Gary Gygax Day
annually on July 27th
The "father of the modern role play game," Gary Gygax, one of the creators of Dungeons & Dragons, is celebrated today, on the anniversary of his birth. Friends gather together to play Dungeons & Dragons, Gygax's other games, and other role-playing games.
Ernest Gary Gygax was born in Chicago on July 27, 1938. By the age of five, he was a fan of games like pinochle and chess. As a teenager, he was an admirer of science fiction and fantasy writings—he was fond of authors like H.P. Lovecraft and Jack Vance, and of Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt" and Conan the Conqueror by Robert E. Howard. As he grew older, he still carried a passion for games, particularly for wargames. In 1967, he created what later became known as "Gen Con 0," and this led to Gen Con the following year. It is now the world's largest hobby-game convention. Gygax met Dave Arneson and Brian Blume at the early Gen Cons.
Gygax created Dungeons & Dragons with Arneson. It was released in 1974 under the company Tactical Studies Rules, which he co-owned with Brian Blume and Donald Kaye. One thousand handmade copies sold out in nine months, and a second printing of the game followed. After the sudden death of Kaye in 1975, changes were made and Tactical Studies Rules became TSR Hobbies, Inc. Between 1977–1979, they published a new and different version of the game, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Gygax exited TSR in 1985.
Following his exit, Gygax went on to make more games, such as Dangerous Journeys and Lejendary Adventure. But of all his work, it is Dungeons & Dragons that has had the most widespread impact. It has permeated culture in such a way that those who have never played it at least have heard of it. Gygax stayed engaged in the gaming world until his death on March 4, 2008. His legacy is celebrated today with Gary Gygax Day.
How to Observe Gary Gygax Day
Here are some ways you may celebrate Gary Gygax Day:
- Play one of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop or digital games.
- Play another game Gygax had a hand in or another role-playing game.
- Plan to attend the next Gary Con or Gen Con.
- Check out the Gygax Games website.
- Read Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons or Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D.
- Watch the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series.
- Watch The Dreams in Gary's Basement.
- Visit the Gary Gygax Memorial.