While I often have a distaste for memes, the recent posts got me thinking about the first RPG I played. Sure, sure, the first commerical RPG was probably AD&D 2nd Edition, but what was the first I played?
It's been around 25 years, I think it went something like this...
-find several GI Joe figures (and/or knock-offs that were constructed the same way) with parts that are awesome (cool helmet, neat armor on the arms, good weapons strapped to chest, rocket boots, etc)
-take out the screw in the back, disassemble, reassemble the parts you like. Watch out for the rubber band that hold the pelvis&legs onto the torso! It's hard to position right
Your character has the stuff on the parts you used, and whatever add ons (guns, backpack/rocket attachments, etc) not already associated with a currently alive other figure that make sense or you're jazzed about. Of course, their actual abilities are whatever you can imagine and justify to yourself or whichever friend is also playing.
I recall many cybernetics, space travel, trans-dimensional creatures and heroes, lady ninja assassin heroines that were at least as awesome as the main heroes, transformers as enemies, and dates that ended with two figures in a box overnight where something vague happened towards the end of my open-imagination toy playing.
OH yeah - there was a ice cream spaceship gained in a trade with my sister where a growing family of Yodas lived (including eye color variants). Eventually there were 4 of them, and I'm sure they argued and gave contradictory advice to the characters who made the long, hard trek to the mountaintop where their ice cream sundae spaceship was often docked.
Terrain was anything in my room, yard, the neighbor's yard, etc, including extensive dirt sculptures and hedge trimmings.
ANYWAY, the first commercial RPG books I remember encountering and devouring were the AD&D 2ed PHB and DMG my sister brought home. To start, our main group were all older folks we met through Dallas Comic Cons, then eventually got invited to their home games. Later, we had a few years of playing in a church's meeting room after hours -at the tail end of the Satanic panic, to boot! We didn't tell them that's what we were doing. I think they thought we were playing board games. One of the group had a key.