You might not have heard of Dave Arneson, but if you have ever played any game which is even loosely affiliated to the Role Playing Game genre then you owe him a huge debt of gratitude. The 61 year old, who died this last week following a lengthy battle with cancer, was the co-creator of the first RPG. Yes, David Lance Arneson invented Dungeons and Dragons.
Along with the late Gary Gygax, Arneson developed the hugely popular fantasy game which is generally accepted as being the first RPG to get published way back in 1974 and which established many of the 'rules' that games which followed, err, followed. Without his pioneering work in the genre, some of the most popular computer games would quite simply never have come into existence.
Perhaps Scott Hanley from Venice, Ca says it best with a tribute posting at the BBC News website which simply says "Rest easy, you will be missed... Thank you both for a way for a socially inept doofus to align with "normals". You made it possible for me to not have to explain myself..."