Remembering the Late 1990s in Gaming

The time leading up the the year 2000 was pretty neat for me in gaming. I had way more free time than I did now, what with no kids. Heck, I actually had more money, even though I make more now than I did back them - supporting two kids ain't cheap.

Going through my notes, old games, and PDFs I found some interesting gems I'd not thought about in years, in rough order of publication...

  • Conspiracy X - The truth is out there...
  • Deadlands - wonderfully complicated with spellcasters trying for winning poker hands in a battle for their souls. One of those games in the "man I'd love to play someday" bucket.
  • Dragonlance: The Fifth Age - TSR made the bold choice of totally shaking up their Dragonlance setting and using a player-facing card-based task resolution system. 
  • Big Eyes, Small Mouth - Based around the Tri-Stat engine (your main stats were Body, Mind, and Soul), BESM and its related games were absolutely huge for several years. I recall a time whenever someone would ask for a system suggestion for a given genre, BESM would always be offered. 
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation - The game that kicked off the "adult" phase of my gaming. Can't believe it came out some 18 years ago. I miss Last Unicorn Games.
  • The Babylon Project - A Babylon 5 RPG, albeit one released while the show was still on the air. Great idea, very nicely illustrated and produced, but probably the wrong system for the game.
  • Seventh Sea - Like Deadlands, an awesome setting that I never quite got around to playing... "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die."
  • All Flesh Must Be Eaten - Original version featuring a "flesh candy bar" if my recollection is correct...
  • Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 - A giant meteor, bringing with it a giant bump in the popularity of RPGs. And a ton of glut as tons of companies tried to cash in on the d20 boom. The next several years would see d20 versions of Deadlands, Call of Cthulhu, Big Eyes Small Mouth, Seventh Sea, and tons of other settings and games. Looking back, it's amazing how much this version of D&D shook up the industry.

At the same time, the internet was taking off, with mailing lists and newsgroups giving way to online forums like the one at My memory of the time as the web took off is isolated communities of gamers began getting access to a much larger world. And getting into massive flame wars. I remember TSR's first steps on the internet, forbidding people from using terms like "hit dice". Good times.

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