Cautiously Optimistic

By Gordon Aplin (July, 2005)
Well, the first half of 2005 has seen a disappointing number of new adventure game releases making 2004 look like a positive glut. And adventure games are not alone in their scarcity as there are not many new role playing games around either. Also there is still a serious dearth of children's adventure games since Humongous all but disappeared in the bizarre world of corporate takeovers. Without easy access to fun children's adventures we wonder where the next generation of adventure game fans will spring from. We can put our faith in the Nancy Drew series or games like Saddle Club: Willowbrook Stables, but they are for primary school age and up, and, dare I say it, more for the girl market rather than for boys. So, unless, there are some older adventure games for young children still around on the shelves, or some new ones miraculously come to the rescue, we shall have to continue training the next generation on the laps of adults, playing more 'grown-up' games that are suitable for everyone.

Here at Quandary we began our tenth year with a lot of optimism about what this year would bring and we are still cautiously optimistic that the remainder of the year will improve.

We still have good reason for our optimism when we look into our Crystal Ball and see the adventure games that are in production. It is just a matter of being patient until they are released. Sequels to Runaway, Tony Tough, Rhem, Myst and The Westerner are in the pipeline which is a healthy sign that the developers still have a belief in their product and suggests that the sales must have been at least reasonable to justify a sequel. New commercial games on the horizon are also looking very promising with Agatha Christie's: And Then There Were None, Keepsake, Bone, Dreamfall, A Vampyre Story, Ankh, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and many others.

There are some promising non-commercial games on the way too. King's Quest IX: Every Cloak has a Silver Lining and Broken Sword 2.5. There are fan made remakes too of King's Quest III, Quest for Glory and Space Quest, as well as numerous other projects. The creators of the popular 5 Magic Amulets are also planning a new adventure.

In the meantime what can adventure game fans do while they are waiting for these games to appear? Well, if you haven't done so already, check out the Quandary Free Fun pages. Here you will find many free adventure games to download or play online and some are full versions of previously released commercial games such as Flight of the Amazon Queen, Beneath A Steel Sky and Lure of the Temptress. These games have generously been made freely available by the developers who are to be applauded as far too many older games disappear with hardly a trace.

Speaking of older games, if you can still track some down or you have them on your shelf but don't think you can play them on your new whiz-bang machine running Windows XP then think again. A little program called Dosbox has made life easier for all of us and it is worth checking out if you want to play your old games. For more information on Dosbox have look at our FAQ page and if you still have problems you can always post your query on our forum.

So, "Yes", we are still optimistic, if impatient, and looking forward to a better second half of 2005.

Copyright © Gordon Aplin 2005. All rights reserved.