1. The first RPG my brother and I ever played was the box set of DC Heroes. I think we started this around '88. I would have been about 10 and my brother about 7. My mom is an avid reader and it filtered down to me and my little brother. Walden Books carried this gem of a box and we begged for it until we got it. It had big, pre-generated stat cards, easy rules, and characters we knew from The Justice League of America cartoon. In short order, I was GM'ing a game for all our neighborhood friends.
2. This was followed quickly by the Marvel Version. That box included cardboard cutouts that you folded into the three-sided figures, my first introduction to a miniature representation of the game. It was harder to follow and my younger brother wanted to run it. We didn't know the character's as well and it didn't last long. But the hook was set.
3. I have to include the board game Dungeon! by TSR. My cousin was 7 years older than us and had the coolest games. We were too young to play DnD with him but he introduced us to the 10 hour game of a million pieces. My brother and I would play this every time we went to visit, though I am not sure we ever completed a game! I was always the fighter and my brother was always the magician, something that would carry over when we started playing...
4. (Around '90) The next thing we got into was Cyberpunk. I loved this game! Heck, I would still play it if I could find my book. This was our first chance to develop characters with their own stories and backgrounds. It had a great background or "lifepath" generator so when you started, you already had friends, enemies, and a gritty past. There were solos (fighters) hackers (matrix people meets tron), reporters, and so much more. Hmm... I may have to run my game group through a short game...
5. (Around '90) Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I honestly can't remember how we got our hands on the first books. I think we started reading our cousin's books and then got our own. We played some on our own but it wasn't until we started playing with an adult group ('92) that we really saw what a great story teller could accomplish. We went from hack and slash dungeon crawls at home to character development and talking to NPC's. By that time, I was 14 and my brother was 12.
5.1. ('94) I also have to mention Magic: The Gathering. This sucked up so much of our money, it is astounding. I, like many others, still have many of my cards, still hoping they will be worth more some day. We started playing in the Revised Edition with Dual Lands but none of the Black Lotus' cards. We played all the time, suckered our neighborhood friends into the addiction, and even still occasionally have a night of drinking and new booster packs. I was usually a red/green player and my brother was often black/white or blue control. Some of those games were vicious!
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7. ('05) I was in grad' school when I found Warmachine. A friend of mine introduced me to the boys in blue (Cygnar) and it has been an ongoing love affair ever since. I guy was getting out of the game so I ended up with a started box already assembled and painted and the core rule book for $20. I think it helped that I was a girl. This was followed quickly by Hordes and their Druids. I would paint for hours in my one bedroom apartment when I should have been writing papers but we all know how that works out...
8. ('06) Still in grad school, I stumbled across of group of people playing DnD. No, I mean real DnD. Keep in mind, I hadn't played since high school, and now I was close to 30 and so were they. It was the first time I saw how effective a battle mat could be, especially with a large party. We had a DM who could have given Tolkien a run for his money. The game was in depth and huge and soul searching. There was no 'right' answer and no railroad to where we might go. When we finished one story, we would move to another section of the world and influence events there, only to find out that our previous story arc had further reaching ramifications than we could have imagined. We also dabbled in a 4th edition game that I ran to take some of the strain off of the main story teller. There were pink-bearded dwarfs and flaming skulls that talked out of turn.
9. With that same group, we took a summer to play the Star Wars RPG. This was actually the first RPG my wife ever played and she only went along because I was going. They handed her a character sheet and told her to pretend. It was a little rough at first but two weeks later, we had cleared out an Imperial asteroid base and we were about to load back up in our space ship and leave. Then she asked the Best Question Ever - "Can We Keep It?" Of course, we all treated the asteroid as a dungeon and you can't keep dungeons. But this was a movable ship disguised as an asteroid. It threw all of us "normal players" for a loop and the GM worst of all! It was fantastic!! I miss those games and that group tremendously.
10. I think the last one I can include would be the World of Darkness storytelling system. We played a Werewolf game and more recently we used it to play a Hunter type game. I liked it because it moved away from all the math of the d20 system and gave more control to the story teller.
I hope you liked the trip down memory lane. I sure did. I may have to follow this up with a post about the books that got me here...