Back in the day when you bought an RPG it was expected you read it all and tried to understand the rules before playing. The difficulty factor was that without previous RPG experience most of these games would have been incomprehensible, you learned by being taught by others who had probably started the same way. The prime example was AD&D. Yes you could buy the three core books but I don't think there was much in them telling you how to play the game. We started with Basic D&D and when we understood the mechanics of that moved to AD&D.
Now we have the starter set. It's a great idea, the D&D 5th edition starter set is a highly recommended starting point. I haven't played it but my work group, who I introduced to AD&D, have gone on to play it and joined other 5th ed. campaigns. Call of Cthulhu has one, with some great scenarios in. Those are two excellently produced products that you pay for but there are many other games that produce PDF starter sets usually available for free on DriveThruRPG. Delta Green was one I mentioned in my previous post.
Through listening to podcasts I have been exposed to games that came out after I went into deep freeze and never knew existed. Did I think the hobby disappeared after White Dwarf became a lead figure-fest, or gamers stuck with the classics? Probably. Listening to podcasts I have heard about a lot more games I'd like to play. When will we get time? I don't know. A couple of the starter sets I have waiting are:
Savage Worlds: This is a generic RPG, it provides the mechanics and you provide the backdrop, whatever era, whatever characters. It looks a great system and the starter set comes with a fantasy background. The podcast What Would the Smart Party Do? created this interest for me. It looks like t would be great for one off adventures based on favourite TV shows, films, books or comics. At the moment although I would like to add the full game to my collection I have no ideas to create adventures for it that aren't covered by the games I've got. It's not an expensive system around $10 - $20 for the PDF, maybe one for the future?
Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000AD: We used to enjoy playing the Games Workshop original game when it came out and now the whole thing has been revamped. Dredd was one of my favourite comic strips and White Dwarf published great adventures. The rules have now been redone and future 2000AD comic strips like Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog and hopefully Bad Company can be incorporated in the future. This is a starter set I will drop into my gaming group at some point. Living in Australia now and with most of my group much younger than me I don't know how aware they will be of the antics in Megacity 1, but I can try.