After taking a look at the new AD&D, 4th edition, I’m reminded yet again why I don’t convert my games to the latest rules edition when it first comes out. Now, this isn’t a review of 4th ed. I’ve only leafed through it, so I can’t give you an educated opinion. The first thing, though, that did strike me right off the bat — it’s an entirely different game from the first three editions.
Which got me thinking. I’m famous (infamous?) in my gaming groups for insisting on running “obsolete” versions of a game. Heck, I’m still using second edition World of Darkness rules. The main reason, of course, is that I already know the system. I’m not having to flip back to review the rules every few minutes. I’m a bit of a Luddite, I guess, when it comes to game systems. I’m loathe to give up something that’s working just fine as it is. Of course, the fact that my shelves are packed with material from the previous editions of a game and I’m cornering the market on out-of-print game books, may have something to do with it.
But it’s more than just not wanting to shell out $40+ on a system “upgrade” or not having to find unfamiliar tables. It’s also a belief that, in general, these older game systems are still good. They’re not like old computer games — you don’t have to worry about new hardware making your 1st ed AD&D books unplayable. Don’t get me wrong – I do buy new games and run them. I’m always chomping at the bit to try my latest acquisition. But I also like to continue running the old games, too. (Though, I admit, my players did get me to stop running two different campaigns with two different editions of the game system at the same time. Something about not being able to keep the games straight. Whiners 😉 .)
Playing older games, I think, gives us a connection with the history of our hobby. Yeah, there’s certain amount of nostalgia there — it brings back old memories of game sessions long past, when everything was new and exciting. Sometimes it’s fun to go back, to remember what brought us to gaming in the first place. Beyond that, though, there’s a reminder of how much gaming’s changed over the last 30+ years.
It’s come a long way.