No, I'm not talking about the number of gamers that consider themselves to be under the "OSR" umbrella. I'm talking about the OSR itself.
OSR = Old School Renaissance = Old School Revival = Old School Rules = Oh Shit, Run!
OSR =/ Dungeons & Dragons
Fuck. I done did it, didn't I? I stirred up some shit. Follow along before getting bent, please ;)
Here's the thing
Tissues = Kleenex
Copy Machine = Xerox
RPGs = Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons has been the generic term for Roleplaying and RPGs since I first got bit by the roleplaying bug back in 1980 or so.
Didn't matter what rules we were using back then - D&D, AD&D, Traveller, Champions, MERP, Rolemaster, RuneQuest, GURPS, Swordbearer, The Fantasy Trip, DragonQuest, Chill, V&V, Tunnels & Trolls, Chivalry & Sorcery, Paranoia, etc - it didn't matter what the rules you were using actually were called - you were playing "D&D".
So why is it many folks out there in "OSR Land" get their britches in a bunch when folks occasionally talk about the OSR in a way that's more expansive than just the D&D and it's clones in their various flavors?
Are we that possessive of this "niche within a niche"? Does OSR actually stand for "Old School Redacted", where the other games from the era no longer count?
Hell, I'd love to get some RuneQuest 2 gaming going, time permitting, and that would certainly be OSR gaming (not sure I could say the same about AH RQ tho' - the sorcery rules confused the crap outa me). Maybe some LBB Traveller, where character generation had a good chance to lead to character death before a session was played. Talk about keeping it real!
I'll be the first to admit that I'm more attached to D&D in all of it's earlier flavors than any of the other games from my youth, but fuck if the old group and I didn't play the shit out of all of them back in the day. Most stand up to the test of time.
Their individual niches are smaller than what we historically have called the OSR, but taken as a whole, the RPGs of the 70's and 80's are large in number and many have devoted followings.
They are Old School too.