Gary Gygax, the cocreator of Dungeons and Dragons, is dead. The obituaries seem to be identifying the game genre he invented as "a bridge between the noninteractive world of books and films and the exploding interactive video game industry," as the NYT put it, and that may be right from a historical perspective, but I don't think it captures the man's achievement.

For non-initiates it's hard to see past the sword-and-sorcery surface, but at its core D&D and the other role-playing games that followed are vehicles for imaginative play. Kids make up stories together all the time. Thanks to Gygax, my friends and I did it into our teens. I miss it.