Saturday, 14 May 2016
Classic Rant: A New Historical Perspective on Gygax and the Mythos
Some recent reading has led me to a kind of fascinating revelation. I certainly hadn't heard of Lovecraft or his Mythos stories until I first saw them in the AD&D Deities & Demigods book. Now, of course, there were probably many literary nerds who were quite into the Cthulhu Mythos by that time.
But really, was there a mass consciousness of these stories prior to D&D? Or was the transformation of the Cthulhu Mythos into a Geek Staple thanks directly to Deities & Demigods, and the Call of Cthulhu RPG?
Because Cthulhu has been hitting the big time in terms of pop culture these days, and that seems to be only increasing. And if my postulate is right, that means that as well as basically being the man responsible for the appearance and form of the modern computer game, at least partially responsible for the popularity of the fantasy genre in pop literature and film, it would mean that Gary Gygax was also directly responsible for the popularity of the Cthulhu Mythos.
I mean really, is there any single human being who has influenced modern pop culture in so many ways as Gary Gygax? Think about how different the entire pop-culture world would be had RPGs never been invented. Then ask yourself about how "irrelevant" RPGs are.
(Originally posted November 30, 2010)