FANTASY pioneer and co-founder of Dungeons & Dragons, also known as "the father of role-playing", Gary Gygax, has rolled his last 12 sided dice and passed away at his home in Lake Geneva, near Milwaukee yesterday. He was 69. According to his wife, he had been ill for some time.
Dungeons & Dragons, the game based on medieval characters and mythological creatures, had been developed by Gygax along with Dave Arneson back in 1974. It was an open-ended game which, instead of using a classic board, allowed players to become a character and set off on an adventure set by a Dungeon Master, who has the role of both narrator and adjudicator.
The success of a players' actions or the outcome of their combat, are decided by the game's multi-sided die. The game was incredibly popular and was eventually developed into a video game, as well as a multitude of books, films and television series in several languages. An estimated 20 million people have played D&D since it was invented.
Gygax had become a sort of celebrity icon in geek culture. "He was like the cool uncle that every gamer had. He shaped an entire generation of gamers," Mike Meals, the lead developer of the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, told Wired.
The game's legacy can best be seen today in World of Warcraft, the hugely popular massively-multiplayer online role-playing game with over 10 million subscribers.
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