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Dave Arneson and the Fold

posted Aug 8, 2012, 11:03 PM by Douglas Sun   [ updated Aug 8, 2012, 11:04 PM ]
Originally posted: April 16, 2009

When Dave Arneson passed away last week, I said that I would be pleasantly surprised if his death received as much attention in the mainstream press as had that of Gary Gygax, his Dungeons & Dragons co-creator. It looks like I sort of got it right. The collective judgment of the news media seems to have been that Dave Arneson was newsworthy, but Gary Gygax was more so (after all, Gygax got to play himself in an episode of “Futurama,” which means that he got to co-guest star with Al Gore!).

The New York Times, for instance, gave Arneson a mention in the Arts section (even if the story did make his achievements seem rather musty). But the Los Angeles Times simply ran the AP story in the Obituary section, which is where you go if you are judged to have been sort of worthy of attention, but not so important that your departure from this world is real news. The Obit section is basically a warehouse, where you get stacked just above the family-bought death announcements and the classified ads. In both cases, Dave Arneson didn’t even make it to the back of the news section.

Well.... Perhaps one could say even still what I said when Gygax died last year, that any attention from the mainstream press is a sign that what you accomplished has cultural significance. Maybe the fact that Arneson, who was relatively self-effacing, got even that much attention is a sign that role-playing games (or gaming in general) are not as marginal as we sometimes think.pastedGraphic.pdf

In any event, we who are of this hobby appreciate his achievement, and we will not forget. I’m sure that he’s getting the respect and admiration due him right now, in Las Vegas at GTS.

Indeed: Hail and farewell.