It was only a few days ago that one of the founding brains behind roleplaying died (see SMH article). Gary Gygax along with Dave Arneson not only created a game that in its day sparked much controversy, the legacy that it spawned in RPG's now on the computer is something to behold. To my mind the RPG and MMORPG are still pale shadows of what Dungeons and Dragons was, the freedom of a game bound by rules that ignite imagination in a fantasy setting.
It wasnt just the idea of D&D that was so special, it also created a whole genre of illustration and honed the thinking of what a 'fantasy' world was - how it worked. Detailed worlds like Greyhawk came into being and all who have trodden those paths share something special. I have many fond memories of those long AD&D adventures of Oldrin the Organon. Following long in the large footsteps were plenty of other games including gems like TMNT and Deadlands.
Here are 6 images from the Monster Manuals which shows one of the critical aspects of the game - all those amazing creatures that we battle.
[images from Monster Manual I & II from the Wizards of the Coast site - shrunk by me]
With D&D now owned by Wizards of the Coast, we have the 4th edition which
has come a looong way from my first encounter with things. I still have my copy of the 1983+ Basic Set somewhere - but it was the parallel might of AD&D that really created what we know of the genre (though I cant recall exactly when we started). Wikipedia has an excellent history of the game (of course).
I have a fond spot for the bewildering array of Golems that popped up in the game - I think creating a game around the idea of golems alone could be very cool actually [brain begins whirring] ...