A Beautiful Obituary, and then a Forge Obituary
The death of Gary Gygax continues to make news in the world, the NYT and the WSJ (New York Times and Wall Street Journal), as well as the BBC, CNN, and many other mainstream media outlets have reported on it. And obviously, gamers of all stripes are talking about it on their blogs.
But beyond just gamers, nerds in general are doing it. Nerds who have been gamers only in their past, or only in passing, or only as one part of their geekdom. There's no question that Gary Gygax was an essential figure in Geek Culture as a whole, the way you didn't have to be a hardcore trekkie to mourn the death of Gene Rodenberry.
One of the best obits I've seen thus far is from a general nerd, a dude who's blog is called Websnark. If you check his blog, you'll also see a really above-par obituary for another recently dead and much lamented figure: William F. Buckley. As to his obit for Gygax, its a lovely and factual account that takes in Gygax as the man, flaws included, while making clear Gygax's significance and place in history.
Meanwhile, the one group that seems hell-bent on not giving praise, or even at least shutting the fuck up, are the Forgies. Ron Edwards shut down someone's attempt to start a tribute thread at the Forge, declaring it off-topic.
And this asshole Matt Snyder, the creator of a Forgie "western" game, but don't look for it to be about shootouts and saloons (...hey, "Shootouts and Saloons", that'd be an awesome name for a western RPG!) makes a blog entry declaring that Gygax was "just a guy who made a game, the end". He says "Clinging to Gary so you, the self-conscious gamer, can avoid feeling alone and awkward in your nerd shame is giving Gary a lot more credit than he deserves."
Ah, the typical contempt for the average gamer, the hatred of D&D, the sense of disgust at having icky normal people all around you and not being put up on your pedestal like the special fucking snowflake, the bowel-shattering arrogance of it all; all coming from a guy who's chosen hobby is so pathetic that it has to latch onto the gaming it so hates like a parasitic infection, Storygaming digging deep with its pincer trying to suck all the life out of RPGs while simultaneously spitting poisoned bile into Gaming's bloodstream.
Let me give you a hint you fucking nob: mourning great men who accomplished great things is normal. It is a feature, in fact, of one's humanity. The social misfit in this instance would be you, who feels so insecure about his own capacities as to have to shut down his own humanity in order to act elite and above it all in the vain hope someone will recognize some kind of "specialness" you DO NOT IN FACT HAVE.
Your pseudo-intellectualism and quasi-artistic elitism are nothing more than a pathetic cover for your own mediocrity, just like all of your ilk over at the Forge and Storygames, pretty much the only people who've pissed all over Gary Gygax even now after he's dead but before they've even put him in the ground.
The Forgie hate of Gygax is an obvious one: he was the REAL "indie designer", the one who's done the thing none of them could do. Various things in fact:
1. He invented something new.
2. He invented something popular that people wanted to buy.
3. He turned his own writing out of his basement into a bestselling industry.
Not a single one of the supposed intellectual giants (read: gnats) over at the Forge or Storygames has managed to do even one of these things.
How couldn't they hate Gygax?! Their "theories" are supposed to be perfect, and explain what's "wrong" with Gaming and how to make "better" games; only NO ONE wants to play or buy their "better" games. Meanwhile the sometimes-friendly sometimes-crazy always-passionate grandpa over in Wisconsin (come on, when did anything suitably pretentious ever come out of Wisconsin? It's like America's Zone of Anti-Pretentiousness!) continues to have a game that appealed to MILLIONS of people, and continues to be loved and respected by the "losers" and "shameful nerds" (to borrow Mr. Snyder's term) and "unwashed masses" that they think should be bowing down to them because they dress clever and say things that sound clever and use big words that are so clever even they don't know what they actually mean!
So of course they'll piss on his grave.
Luckily, for the rest of us, the world as a whole inasmuch as it remembers Gary Gygax will remember him fondly; and luckily for the rest of you I'll be here to show you how much of a gang of scumbags the Forgers really are, so that their own efforts will only highlight how badly they fail in everything that Gygax succeeded at being, starting with "a decent Human Being".
(march 7, 2008)