By Mordenkainen's beard, Dungeons and Dragons turns 30 this weekend!! For details and commentary, I direct you to this piece by some dude from the National Review whose reminiscence sounds uncannily like my own teenage years.
Wow. When I got into the game, it was barely ten years old, and the "Advanced" game was still in its first edition. I think my grades in Ohio History suffered because of all the time I spent in class poring over the difference between a glaive and a bill hook in "Unearthed Arcana." (My wife just read that previous sentence as "eatoin shrdlu gibber flark Ohio History dang fang artango mash Arcana." But she knew she was marrying a geek and I love her for it.) In fact, I'm quite certain that D&D rules learned 15 years ago are still cluttering up vaulable mental real estate I could be putting to better use. From time to time random stats still bubble up from my unconscious at inopportune moments, like when I'm trying to concentrate on the real-world implications of changes in Social Security indexing. "The answer is GDP + inflation = a THAC0 of 17, Bob."
Now the game is up to Edition 3.5 (.5???), and is owned by big-time toymaker Hasbro, so I suspect it's neither as geeky or as weird as it used to be (not that geeky and weird are aspects of the old rules I necessarily treasure. Could someone please explain to me why becoming a millionaire made a character harder to kill?)
God help us. As NRO guy says, "I've long harbored a secret notion in the back of my mind: Wouldn't it be awesome to get a game going again?" Yes it would, NRO guy. If that asshole from Columbus hadn't stolen every single one of my manuals back in 1996, I'd do it tomorrow. The more I learn about history, geopolitics, economics, human behavior, war, physics, and, hell, everything, the cooler I find the idea of D&D. The older you get, the richer your imaginary worlds become and the less you have to rely on tired Monty Haul crapola to get your characters through a night of role-playing. I would give body parts to set a D&D campaign in a setting adapted from the France of Louis XIV and the thousand little postmedieval German dutchies, now that I have an idea what those times and places were all about.