Castles and Crusades gave me glimpse of what I was looking for and that eventually lead me to the Basic Fantasy RPG and from the there blogs dedicated the Old School Revolution or Resurgence.
The OSR really took off when Wizards of the Coast, who had released quite a bit of earlier rule sets and support material in PDF, took them all down.
Quite a few customers either had the chance to rediscover DnD powered by simpler rules that were far fewer pages or discovered them for the first time.
So, some of them turned to the Open Gaming License, which was released with DnD 3.0, that made vast portions of material open to be used commercially by anyone. They used the OGL to recreate their favorite rules (Labyrinth Lord and Swords and Wizardry) or to bring the rules back into print, to support them with adventures (OSRIC).
It seemed to catch on quickly and soon, WotC was not only facing Paizo as compeition (when DnD 4E was releases, Paizo published their own rules based on DnD 3.5 to continue to support their adventures and campaign world--and service for the first time those who didn't want to move forward with a new edition of DnD), but seemed to realize there were customers they had lost to even earlier editions of the rules.
Much like in the early days of DnD, Dungeon Masters and tinkerers were able to support DnD at the grassroots level, but now they could do it legally and had the internet to connect to other likeminded people.
OSR material and blogs seemed to spring forth almost daily. And while I'd never really played "old school" DnD, it really appealed to me. I tried Castles and Crusades, but it just didn't catch on and then I was on sabbatical. We had burnt out on DnD 4E and Pathfinder wasn't a game I wanted to run.
But, even though I wasn't playing, I followed the OSR and watched where things were going.
Eventually, I would return to roleplaying, first playing Pathfinder, then being able to playtest DnD Next/5E and that gave me the bug to start this blog, right here.
All because I got swept up in the OSR and those that came before me.