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Yeah, I can see him thinking that. When I first started D&D, it wasn't that long ago. Right before 3.0 dropped. By comparison, our 2.whatever game was just a bunch of random bullshit pulled off by freshmen in HS, but it sure was fun with a looser ruleset.
When we graduated HS in 03 and I took up DMing, well, I guess I got caught up in 3.5 and all of the rules. Going to 4.0, it's a lot less rules intensive (or I've just learned to be a better DM and take the rules with more of a grain of salt). We've always had fun, regardless, so I'm grateful that Gygax helped pave the way.
Too bad I'll never get to meet him, though.