I was mentally reviewing my last couple of posts and realized a key piece of information that I’ve sort of pushed out of my mind when it comes to how I think about AD&D…
So I had the personal experience of playing and DMing in two pretty healthy groups that ran for many years. SD is still running his group and I’m still running mine (my 14-year old just started playing) – but I also spent a significant time on “the other side of the counter”. I worked in and then was even graced with the title of manager for the local comic and gaming shop in that time frame right around high school graduation (anybody else remember Blackhawk distributors before they burned down?) and a few years later I spent time in management (and even a bit of purchasing from TSR and GW) for a small local chain of game stores that went out of business a few years ago.
The last ten years have been consumed by the return to college and graduate school, but that is an entirely different story.
Plus, for a large part of my 20’s, I was part of a big gaming club in the town I lived – mostly played Battletech, Warhammer 40K, and Microarmor there, but there was some RPGing as well. One of the most formative session of my campaign world occurred there quite by accident during a sit-down game.
The point being is that I spent hours of each day for decent portion of the late 80’s and the 90’s talking to gamers about gaming and about wat they played, and why, and listening to the war-stories (and sharing mine), and for a fair portion of it with the express purpose of trying to figure out what was popular and what people would want to buy.
So I’m probably doing myself a disservice ignoring that part of my “travels” through RPG-land.