1. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons - Duh. The grand-daddy of them all. I was introduced to this at a very young age and further
2. Traveller - Duh, again. I still recall, as a young man, having a character with a leadership skill of 6, who led a planetary rebellion against the Imperium. The character had the skill, I didn't. We took down an air/raft and an APC before being blasted by meson guns. My first experience with an angry nerd for a game master. Now, I make my kids suffer as a result. It's like kicking the dog, or watching a Quentin Tarantino movie . . . only gaming. [Since I've written this post, David Rollins has posted an excellent entry on coming into Traveller late in the game, from the viewpoint of an old-school gamer. Read it. If this doesn't get you excited, you're not excitable.]
3. Gamma World - Being an Air Force brat living at ground zero in the '80s, this didn't seem like too far-fetched of a future. Of course, I was living in Nebraska for much of that time, so you can probably understand why an apocalyptic landscape just felt like home, mutant rabbits notwithstanding.
4. Call of Cthulhu - Yes, I read Lovecraft before I played. Then I read Aleister Crowley and the Book of Revelations before I DMed. Good call. Incidentally, there's an excellent silent movie version of the story Call of Cthulhu that I own and cherish. It's really good stuff. Much better than anything Quentin Tarantino has done.
5. Arduin Grimoire - OK, so it's an AD&D knockoff. I still enjoyed it. And I still use that absolutely vicious critical hit chart. I once DMed a friend (just him and me - the only time I've DMed one-on-one) using the AG rules. He was a half-orc assassin who had recently bumped off a dwarf of some notoriety. So, who else to send after him, but the seven dwarfs? He took out quite a few of them, until Sneezy got a lucky shot in with a war-hammer and made a critical hit. The half-orc wasn't pretty to begin with, but he was especially ugly after taking the hit. Oh, and he was dead, too.
6. Tunnels & Trolls - Yes, I admit to hours of T&T with my friend Raymond and some other acquaintances. Such a goofy game, basically a self-deprecating D&D, but the modules they did were so much fun. It was splatter-humor before splatter-humor was cool. Speaking of which, have you ever watched an interview with Quentin Tarantino? Not the kind of guy I'd like to hang out with. Fake as they come. Seriously. I wouldn't be able to be around him for more than four minutes, as if he cares.What does this have to do with Tunnels & Trolls? Absolutely nothing. T&T is kind of like that.
7. Lamentations of the Flame Princess - Sort of an AD&D clone, sort of not. Much darker, like Progressive Death Metal AD&D. And the survival percentage of characters in a "properly" run LotFP adventure should be really low. Imagine T1: Tomb of Horrors *all* the time. Ruthless. Like a Quentin Tarantino movie. Have I mentioned how much I dislike him? Well, I like LotFP, actually. At least it's honest.
And there you have it. The observant among you will note that I included "Mechwarrior" on my tweet about this same subject and didn't include "Arduin Grimoire" there. Just goes to show how fluid my opinions on RPGs can be. Except for Traveller. Seriously. It just rules because its . . . rules . . . rule . . .
It's time I stop.
Update: I will be playing the Dungeon Crawl Classics game and it's mutant sister, Mutant Crawl Classics for the first time at Madison's Gamehole Convention. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm very excited about the prospects here, especially after having interacted with so may people who play DCC RPG and listening to some excellent podcasts. Hoping to catch some of that first time magic again!!!
Update to the update: I've begun my recounting of my DCC experience at Gameholecon. Yeah, I'm going to need to make a change to that list up there.