After my exasperated outburst about people not knowing about Ron Edwards I started thinking. Jeff Rients, always with his eye on the pulse of gamerdom, asked a very relevant question. Maybe the contributions by the "Forgeites" are not really impacting the hobby very far? Maybe rpg theory is largely ignored by most gamers? Even if that it true (and I hope it's not), it still leaves me with the question of who you should know about?
Earlier this year, a friend was giving me a ride home after a gaming session. I was kind of tired, and as I usually do in that state I was blathering on about whatever my mind had gotten stuck on. Amazed (and bored?) my friend asked me "How do you know all these biographical details about all these game designers!?" after I had talked about when someone started this or that game company. I am interested in the history of our hobby, and some things sticks in my mind. The ups and downs of the business end of the hobby seem to be one such thing. So, is this something everyone should know about? Quick! When did Greg Stafford start The Chaosium? Who else was involved? What? You don't care?
So who do you think everyone should know about in gaming? I guess the most famous people probably are Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Being there from the start counts a lot. How about Rick Loomis, who in 1970 started the oldest game company still around doing the same kind of business? How about Mark Rein*Hagen who helped create the phenomenon that is White Wolf? How about Matthew Sprange who runs one of the most successful game companies today? How about Ed Simbalist? Frankly, I'm not sure I know who everyone should know about. I have many times found that the one-game-gamers who only know of Gygax and D&D to me seem like they have deprived themselves of some of the sublime heights possible in the hobby which so succinctly combines game elements, storytelling and performance art. And some really cool game mechanics and worlds, to boot! Just look at two very distinctly different games like Dogs in the Vineyard by Vincent Baker, and Tunnels & Trolls by Ken St Andre. Both opened vistas in my head I didn't even suspected existed!
So, hell know who is important enough in the big scheme of things. I just hope everyone out there treats the whole field of the hobby is one big dungeon, filled with treasure. Who don't want to explore some more, and get just a little bit more loot home? Happy delving!