Heard this today from my good friend Ed Park. Gygax, outside of my parents, may be the single most important factor in me becoming a writer. It's hard to explain to people today--hell it was hard then--what it meant to create an entire world inside your head with only some paper, weird dice, and rule-books. But, oh man, that world was so real to me. I later went on to MMORPGS like EQ and WoW, but in truth, nothing that any programmer does could match the limitless possibilities of conjuring a world in my head.
My sessions of Dungeons & Dragons were the most fun I ever had as a child, bar none. And it wasn't like I was the stereotypical geek with a pack of weird friends (really though, who was?). I was a relatively popular, if somewhat awkward black boy attending the public schools of West Baltimore. My brother Malik, who introduced me to D&D, was a similar dude--though a hell of a lot smarter.
The great thing about D&D though, was that as fun as it was, it really pushed your abstract thinking skills. I think that abilityto conjure a complete picture, based only on skeletal details stayed with me, and has really helped me as a writer.
And so now I look at my seven-year-old son, who has seen some of my rulebooks and wants me to teach him. What will I do? I was seven when I started. And yet, it's been so long since I've played. I wonder whether it will still feel the same. Time, I guess, to dig out my old gem dice...