The essence of Dave Arneson
This year I wasn't sure about posting on the day that we lost Dave Arneson. There is a tendency to turn famous people into banal fridge magnets via meme's on social media.
Michelangelo's David has gone from being one of the greatest works of art in human history to being a meaningless trinket.
Our David was only 23 when he devised an entirely new way for playing a game. His methods for running an RPG are used by every game since his creation of Blackmoor in 1971. He invented the Dungeon game as well. He implemented countless ideas still used in games today.
He was also just a regular guy. A gamer like all of us. He wanted his games to bring joy to people. There are many quotes of Dave saying that we should try to find time for enjoyment and play in our sometimes complex lives.
If you've seen our documentary what you see are Dave's friends. The only way to know Dave, or anyone, is by the people they choose to surround themselves with. These are all good and kind people who also happen to be hard core gamers.
They also stuck by their friend Dave through thick or thin. Not many people can say that about their friends. Chris and I were truly touched by the bonds within the Blackmoor Bunch. It is one of things we often speak to each other about. So perhaps one can think about Dave in terms of what his friends lost when he passed away.
Every one of us is connected to every other one of us. We are never alone. We share ourselves with each other. We carry each other in ourselves. When I have lost loved ones, it isn't that I have lost them, I have also lost part of myself that they reflect back at me.
That's the crutch of it. We lose part of ourselves. I know I felt a need to understand, what to do now that I am carrying half of me and half of them without access to both our halves that have been lost.
Dave would not want a day of sadness. What Dave would want is a day of celebration. Dave was deeply spiritual. He would hope that people could find goodness and joy and forgiveness in their lives. Of course, he would also be trying to find a way to sneak in some gaming.
I like to look back at young Dave before all the fame. A good hearted kid who just wants to get together with friends and share the bond of gaming. Somewhere within that experience of sharing ourselves with each other through gaming one can find the essence of Dave Arneson.
1/13/2022 05:16:28 am
Very much appreciated. Thank you for this excellent article. Keep posting!
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Secrets of Blackmoor is a Feature-length documentary about the birth of the “Mother of all Games;” Dungeons & Dragons.