It all started with a rumor that people at GenCon were sighted wearing t-shirts that said, '4E killed Gygax'. The rumor went to say that a company was responsible for selling them during the convention itself although the name of that company was not known.
Then this thread came along where people voiced their displeasure about a company showing Gygax's memorial service at their booth to draw customers in. It came to a point that the company was named and they were misunderstood for being the one who were selling the t-shirts. The rumor began to spread along with the name of that company.
The name of that company is Dragon Roots. They are a magazine company who just published a tribute issue to Gygax and they did sold shirts related with Gygax. However, it was not the '4E killed Gygax' one.
Nevertheless, the rumor continued to spread and it's editor-in-chief received all the firing of disgrunted fans who accused his company for selling the shirt. So to clear his and his company's name from being the culprit, he decided to open a thread at ENWorld to set the record straight (you should also check out their website to see what they have to say).
It is now clear that Dragon Roots did not sell the '4E killed Gygax' shirt but it has started a whole new discussion on whether such a shirt was deemed appropriate. Opinions about the shirt range from the disrespectful to the distasteful to the humorous.
This has also bought the attention of various bloggers who have shared their point of views about this controversy. Here are some of the things they have said,
4E killed gary gygax...That is simultaneously the most silly and ignorant thing I have heard so far this year. Hats off to whomever came up with the idea, and watch your back, based on the mileage so far, your bones may soon become a new set of dice! - The Fine Art of the TPK
1. Yes, it’s tasteless, and yes, it’s funny. It’s 2008, get over it. If you live in a flyover state that has a lower than usual irony/postmodern humor quotient, watch a Comedy Central roast or something.
2. 4e didn’t kill Gary, it just makes him roll over in his grave. Bonus Gamespy Interview quote:
GameSpy: Have you had a chance to play or even look at some of the current Dungeons & Dragons games?
Gygax: I’ve looked at them, yes, but I’m not really a fan. The new D&D is too rule intensive. It’s relegated the Dungeon Master to being an entertainer rather than master of the game. It’s done away with the archetypes, focused on nothing but combat and character power, lost the group cooperative aspect, bastardized the class-based system, and resembles a comic-book superheroes game more than a fantasy RPG where a player can play any alignment desired, not just lawful good. - Geek Related
Come on people, have a sense of humor, it’s in bad taste, but let’s not get up in arms about it – it doesn’t disgrace his memory or really even make fun of him. In fact, it just barely makes sense, which is the thing that makes it just a little, tiny bit funny. If we can’t laugh at our own, who can we laugh at?
By the way, commenter Rechan has the comment of the day, with “My question is, “Did 4e take Gary’s stuff”?” Well played, sir. Well played. - Pen & Paper Portal
If the people who did print the 4e Killed Gary Gygax shirts want to stop by and set the record straight, they’re more than welcome to. Something tells me, however, they’re probably enjoying the controversy. ;) - The Gamer Dome
Still, the questions remained. Who did sell the shirts? It doesn't matter.
It is still a dedication to man whether for good or ill. It shouldn't matter how we say it. It is the thought that counts.
Afterall, he is just like us and wants to be remembered as 'the guy who really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and his fun pastimes with everybody else.'
I would like to dedicate another moment of silence to him because I didn't get to at GenCon (and also because I was at a loss of words when I first heard news about his death) and hopefully prudence is the best choice in regards to this issue.
Roll high, game long!