11 Things No Longer Around That I Actually Miss

Every few weeks I see a list of “Things You’ll Never See Again”, or “Favorite Snacks from the 90’s That Millennials Will Never Know,” or some other list of products or shows that are no longer around.  Most of the time, it’s Crystal Pepsi, or some failed breakfast cereal that I never ate and only vaguely remember commercials for.  These lists rarely apply to me.

But there are a lot of dearly loved and missed things from my younger years that are never on these lists.  A few of these may be around in some limited form in little pockets of the country, but for the most part, they’re gone.


1:  TSR


Back when I was cutting my teeth on gaming, TSR was king.  This was the company that started it all with Dungeons & Dragons.  And while many other RPG companies have come and gone, and D&D is still being printed by Wizards of the Coast, there was a certain mystique to the name TSR.


2:  Vampire Hunter D


This was one of my very first animes (from back when we still called it Japanimation).  I fell in love it.  I’m a proud owner of the sequel, Bloodlust, but never got around to buying a DVD of the original movie. And while the manga, toy lines, and cute purse/lunchboxes are still being produced, the two Vampire Hunter D movies are no longer being made.  You can find used copies online for $60.


3 & 4:  Ral Partha & Grenadier

Best of Guthrie

I remember going into gaming shops and poring over miniatures for hours.  I own hundreds of lead and pewter minis, and the gold standard of figurine lines was Ral Partha, followed by Grenadier.  The current standard is Reaper (which is located about 2 miles from me) but I mourn the loss of so many of the old minis that are no longer around.


5:  Flashing Swords Magazine

flashing swords 8

Flashing Swords was an awesome quarterly magazine that served as a platform for many starting writers.  Some of my very first work was published by them.  Their last Issue was in 2009.


6:  $.49 Video Stores


In today’s world of streaming video and Redbox rental we forget the bygone joy of going to a Ma&Pa video store.  I don’t mean Blockbuster. I’m talking about the cramped little shops with worn and faded shelves and an Adult Section in the back hidden behind a pair of saloon doors.  Every one I ever visited had an unique odor and a candy machine stocked with Runts.  They always carried the coolest box covers (many of them better than the movies inside them).  There were no instant ratings, so it was always a crap shoot if the movie was worth a damn.  In college we had a local place that had one of the greatest collections of cult and weird-ass cinema ever assembled.  As much as I love streaming movies, there was an excitement to video stores that other mediums will never have.


7:  Dragon Magazine

Dragon Magazine - 65

Freaking awesome magazine.  Every month I’d go into the local bookstore and look for the newest Dragon cover.  First, I always flipped to the back and read the comics. Then, ‘Through the Looking Glass’ where they reviewed the newest Official AD&D Ral Partha miniatures.  I loved the articles on redefining or introducing new character classes, or the ecology of some classic monster.  Probably my favorite issue was October 1986, which introduced the ‘Witch’ class.


8:  Vampire the Masquerade LARPers

Vampire Clan Pins

I never got too into Vampire, but I really loved how many people LARPed it.  You could go to a bar or club and see (mostly) normal looking people wearing a little pin that represented which vampire clan they belonged to.  There were several years at The Church (a Dallas goth club I frequented) when there was easily 30 people playing on any given night.  Eaves dropping on their conversations was a bit surreal (They are playing vampires after all). The storytellers worked in teams, and it was impressive to see how they orchestrated the whole thing.  Imagine herding cats while both you and the cats are drinking.  I’ve heard some people still play there from time to time, but the epic games and battles unfolding around us ignorant mortals are no more.


9:  Hawkwood Medieval Fantasy Faire


This was a small faire up in North Texas that ran August through September in the middle of the Texas heat. We used to refer to it as Heatwood, then when the September rains came, the grounds turned into a muddy slop and we called it Bogwood.  But there was a magic to it that I’ve never been able to capture since.  The faire went under in 2001, but I made more friends and faire-family during the few years I was there than I’ve made in all the faires since.  I’ve met many rennies that were also there, and even though we never knew each other at the time, we immediately bonded.  Last month we had a reunion of a lot of the old patrons and participants.  It was an amazing place.


10:  Video Arcades


I love arcades.  They have eaten more of my childhood dollars than I can imagine. I wish there were more of them.  I recently re-read Neuromancer, and as prophetic a book as it was, the part where everyone hangs out at an arcade was either completely wrong or Gibson’s insight into the future shows that one day they’ll make a comeback.


11:  Star Frontiers Knight Hawks


There are several space-based combat games out there, but my first taste of them was Knight Hawks. I’d played the Star Frontiers RPG a few times, but one rainy Sunday our GM busted out Knight Hawks and I was in love.  I’ve spent many hours blasting the hell out of my friends’ fleets and while I’ve tried my hand at a few of the newer space battle games, none have ever really filled the spot Knight Hawks did.  

I am very happy to say that while researching this, I discovered that FASA is still around.  After nearly a decade hiatus they are back and kickin’.  Vampire Hunter D just got re-released in Australia last month.  The fan-run Knight Hawks games and supplements seem to be pretty popular and I’ll be picking some up.  Maybe there’s hope for the rest, after all.


7 thoughts on “11 Things No Longer Around That I Actually Miss

  1. Chuck Quisenberry

    I miss the arcades… not the massively lit Dave & Buster types; the dingy little mom and pop style that just sold soda at the back of a room lit only by the glow of the games themselves. They were so much fun and I could literally stand there all day shoving stacks of quarters into my favorites; but, there just isn’t any money in them anymore. They’ve gone the way of the drive-in theaters. Every now and again, I’ll see one pop up and nostalgia and curiosity will keep it running for a few months (usually over summer). Then, once the regular school year starts, they’ll dry up and close their doors shortly thereafter.

    1. I remember reading about one game that was a VR cockpit for Battletech. Four players would each get into their own pod and together play a lance and blow away other giant robots. Nowhere around here had it, though.

  2. Tasha

    Ral Partha is available from Iron Wind Miniatures

    Grenadier is mostly available from Mirliton Miniatures. Unfortunatly many of the Classic Grenadier Molds were tossed by Mirliton as being “trash”. So yeah some classic figs will never see the light of day again.

    Dragon Magazine has been resurrected by the new TSR games as Gygax Magazine run by Gary Gygax’s Son. Back issues available on PDF from DriveThruRPG

    1. Very happy to see that Iron Wind carries the Ral Partha classics as well as the old Battletech and Shadowrun lines. Not seeing the old AD&D miniatures, though. That was a huge portion of their business in the last couple years and some of their better fantasy stuff. Bit sad.

      I’d found Mirlton when trying to complete my Cyberpunk set. They carried the Bozos, but that was it. (Still looking for the Nomads). But I’m real excited to see the Dragons II line is still out there. I never finished those, and I still think they were some of the best. There will be a huge purchase in my near future.

      I’d seen that Dragon was online now. Just wasn’t the same as ink and paper. I’ve always thought of them like National Geographics, something you just keep forever. Gygax Magazine looks like it might fit the bill perfectly. Thank you.

  3. The non-tarzan, tarzan guy has a lot of siplaning do to about the overgrown lizards. Also why are the Prussian scientists always mad? Can’t they ever be happy with what they have invented? I mean come on!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.