For me 1984 was pretty much my breakout year where it was obvious I was a full-blown nerd. I had played D&D one time in 1982, collected a Moldvay Basic and Cook Expert boxed set by 1983, but had a hard time getting anybody to play. Inflicted a few sessions on my sisters and some distant cousins, but that was about it.
In 1983 I started seriously reading comics, starting with “The New Mutants #1” and “Uncanny X-Men #167.” Gradually I started reading other Marvel Comics titles.
Then in 1984 TSR came out with this:
the Marvel Super Heroes roleplaying game. While pretty much at the same time Marvel published this:
the “Secret Wars” limited series.
Between the two, the Marvel Comics universe was ripe for gaming. Suddenly the comics universe had been “synchronized” so you knew WHEN things were happening in relation to different titles. I suddenly perceived it as a dynamic “world” that was just like how some folks were describing their D&D campaign worlds.
I started reading pretty much the whole gamut of Marvel Comics, and bought every Marvel Super Heroes item I could lay my hands on.
I still had a hard time getting people to play with, once again inflicting a few sessions on relatives. The super hero genre seemed to go a bit better in terms of being “grokked” by non-gamers, but rarely got past a couple sessions before they lost interest. Luckily MSH was not that hard to play solo (it was mostly battles and action scenes, so I could play both the heroes & villains and resolve what happened with a minimum of “fudging”).
Pretty soon I was converting all kinds of stuff into the FASERIP system as it seemed so intuitive to me from reading so many comics. Transformers? Just adapted the stats from the back of the toy packaging. D&D monsters? Not too hard, did lots of those.
I spent about the next 5 years totally immersed in the Marvel Universe, until having to grow up, get a job, and go to college left me without the time or money to keep up with 20-30 comics per month. Gradually I cut back, until finally I was down to the various X-Men related titles, until finally during the middle of the “Phalanx Covenant” storyline from 1991 or thereabouts, I just stopped.
Luckily by then I was going to gaming conventions a few time a year, so my nerdiness could continue to express itself 🙂