I was introduced to the original pamphlet-style D & D rules by Densel E. in the Boy Scouts back in 1977 or so. He had Blackmoor, Greyhawk, Chainmail, the whole bunch. I was hooked. Later me and the Neighborhood started playing D & D (which a bunch of us got for Christmas) and eventually moved on to Advanced D & D. I remember walking to and from Smilin' Sunny's on Forest Avenue to buy my copy of the Dungeon Master's Guide.
Within a few years we had stopped playing D & D and moved on to other RPGs. We didn't like the class or combat systems in D & D. In DragonQuest and later in the Fantasy Hero we found better systems (if more complicated). Still, D & D was the first and definitely the one where the experiences, the fun and inventiveness were the best.
I recently was directed to a very cool fantast RPG site called Grognardia. Apparently, over the past few years a movement of "old school RPG" players has grown up. These people long for the simpler days when the first started playing and everything was fresh and very (very) uncommercial.
They remember and long for the days when the art was done by friends of the creators and the text type in rulebooks an modules was out of place. They remember umber hulks and displacer beasts fondly. The campaign worlds were the ones made up at night on pages of graph paper and with colored pencils. Dungeons ofter existed for no reason (except to garner treasure and magic items) in ridiculous locations. There were no endless reams of derivative and poorly written novels or an unending supply of modules set in somebody else's universe. Halcyon days.
As nostalgia overcame me I decided to see if I could download any of the old module covers just to see what I remembered. What I found was pure gold as they say (no, I don't really know where). Somebody posted EVERY old school TSR product. Every terrible Erol Otus picture, every superhero influence Jeff Dee picture. Every beautiful multicolored cover with sword wielding paladins, orcs and axe swinging dwarfs.
For about fifteen or sixteen years I played games on many weekends and countless days in the summer. Those were great times I can never go back to but I would never want to give up.