I know that the OSR is one of those topics that tends to divide most people, but for me, it is a bit of a watershed moment. Until about a year and a half ago, I had not even THOUGHT of RPGs for a long time. When I was in high school, my clique was heavily into RPGs of all types. As we drifted apart, so did my playing of RPGs. I would play in the occasional (VERY occasional) sporadic C’Thulhu campaign. I still bought the occasional gaming book (mostly UNKNOWN ARMIES). I still had the odd friend who role-played on occasion, but once I moved up north to teach for 6 years, I was engaged in zero gaming outside a computer or my PS2. I didn’t even have my books with me… they were all in storage at my parents’. I even sold all my old B/X stuff on eBay (including B1-4, X1-2, B1-9 supermodule, and the B box set and X rulebook… of COURSE I subsequently rebought almost all of it, for way more than I sold it for).
I don’t even remember how I found James Mal’s GROGNARDIA blog. I *think* I saw it mentioned somewhere else, or a friend told me to check it out. Once I started to read that blog, I realized there were all sorts of old gamers like me, out of the hobby for years, but still with “the itch”. I started to cruise the blogosphere. I discovered Canonfire and the Oerth Journal, to sate my Greyhawk sweet tooth. I found all sorts of wonderful blogs, with very erudite and creative people behind them (like Jeff Rients, Michael Curtis and many, MANY others). I started to take advantage of some of the wonderful free resources people were making available (like anything Kellri or Taichira does), and you know what? I rediscovered my love. I played a couple of one-shot sessions. I started getting interested in gaming again (although living in a small country town makes that difficult, and lack of high-speed makes doing anything online almost impossible). I started to support the new stuff that people were making (like LABYRINTH LORD), as well as trying to find the old stuff I got rid of (like all the Star Wars d6 material I could get my hands on 8).
The thing that I find hardest to understand is… who CARES about Old School vs. New School? I mean, I can understand why the old man at the only gaming store I visit dismisses LL as “that Internet game that no one cares about… that just rips off old game systems”, because he’s not going to make any money selling it (although, that being said, seeing some of the OUTRAGEOUS prices he charges for used BECMI and B/X materials, you’d think he would WANT people playing the old systems, so they would come in looking for the stuff he has…). But as for people on the nets…. Who cares? I just laugh at the people who mock the OSR movement – did people mock people playing bridge and crib when poker became the big craze in card-playing? So some of us like using older systems… lord knows we’ve spent enough time and sunk enough money into them to justify that. I guess it’s the same as people complaining about new versions of Windows… I know Windows 7 is out there, but my desktop still runs on XP, because it works best for me. I’m just excited that people are TALKING about the hobby, even if they’re talking about the older versions of the game. Yeah, people may complain about people “ripping off” old ideas, but look at the movie industry today… 95% of movies are remakes. So people like the originals, some people like the remakes. Shrug. I’m just happy that people still cared enough about the old games to keep talking about them and supporting them, because that’s what brought ME here.