GreenTongue
 member, 1024 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 11:40
Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
I was just thinking about the books I have stored in the attic and wondering why I keep them and if I'm the only one that thinks I might get them back out "some day"?

Even if I could find someone interested in GURPS or RuneQuest, trying to get people to play 290 year old games can be an uphill struggle.

Besides, if they have been sitting in boxes for that many years what are the odds I'm going to suddenly get the inspiration to pull them out and do more than just remember the old times?

How do you justify keep boxes of old game stuff?  How often has it even actually been reused?

I've tried pulling out the Empire of the Petal Throne to play and recapture "The First Time".
Times have changed.
Jarodemo
 member, 954 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 11:43
Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
In reply to GreenTongue (msg # 1):

Probably for the same reason most people keep old stuff... Nostalgia. I hate throwing stuff out, and my house has a lot of old crap in it. Periodically I do chuck stuff away, but when it comes to personal stuff and books (game books or otherwise) I have a real reluctance to do so.

I suppose it comes down to the feeling that books have a life of their own. We will happily shred or burn old clothing, broken furniture, etc. but most people consider burning or destroying old books to be, well just wrong.
GreenTongue
 member, 1025 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 12:19
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
Jarodemo:
I suppose it comes down to the feeling that books have a life of their own. We will happily shred or burn old clothing, broken furniture, etc. but most people consider burning or destroying old books to be, well just wrong.

I'm guilty of that.
Don't get me started on the number of books I haven't reread in way too long.
Jarodemo
 member, 955 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 12:32
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
In reply to GreenTongue (msg # 3):

Lol! I have books I haven't read and know I will probably never read, but still keep them just in case!
evileeyore
 member, 565 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
 Joined 20150819
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 15:11
Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
"Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?"

Because I haven't replaced them with digital version yet.  Or, why am I those books specifically?  In a few cases nostalia*, but in most cases I'm keeping them to use to draw inspiration from or, in the case of rules books, to look back and track how the rules have shifted.

I run GURPS, so the only books I keep for that purpose are GURPS, and GURPS has basically used the same rules since 1980... so the core rules have been stable, but there are tweaks and alterations, and occasionally shifts to the core (such as the cost of skills and attributes).  So I sometimes like to see how the system has evolved, to better help inform my own changes to my house rules.

Otherwise I have a selection of systems I enjoy playing in, in digital, so if someone is running a game I want to get in on, I can make characters and know the rules.  Why else keep something you aren't running?



* Very, very few are kept for nostalgia in hardcopy.  My Holmes Basic D&D, Moldvay/Cook BX D&D, the Mentzer BECMI D&D, and my Gazetteers.  If I ever get my paws on any OD&D I'll enshrine them as well.  Even though I hate D&D's system, it's historic.
pawndream
 member, 192 posts
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 16:07
Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
My RPG book collection takes up a relatively small amount of space and all of my books are located on a bookshelf and readily accessible.

Having said that, there are some games and books I am unlikely to use again, but they are all still useful for idea mining. Even if I never play them again, they are still fun to flip through every now and again.

I don't know if that would be true if they were not readily accessible and flipping through them involved climbing into the attic and digging through boxes. I would probably get rid of any items I didn't see myself ever using again. But, I am also not a collector and only buy/keep game books I know I will use in a game.
GreenTongue
 member, 1026 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 17:12
Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
In reply to pawndream (msg # 6):

Well, at some point those books will be "used in a game" and you may have the, possibly vain, hope they will be again _some day_.
So, you have to ask yourself, how long till there is no reasonable hope?
deadtotheworld22
 member, 160 posts
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 17:29
Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
Part of it might be the history grad in me talking, but I don't like throwing away knowledge, and I'm old fashioned enough to prefer the ability to have a physical book in my hands rather than a PDF.

At the same time, I also think that the idea of 'never going to be used again' is a bit pessimistic for the following reasons:

A) Every time a system revises itself, you will have people who don't like the revision and like the way it used to be played - the obvious example of this is 3.5/Pathfinder, but there will be people who don't like 5E VtM, prefer Saga edition to the newer releases etc.

B) Even if a system is completely obsolete, it can still be interesting to play something that's old because it can be quite different and evocative of a different era - one can love Picard and Discovery, but still enjoy the experience of watching TOS despite (and indeed because of, its limitations).

C) Even if the game may never be played again, there's still something to be enjoyed or gained from the background, be it the artwork, the writing etc. It's why I've retained some of my old 40k codexes, because they are a piece of history and they're evocative in their own right.

Aside from that, and without wishing to get a bit heavy, even if they never get used in your lifetime, there's a possibility that when you pop your clogs and shuffle off this mortal coil, that your descendents (or indeed some random person at a charity shop) might pick them up and find something in there which you don't.
evileeyore
 member, 566 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
 Joined 20150819
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 19:35
Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
deadtotheworld22:
At the same time, I also think that the idea of 'never going to be used again' is a bit pessimistic for the following reasons:

It's also very honest.  I can count the number of times I've played AD&D since 1992 on zero fingers.  And I can very easily predict how many times I'll play it again in the future:  Zero times.

Same for MERP or Roleplayer, Boothill, 007, any Paladian system, etc.  As well a handful of other systems I didn't enjoy.  So why bother keeping them?  Indeed I gifted them to people long ago, probably before a few in this thread were born, and haven't looked back.

Now, that said I do still hold onto a few gems.  Even if I'll never play BECMI or Basic D&D again, I'm keeping those books.  I do still find use in the Gazetteers, but I only use the digital copies these days, the physical magazines remain stored safely.
deadtotheworld22
 member, 161 posts
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 19:57
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
evileeyore:
deadtotheworld22:
At the same time, I also think that the idea of 'never going to be used again' is a bit pessimistic for the following reasons:

It's also very honest.  I can count the number of times I've played AD&D since 1992 on zero fingers.  And I can very easily predict how many times I'll play it again in the future:  Zero times.


Ah, to each their own. I'm certainly not saying that my approach is universal, and I will admit that I'm quick to hand over systems I don't like to someone who might use them. That being said, I would make a distinction between 'systems I don't like' and 'systems I do like but probably aren't going to run'

I think the point I was more making was that, just because a system isn't current, or indeed is a bit out-dated and clunky, it doesn't mean that it doesn't have value or might be used in the future, and I'm more inclined to keep things which have some interest to me, even if I can't see myself using them at the moment.

To give an example, I know there are streamers who are playing original Necromunda, Inquisitor or WH Fantasy, full aware of the issues with the design, but still enjoying them for their nostalgia, evocation of the era and its trends, and even just to learn what doesn't work as well as what does.
bigbadron
 moderator, 16050 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 20:21
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
Why do I keep them?

Because almost twenty years ago I had to part company with about 175-200 RPG books (and a lot more paperback sci-fi classics).  Regretted it ever since, and ended up re-buying as many of the books as I could find (but only if they were printed on actual paper).
silverelf
 member, 281 posts
Mon 18 Oct 2021
at 23:25
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
I don't have them in my attic they are on my shelf. I have never done the put the books away things, because of several reasons, if it sparks imagination in my younger family when they come over bored because of holidays. They can take down books and read them or even play, two of my cousins took up the hobby because of a very old Dragonlance Adventures because she loved the art work, then she wanted to play, got her other cousin involved and now they have been playing games for a long time.

My books are a part of me they are where I have been in life, each one has a memory of the time that I got that book or this book. They are precious. Memories are precious.

Also, finding them again is hell, like I am still looking for ElfQuest after I loaned it out and never saw it again.
Hunter
 member, 1683 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Tue 19 Oct 2021
at 01:09
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
I can tell you with certainty that there's memories attached to those books.

This message was last edited by the user at 01:10, Tue 19 Oct.

MrKinister
 member, 146 posts
Tue 19 Oct 2021
at 01:27
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
Collector's zeal.
facemaker329
 member, 7365 posts
 Gaming for over 40
 years, and counting!
Tue 19 Oct 2021
at 02:37
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
evileeyore:
So why bother keeping them?  Indeed I gifted them to people long ago, probably before a few in this thread were born, and haven't looked back..


Ummm...that being the case, you aren't keeping them, are you?  Which kind of rejects the premise of the basic question.  But that's me being a pedant, sorry...

As others have mentioned, I keep them for reasons of inspiration, primarily.  I have ideas for stories that I keep telling myself I will one day write that draw on some material from some of them.  I have a half-baked notion about adapting the Amber Diceless system to run a game on here.  Some of my favorite gaming memories are of games that utilized the setting from an old, defunct system and adapted rules from a newer system to run the actual play.  I love the old-school Shadowrun setting, for instance, but I've never really been a fan of the game mechanics of ANY of the editions.  So I keep my SR1E books around to look at from time to time and contemplate how I'd use that setting for another game (and I've incorporated elements of it into games I've played on here.)

I'm also in that school of thought where I have a really hard time letting go of books.  I have two boxes of various reference books in my storage unit...I wasn't using them for anything, wasn't likely to ever use them for anything, but I still couldn't bring myself to donate them (yet...I'm getting close.  Living in a 1br apartment is forcing me to start considering just what I'm keeping and why.)  I have textbooks from college that I haven't looked at in 25 years that are still on my bookshelves.  I even have repair manuals for cars I stopped driving a decade ago on the shelf.  So gaming books are right at home, even if I don't play the games anymore.
Heath
 member, 2993 posts
 If my opinion changes,
 The answer is still 42.
Tue 19 Oct 2021
at 05:43
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
I, for one, like holding the books and flipping through them much more than online.

Also, some of the books I have from decades ago are worth several hundred dollars now. My collection is worth several thousand dollars.
Silverlock
 member, 129 posts
Wed 20 Oct 2021
at 01:15
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
They're worth money, surprisingly enough, and I hate scrolling through PDFs to find the one paragraph I need to reference.  I see a lot of reprinting now of OLD books - Chaosium for instance just did a kickstarter of several OOP books, two of which are in my game satchel, one of which is in the bookcase, the rest in the shed.  The old board games are just being reissued, too - a lot of old Avalon Hill games are in reprint.  Some games just haven't been improved by 'new' editions.  The ideas gamers had thirty years ago are still GOOD ideas.  Technology has changed, but if I'm running a game set in 1925, do I care about the latest technology stats in a new book ?  Nostalgia aside, there's good stuff in the old books.
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 419 posts
Wed 20 Oct 2021
at 02:33
Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
I always feel that books - any books, not just gaming books - say something about their owner. I love to see what's on other peoples' bookshelves, and (at least in theory, because they're currently in an out of the way hallway that no one sees) I like to display what's on mine. I like to think that someone, at some point, walks by and either says 'hey, I read that!' or realizes a little bit about me because of what's on my shelf.

That's why the gaming books stay, alongside all of the other collections of books (recreational and otherwise) that I haven't read in decades - because at one point, I read them and loved them. That makes them important, if just for a glimpse at the moments of my existence where they were needed and used.

I'll never use them again. My kids have, and some day might use more, but simply having them says something that I feel is important.
V_V
 member, 972 posts
 Read my biography...
 Feel free to Rmail me :)
Wed 20 Oct 2021
at 05:49
Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
I had a fire a few years ago, and lost SO many books. What I have kept, they have stories within the pages convex and concave markings. Especially with my gaming books (what few I still have) there are moments (places) in the books that bring back memories.

I can't move forward with physical media. The fire taught me to travel light. I also like to use Ctrl+F in pdfs. It's SOOOO much easier for me. Still, what books I have; I can read here and there. I can bring to an office visit and I can just peel over the pages and see the creases that are so familiar.

My books aren't in any attic or basement though. They were, oh they were, but the water damage (not so much the actual smoke and fire) just turned the veritable library to glue mush. What books I own, I have ona bookshelf, and they do gather dust; but I find myself looking at them now and again. I moved here in March (second place since fire) and I've already browsed some D&D books despite thinking I'd sworn off D&D. MY Exalted books however; they are so battered and beaten, and have marks on pages that bring me back to my youth. Sometimes I'll just look at the pages, not even read them, and just remember what it was like the first time I opened the book.

My D&D 3.0 books have one particular memory that is very sharp. There's picture of a war horse compared to a person, and that was my VERY first illustration in RPGs. 3.0 was horrendous for skimping on art, but even so, it was my first glimpse into a fantasy world that could be played as a game. I still have the duct taped 3.0 core with certain pages missing. It helps me rekindle games with people I'll never see again.

So I think it's a focus, or association, for me. It's like people talk about with vinyl over digital music, and especially things like CD. You can't (to my knowledge) skip to a track on a record player, but the richness is ethereal and warm. I think, for me, the heart and soul of text is on paper. If I need raw data I look to digital media, but it just has the warmth of a block of tungsten.
Heath
 member, 2994 posts
 If my opinion changes,
 The answer is still 42.
Wed 20 Oct 2021
at 05:58
Re: Those Old Games Books in the Attic. Why Do You Keep Them?
V_V:
I had a fire a few years ago, and lost SO many books.

I feel for you. My house burnt down in 1987 and I spent years recreating my collection. I wish I could say that gaming books were the worst things lost in the fire, but I have essentially no material belongings, pictures, etc. related to my existence before then. It's a traumatic and horrible thing to happen, so I empathize.