I started in the RPG hobby a long time ago. 1981 to be exact. Sure, I took a bunch of years off, so I didn’t experience everything that other people that stayed in for the long-haul did, but I have experienced an awful lot. Reading that Moldvay Basic book for the first time was magical. Everything was new and surprising. The books that followed continued to provide hours of reading. The first games, awkward as they were, were a new experience. Novel scenarios and ideas continued to be surprising and engaging as I continued to play.
And then, I got old and jaded. I had kind of seen it all, and so had the people that I was playing with. You can only have your first time once. If we’re not careful, the RPG hobby can become old and stale.
Don’t despair! I have come out on the other side and find the hobby to be vibrant and exciting once more. I found the part of my problem was that I stuck to playing one sort of game. It’s kind of silly when you think about just how many RPGs there are and how different they can be. By playing new games with new people, and reading far more games than I have had a chance to play, I have revitalized my passion for the RPG experience. It is indeed fresh. So many genres, so many systems, so many procedures for play. Every time I think I have seen the landscape, I turn the corner and discover new sights. Sometimes beautiful and wonderful to behold, sometimes obtuse and puzzling, sometimes monstrous, but always fresh.
My current group and I switch off RPGs quite frequently. It’s funny, because for the most part we like long form play, but we also have a real love of trying different games. Even though sometimes some of us are lamenting putting a beloved game or campaign aside, once we get going with the new one the excitement is contagious and that new RPG is fresh and vibrant and tons of fun. Just like 1981, but better because we have experience.
I guess you do get to have your first time more than once.