I first picked up GURPS in a boxed set at the comic book store while I was still in high school I loved the whole generic universal slant on gaming, and liked the gritty combat, but really - I had no idea what to do with it. It wasn't until third edition GURPS came out that a bell went off in my head and I could see playing something beyond "Caravan to Ein Arris" style fantasy games. The 90s saw me flexing my GURPS muscle, and it turned out to be the rpg that I would spend more time GMing that any other one - ever. But eventually, I abandoned GURPS to go chase simpler, more 'pure' games.
Okay, yeah, well I'm back. I made the mistake of saying I'd never play GURPS again - which my players basically consider a dare to get me interested in playing something again. In two months I've amassed, through a well timed birthday and some horse trading at the FLGS, eleven GURPS books (GURPS Horror is not in the picture above, but instead, sitting beside me as I type.)
I like the new 4th edition. Honestly, I don't know which is better - 3rd or 4th - all I can really say is that 4th isn't so different that I can actually remember what has been changed, and nothing about it bugs me so far. What I am sure is the same is its effect on me. It's superbly written and researched. I can read just about any random paragraph and it sets my mind off is a creative fugue of immense proportions. You know, some rpgs spark off an idea for a campaign idea or two - but GURPS gets me going something crazy.
I think the important thing for me is that core philosophy to have the rules approach a playable realism. Some games have really cool mechanics and knobs and whistles. GURPS has always been somewhat of a bland toolkit. But I approach the game with an armload of imagination, it soaks that stuff up like a sponge. It doesn't impose it's mechanics on my ideas, but rather, I impose my vision on the mechanics.
Perhaps every rpg works that way, but for me, GURPS has been the best example of a 'sponge game.' I mean, I'd never would have picked up and run a horror noir style game, but in sitting around with my players and asking them what they were interested in, I whipped up the Limehouse Chinatown GURPS game we are playing right now.
So, yeah, I'm jazzed. :)
I guess my biggest issue is that two of the 4th edition books that I would really like to have, High-Tech and Ultra-Tech, are out of print and are only available for a pretty penny. If anyone out there is hanging on to a 4th edition High-Tech and Ultra-Tech that they are no interested in - drop me a line and maybe we can do some horse trading or arrange a trade. :)