Have computer games ruined table RPGs? I'm not talking about product vs. product, but rather the process, interaction and appreciation of people as they play the game.
As time passes, I'm seeing more and more references (here) to number-crunching, min-maximizing, strikeforce team tactics, and building new characters at higher levels. RPG character construction elements are becoming more like computer programing modules - plug in a new prestige class here, add a template there. ... It reminds me of the mouse click-click-click quick changes as you play a computer game. Maybe it's because within just a few minutes you can experiment with so many options on screen and that's being taken to the table with our friends. I don't know. I'm having a hard time clarifying a vaguely defined sense of change.
This might be more apparent to old-school gamers with many years of experience, and even the young pups among us who have the most creativity. Am I way off base?
Nah... There are still people play games with random generation, minis combat, and "play what you get"...
Tunnels and Trolls new editions are only really different from the 1979 5th in advancement, not in mechanics, and it's doing well.
OSR folks are still trying to reinvent the wheel by tweaking BX Moldvay-cook, and/or ignoring rules and just talking it out.
Excluding licensed games, a wide variety of games are finding new leases on life via DTRPG via PDF and POD. Even a few licensed games are back available, thanks to a combination of new licensee confidence and cooperative licensors.
There are currently over 10000 RPGs listed in the RPGGeek.com database (More like 12k, but note that many games have multiple editions considered different enough to count as separate RPGs. There are new ones of almost every levelm of crunch and various playstyles.
The thing is, on a general level, most people wind up in confirmation bias land as they're not knowing where and how to look, and so when they do go looking, they find only what they already knew how to find.
Sure, not as many people as a percentage of the industry are playing Hero System or Rolemaster, but neither of those is actually losing all that many losses of players, and they're still selling corebooks, and there are pseudoclones of Rolemaster and spacemaster.
Hârnmaster is still selling new copies, both in PDF and dead tree.
Many companies entire OOP catalogue are going back up for new generations to find. One such game I'll recommend is Justifiers. It has hit DTRPG, and is well scanned, old school percentile goodness.
My FTF gaming groups at present are mostly late teens to early 20's, My online one is late 20's early 30's. I'm in my 50's. The kids I've got are playing games I enjoy and having a good time. Sometimes older systems (Tunnels and Trolls dates back to 1975), sometimes new (Twilight 2000 4E, Alien, and Dune). I lost my tastes for GURPS, Hero, and some of the crunchier games, but there are still lots of people playing them, bringing new people to them, and so on....
GURPS is on life support not because it's not holding its own, but because SJG has raised their standards and the price of paper and printing has exceeded inflation, plus they pay decent. (If you can land a deal with SJG, you get a fair deal, and competent editorial oversight. They're a joy to work for/with... but it's all freelance.) It's mostly higher costs and higher standarts.
Palladium's still feeding Siembieda after 40 years. Not without some issues, but it's still doing business, and as of 7 years ago, was the game I saw most in school-age kids hands who couldn't afford D&D prices. And the same locations in my high school and my friends high schools had gamers running games in them. (That's when I essentially retired.)
And if you want crunchy? Aces & Eights for westerns, Hackmaster 5e for Murder-hoboes.
Computers have made it possible to find gamers for lesser game systems, and to play with people all over the world, and for the math challenged, many VTTs make the math a non-issue. And made char gen for Rolemaster quicker.