Dan Proctor writes about the term “retro-clone”: Another one bites the dust
Dan, as you may know, is the creator of Labyrinth Lord, the retro-clone that recreates the 1981 B/X set of D&D rules, and is one of the first (if not the first) to use the the term “retro-clone.”
Now what we are seeing are games released based on the OGC content of the retro-clones and near-clones. Many of these games hybridize to one degree or another the older style of games with 3e, or take them in different directions altogether. I predict there will be dozens and dozens of these games released over the next 5 years or so.
All of these games are being called “retro-clones” out in the wild (that is, forums) even though according to MY model that the world should be paying attention to most of them would be near-clones (I hope you sense my sarcasm, I’m not actually that self-important!). Compound that with the fact that some of these games will claim to be cloning 0e, or Original Edition D&D, or delivering the feel of one version, or another version, etc. and the whole concept of what constitutes a clone has changed. By my usage a “true” retro-clone is a game that attempts to emulate as closely as legally possible the rules of a particular game.
For what it’s worth, though I do believe that some clones are more, well, clonier than others, I suspect that in standard usage the term “retro-clone” is going to mean a game that clones the old style of play, not the old games themselves.
I’d prefer that “clone” meant a clone of the rules, but I guess I don’t really see harm in looking to clone the style of play.
I know not everyone will agree.