My dad designed, but had an architect complete the details of, the house I grew up in. We moved in in 1967. The house has plunger switches in the door jambs of the closets. Open the door, the light goes on. Close the door, it goes off. Very simple, and very effective as long as you are willing to keep the closet door closed most of the time and go without light if you go in the closet and close the door behind you.
As for X10, I was an early adopter, starting in 1979. I've thrown away many defective X10 devices (controllers, lamp modules, appliance modules), yet those closet door switches still work. Not saying automation is bad, just not robust enough yet.