As a 48 year old gamer I have seen a lot of changes in our hobby. I still have my first wargame done in two-color printing back in 1976. Back than we had a hobby shop in my small town and three in a near by mall. SPI and Avalon Hill were the kings of the industry and I could find almost anything in one of those four shops.
In the 90s we were down to a single shop and you could get anything you wanted, as long as it was done by Games Workshop. I hunkered down and thanks to the Internet, BBS and email I saw able to find the titles that I had heard of but never saw.
Today I have virtual stores I can go to, and while hanging around is not possible, I am able to maintain friendships with gamers that I may only see once or twice a year.
Last Historicon is a great example. I was able to meet and talk to one of the rock stars of our industry, Richard Clarke. We chatted on rules and what were the systems that he thought the industry would be working on next. It was fun and why I take part in these games.
I was also told about a store in England called Spirit Games. Phil was able to get me all the buildings that I thought I was going to need for Dux (I will have to order more I am afraid). He was helpful and a pleasure to work with.
So were is the hobby, in my view better than ever. We have more opportunities for great product done by very helpful individuals. Now I need to get back to cleaning those Hovel buildings for Dux.