I've noticed something lately... I'm not playing the retroclones as much as I'm back to playing the originals. This has less to do with the clones themselves than with the fact that the retroclones have done something invaluable - they've opened the door to me to *understand* the originals.
When I played AD&D and Holmes, I had no freakin' clue what I was doing. We just got together and killed things and took their stuff and made the world safe for... something. Gygax's prose, the intricacies of B2 and X1, the concept of the "underworld" - it meant nothing to me as a 14 year old hopped up on puberty hormones, MTV and Atari 2400.
Coming back to those games many years down the road, the retroclones opened my eyes to what I had missed in all that time. OSRIC laid out AD&D in clearer tones, and that was good! But now I find myself going back to the original DMG more than I crack open the OSRIC book. Hell, Kellri's CDD4 is probably referenced more than even the DMG. Swords & Wizardry gave me the simplicity of OD&D and Whitebox S&W gave me the OD&D "toolkit" to make my own game - the Ultima RPG. Yet now I keep going back to just the Ref sheets and the LBBs to tease out little bits on my own, or I open up Holmes.
It's not that the clones are bad, but I find they've taken me back to the originals and I'm happy with that. I've found myself almost at the same place I was back in 1979 and 1980 - mashing together Holmes and AD&D, but now I've got more stuff and more importantly, I've got more experience and understanding. I've got the blogs, I've got the forums and I've got the experience.
I still own the retroclones, but I'm finding my enthusiasm has waned a great deal in purchasing Yet-Another-Clone, especially in this economy. The Whitebox boxed set is the last RPG purchase I've made this year and probably will be the only one.
I don't know that this *means* anything, except that retroclone and simulacra publishers are going to give me the fat finger because my wallet is closed and I can't really recommend any clones save the ones I've already publicly supported.
I am collecting monetary donations for the 2010 Chicagoland Toys for Tots Parade to be held on Dec 6th. This is a great charity where the Marines distribute Christmas toys to needy kids. I am raffling off some RPG items as well - the more you donate, the more "virtual tickets" you'll get. See this post for details and thank you!