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Edward Nygma was a genius in many fields with an absorbing love for puzzles and games. As a computer software designer for Competitron, he designed the game "Riddle of the Minotaur", which quickly became a smash hit. Competitron's sales soared, and several people became very wealthy, including Competitron's corporate chair Daniel Mockridge.
However, Mockridge fired Nygma, casually dismissing Nygma's efforts as insignificant, and attributing the company's success to its skill with business negotiations and obtaining favorable contracts (i.e., to himself); While Nygma's contract stated that he was not entitled to any royalties or copyrights of the game. In fact, Mockridge was attempting to give Competitron exclusive rights to the game, with an eye on a lucrative sale of the company to Wayne Enterprises.
Two years later, Nygma resurfaced as "The Riddler", kidnapping Mockridge and planning to kill him. The Riddler offered Batman a chance to save Mockridge, presenting a series of puzzles and riddles to solve, ending with a run through the maze at the Riddle of the Minotaur amusement park (an actual simulation of the game).
Confident in his genius, the Riddler was unprepared for an encounter with a rival intellect; Batman outwitted him, solving the final riddle. Though the Dynamic Duo survived the maze and saved Mockridge, the Riddler had escaped, leaving Gotham City altogether. In a way, the Riddler still had his revenge: though Mockridge made millions from the sale of Competitron, he was paralyzed and traumatized by fear of Nygma's return, seemingly for the rest of his days.
Because Batman had figured out his true identity, the Riddler undertook a campaign to eliminate all traces of his former self, breaking into banks and government buildings to destroy records bearing his name. He also sent a computer to the Gotham Police with a virtual reality simulation that ended up trapping Commissioner Gordon. Batman entered the virtual reality world to rescue Gordon, and in his concentration on defeating Batman, the Riddler accidentally caused his dream world to disintegrate. Batman and Robin found the Riddler at his hideout, where his brain had been temporarily suspended through an electronic backlash.
He recovered sometime later and briefly appeared as a member of the jury and court prosecuting Batman in Arkham Asylum. However, the Riddler was absent from the final third of the trial. This suggests he knew the inmates' freedom was to be short-lived, and fled before Batman could capture him. If so, the Riddler was soon arrested once more.
The Riddler was released once again from Arkham and appeared to have reformed. Joining with one of Gotham's well-known toymakers, Charles Baxter, the Riddler invented several puzzles that quickly became popular with children, also using his Riddler persona to boost the company's profile.
However, in secret he continued to commit daring robberies, leaving clues through his company advertisements. Although Batman was stumped, he confronted the Riddler, telling him that he knew that Nygma would never be able to stop being a criminal, and that he would catch him sooner or later. The Riddler decided he was right, and lured Batman into a booby-trapped warehouse. Batman survived, however, and Nygma was returned to Arkham. He appeared to have been driven insane by his perplexity about how Batman escaped from his "perfect" deathtrap, which Batman refused to tell him.
When the Judge was incarcerating rogues, the Riddler appeared conducting a random heist. The Judge dropped an over-sized book on him, which appeared to have at least critically injured him. He survived to resurface once again though, against all odds.
The Riddler, the Mad Hatter, and Bane later banded together to control Gotham during Batman's mysterious absence as few could challenge them. However, when "Batman" returned with Robin's aid, the two quickly foiled their scheme.
At some point in the future, Batman took possession of one of the Riddler's costumes and kept it under glass in the Batcave.
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