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Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the…
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Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons (udgave 2015)

af Michael Witwer (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1657126,022 (3.38)2
The life story of Gary Gygax, godfather of all fantasy adventure games, has been told only in bits and pieces. Michael Witwer has written a dynamic, dramatized biography of Gygax from his childhood in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to his untimely death in 2008. Gygax's magnum opus, Dungeons & Dragons, would explode in popularity throughout the 1970s and '80s and irreversibly alter the world of gaming. D&D is the best-known, best-selling role-playing game of all time, and it boasts an elite class of alumni--Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams, and Junot Diaz all have spoken openly about their experience with the game as teenagers, and some credit it as the workshop where their nascent imaginations were fostered. Gygax's involvement in the industry lasted long after his dramatic and involuntary departure from D&D's parent company, TSR, and his footprint can be seen in the genre he is largely responsible for creating. But as Witwer shows, perhaps the most compelling facet of his life and work was his unwavering commitment to the power of creativity in the face of myriad sources of adversity, whether cultural, economic, or personal. Through his creation of the role-playing genre, Gygax gave two generations of gamers the tools to invent characters and entire worlds in their minds. Told in narrative-driven and dramatic fashion, Witwer has written an engaging chronicle of the life and legacy of this emperor of the imagination.… (mere)
Medlem:Star_Spawn
Titel:Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons
Forfattere:Michael Witwer (Forfatter)
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2015), Edition: 1St Edition, 320 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons af Michael Witwer

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Viser 1-5 af 7 (næste | vis alle)
A very interesting and well written biography of Gary Gygax, though it don't spend much time on his Post-TSR career. ( )
  Count_Zero | Jul 7, 2020 |
You have got to do many impossible and uncomfortable things if you wish to reach your dreams someday, hold them with your hands, and never let them go. You've got to learn how to manage and sacrifice your precious time, you've got to learn how to own your mistakes and how to face various different kinds of failures and adversities that get thrown into your face as you walk towards unlimited success, and most importantly, you've got to keep a clear vision of your future in your mind, for it is that clear vision of the future that you keep in your mind, that pushes you forward towards making your wildest dreams a reality, otherwise all you shall have left shall be an idea that somebody else shall uncover and eventually realize. ( )
  Champ88 | Dec 25, 2019 |
A more back of the cereal box biography has neither been written nor read.

Events and information which lend context to things previously discussed crop up in the narrative well after the events they would have shown some light on. Foreshadowing doesn't appear to be a particular tool in Michael Witwer's arsenal. Nor does presenting a through line narrative that doesn't feel like a series of small, disconnected vignettes.

That artistic license has been taken is made clear in the author notes. Even so, there's artistic license and then there is making it up for no good reason. And much of this is for no good reason. It's an okay book if you've never heard anything about Gygax and D&D and have no particular liking for thoughtful analysis of any of the key events in the life of the game, the company, or Gary, but that puts it on the level of about a Fourth grade book report and not a thorough, or even reasonably consistent, biography. ( )
  Fiddleback_ | Dec 17, 2018 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Make no mistake, Michael Witwer's Empire of Imagination is a fascinating book, merely from it being the first-ever full biography of Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons & Dragons and inventor of the very concept of "roleplaying games." And it's an unexpected story, too, far from the "accidentally hit it big then had it all snatched away" tale that my friends and I knew as teen D&D players in the 1970s and '80s; in fact, even by the 1960s, Gygax was nationally known as one of the most inventive innovators among the miniatures-based historical-reenactment board games that eventually produced D&D's fan base, with D&D itself being the result of years of hard work and incremental changes through rigorous play-testing (including Gygax already running several national gaming conventions before ever releasing D&D), and with the company's eventual dissolution into a corporate pawn largely being the result of the founders' own mismanagement, flame-war-like personal distrust of each other (exacerbated by the sheer number of autistic personalities among the company's upper staff), and the excesses that came with suddenly rich nerds meeting the '70s counterculture. (In fact, one of the most shamefully delightful parts of this book is the chapter covering Gygax's move to Los Angeles to head up TSR's new Hollywood division, where according to Witwer he bought a mansion in Beverly Hills, regularly partook of cocaine, and did voluntary work for beauty pageants so he could hang out with starlets.)

It's a complicated and riveting story that just keeps giving, all the way up to Gygax's death in the early 2000s, that I'm glad I finally had a chance to understand in detail; so what a shame, then, that the novice journalist Witwer (this is his first book, based on a master's thesis he did in college) decided to write the whole thing in the style of narrative fiction, taking all the true facts then writing it out as if it was a novel we were following along with, ascribing actions and dialogue to the real people involved that may or may not have ever happened, and that turns the entire manuscript into this schmaltzy mess that is difficult to get through. (So for one good example, instead of simply stating, "Gygax and his childhood friends used to enjoy exploring the abandoned health spas from Lake Geneva's Victorian glory years," Witwer writes an entire chapter actually examining this exploration as if it were a cheesy short story, adding lines like, "Gary thought to retort, but he could see by Don's expression that he would have to lead this operation" that Witwer couldn't possibly know whether actually happened or not.) The cumulative effect is to effectively ruin whatever enjoyment could've come from a straightforward telling of Gygax's story, a story that's already so complicated and interesting that no embellishments like these are needed; and it's almost a crime that this has to be enjoyed despite the way the author wrote it instead of because of the way he did. It's still worth picking up, not just for gamers but those interested in 1980s popular culture; just be warned that reading it is going to be a frustrating experience.

Out of 10: 7.9 ( )
1 stem jasonpettus | Mar 3, 2016 |
More a choppy series of vignettes than a biography, this is a great story desperately in need of a narrative voice. The invented internal dialogues are a distraction. Despite these shortcomings, this was a welcome visit to an old friend. I loved hearing more about the (of course) somewhat troubled man behind the legend. ( )
  kcshankd | Dec 26, 2015 |
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The life story of Gary Gygax, godfather of all fantasy adventure games, has been told only in bits and pieces. Michael Witwer has written a dynamic, dramatized biography of Gygax from his childhood in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to his untimely death in 2008. Gygax's magnum opus, Dungeons & Dragons, would explode in popularity throughout the 1970s and '80s and irreversibly alter the world of gaming. D&D is the best-known, best-selling role-playing game of all time, and it boasts an elite class of alumni--Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams, and Junot Diaz all have spoken openly about their experience with the game as teenagers, and some credit it as the workshop where their nascent imaginations were fostered. Gygax's involvement in the industry lasted long after his dramatic and involuntary departure from D&D's parent company, TSR, and his footprint can be seen in the genre he is largely responsible for creating. But as Witwer shows, perhaps the most compelling facet of his life and work was his unwavering commitment to the power of creativity in the face of myriad sources of adversity, whether cultural, economic, or personal. Through his creation of the role-playing genre, Gygax gave two generations of gamers the tools to invent characters and entire worlds in their minds. Told in narrative-driven and dramatic fashion, Witwer has written an engaging chronicle of the life and legacy of this emperor of the imagination.

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