Mr. Bill's Adventureland
Editorial by Mr. Bill
Pardon us, but we beg to disagree with those publishers and developers who are telling us that we, the adventure gamers of the world, should want and buy the new 'mixed genre' (adventure/action/strategy/role playing) computer games. That's like telling us that we should buy a certain make of car, or like a certain kind of food.
We understand that they believe that this is "the future of adventure gaming", and we realize that this is the current popular consensus of opinion among them. But we feel that there are several points that these publishers and developers are neglecting to consider as they compete for a piece of the console gaming market. Some of these points were finally addressed extremely well by Cindy Yans in the article 'At What Price 3D?' in Computer Games Strategy Plus Magazine.
That article clearly reflects the feedback that we also constantly receive from adventure gamers worldwide. That is, that there are many, many gamers out there, including us, who simply DON'T LIKE 'action' in our games, or having to run around shooting things... it makes us nervous. We are not enamoured with the current blocky look of 3D graphics, don't like using the keyboard to navigate, and are not necessarily interested in a joystick. Our idea of a relaxing thing to do after a stressful day at work is not playing an equally stressful game. We do not enjoy 'testing our reflexes', and have never been particularly interested in the strategy and/or role-playing games, especially the combat aspects.
What we DO enjoy is a game that challenges our intellect, is a break from the daily stress of the real world, makes us feel better about ourselves, and hopefully also educates and/or enlightens us about something along the way, and/or enthralls us with a good story. These are 'the adventure gamers' that have been buying adventure games since the days of Infocom, and contrary to the prevailing opinion among publishers and developers, there are still millions of us worldwide.
Since we have a website that is devoted to adventure gaming, we know from constant feedback that many, many people are absolutely desperate to find non-gory, non-violent, non-'action' adventure games, that don't insult their intelligence and/or are something that they feel comfortable buying for their children and grandchildren. And as a result of the dearth of such games in the U.S. marketplace recently, most of these people are being forced to go back to the older games, or to try to order the only recent ones from those European companies who are still producing true adventure games.
However these points address only the current situation for the millions of already existing adventure gamers. But the most important point that we feel publishers and developers are missing in their rush to produce 3D action/adventure games, is the one about who the gamer of the immediate future will be... and it is staring any intelligent observer in the face.
Even a casual perusal of any predictive demographics quickly points out that the age of the general population is rapidly changing, and within the next 5 years there will be more retired baby boomers than there are young people. These are people who DID NOT grow up on the action of console gaming, and so they have no great love for it. But these are all people who DO love computers (they've been using them for years at work), and very soon they will be sitting there with time on their hands... and LOADS of discretionary income to spend!
Even the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) is beginning to see what's happening. They just recently completed a survey of their membership, most of whom are far older than the baby boomers, and found that even today 90% of them like and use computers and the Internet, with more being added to that number each day.
All of this reminds us of something that happened several years ago. Recreational Vehicles (RVs) were a relatively small market, only being built for and promoted to young families with children for camping, until one day when it suddenly occurred to some bright person that all of the free time, and the discretionary income, belonged to the retiree. So they changed their marketing focus to the older person... and a giant, very profitable industry was born! Surely there is some publisher out there with the same foresight.
© 1999 Mr. Bill's Adventureland