So I made some interesting, though not entirely new or unique, observations.
The OSR, as a Movement, is Dead.
This is the point of view of Tavis Allison who gave a talk about the OSR at Gen Con this past week. Tavis has the street cred to back up his claims too, author of The Mule Abides blog and the Adventurer Conqueror King game system.
Though he has his reasons, I think I am looking at something slightly different.
I am not talking about the lack ENnies or even representation at Gen Con.
There was the the OSR Publications booth, which was great.
I am talking about the OSR as a movement. If the stated goal* of the OSR was to get old-school style gaming back into the hands of gamers, then one only needed to go to the Wizards of the Coast booth and buy a copy of the 1st Ed AD&D books, or listen to their keynote address about the availability of older products, or go play D&D5.
(* lets be honest here, no one ever stated any goal of any sort)
If the goal was get products to go mainstream, well the OSR Publications booth was a good step in that direction. George Strayton of the Secret Fire RPG was an industry guest of honor at this past Gen Con as well. Castles and Crusades (one of the earliest Retro Clones in my opinion) never seemed more popular.
So if the OSR as a mission was get "old school" products in the main-stream, then that goal has been met.
The movement then is dead. Why? Well if the "R" mean Revolution, Revival or Renascence, then the goals have been achieved. Old School is back.
The OSR as a community or even as a loosely affiliated publishing movement will live on. Much like the Indie Press Revolution (who, to be perfectly honest, does everything the OSR could do and does it well).
There will still be sites and blogs that support old-school play. They existed before the OSR movement and will (in some form) afterwards.
I fear though that for many that the "R" stood for "Resistance" as in the alternative not because they liked old school play so much, but because they hated the "new school" of 4e or even 3.x. Well for them I fear the battle wages on and it will never be won. TSR is never coming back to life, WotC owns D&D and there are many that enjoy the newer games.
In any case the OSR will change. Not because it wants to, but because it will need to to stay relevant.
I will have to post on this topic more in a bit.