It struck me that a few days ago was D&D's supposed-"40th" birthday. It struck me for a couple of reasons:
1. I've been playing the game for 34 of those years--perhaps 35. And I know that I've been watching others play it for a year or two longer than that. [That was the advantage of having older brothers back in the seventies.]
2. Just a few weeks prior to that, I myself turned 40. I guess the good part about that is that it makes me sound a lot older than I feel.
3. Although I've actively gamed a lot less than many people here in the blogosphere during those 34 years, D&D has still been a HUGE part of my life and my mindset. It impacts the way I think about many things. I think that I would be a very different person without it, which leads right to...
4. As has been repeated over and over many, many times, the world would be a drastically different place if it weren't for D&D. And when I say that, I don't think that I am being hyperbolic in the least. SO MUCH of D&D has filtered into the popular culture, from themes and ideas, to gaming mechanics. People who haven't played or who aren't familiar with D&D have NO IDEA how their lives are impacted on a daily basis by this little game that Gary and Dave devised 40 years ago. It's incredible.
I had been thinking all of this for the past several days and then I saw this: World of Warcraft's First Decade.
To be fair, I have never played World of Warcraft (WoW). I haven't played a (real) computer game since my freshman year of college. (Which was a self-defense mechanism to make sure that I actually made it through college. I could, even now, very easily disappear into a computer game and not escape for years.)
The facts and figures presented by that infographic (love that word) are pretty impressive, pretty amazing. But what strikes me is that WoW exists only because D&D came before it, only because the people that made it were trying to create a D&D-like world and experience for computers. I don't want to get into the merits of computer versus tabletop games or anything along those lines, but for those who prefer the computer experience, isn't it good for them that D&D had existed so that their computer fun could spring from it?