In the past few months, ever since I started looking at earlier versions of Dungeons and Dragons, I've been immersed in reading the opinions, examples and modifications of dozens of bloggers, forum posters and retroclone authors who all seemed to be having a blast with what they were playing. Having never played an edition of D&D before 2nd, I took all of these examples to heart and tried to make my eventual campaign as much like the games I saw Jeff Rients, Zak S, James Maliszewski and Al Krombach playing.
It didn't go so well and I think I know why. There wasn't enough me in it.
I have still never run a dungeon crawl or a sandbox campaign. I know that for many of my fellow bloggers, these are the types of games that they grew up on and what they associate with D&D. A person who never stopped playing B/X or 1e or an old hand returning to a game that they loved would be able to wing a fun, old-school romp because they know how it goes. They'll remember what they loved about these games, be it the exploration aspect, the fact that death could be around every corner or the game worlds that they almost lived in. When I ended up running it, I tried to play a game that I had never played before like a person who's been playing it for years, if not decades. Needless to say, it didn't feel right.
So what do I like in my role-playing game experiences? I'll have to think on that. The games that I've run with the most success have mostly been westerns, cyberpunk and modern supernatural hunting. I'll have to think on it before deciding anything concrete.