Alice's Adventures in Quandaryland

The Editor and the Publisher.
(Or why you should never ask Tweedledum and
Tweedledee for the way out of the woods.)

'Adventure games? We've got them all'
Said the sales droid clear and bright,
'Deus Ex, Quake and Half Life -
Just choose who you want to fight.'
I shook my head and told him,
'I was thinking more Gabriel Knight.'

His face took on a sulky pout
He really looked quite glum.
Said I'd no business being there -
After all was said and done
'It's very rude of you', he said
'To come and just poke fun!'

The store was dark as dark could be,
With dark boxes high and wide,
You could not see adventure games,
Because they seem to hide.
You won't find what you are looking for,
Adventure games have died!

The Editor and the Publisher
Were standing close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
An adventure on a stand:
'If only this were cleared away,'
They said, 'it would be grand!'

'If seven mags and seven sites
Jeered for several years,
Do you suppose', the Editor said,
That we could make them disappear?'
'I've no doubt,' said the Publisher,
'Ours is the only voice they'll hear!'

'O Adventurers come on board with us!'
The Editor did beseech,
'Try some action and some shooting,
It'll help to fill the breach:
For adventure games are dead, you know,
Reflex action is all we preach.

The eldest adventurer looked at him,
She'd heard it all before:
The eldest adventurer shook her head,
And gave mighty roar -
Meaning to say she did not choose
To replace puzzles with blood and gore.

But numerous adventurers hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their fingers twitched, their faces shone,
They couldn't wait to feel the heat.
But at the first tough battle scene
They screamed out for a cheat.

Still other players followed them,
They thought they knew the score:
Action and fighting is where it's at,
Give us more and more and more!
And through all the frenzied hype it said
Adventure games are a bore!

The Editor and the Publisher
Kept up a steady flow,
Of words and games designed they said
To keep the fans in tow:
And all the fans hung on every word
So they'd be in the know.

'The time has come', the Editor said,
'To talk of many things:
Of planes - and ships - and racing cars -
Of aliens - and fiends -
And why the X-Box is so hot -
And Lara Croft's nude scenes.'

'But wait a bit,' the adventurers cried,
There's nothing for us in that:
You haven't mentioned puzzles,
And our reflexes are flat!'
'No problem!' said the Publisher,
'We'll fix it with a patch'.

'An action game', the Editor said,
'Is what we really need:
Jumping Lava Pools and Power-ups
Are very good indeed -
Now, if you're ready, adventurers,
It's time for you to bleed.'

'That's not fair!' the adventurers cried,
'We've copped all the flack:
Surely it's the turn of action fans
To cut us a little slack.'
'Adventure games are dead', the Editor said,
Before he turned his back.

'Surely you see the sense of it:
There is simply no demand,
For adventure games with puzzles -
When you can just shoot things out of hand'.
The Publisher agreed and said,
'We really must make a stand'.

'It seems a shame', the Editor said,
'To play them such a trick.
Adventurers like to think they're smart,
But this lot are pretty thick!'
The Publisher said nothing but
'The money's rolling in quick!'

'I'm saddened too', the Editor said,
'But adventures have got to change,
Jumping and fighting are what's wanted now,
Action is all the rage!'
'That's quite true', said the Publisher,
'I've read it on every page'.

'O Adventurers,' said the Publisher,
'You've had a damned good run!
Won't you now give someone else a turn?'
But answer came there none -
And this was scarcely odd, because
All the adventurers had gone.

By Gordon Aplin (March, 2002)
(With apologies to Lewis Carroll)

Copyright © 2002. All rights reserved.