There's a flame-war going on over in the Gamma World forums (maybe we should rename them a Rad-war because, well, flames are so 6th century) and it basically boils down to this.
"I don't understand the point of purchasing a game and playing it if I then have to change a bunch of rules because the players at my table can't handle them RAW. There's nothing to stop you from writing your own post-apocalyptic game with whatever rules and mechanics you want. But that game, rightly so, wouldn't be Gamma World.
This game came with a rulebook, a 160-page instruction manual for how the game should be played. It didn't come with a card saying "Hey, it's post-apocalypse! Do whatever you want!" The first page doesn't say, "These are the rules, but feel free to substitute whatever you want if your players can't handle it." And yes, like was previously mentioned, there are even times when the rulebook calls you out for substituting rules.
I'm all for coming up with house-rules, but I'm not going to do it just because my players think things are too hard, or they're upset because they think they have a sub-optimal character. If I have trouble with a video game, I don't get to call Nintendo and tell them to change it because it's too hard. I either (a) man up and figure out a way to get through it, or (b) put it down and pick up another game."
In other words, "Suck it up, you pansy. I'm the GM and we're playing this game hardcore or there's the door."
The most ridiculous part of this macho posturing is the insistence that the game "doesn't say, 'These are the rules, but feel free to substitute whatever you want...'" when, of course, this is the cardinal rule of all tabletop roleplaying games, and always has been, ever since it was printed on the first page of the original Dungeon Master's Guide. For as long as there have been roleplaying games, there have been house rules. When Cronk the Caveman said, 'Memorizing spells every day is stupid. Can't I have X many magic points per day or something?', Grunch the Caveman GM said, 'Hm, maybe, sure. Gimme a week and I'll figure something out for you.' Cronk isn't complaining because he's a wuss. Because he "can't handle it." He's complaining because the rule is not fun and he can think of an alternative that is more fun.
The designers at Wizards chose to leave that page of instruction out of 3E and 4E not because they didn't think it was true, but because they were conscious of the confusion it creates for new players when, on the first page of the book, you tell them, "Um, you don't really have to use all this stuff you just bought. If you want to wing it, that's cool. We know you love games and we're not going to take it personally."
It is pointless to insist on this hardcore "You play the RAW or you frackin' walk" mentality because it simply cannot be enforced. Well, I admit, you can enforce it in your group. That's certainly true. It's a petty little power trip in which you are taking pleasure while your players are unhappy, but hey, whatever floats your boat. It's a big world and I'll never have to play in your game. But you can't make anyone else conform to this ridiculous standard and it's silly to try.
When I run Gamma World the first day, for Worldwide Game Day, I will run it straight out of the box RAW. Why? Because I don't know who my players are going to be and we need to have some kind of common expectation of how the game is going to work. And that will be the last day I ever run GW RAW. But I will continue to run and play the game, and it will still be Gamma World.
Player expectation is one key to a successful game. It's like going to a movie. If you're a Shakespeare nut, and you decide to go see Elizabeth, but the show is sold out and you have to buy tickets for Shakespeare in Love instead, you are not going to be happy. You wanted high drama and you got a romantic comedy. The fact that both movies are about the same time period, and even have Elizabeth in them, has no bearing on your enjoyment of the movie because your expectations were thwarted. The same thing happens when you see a trailer for a film which seems to suggest it is, say, an action movie, but it turns out to be a suspenseful thriller instead. You didn't get what you expected. You feel disappointed.
The wise GM assures that he and his players are all on the same page when it comes to expectations for the game to come. If everyone knows the game is all about randomness, and everyone is cool with that, then randomness shall be the rule of law. But if your players want to play Gamma World, but don't want the randomness, it's just narrow-minded and anti-social to make them swallow the bitter syrup of randomness because, if they don't, they must be whiny slackers.
Gamma World has a lot of randomness, and the designers poke some fun at players who might want to perform the sin of picking their own character backgrounds, but the designers don't mean those casual jibes to be true insults. They're not being mean, and I think we can all agree that if you told the designers of Gamma World, "Hey, my players want to play this game, but we want to take out a bunch of the random elements and make it more serious. Is that all right?" They would say, "Sure! Do whatever you want and have fun! It's your game!"
That phrase, "It's your game!" was on that first page of the DMG back in the '70s and it's no less true now. The reason it is ridiculous to try to browbeat other GMs into playing any game as if it was the Ten Commandments is that it's impossible to enforce that attitude. On a purely practical level, you're never going to be able to barge into that guy's garage, fire up the RAW Siren, and shame him into running the rules as written. There are no game police. He's going to do whatever the hell he wants to do, and he's still going to call it Gamma World.
So you may as well let him. Because he's doing it anyway, whatever you say. And more power to him.