When I was a young, around 9 years old or so, I saw a copy of TSR’s Marvel Superhero Role-playing Game Advanced set in our local book store at the mall. At the time I had no idea what a role-playing game actually was. I was huge into Marvel comics and had been pouring through my dad’s collection of Fantastic Four, Avengers, and X-Men from the 60s and into the 70s. I had never thought that the comics could be a board game, since that was the only thing I could relate to concerning that Marvel box! I told my dad about it when I got home and spent quit a few evening thinking about how you could play a game with all my favorite heroes.
Several weeks went by before my birthday in October when I found that that Marvel Advanced set wrapped up in my birthday presents as a gift from Dad. As soon as all the birthday company had gone, I set up and started reading and kept reading well past bed time that night. The whole concept of role-playing game was amazing, it was playing make believe but it was better since you had a city map, folded card-stock heroes, and stats for the heroes and villains. With my mother’s help and good amount of glue and more than a few paperclips to hold the card-stock heroes together while they dried, I finally had the game ready to play.
My friends all thought the game was a fun but a weird set up for a board game. We played every Saturday that we could all get together. I even remember going to a friends house that lived on a farm, where we normally road 4 wheelers and hung out in the woods. This time we played Marvel instead while his folks kept wanting us to go outside and play!
My gateway game to role-playing games was most definitely Marvel Superheroes Role-playing Game Advance Set. A year later I was given a copy of Dungeon’s and Dragon’s 1st edition players hand book by a friend of the family. He heard how much I loved my Marvel RPG. Even though I had that hand book it wasn’t until a few years later that I managed to pick up a copy of the 2nd edition Players, Dungeon Masters, and Monstrous compendium and actually played a full game off AD&D.
My next introduction was when a good friend of mine picked up a copy of Starfleet battles, so next we learned how to do battle with Klingon battleships while we piloted our Constellation class Star-ships around the black hex map. I loved how you had to follow the flow chart on your ship records to determine where damage needed to be applied during the battle. That game captured the feeling of star Trek and its ship battles.
Just like the RPG industry in the late 80s and into the 90s the games came faster and faster; Top Secret SI, Paranoia, Shadowrun, AD&D 2nd Ed., Aerotech, Stormbringer, Battletech, Middle Earth Roleplaying Game, Rifts, Cars Wars, GURPS, Ars Magica, Starwars RPG (WEG), Vampire the Masquerade, and finally Magic the Gathering!