Back in the day, we wee DM’s had all these hardback books for D&D (note this does not have the A in front of it) that we would carry around all over the place in case we needed to look up some arcane fact buried in the largely incomprehensible and inconsistent ruleset that was Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. In our 6th grade brains, we thought we were actually playing AD&D, referencing the hardback books and even leaving the Basic D&D books at home from time to time. In reality, however, we were actually playing the Red Box/Blue box basic D&D using the AD&D Monster manual, Fiend Folio and a few tidbits (magic items, psionics (bleh), etc.) from the Players Handbook/Dungeon Masters guide chosen at will because, quite frankly, the AD&D ruleset was pretty much ass compared to basic, and PURE ASS compared to anything modern that was written to a good standard and actually thouroughly playtested. The version I started the game with (blue box) only went to level 3–hence the pathway at that time (before the red box set) was to go AD&D. There was no other choice if you wanted characters over level 3. Yet, even with these massive tomes, we still played with all the Basic D&D rules, literally glossing over the AD&D combat rules in the Dungeon Masters Guide, not just simply ignoring the nuances, but ignoring the entire fundamentals of the AD&D system.
So Wizards of the Coast has announced that it will reprint the old AD&D hardback books in 2012. Though this is an interesting use of the IP, and will go to support the Gygax Memorial fund (Lake Geneva needs a statue of the man somewhere!) what I personally hope it squashes is any nostalgic dreams that AD&D was a good system or even an understandable system, especially compared to the good old Basic D&D that we were actually playing back in the day which lives on in a lot of versions (Labyrinth Lord is my favorite of the bunch) .