So, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition is my game of choice. I can't nail down for sure when I started playing, but my best estimates put it around 1996 or 1997, making me around 12 years old at the time.
My only previous experience had been with MUDs, the great granddaddy to the MMO. I was a fan of Greek myths, Lloyd Alexander, and of course Tolkien.
Living in the Bible Belt, all I knew about Dungeons and Dragons was that it was The Devil. I had no idea what an RPG was, had never seen a die other than a d6, and didn't understand the term "roleplaying".
What I had was an interest in fiction and computer games and some older friends who were curious about said Devil Game.
I was skeptical about playing, but one of the older guys who had already started playing told me that it was basically a computer game, but instead of the computer being the arbiter of the action, another player was. I was told tales of fighting goblins in dank ruins and other adventures and immediately decided that I wanted in.
I rolled up a thief, and played him for a good number of years, along with a host of other rogues, warriors, wizards, and maybe even a cleric or two.
I had been playing for years before the idea of searching for Dungeons and Dragons on the internet ever occurred to me. As I recall, things were pretty sparse. We did find some articles written under the moniker "Uncle Figgy". Those articles were gospel to us. They really taught me how to be both a player and a dungeon master. To this day, I make them required reading for new players.
For the most part, however, I played in a vacuum, disconnected from both the future and the past of Dungeons and Dragons.
I could infer that there were previous editions of the game, but the general understanding among our group was that they were somehow broke and almost unplayable. Relics from a bygone and less enlightened age.
I had no idea about what was happening at TSR, I wouldn't learn about Gygax until years after I had begun playing.
I didn't know that this was the "de-Satanized" version of the game. I didn't know that this was the first version of the game without Gygax.
All I knew was that this was Dungeons and Dragons.
And I loved it.
Why specifically? I'll cover that later. I've rambled on long enough for now.