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Game Design Challenge: Make a Memorial Game for Gygax

March 5, 2008

Ian Schrieber and I were talking (we do that a lot, in case you haven’t gathered), and he asked me if I was aware of a game that was specifically created in memory of a game designer. I couldn’t think of one off the top of my head.

To quote Ian with his permission, “I was talking about honoring the life and times of a person through gameplay.” Now, games have been dedicated to particular individuals on many occasions. The Sims, for instance, was dedicated to the late Dani Berry.

“When artists of other media die,” Ian said, “occasionally another artist creates a work in that medium to honor their life and work. People have painted portraits of artists, written poetry to honor poets, written biographies of authors, composed songs in memory of musicians.” But for games? Nothing. That’s sad.

So, I want to change that. I know numerous regular readers of this blog also regularly create games. So, your job is to go make something that honors Gygax in any medium at all. Non-digital designs: you’ve got two weeks. Digital designs: you’ve got as long as it takes you to make it, but let us know what you’re up to.

I’ll post all responses in a separate post then. I’ll make a game, too.

Are you in?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2008 12:03 am

    The 7 day roguelike challenge starts in 2 days, so you’ll get bonus points if you complete a Gygax memorial roguelike in 168 hours or less.

    And great idea, btw.

  2. March 6, 2008 12:20 am

    Update: I’ve arranged a Game Jam for Gygax for Friday. I’m going to get together with four other designers and see what we can do in a couple hours.

  3. March 6, 2008 4:39 am

    It won’t be done in a few weeks, but I may very well dedicate the steampunk themed source mod to Gygax. It will have RPG elements and, well, I need not explain this.

  4. March 6, 2008 4:44 am

    I’ll admit that I’ve never played D&D before (my sole attempt in college met with horrific and scarring results), but I’ll still gladly take up this challenge. Maybe run with the dice mechanics of D&D and throw together a small homage. I’m thinking of calling it “Gygaxian” (that’s MY title now! Nobody steal it!).

  5. March 6, 2008 6:17 am

    Awesome, Scott! Made my morning. I can’t wait to see it.

    My first D&D experience was with the original white box set. It was a pretty simple game then. The second edition rules really complicated things, and that left a number of people scarred.

  6. jon permalink
    March 6, 2008 7:51 am

    Yes my first experience started with Tunnels and Trolls, then I moved on to D&D… back in high school, early 80s. that brings back found memories… and the disappointment of not finding people to play with in my small town!

    Yes I think my dedication will attempt to concentrate firstly on the joy and the rampant release of imagination that rolling your characters and lovingly writing them down produced. Then attempt to release the emotions when your saving role didn’t succeed and you character dies… or the blind panic during the battle of dice with the DM! 😉


  7. March 6, 2008 11:15 am

    I was planning on doing a week or two week long turtlemodding event for Quake with a Dungeons and Dragons theme in memory of Gygax, as a lot of us are fans of his work, particularly the Inside3d site admin.

    I hope to get a good response from the community, but I know in the case of two, it will be running up against schedules for their existing projects.

  8. March 6, 2008 5:05 pm

    One of Gary Gygax’s great achievements in designing D&D was to empower people to create an epic story together.

    I thought a fitting tribute to Gygax’s legacy would be a game that celebrates friendship and the epic stories behind it.

    Super Story Circle – The Shared Experience Game

    Any number of mutual friends who’ve known each other a long time. College buddies, your D&D group, former coworkers, etc.

    Remember a story involving all players, or make one up in the process.

    Slips of paper, each with a verb written on it.

    Players sit in a circle. One player is the Narrator, and draws a verb at random.

    The Narrator says “Remember when…” and then completes the sentence using the verb. The sentence can either be true or fabricated.

    Going clockwise around the circle, each player must add a sentence to the story (again, either true or fabricated).

    After each player has contributed to the story, players reveal, starting clockwise from the Narrator, whether the sentences they added are real or fabricated.

    If all contributions to the story were real, then everybody wins. Otherwise, the first player who fibbed becomes the Narrator and the game is repeated.

    Sample verb list:

  9. March 8, 2008 9:32 pm

    Neat idea, I’ll check on the later post I’ll make sure to link to it from the IGDA memorial page. 🙂

    It’s very fitting, because despite him saying computer games are not his thing, his games inspired major parts of the industry.

  10. March 9, 2008 1:52 pm

    Mr. Gant: spoken like someone who needs to check himself out some story games! I particularly recommend the Baron Munchausen RPG, back in print in MIT Press’ Second Person anthology.

  11. April 21, 2008 8:28 pm

    My Gygax memorial game was published two weeks ago at The Escapist. It’s called Gygaxian, and you can find it at the address below:

    (gotta love those URL shorteners)


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