Every so often someone asks what the point is of the "retro-clone" games, and occasionally it sparks another heated debate. This time the forum is Dragonsfoot.
I've tried very hard in the past to succinctly answer this question on various forums. Probably over at DF too, but I've decided I'm done trying, which is why I didn't make a post there.
You know what the real problem is? Sure, occasionally someone new to "the scene" is genuinely confused and wants to know what's up. But more often than not the person asking knows full well what the point of the retro-clones is but refuses to accept that as an answer. The question is only asked to try to twist everything into a knot. I could (yet again) outline exactly why I wrote Labyrinth Lord, the goals behind it, the whys and hows, but the problem is that when I've done that in the past it is just ignored. It's not the answer they're looking for. It's not that the truth is so hard to grasp, its that they reject the answer. They have already decided that there is no point to the retro-clones, so you're lured once again into what actually amounts to people being upset that retro-clones might be taking attention away from out of print games.
Is there a point to the retro-clones? Yeah. If you're receptive to the answer, you already know it.