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D&D General Game Wizards: The Epic Battle for Dungeons & Dragons

mserabian

Explorer
Not sure if anyone else has had a chance to read through this yet...

I found it to be an interesting read, but also very sad. The picture it painted of both Gygax and Arnesun makes both of them look quite bad. They both come off as petty, vindictive, angry and sad men (at least during the years covered) in my reading of the book.

Wondering what others think of the book and its presentation of the players at TSR...
 

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Not sure if anyone else has had a chance to read through this yet...

I found it to be an interesting read, but also very sad. The picture it painted of both Gygax and Arnesun makes both of them look quite bad. They both come off as petty, vindictive, angry and sad men (at least during the years covered) in my reading of the book.

Wondering what others think of the book and its presentation of the players at TSR...

Neither man is alive to defend themselves, so look at anything not backed up by hard evidence with a grain of salt.
 


I've yet to read The Game Wizards, but knowing Jon Peterson's attention to detail and the astonishing level of research that went into his previous two books, I would suspect that if he writes something, he has the receipts. While he clearly has a passion for RPG history, he also is a true scholar.

Neither man is alive to defend themselves, so look at anything not backed up by hard evidence with a grain of salt.
 



Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Look, its good to know he backs it up with evidence, all I'm saying is the two men in question are dead and can't defend themselves or give their 2 cents so that should be taken into account.

I think that they were, sadly, human. As we all are. (Well, most of us. I'm beginning to worry that some of y'all might be Lizard People, but that's neither here nor there)

Now, I haven't finished the book yet (I'm planning on doing a full review when I do), but a lot of things become more understandable once you have the full history- it doesn't make it right, or good, but you get why it happened.

In the end, their best defense is their legacy- the product and the millions (billions?) of hours of joy that it brought to the world.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Not sure if anyone else has had a chance to read through this yet...

I found it to be an interesting read, but also very sad. The picture it painted of both Gygax and Arnesun makes both of them look quite bad. They both come off as petty, vindictive, angry and sad men (at least during the years covered) in my reading of the book.

Wondering what others think of the book and its presentation of the players at TSR...
That matches my impression from every history of the game so far: human foibles at work.
 

mserabian

Explorer
Look, its good to know he backs it up with evidence, all I'm saying is the two men in question are dead and can't defend themselves or give their 2 cents so that should be taken into account.
Much of the evidence consists of letters written by them at the time. There is very little supposition in the book. It mostly does let the two men "speak for themselves" as it were with their own words. And neither I nor the author are saying they were bad people. It's just that many of their actions put them in an unflattering light. Which again, doesn't make me dislike them, it just makes me sad that these two greats really mostly unfortunately shot themselves in their own feet.
 


ninjayeti

Adventurer
The part I find particularly sad is that neither could acknowledge how much the other was critical to their ultimate success. Without Dave's flash of creativity, Gary would have spent his life writing wargames that sold 1,000 copies tops. Without Gary's drive to transcribe and publish his rules, Dave's great idea would never have left a handful of midwestern gaming clubs. Yet instead of being grateful to the other for their contribution to their success, they just ended up resentful.
 

Yeah, though plenty of people have argued the case for either side, you very likely would not have had D&D without the both of them. But the bitter corporate wrangling and legal proceedings that eventually followed drove them far apart.

The part I find particularly sad is that neither could acknowledge how much the other was critical to their ultimate success. Without Dave's flash of creativity, Gary would have spent his life writing wargames that sold 1,000 copies tops. Without Gary's drive to transcribe and publish his rules, Dave's great idea would never have left a handful of midwestern gaming clubs. Yet instead of being grateful to the other for their contribution to their success, they just ended up resentful.
 


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Sometimes it's best not to know too much about the things and people we admire.

It's a choice. Me, I choose to like things.
The phrase "never meet your heroes" has an easy (although pessimistic) way out of the cycle of "idolize someone, learn what they're truly like, stop idolizing them, move onto a different person to idolize, and repeat". Stop idolizing people. Anyone and everyone. Admit everyone is flawed, and although you can be grateful towards someone else for their contributions to your life and the world in general, always remember that no one is an idol to venerate/worship. We're all human, we're all flawed, and all of us have parts of our behaviors and personalities that suck.

You'll always be disappointed in your heroes if you learn what they're truly like, because they're not actually heroes. They're not perfect, and there will always be a part of them to be disappointed in. That's just a fact of life.

It sucks and it's pessimistic, but it's true.

I'm a newer player. I've only been playing (and DMing) for about 5 years, but I'm familiar with the hobby and its history. I've met a lot of older players that idolize Gary Gygax, or Dave Arneson, or one of the other creators of early D&D. I'm grateful to them for creating the game and I can acknowledge how much their creation has changed my life, but I don't idolize them. I'm glad that D&D exists, I'm thankful that they created it, and I think that a lot of the ideas that they had were ingenious and revolutionary, but they're still people, and people shouldn't be idolized.

It's always better to know. Facts over feelings. The answer to "knowing about these people's flaws will make me admire them less" isn't to choose to not learn about their flaws, it's to not admire/idolize them in the first place. That's the proper choice. Ignorance begets poor decisions and disappointment.

And I don't mean this as a personal attack. Just an explanation on a more correct way to view the creators of D&D (and people in general).
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Without Gary's drive to transcribe and publish his rules, Dave's great idea would never have left a handful of midwestern gaming clubs.
There were other typists and publishers in the community at the time. There’s no reason to assume that “without Gygax” Arneson’s invention would have languished in obscurity.
 
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Mercurius

Legend
The phrase "never meet your heroes" has an easy (although pessimistic) way out of the cycle of "idolize someone, learn what they're truly like, stop idolizing them, move onto a different person to idolize, and repeat". Stop idolizing people. Anyone and everyone. Admit everyone is flawed, and although you can be grateful towards someone else for their contributions to your life and the world in general, always remember that no one is an idol to venerate/worship. We're all human, we're all flawed, and all of us have parts of our behaviors and personalities that suck.

You'll always be disappointed in your heroes if you learn what they're truly like, because they're not actually heroes. They're not perfect, and there will always be a part of them to be disappointed in. That's just a fact of life.

It sucks and it's pessimistic, but it's true.

I'm a newer player. I've only been playing (and DMing) for about 5 years, but I'm familiar with the hobby and its history. I met a lot of older players that idolize Gary Gygax, or Dave Arneson, or one of the other creators of early D&D. I'm grateful to them for creating the game and I can acknowledge how much their creation has changed my life, but I don't idolize them. I'm glad that D&D exists, I'm thankful that they created it, and I think that a lot of the ideas that they had were ingenious and revolutionary, but they're still people, and people shouldn't be idolized.

It's always better to know. Facts over feelings. The answer to "knowing about these people's flaws will make me admire them less" isn't to choose to not learn about their flaws, it's to not admire/idolize them in the first place. That's the proper choice. Ignorance begets poor decisions and disappointment.

And I don't mean this as a personal attack. Just an explanation on a more correct way to view the creators of D&D (and people in general).
Yes, well said. Lots of great artists and thinkers were shmucks, and we're all shmucks to varying degrees.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
The phrase "never meet your heroes" has an easy (although pessimistic) way out of the cycle of "idolize someone, learn what they're truly like, stop idolizing them, move onto a different person to idolize, and repeat". Stop idolizing people. Anyone and everyone. Admit everyone is flawed, and although you can be grateful towards someone else for their contributions to your life and the world in general, always remember that no one is an idol to venerate/worship. We're all human, we're all flawed, and all of us have parts of our behaviors and personalities that suck.

You'll always be disappointed in your heroes if you learn what they're truly like, because they're not actually heroes. They're not perfect, and there will always be a part of them to be disappointed in. That's just a fact of life.

It sucks and it's pessimistic, but it's true.
Pessimism tends to be true.
 


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