My perceptions could be off but it seems to me that BECMI (aka, Mentzer) D&D isn’t all that well liked in the old school community. Sure, there are people (like me!) who began playing D&D using Mentzer’s rules but even those folks tend to prefer playing other versions of the game.
One of the arguments I hear frequently is that BECMI D&D is synonymous with “kiddie D&D.” I think the fact of the matter is that all editions after Holmes was enlisted are geared toward reaching children as well as adults. Tim Kask, the first full-time employee of TSR, has related that Holmes was brought in to sterilize D&D and make it less scary for children. Still, I’m not sure why Mentzer’s rules tend to act as the lightning rod for the “kiddie” criticism.
Of course, that’s not a new criticism. I spent the first six months or so of my gaming life working my way through Mentzer’s rules only to find out that the older kids (aka, high shcoolers) preferred AD&D. Basic D&D, we were told, was for kids.
So what is it about BECMI/Mentzer that people dislike? Why is that the edition people tend to associate with kids?