I started playing D&D in 1984, the same year the D&D cartoon came out. In case you don't remember this show, it's about six kids who ride the Dungeons & Dragons roller coaster at the amusement park. The ride somehow propels them into a fantasy world where they meet Dungeon Master, a pudgy, bald midget dude who instantly gives them magic weapons. The ranger gets a bow with no string or arrows, that shoots unlimited arrows. The barbarian gets a magic club. The cavalier gets a magic shield (no sword, no horse). The thief gets a cloak of invisibility. And the acrobat gets a magic staff, which can appear in her hands at will. The point of the show was for the kids to find a way back home. It was a cute show. My daughter and nephew are both six, so I decided to use them as an excuse to purchase and watch the series again.
My buddy Tony got the core AD&D books from his parents after seeing the cartoon. He had me over to play. What's the first thing he did? Assign me a magic item. Heck, we didn't even roll attributes yet. So now I know why my friends and I, and probably so many others who started out in those times, were obsessed with magic items in D&D.
I don't know why this is important, but I thought I'd share.
And for the record, the kids want to know more about D&D now. Mission accomplished. :)