On Demographics and Writing Letters from Leah in Illinois
I have been playing adventure games since I was 10 years old...I started on King's Quest I. I'm 22 now (and female) and away at grad school, and although in recent years I have tried out a few action games (mostly like Everquest, or Half-Life), I still spend most of my time in adventure games. I have to admit, I'm disappointed in the way the quantity (and quality) of adventure games has declined. I was most disappointed when games like King's Quest VIII which tried to lure in the typical demographic (16-28 year old males) while completely ignoring the loyal King's Quest fan base, which enjoyed the original game format just fine, thank you.
A few years ago, I realized that adventure games were in trouble. Go into any software store and just try to find an adventure game's section ..... it's either not there anymore, or it's a small shelf with only a few games ..... and those are either games I've already played or games that don't belong in the adventure section (I call them "stealth-action" games, where you don't realize that they're action games until you read the fine print). I remember a long time ago when I could walk into Best Buy and see an entire row of nothing but adventure games. So I promised myself that I would do my best not to let the genre die. Every time I play a game that I feel is worthwhile, I make a point of e-mailing the company afterward to tell them what I enjoyed about the game, as well as including demographics. I honestly don't know if they read them, but I figure that every little bit helps. I've written to Sierra and LucasArts most often, as well as DreamCatcher Interactive...I'm sure there are others but I can't remember them off the top of my head.
And speaking of demographics, I really do think it's sad that most games released nowadays are targeted toward my younger brother and not me. My dad is also well outside the target range...he just turned 50 in November, and has been playing games for the last four years or so ..... imagine my surprise when I left for school my freshman year of college, and I get a phone call from him asking about "that new MYST game". Apparently he had seen me playing it, bought it out of curiosity, got stuck and wanted hints. From that point on, he's outpaced me in game-playing ..... I'd guess that for every game I manage to finish, he finishes 3.