Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Star Wars Collection

I am really not a collector—at least, not with most things. Most of this is due to the fact that through most of my life thus far, I have simply not had the money to be one. There were a couple notable exceptions, however—one of them being Star Wars gaming books.

As I've discussed before, my fascination with the movies went all the way back to 1977 and the original film. It wasn't until the early 80's, however, that I was first exposed to sci-fi gaming—in the form of TSR's Star Frontiers series. It wasn't quite Star Wars, but it was fun. I quickly snapped up every book that was put out for the series. And for the first time, I actually was 'collecting' something. Unfortunately, Star Frontiers didn't survive too long. I still have all the books, though, and I find a lot of their information quite inspiring and usable in other sci-fi campaigns.

In 1987 the Star Wars RPG came out and I immediately became a huge fan of the rules. I had kind of accidently collected all the Star Frontiers stuff, but with Star Wars I made a conscious effort to collect all the books. For a while, I was able to keep up with the releases—and indeed I threw several modules into my campaign that must have been 'hot off the presses'. Unfortunately, I went through a very rough patch in the mid to late 90's—financially, that is. Thus, a lot of books passed me and my empty wallet back. 

Come the 2000's, however, I found myself in more solid footing—and also found myself addicted to eBay. Again, I very quickly bought up everything I could find. I was very obsessive about it, in fact—probably spending a bit more money than I should have on a few books (some of the Star Wars adventure Journals, for instance). But as it stands now, It is probably easier for me to list the books I DON'T have, rather than the ones I do. 

In many instances, my books are in very 'used' condition. They travelled with me to and from college, from dorm to apartment to house, across half the country. I wish I had done a better job of keeping them up, but on the same note I'm kind of proud of just how used they are. I played the hell out of them, and every crease, wrinkle, tear or stain reminds me of all the good times those books have 'soaked up' through the years.

With the bankruptcy of West End Games (sigh) and the Star Wars license passing to Wizards of the Coast (sigh) and the D20 system (double sigh), a lot of the gusto of collecting gaming books has gone away. I own a remarkable number of d20 books now. I find them quite pretty to look at and they occasionally have some interesting information,  but overall, they don't hold a candle to "The Classics"—and when you throw in the exorbitant prices, they kind of leave me a bit sour overall, wondering at what might have been.

In any case, I look at my Star Wars collection now with a very geeky sense of pride. And some day, I will probably round it out with the remainder of the d20 books, just for the sake of being a 'completionist'. In the meanwhile, I'm just going to enjoy being in a position to have all of this great gaming information literally at my fingertips—creases, stains and memories included.

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