Since some forums are discussing the future of Pathfinder and whether it will continue to be popular or will even gain in popularity, it got me thinking about something. I don't have any Pathfinder books. This is because the stated purpose of Pathfinder -- to fill the void left by D&D 3e, for people who preferred 3e over other games -- doesn't appeal to me. Even the example Pathfinder material I've seen on blogs and such, the class, monster and spell write-ups, turn me off. It's exactly the kind of game I don't want to play. And, despite the probably differences in gameplay between Pathfinder and D&D 4e, the latter shares the same bad features I can see in the Pathfinder sample material, so I don't want to play it, either. It's the information blocks. The kinds of information given in a monster or character stat block, a class info block, or a spell info block, the kind of precision implied by the details given for each write-up, is simply not what I want.
No surprise there. But what I was musing about was that many of the write-ups for retroclones or some TSR-era products share the same features, and this turns me off, too. Take a typical feature of new class write-ups for old school D&D: minimum ability scores. I don't like 'em and don't use 'em, but it's not just because of the benefits I think a no-minimums approach has; I actively dislike having to track that much information about a class. two or three class abilities, maybe one or two more at higher levels, and the save/to-hit/hit dice/XP information is about the limit of what I want, and most of the actual numbers (save, to-hit, hit dice, XP) I prefer to equate to one of the four core classes. So, I prefer something like "The Foo class saves and attacks like a cleric, but uses M-U hit dice and XP tables, and has the Bar and Baz abilities, plus SuperBar at 9th level."
Or take the typical spell. It's not just that I don't like to break down differences in verbal, somatic and material components on a spell-by-spell basis, or that I think anything other than ad hoc spell categories or "colleges" is too regimented, or that I don't really want range, area, and duration to vary by level for most spells, and certainly never all three stats at the same time for any spell. It's the sum of all that and the kind of nit-picky approach to handling spells in the game that turns me off.
I just don't want a game, or game material, that requires that amount of detail.