recognized for a lifetime achievement award by the ENnies before he passed away. Knowing his longtime best friend Kevin Siembieda was able to give him the award in front of so many assembled friends, fans, and loved ones really gets to me every time.
Erick Wujcik was taken from us too soon, but he left an amazing life and body of work to celebrate. He'll be missed, but never forgotten.