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Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and…
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Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D

by David Kushner, Koren Shadmi (Illustrator)

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703266,280 (3.04)3
"Rise of the Dungeon Master tells, in graphic form, the story of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, one of the most influential games ever made. Like the game itself, the narrative casts the reader into the adventure from a first person point of view, taking on the roles of the different characters in the story. Gygax was the son of immigrants who grew up in Lake Geneva, WI, in the 1950s. An imaginative misfit, he escaped into a virtual world based on science fiction novels, military history and strategic games like chess. In the mid-1970s, he co-created the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons game. Starting out in the basement of his home, he was soon struggling to keep up with the demand. Gygax was a purist, in the sense that he was adamant that players use their imaginations and that the rules of the game remain flexible. A creative mind with no real knowledge of business, he made some strategic errors and had a falling out with the game's co-creator, his close friend and partner, David Arneson. By the late 1970s the game had become so popular among kids that parents started to worry -- so much so that a mom's group was formed to alert parents to the dangers of role play and fantasy. The backlash only fueled the fires of the young fans who continued to play the game, escaping into imaginary worlds. Before long, D&D conventions were set up around the country and the game inspired everything from movies to the first video games. With D&D, Gygax created the kind of role playing fantasy that would fuel the multibillion dollar video game industry, and become a foundation of contemporary geek culture"--"Rise of the Dungeon Master tells, in graphic form, the story of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, one of the most influential games ever made. Like the game itself, the narrative casts the reader into the adventure from a first person point of view, taking on the roles of the different characters in the story. Gygax was the son of immigrants who grew up in Lake Geneva, WI, in the 1950s. An imaginative misfit, he escaped into a virtual world based on science fiction novels, military history and strategic games like chess. In the mid-1970s, he co-created the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons game, determining the rules and inventing the signature 20-sided dice. Starting out in the basement of his home, he was soon struggling to keep up with the demand. Gygax was a purist, in the sense that he was adamant that players use their imaginations and that the rules of the game remain flexible. A creative mind with no real knowledge of business, he made some strategic errors and had a falling out with the game's co-creator, his close friend and partner, David Arneson. By the late 1970s the game had become so popular among kids that parents started to worry -- so much so that a mom's group was formed to alert parents to the dangers of role play and fantasy. The backlash only fueled the fires of the young fans who continued to play the game, escaping into imaginary worlds. Before long, D&D conventions were set up around the country and the game inspired everything from movies to the first video games. With D&D, Gygax created the kind of role playing fantasy that would fuel the multibillion dollar video game industry, and become a foundation of contemporary geek culture"--… (more)

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Showing 3 of 3
An informative--but also somehow not--look at the creature of Dungeons and Dragons. It's billed as a biography of Gary Gygax, the co-creator of the game, but delivers a light (and somewhat inaccurate) history of his life while also looking at the story of the game as a whole. Dave Arneson, the other co-creator of the game, also features prominently.

I LIKED it, but didn't love it. The art had a warm and welcoming vibe, and the final chapter really hit me. But some other segments felt...tossed off, I guess? I've been a D&D fan (and an RPG fan in general) for years and I never fell into any Gygax-ian hero-worship, so it was nice to actually learn a bit about the man and the game's creation. Still, so much of it felt light. I don't know if this was because of the format or, maybe, because it was intentional. ( )
  wordsampersand | Dec 6, 2018 |
I was surprised at how engaging I found this biography, especially since I have never played Dungeons & Dragons in my life. But I can see the game's influence in other games I have enjoyed, especially the old Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord game I played on my first Macintosh back in college and Minecraft today.

The book is laid out like the storyboards of a well-done documentary with talking heads giving insight into the dramatic re-enactments. I was initially put off on the use dungeon master narration to describe the setting of new scenes, but it really fit the material and won me over.

That said, the story boils down to a fairly common dispute between creators of who created what when and how much those contributions added to the final product. Rather than having any big dramatic moments, this minor conflict peters out into basically a shrug of the shoulders. Regardless, it drew me along far more effectively than a story about nerds sitting in a basement playing games should. ( )
  villemezbrown | Jul 28, 2018 |
I read this in one sitting while at the dentist. :) When I bought it I had no idea it was a graphic novel, and even though I read a lot of graphic novels, I was disappointed because this is the kind of information I would like to learn about in book form. When it started it seemed like it was going to a really bad fictional story that included Gary Gygax as the main character. Instead it turned into the true story of Gary Gygax (and others).

The perspective change was often confusing. They tried to use the "you're in a room, it's 20 x 20" style of a DM speaking, but then they were quoting people, and putting the reader in the place of the characters (I think).

It was kind of like reading a bullet-pointed list of facts and quotes with pictures attached. Luckily I was interested in the facts and I didn't know some of them, so I enjoyed it. I still think this kind of thing would be better in a full book format with a lot more information/details. ( )
  ragwaine | Dec 5, 2017 |
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David Kushnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Shadmi, KorenIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Rise of the Dungeon Master tells, in graphic form, the story of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, one of the most influential games ever made. Like the game itself, the narrative casts the reader into the adventure from a first person point of view, taking on the roles of the different characters in the story.

Gygax was the son of immigrants who grew up in Lake Geneva, WI, in the 1950s. An imaginative misfit, he escaped into a virtual world based on science fiction novels, military history and strategic games like chess. In the mid-1970s, he co-created the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons game. Starting out in the basement of his home, he was soon struggling to keep up with the demand. Gygax was a purist, in the sense that he was adamant that players use their imaginations and that the rules of the game remain flexible. A creative mind with no real knowledge of business, he made some strategic errors and had a falling out with the game's co-creator, his close friend and partner, David Arneson.

By the late 1970s the game had become so popular among kids that parents started to worry -- so much so that a mom's group was formed to alert parents to the dangers of role play and fantasy. The backlash only fueled the fires of the young fans who continued to play the game, escaping into imaginary worlds. Before long, D&D conventions were set up around the country and the game inspired everything from movies to the first video games. With D&D, Gygax created the kind of role playing fantasy that would fuel the multibillion dollar video game industry, and become a foundation of contemporary geek culture.
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