My first memory of those things known as 'Role Playing Games' was when I was really little and my sister had some friends over to play Dungeons & Dragons. To keep the pesty little brother away, they let me leaf through the Monster Manual, most cool for a little boy.
Later, a neighbor and I played Basic D&D, primarily the 'Keep on the Borderlands' module as well as a Secret Agent game I don't remember the name of. In my teens and early/mid twenties, I got into gaming pretty heavily, playing GURPS, Palladium Fantasy 1st ed., ROBOTECH, RIFTS, along w/ Warhammer Fantasy w/ a huge Undead army (working at a game store got me sweet discounts) although I never really got into AD&D 2e or higher. High School, Navy, College all were filled w/ various groups and clubs.
Then life hit. Marriage, Kids, Work. All conspired to drain that time needed to play. Friends graduated and moved away. I pretty much lost touch w/ the gaming community and the hobby w/ the only remaining connection being a couple of comics like Dork Tower and Knights of the Dinner Table. About half the books and most of the minis were sold off although I did keep some of the main and favorite ones for nostalgia.
I'm glad I did. About a year ago I had an epiphany. Money was tight, work and politics just had me on edge all the time. Target shooting was fun but I didn't get to do it as often as I liked and even restocking ammo was getting to expensive. I was digging through my closet looking for Ebay ripe items and found this:
Gamers 2:Dorkness Rising, and Journey Quest) and took a major financial risk by investing in the OGRE Kickstarter.
IOW, I've become a born again Gamer on the cheap. Outside of munchies and gas money for bi-monthly game sessions, I haven't spent much. It's all the old books I already had and my friend is painting my remaining mini's mostly for copies of books and trade items. My sister paid my way for Worldcon '12 (thanks much sis'). The risk I took for the OGRE Kickstarter has already paid for itself and given me a few extra bucks to not only help w/ family finances but pick up some goodies like one of the dice from the upcoming Gamers 3 and a signed copy of the module ran in Gamers 2.
They're a blast to read and just giggle at the silliness of some of the
designs and plots. How many castle builders would waste thousands of
square feet on a spiral leading nowhere? How does a huge colony of bats and monsters survive in a cave system w/ only one sealed and secret entrance? It doesn't matter. It's fun as long as you don't have a group of munchkin rules lawyers to ruin it for you.
So my stress levels have decreased enormously allowing me to delve back into the political arena and also a renewed enjoyment for when I go out to the range. Finances are still tight but I can relax by picking up my dice w/ friends and family and wiping out some Orcs w/o spending a dime.