Later, when I was in fifth grade, I got hooked on the Dragonlance novels and bugged my brother about D&D. So, Chris mapped out an elaborate mega-dungeon on graph paper, wrote down what he could remember of the AD&D ruleset (we only owned the Monster Manuals), and ran a few sessions for me and two friends. I was a wizard, Bill was a barbarian, and some other kid was a ninja. I remember a bit more about these sessions, which found our brave heroes in your typical "mad wizard" style dungeon. There was a giant tapestry that you could walk into, and it would transport you to a dinosaur-infested jungle island ruled by giant spiders. There was another room where a goblin was painting a portrait of a naked lady, who ended up being a half-kender thief-acrobat. We asked her to join the party, naturally. I also remember that we fought some mummies, and the one kid's ninja character got busy with the hot acrobat girl inside one of the sarcophagi! Hey, we were going through puberty. Say what you will, but my brother understood how to play to his audience.
After my brother went to college and left me to my own devices, I started running my own games, and playing with my friends. I started with Palladium's clunky Robotech RPG, but quickly got into AD&D 2nd edition soon after it was released, having split the purchase of the Player's Handbook with a couple of buddies. Soon after that, RIFTS, that greatest of adolescent wish-fulfillment games, appeared on the scene. It had cyborgs and magic and mecha and dragons and an awesome Keith Parkinson cover with chicks in tight rubber outfits... and before I knew it, I had a new hobby.
We played tons of games, every damn weekend, and usually all night long. Besides RIFTS, our favorites were Marvel Super Heroes, Earthdawn, Street Fighter (don't laugh), and AD&D. We also dabbled in piles of other games, like CyberGeneration, Warhammer FRP, or Palladium Fantasy. Unlike most 90s gamer kids, we never got into Shadowrun or the World of Darkness stuff, though it wasn't for lack of trying. In retrospect, I guess dice pools weren't our thing.
My parents were worried about my grades, and disturbed by the unsavory-looking books, but I managed to deflect that by keeping my nose clean and doing just enough homework to ensure that I'd be still be allowed to roll them bones. By the time I graduated high school, I hadn't gotten drunk, high, or laid... but I had gotten my RIFTS mystic up to 11th level. I had priorities.
I didn't play much in college, which is probably why I finally got my ass a girlfriend or two, though I did squeeze in a few sessions of TORG. After college the drought lasted a few more years, until D&D 3rd edition came out and made the game seem fresh again. While living in Tallahassee with my then-fiancee (now wife), I even ran a fairly long-running campaign of it for a group of newbies... until, like everybody, I got burnt out on the system. I tried getting people to play Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay for a while, but nobody seemed interested.
Eventually, I ended up hooking back up with one of my original gaming buddies and playing with his group. I'm currently playing D&D 4th edition and having a good time with it, but I have been reading a ton of older, more obscure fantasy games recently, some of which I intend to give in-depth reviews of here.
There you have it: my RPG gaming history.