A Guide for Promoting Adventure Games Editorial

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A GUIDE FOR PROMOTING ADVENTURE GAMES
What you can do to help

Editorial by Mr. Bill


After long deliberation, and in light of the comments, ideas, suggestions and opinions expressed on many Adventure Websites and Message Boards, I think the time has come to try to pool all of this information into one guide that can help all of us to bring back Adventure Games.  No one thing will solve our problem alone.

As the game developer Josh Mandel says, the popularity of the different genre (adventure, action, strategy, RPG, etc.) appears to be cyclical.  At present Adventures are down in popularity in the United States but apparently, according to Josh, are up again in Europe.  In support of this idea, nearly every new adventure game that comes out today is from Europe.  Of course our problem is getting publishers to release these new adventures here in the United States.  And even though the different genre do appear to be cyclical, most of us do not want to wait 6 to 10 years or more for adventure games to become popular again with publishers in the USA (although we are more hopeful since DreamCatcher Interactive has entered the publishing picture in North America).

We truly believe that there are many, many more adventure gamers in the United States than what the publishers are telling us.  They are not considering the older generation, or the female population.  In this country you keep hearing about male gamers between the ages of 17 and 28.  Overseas they recognize older gamers and women, but even their cutoff age there is 45.  Cryo Interactive has recently been gearing their advertising to all gamers, and specifically mentioning the feminine gender for some of their new games.  They have also been saying in their advertising that they hope to attract the 30 to 45 year old segment of the population.  But what has happened to the folks older than 45?

OK then, what can we personally do NOW to bring back the popularity of Adventure Games  (not that the popularity of Adventure games is really down, but rather that publishers 'can't see the forest for the trees').

The intent of this Guide is to unite Adventure gamers everywhere.  Remember that it is through our united effort that we can enlighten the publishers and developers as to who we really are and what we really want.  The reason that our Adventure Games Coalition was formed was in order to unite Adventure websites for strength.  We are people of many ages, kids to adults (adults do not end at 28 or even 45), and we are both male and female.

NOTE: This guide is subject to change if I receive additional helpful suggestions from you folks.

  1. Buy Adventure Games for yourself when they first become available so that money funnels back to the publishers and developers.  Naturally we are not encouraging you to buy just any adventure game at any price.  You, of course, should shop wisely and only buy games that are of interest to you and have not been rated poorly.  However keep in mind that ratings vary greatly due to the likes and dislikes of the reviewers and/or previewers, so look at as many reviews as you can find.  We often disagree with other reviewers.

  2. Buy Adventure Games for your children and grandchildren, and play the games with them!  What they love as children, they will demand from publishers when they are older.  And besides, it is far better that they grow up loving to use their minds rather than their trigger fingers.  There are some excellent children's Adventure Games (see our Kid's Software Reviews), particularly a number of those developed by Humongous Entertainment.

  3. Write letters!  What should the letter say and to whom do I send it?  Should I send it by snail mail (regular postage) or by email?  We have to agree with Josh Mandel that letters addressed to a specific person of importance and sent by regular postage have a better chance of being read than email.  We still don't think it would hurt to send email as well, but you might want to wait a few weeks until you either get a response to your letter or feel that you are being ignored.  Keep your letters relatively brief.  Write to both the developers and publisher that are supplying games that you like and encourage them to keep doing such a great job.  Write also to those publishers and developers that are a disappointment to you.  Be polite but tell them why you are so disappointed.

  • What do I include in the letter?

    1. Keep the letter brief.  It is more apt to be read if it is brief and to the point.

    2. Tell them who you are.  Include your age and your gender.  Also include what other family members and/or friends play these games with you.

    3. Explain what kinds of adventure games you look for.  For us it would be games low in violence and gore and high in fun, exploration and learning.

    4. Tell them how much money you have spent on adventure games over the last few years.  Give approximate yearly figures (e.g., $1000 in 1997, $2300 in 1998, etc.).  In our case, more money was being spent on older games (most often used), because new adventures were harder to find since few were being produced.

    5. Tell them why you are writing this letter:  either to praise them for what they are doing that pleases you, or to tell them what they have done that has disappointed (shocked, appalled, or dismayed) you.  Be polite, not insulting or disrespectful.  We know that is hard to do sometimes, but remember that you can get more with honey than with vinegar.

  • Whom do I send this letter to?

    1. Initially send them by regular postage to specific people who are involved in making these decisions.  At a later time you may wish to send your letter to others involved by email.

    2. Try to find the specific names of the individuals that hold the following titles (or similar titles) at the corporation you wish to write to.  These titles are Director of Marketing,  Vice President of Product Development,  Chairman of the Board,  and Chief Executive Officer.  Get a copy of the company's Annual Report (found at some of their websites) to find the names of these individuals and the company's postal address.  It may also help to write to the chief stockholders if you can find addresses for them.

      And remember to also send regular letters to the author and/or editor of hard copy gaming magazines regarding their coverage of Adventure Games.  Their addresses are always found in their magazines (both postal and email).  For an example of one such letter, which we wrote, click HERE

      Note that as a result of receiving many such letters, one magazine, 'Computer Gaming World', has recently adopted a more positive stance toward Adventure Games.

  •  1999  Mr. Bill's Adventureland


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