Doing this blog makes me think a lot about the past and present of the hobby... especially as it concerns my own personal experiences in the hobby and were I want to go with it in the future.
I got the urge to check out one of the hobby shops I used to frequent as a teen: The San Antonio Hobby Shop.
Sadly, I found out that this store is no longer , as it closed in '05 :( It used to be in the San Antonio Shopping Center in Mountain View, CA, but hard times fell upon the outdoor mall complex in the 90's and most of it was demolished to give way to a WalMart (ARGH!!!)
I found a picture that was provided by the Mountain View Preservation Association of the old fountain at the mall in 1982 (a year after I moved back to Minnesota):
Those were fun days and my pals and I would bike the 9 miles from Cupertino to this shopping center to get the hardest to find RPG goodies. I think the story was a retired Air Force guy owned the shop then. The first floor had trains and remote control airplanes and all of the classic hobby stuff, but the upstairs was where all of the miniatures for wargaming and the RPG books were, in a darkened area that reminded me of some arcane alchemist's lab.
I purchased my first RPG treasures there, such as OD&D, Tunnels & Trolls, Judges Guild's City State of the Invincible Overlord and Dave Hargrave's original Arduin Grimoire trilogy. Good times and great gaming!
When I moved back to the Twin Cities, I found lots of great hobby shops, because this is another area that has always had a strong gaming community. Some of those like Little Tin Soldier and Phoenix Games no longer exist either, but there are other FLGS (Friendly Local Game Stores) that are very good around the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. I may do some reviews of them sometime.
In some ways, the Retro Gaming Renaissance is reclaiming the past, but just as time marches on, so does gaming. Although it is fun to reminisce, I am not worried about reliving "glory days" as much as I am in spreading the continuing enjoyment of "The Game" in the present. This blog is for those who played D&D and other fantasy roleplaying games in the past, those who play in the present and for those who have never played before. I am thankful that the OSR exists, because it is as much a part of the future of the hobby as much as any other aspect of it. Indeed, I think there is much to be gleaned from the history of gaming that can be built upon and incorporated into current trends. Memory of the past and an eye to the future can only make RPGs better in the long run. Whatever your flavor of game, new or old, the hobby is one that has meaning and enjoyment. There is something for everyone.
RETRO IS NOW!
.... so let's roll some dice and make new memories :)
P.S. I will be posting about the future of this blog and writing a bit about my own upcoming campaign ideas soon.
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