A Sad State of Affairs

By Rosemary Young and Gordon Aplin (February, 1998)
This first Issue of Quandary for 1998 comes with our belated best wishes for the current year to all our readers. It's our fourth year of electronic publishing and this issue has the auspicious distinction of being number 13. Unlucky according to some, but we are not of that persuasion.

... Or are we?

Times are, unfortunately, tricky at the moment. Compared with previous years, we are late in posting this new year's edition of Quandary because there are very few adventuring or puzzle games around. The plain truth is, we can't begin an issue if we don't have games to review. We seem to recall always having a couple of games waiting in the wings to be reviewed over the festive season, usually the ones that didn't quite make it in time for a pre-Christmas release, but this season they were conspicuous only by their absence.

It's a disturbing trend that there are fewer and fewer adventure games being released at the moment. Although this trend has been evident for some years now it seems that adventures have well and truly slipped to the bottom of the priority list when it comes to designers deciding what sort of game they will make. There's obviously more money in action games so the lure is set. Adventure games are destined to suffer.

And if this is not enough for adventuring fans there is another disturbing trend that is adding to our woes. Adventure games are not receiving the same wide distribution that action games are enjoying and, coupled with the lower-key publicity that they attract, this means that the games that are released are often very thin on the ground. One of the games that seemingly suffered from this 'invisibility' malady was Amber: Journeys Beyond. This game was not distributed here in Australia, much to our total disgust. Obsidian was another title that faired badly, only released here many, many months after its overseas release. Copies of Space Bar, too, were like hens teeth, and we didn't catch a glimpse of The Feeble Files.

So, we are in the backwaters of Australia. If titles don't make it this far then we have a lot of trouble getting hold of them. It sometimes means that we spend as much time chasing up games as we do reviewing them ... not a happy state of affairs. But enough of our problems, it's more urgent to concentrate on the plight of adventure games. It is our fervent hope that the tide will begin to turn very soon. We still passionately believe that the long term success of all computer games can only be enhanced by the continued publication of adventure games so that they are accessible to more people. This is why we are not giving up just yet :-) This is why we make the supreme sacrifice and play so many games, we want to tell as many people as possible about them.

During this quiet time we are working on improving the appearance of our web site and we are also considering a change to the format, perhaps we will do away with issues altogether. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. In the meantime we are starting this auspicious Issue 13 of Quandary and we'll continue on as usual and review games as soon as we can get our hands on them.

Once again many, many thanks to all our friends who have sent us games to review, and we hope that we can keep up the good work over the coming year.

Copyright © Rosemary Young and Gordon Aplin 1998. All rights reserved.