I had my first RPG experience at age 9, after the Wrightstown Elementary School barn dance. Hollis's mom, who was kind of a strange hippy type, had bought him a new kind of game--"Dungeons & Dragons" (Mentzer, Red Box, 1983)--and he wanted us to play it with him as the "Dungeon Master."
For pretty much the next twenty years, I've been a big fan of RPG's in general, and Red Box D&D has always held a special spot in my heart. That was our favorite game from about 1985 to 1989. Our characters went on crazy quests, defeated Demogorgon, won strange artifacts, fought beasts from the 5th Dimension (the Dimension of Nightmares, y'know). With the recent threads about it on various on-line fora, I dug out my old copies--and I'm astonished that, to the best of my knowledge, we never engaged with any of the rules.
On that first night, I played a Cleric with 4 Charisma. None of us knew what "Charisma" meant, but I was very unhappy with that low score. Tim played a Fighter. I don't remember anything about the dungeon, except that it involved graph paper, and all kinds of crazy monsters from the AD&D Monster Manual (which had funky pictures in it). My Cleric died almost immediately fighting a carrion crawler; we bribed Hollis with Halloween candy to let us live.
Most of the rest of our "campaign" over the next couple of years ended up being weird, random stuff that didn't make much sense, handled almost entirely through declaration and fiat.
* We never bothered with encumbrance rules
* We never bothered with morale
* We never bothered with movement
* We never bothered with spell durations & AoE
* We never bothered with spells, actually
* We never bothered with attack rolls, damage, etc.
Basically: you name the rule, we ignored it.