Thursday, March 3, 2011

Am I a 2nd or 3rd Generation gamer?

I was thinking about generations of gamers today and wondering where it is I fit in.

I am an old school gamer, I started in 1979 with a copy of the Holmes Basic set (Blue Book) and the AD&D Monster Manual.  I kicked my gaming into high gear the next years though with the Moldvay Basic.

I learned from guys that learned from their older brothers.  I played with a guy that had learned how to play from Gary himself using the White Box.

I am certain I am not a 1st Gen.  Those are the luminaries of our hobby.  The 2nd Gen either learned at their feet as Plato did from Socrates.  OR are they all part of the 1st generation?  I guess I must be the 2nd generation removed from the source.

I know plenty of "old school" players that were not even alive when even the first Red Box was out.  I know plenty of just plain "old" players that love the newest games.  So age is not the issue I think.

Where are you?  Can you trace your gaming lineage back to one of the Old Great Masters?  Should that even matter?

ETA: Cyclopeatron has a nice list of the Generation of Gamers.


Pun Isaac said...

I started gaming in '95 around the time the first black bordered 2nd edition books were being released. This makes me old school among about 75% of the people I game with, though I realize not so much in the grand scheme of things.

Tim Knight said...

I started around the same time as you (with roughly the same books), maybe a year or two earlier, and learned from a teenage friend who was the son of a friend of my mum. I'm guessing he was in the first wave of people in the UK to embrace this strange hobby of ours, so that probably makes me a third generationer ;)

Miranda said...

I started in 2000, but didn't start playing regularly until about 2002. We played third edition almost exclusively, but one of my family friends is a former TSR employee (Kevin Hendryx). He showed me some of the old stuff, and I was so fascinated by it I decided to give it a try. I like it considerably better than newer systems (for D&D anyway, I like plenty of newer systems like unisystem for other things).

So wherever that puts me is where I am.

Harald said...

Well, assuming the Founding Fathers are the First Generation, I would say that those of the first wave would be 2G. After that I believe this genealogy is no longer relevant. In the eighties and nineties, you had AD&D 2ed and the indie-explosion. I would say these fall in the 3rd and 4th Gen brackets.

Then along comes White Wolf, which I would say constitutes a 5th generation. The OGL movement would then be 6G, and 4E 7G. Those who now start playing OSR would be 8G.

Or something along those lines ;)

And, no, I certainly cannot trace my RPG-lineage back to St. Gary. I started with AD&D 2ed in -92, in Norway, well north of the Arctic Circle. The choice of system was easy. It was literally the only game in town.

Rhonin84 said...

Hmmm...having started in that same 1979-1980 time frame, but not at the knee of one of the pillars of our hobby.

I would say those of us that played with those small books in that time frame are part of the 1st wave, we were the ones that were supposed to be caught in that initial push. I'm not sure that would make us 1st generation but I could see that, as we are the 1st generation spawned from the original set of gamers.

However you look at it, we have been loving our hobby for much longer than anything else in our lives!

Kevin said...

I was introduced to the marvels of rpgs in the late 70s. Details on my beginnings can be read here Where it all began.
I certainly can't trace my interest in the hobby back to any of the Masters. Nor have I ever really thought about which generation of role player that would make me, but I guess based on your metric I'm probably a 3rd Gen rpg'er - not a direct descendant of the 1st Gen, but certainly not far removed from the 2nd.

Mike said...

I'd more fine tune the generational definition. I'd call those who started in the original campaigns circa 1974-1976 as Generation 0 as their play at the tables of Gary, Kuntz and others had impact on the game, supplments and AD&D. Those who were the first adopters, 1975-1979 or so I'd call 1st Generation (maybe your 2nd Generation definition). Those who came to the game circa 1980 on I'd call 2nd Generation (or maybe 3rd Generation in you original mapping) as by that time the RPG scene had matured much more from the original limited products available and TSR (and maybe RPGs in general) was targeting a younger audience, roughly 12-14 year old age range.
Nothing wrong with that just different from the prior primary player base. Prior to that in what I call 1st Generation the player base was more college age tailing into younger brothers (high school, junior high) of the first adopters.
I wouldn't discount the difference they may have made back then. If you went to college or high school in the early '70s something upper most in your mind was the draft and having to go to Vietnam. I think this generation has a different view and response to something called "rules" than later generations. Recall the phrase "Question Authority" arose from this earlier generation.

All that said, I think the generational definition is useful from the perspective you may have, and as a true witness to history. Too many 2nd and later generations dismiss the recollections of 0 and 1st Generation players when those recollections don't agree with the later generations views.

Now there are plenty of 2nd, 3rd, 4th Generation players that like "old school" games and are interested in 0 and 1st Generation play. Which warms my aging heart.

There are also 0 and 1st Generation players that love 4th ed. D&D. It's actually these players who I listen to the most. I'm a 1st Generation player (1976-77) and still vastly prefer OD&D, TFT and such "old school" games to the latest version. But I respect the views of someone who has actually been there from the beginning, as they have a real baseline from which to compare and contrast, and hence value their views on why 4th ed. is "better" even if for me I don't agree.

So to sum up, I think tracking the generational aspect is useful to getting an idea of the perspective (and actual experience) someone may bring to a discussion of the hobby.

trollsmyth said...

I'm 2nd generation by Cyclpeatron's list. I started with the Moldvay Basic box. Nobody showed me how to play; I just started with the red book, the Keep on the Borderlands, and some friends.

We made a real hash of it, but we had fun. ;)