I have particularly strong memories associated with issue #100 of Dragon (August 1985). Firstly, it was one of the last issues I received as a subscriber. I'd continue to buy issues of the magazine singly till about 1987 or thereabouts, but I often missed them, sometimes for many many months. Consequently, I found myself less plugged into what was happening at TSR and indeed the wider community of the hobby. Secondly, issue #100 came out at the same time as the last "game day" I attended at a local library. These game days had been a staple of my gaming experience since the early '80s. They were where I met other gamers and got exposed to RPGs I might otherwise not have played. After 1985, they just ended and so, too, did my connection to game groups other than my own. Thirdly, this issue appeared just as I was about to start Grade 10, thus coinciding with the break-up of my original game group and the general decline in my regular play of D&D (or any RPG, as it turned out) till the mid-90s.
Finally, there was Unearthed Arcana, an advertisement for which appeared in issue #100:
Unearthed Arcana was thus a huge disappointment to me. It marked the first time that I actively disliked an AD&D hardcover, a feeling made all the stronger by the book's poor editing and poor binding. It was an "emperor's clothes" moment and, in one book, D&D, TSR, and Gary Gygax were lessened in my eyes. It seems silly to say that, in retrospect, but it was true nonetheless. At 14, I was a huge fanboy of all three of them and Unearthed Arcana made me realize how foolish such an attitude was. I continued to buy TSR books after that, of course, but never with the same fervor and certainly with a lot more cynicism about their quality.
So, issue #100 seems a good place to stop this particular series of posts. I could continue, but, since I read Dragon less and less after this milestone issue, I'd also have a lot less to cogent commentary to offer about the ads I'd choose to highlight. Instead, I'm starting a new Dragon-related series next week in place of this one. Look for it on Tuesdays and Thursdays.