Reading an interesting post over at the Alexandrian today, and in the comments they mentioned (more or less as an aside) the 'dead system' phenomenon.
Now, myself and most of the folks following this blog play old, out of print versions of D&D, so we're not, for the most part, that sort of person.
But don't you ever wonder about the whole idea of only playing an RPG if it's being actively 'supported' by the company that originally published it?
Even the whole retro-clone movement plays on that mentality.* I've got enough actual TSR produced D&D stuff on my bookshelf (not to mention the other stuff on my hard drive) to play D&D for years. But there are some people who wouldn't bother playing it because TSR is out of business and WotC aren't producing anything for the old game. But since Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, and OSRIC are out there allowing new stuff to be published, they might consider it.
I'm not a psychiatrist or psychologist, just a loud-mouthed braggart with a blog instead of a boom-stick. But those sorts of people just seem sorta pitiful to me. Not pitiful in the sense that they're worthless schlubs, but pitiful in the sense that I actually pity them for their lack of imagination or initiative to just make some stuff themselves.
I pity them for their lack of courage to try something 'new' just because there isn't something physically new on the store shelves for them to buy.
I pity them for falling into that marketing trap that makes them think they need some company out there to produce something for the game they love. And falling for the company line that when a new edition comes around, they should follow suit and keep feeding the beast.
I may get a few hateful comments to this post. I may bruise a few feelings. Likely not many, as I know most people that read my blog aren't the sort of people I'm talking about. So be it. Maybe Dave's comment on my last post is making me feel like being a bit smug and superior sounding for a change, but I'm hoping this leads to some constructive/positive thought on the issue.
If any of you people who refuse to play 'dead systems' are reading this, I'd love to hear your thoughts on why a 'living system' is important to you. Give me a reason to stop pitying you, and respect your choice to only play a game that receives support from the company, and to drop it as soon as the company stops supporting it.
*Yes, the clones are meant to foster creativity, not serve as a crutch to keep those systems 'alive.' But I've seen quite a few people hyping them by claiming that they keep the old games 'alive' to those who shun 'dead' games.