Fuck. Gangbusters is still so good. I've reread the rules repeatedly. I've talked about it with my players. I've even started a single player Gangbusters game with one of the guys (who subsequently has only played one session in three weeks, bummer). Gangbusters may be one of the most perfectly formulated roleplaying games ever made—and I'll never get to play it for an extended period.
Why it's perfect
I. The experience system rewards archetypical play. Criminals get awarded for making money. Cops get awarded for making high profile busts. Journalists get awarded for scooping stories. This is the class-based xp on steroids. It actively encourages everyone to take the role that people took historically, as well as in all those gangster films. a) It doesn't prohibit people from playing in any other way they can imagine—but they sure as hell are gonna gravitate to a few very attractive methods of getting what their character needs. b) It essentially molds your thoughts so you are attracted to the kinds of strategies for life that people from the era where. And that's a beautiful thing.
II. It's up-front about being non-cooperative. There aren't that many non-cooperative roleplaying games out there. Gangbusters is one of them. Some people play cops, some people play criminals, and others play folks on the side. You don't have to cooperate if you don't want to. Sure, you could play a corrupt cop that lets your criminal friends get away. But you can also play a straight-arrow detective who gets the other PCs put in jail. It's all up to you, and it doesn't interfere with the game the way, say, a party of evil destructive PCs killing each other might. Because this is part of the very meat of the game.
III. It's ultra simple and yet models everything it needs to. This is a game where one of the core attributes is the ability to drive. It's got skills, it's got attribute tests... and yet it doesn't have acres of rules determining how to grapple another character. On top of that the damn thing is deadly.
IV. It can support a HUGE group of people. The more people an RPG can actively handle, the better. I want all my friends that I've ever known to play with me. I want people I barely even know to play as well. I want the world to live in my fantasy lands.
Why I will never play it for the long haul
I. It requires a large number of people. I play online, via IRC. This means that requiring a ton of people pretty much guarantees that 1-3 of them won't be online for any given session. I can't go round and chastise these folks in person. And playing online has much less of a stigma associated with missing a session.
II. Not everyone plays at the same time. Turns are taken by team. All the cops, each individual reporter, all the criminals, etc. If it's not your turn, you may be waiting upwards of 3 hours for a week's worth of actions to resolve. But you can't stop paying attention or not show up, because it might also impact you! So you not only don't get to do anything, you have to keep reading the slow IRC crawl. In person, watching other people play can be neat. Online, it works out to being boring as fuck.
III. I'm never going to have an ongoing game in person again. This is the long and short of it. I don't know enough people who'd be willing to try or play a pen and paper RPG to run anything in person anymore. Sad days.