My D&D eperience started with the "Choose Your own Adventure" series and its cousins. Some used a rudimentary d6 element to them as well, like a game. Then the fateful day at a cousins house who showed me his brothers B/X boxes. I was immediately hooked. That single afternoon I understood the mechanics thru logic. Being in a rural Nebraska area there was no readily accessible book stores much less a gaming store. So my brother and I invented "Improvised D&D" which suited for our purposes. Eventually I was able to pick up 1e AD&D books and Boot Hill and SJGames Car Wars box set, Gangsters & Gmen, and the Gamma World box set (think it was 4th one, guy in sci fi armor riding an armored armadillo). Of those Boot Hill actually became my favorite despite the many pounds of AD&D books I then had. Years later I got my hands on the D&D Cyclopedia but today prefer Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG as it captures B/X with advanced rules. D&D4e and Gamma World for more tabletop war game like simulation. But to me D&D will always actually mean the box sets. They are more like the original white box intentions and fit the fantasy tropes better. Demi-humans are not all over the place, an elf is an elf a dwarf a dwarf. But at the same time it doesn't tell you how it "should" be played, or exactly what setting you should use and that you can't modify them. To be fair none of the recent versions do either but the conventions, books, and store events pretty much bind the DM.