Thursday, February 23, 2023

Gary Gygax on the BBC

Excerpted from a 1982 episode of the documentary series, Fields of Play, entitled "Why do we play tabletop games?" Thanks to Thaddeus Moore for the pointer.


  1. Hm. I think that’s the first time I’ve heard his voice.

    1. Me too. I thought that I had heard his voice before and had a memory of what I thought it was. The reality is quite different. I'm now thinking that I confused his voice with that of Dr Marvin Monroe of the Simpsons.

    2. I'm now trying to imagine that voice coming out of Gygax...

  2. I was trying to figure out where I had heard his voice before. It was his cameo on Futurama.

  3. The whole 12-minute documentary is worth watching, for context, for a little bit of Gygax’s words that didn’t make it into the excerpt, and for unrelated bits like Sid Sackson and his collection:

    What resonated most with me was the last thing Don Turnbull said, immediately followed by a sort of response from Gygax:

    Turnbull: “There are no winners; there are no losers.”
    E.G.G.: “…winning is less important than the overall experience.”

    Gygax implies that the game retains a sense of winning and losing (in more than just a tournament setting), and later on says, “Everyone feels they win if they survive.” Didn’t a measure of victory (e.g., a campaign end-game) and a constant threat of death dwindle as story-driven play take over? The contrast between Turnbull’s and Gygax’s statements feels like a mark of a change of eras.