I think I get what you’re getting at. I enjoy “OSR” games. At the dawn of 3e, my group didn’t really bite, we kept playing 2e, and soon found the game we wanted in HackMaster, which was basically a houserule set for AD&D. Your early point of “do you call out a bad game element”, I for one say “absolutely”. To that end, I think this was an EASY win for Swords and Wizardry, when they built in descending AC for traditionalists, or ascending AC for newer mindsets, which honestly, I think it makes more sense.
Much like you identify your experience as just your experience, I would like to similarly strongly identify my experience as only my personal experience. To that end, I’ve seen people trying to gatekeep get shut down. Nothing rude, but a solid “well, that’s good for you, but that’s not everyone”. My experience is that OSR people lean toward “does it work for your table? If so, cool.” Ascending AC? Cool. You think weapon speed is dumb? Don’t use it. Want to add luck as a stat? Let me know how that works. Firearms? Go for it. You mention the attempts to define OSR. I think that lack of definition is a strength. Don’t let people, on “one side or the other” define it. Just like good fiction can transcend genre, a game system doesn’t really need a label. Quote the Bard “what’s in a name…”.
Is there nostalgia involved? For sure. Are there curmudgeons? Sure there are. But let’s be honest, there were those same people at the peak of Pathfinder, more than happy to “well, actually…” any thing the new kid wanted to try.
I can’t disagree with your perception of the history. My personal completely unresearched, armchair historian version runs pretty close. I feel like KenzerCo got access to the AD&D framework (I have hypotheses on this), which to me was the beginning, WotC releases the OGL, OSRIC comes out and the gates open.
I think you for sure hit the nail on the head in your points about 5e and structure vs house rules. I have extremely limited experience with 5e (read: the only session I’ve played was at a table with you) but from what I understand, this is a very solid strength. And that’s where I believe the value of not having a solid definition becomes even more relevant, “old school” isn’t “just old”.
I can’t disagree with the specific examples you sites regarding OSR vs “?new school?” games. But from my experience ( again, just an n value of 1) the OSR is WAAAAAAYYYYYY more welcoming than my experience with RPGA, which I tried annually, and was run off by it’s toxicity. Your statement “Virtually any element provided by a game championed by the OSR is also provided by a game that is currently in production” is something I feel any OSR advocate should embrace. It’s not a slight on OSR, it’s shared excellence. If there’s an AMAZING mechanic/ module/ system out there, we ALL win.
“I am saying that it may be time concede that OSR has drifted from movement to preference”- cool. So, for those people, good on them. Some people like diceless. Some like LARPs. Some like “storygames”, others, “megadungeons”. Isn’t that diversity the strength of the hobby?
I’m sorry you seem to have had very poor experiences with the community, and as one it’s proponents, I’m sorry some people don’t understand Wheaton’s Law. Come over to my table anytime.
Love and Respect