Gamasutra - On D&D and Video Games
Gamasutra's latest piece is titled Dungeons & Dragons: The Pen & Paper Video Game and forms a tribute to Gary Gygax while arguing D&D is the progenitor of most video games, regardless of genre:
Using Gygax' own miniatures wargame Chainmail as a foundation, D&D had rules for movement, for combat, for injuries and death, but also rules for interacting with characters and a system of morality.
As confusing and unintuitive as the rules sometimes were, the model of the world that emerged was pretty sophisticated; for instance in separating ability scores from skill proficiencies, the model distinguished things one is born with from things one learns. The dichotomy of free will and fate was even represented; players chose their own actions yet were always at the mercy of dice rolls.
In providing these rules and model of the world, D&D offered a powerful framework for running the first interactive simulations of reality, one in which both the everyday and the extraordinary were possible. For the first time in gaming, you could walk around a world, talk to people, explore towns and cities -- and, yes, dungeons.