In the beginning: Rick Loomis was a wargamer as a teen and ended up in the army in 1969. His job was to send and translate top secret messages using one of these new things called a “computer.”
During his time in the Army, Rick came up with the idea of using a computer to run play-by-mail games. In 1970 he started Flying Buffalo Games which used a Raytheon ™ computer to run his games for paying customers. Rick was the first person to own a computer for the sole use of running games. The Ratheon had 16k of memory.
To promote his Play-by-Mail games (Starweb, Battle Plan and Nuclear Destruction) Rick started going to wargame conventions. These later evolved into the larger scale more mainstream conventions like GenCon and The Origins Game Fair, that we recognize today. Rick used to go to conventions all over the US just about every weekend, only slowing down in his mid 60s. Most of us were amazed at how he could go to so many conventions week after week and not be completely exhausted, but he made it look easy.