At age 11 I first played D&D, Blue Book Holmes edition. I didn't understand the rules or the game but since it gave a shy geek soem ready made friends I didn't care. Being fairly smart once I figured out what I was doing I was hooked.
By age 12 I made my first retro clone. Only in those days it wasn't retro, just a clone. We were kids then, too young to work and small allowances and no game store within an hour of the house.
But inspired by the passages in the back of the AD&D 1e Dungeon Masters Guide we set out to make our own games
There were 4 ideas, Starships and Spacemen (not the production game of the same name) , Bandits and Bullets (our version of Boot Hill) Spies and Saboteurs (our version of Top Secret) and some kind of Gangbusters copy I can't remember the name of.
Of those only two got any headway , Bandits and Bullets, where I made a long list of character classes and Starships and Spacemen which was actually played. As you might guess, it sucked and we soon moved back to D&D.
However with a couple of Christmases and Birthdays we got to try the other genres, we had Traveller which we played like Star Wars meets Mad Max, Boot Hill ,which no one liked, Crimefighters ,a very good game from Dragon Magazine 47 written by none other than Dave "Zeb" Cook long before he was Zeb which we didn't understand, then Gangbusters which again no one cared much for and lastly, somewhat later ,we were 13 or 14 I think, Top Secret, which was given our age a pretty sophisticated game, kind of in retrospect reminds of a mix of Miami Vice , Burn Notice and various 80's spies stuff.
I moved on the Runequest and then to a new city.
But I'll never forget what fun it was just to hang out with your buddies, to game, and for a bunch of shy non jocks in a tiny town to have friends.
Now none of us Grognards can have or ever really would want the kind of naivety, foolishness and innocence we had in those days. We are adults now and many of us well seasoned in our hobby. We know more and are capapble of the subtle enjoyments of adulthood
There is however one thing we can take forward with us our whole lives
Games are meant to be fun. Making them is fun, playing them is fun and hanging out with friends is fun.When a hobby stops being fun, well its not 1981, you have choices and its time to move on to something else.
As long as you you remember whatever game you play, however you play, Games are meant to be fun and when they are. You are playing right.
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