Friends, over the many years I had the pleasure of writing for the Retroist as well as on this site itself, I have shared my appreciation for TSR’s Dungeon & Dragons. Thanks to various fantasy films and animated movies – I suppose I had been primed to accept the lore and setting of D & D. By 1984 I was not only lucky enough to be in a role-playing group at school but almost all of us took turns acting as a Game Master for different games. Having said that though, almost all of the games were produced by TSR – Dragonlance, Star Frontiers, Marvel Super Heroes, as well as Star Trek: The Role-Playing Game and Car Wars. Those last two were published by FASA and Steve Jackson Games however – it was Marvel Super Heroes where I stepped in as Game Master – spending our thirty minute lunches in Junior High School combating the menaces of various super villains thanks to the Secret Wars adventure book. One of the reasons our group stuck to the likes of TSR is that in 1984 it was their role-playing games that were most readily available at the local book stores and hobby shops. One could even find television advertisements for TSR products, like this very one from 1984 that promised the likes of Dungeons & Dragons, Marvel Super Heroes, and The Adventures of Indiana Jones games would challenge and allow you to unleash the power of your imagination!
I want to thank Rockford Jay for being kind enough to send me that YouTube video link – here is a fun fact for you though, the announcer in that 1984 TSR commercial was none other than William Marshall. You might know Marshall best as Blacula or possibly as the King of Cartoons from Pee-wee’s Playhouse. But the truth of the matter is that Marshall’s wonderfully deep voice meant he found plenty of work in numerous animated series over the years – including playing Cain Marko aka the Juggernaut in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. A character that my group of Players had to face after completing that Secret Wars adventure book as a matter of fact.
I have quite a few happy memories of playing TSR games in Junior High School as well as High School – what about yourself though – was your first experiences with role-playing games courtesy of TSR?