Sunday 26 November 2017

Happy Anniversary!

By Ilmari

The complete history of The Adventure Gamer - now available in your local bookstores
Exactly six years ago, Trickster published his first post for TAG. I wasn’t yet there to read it and probably most of you weren’t either. It wasn’t until couple of months later, when I heard about Trickster’s project on CRPG Addict’s place, that I became aware of the new blog. I had been lurking around Addict’s for quite a while, but since I hadn’t really played that many CRPGs I never really had the need to comment on anything. With adventure games it was different, and when I felt Trickster hadn’t been fair to Black Cauldron, I tried to show that the game hadn’t been that bad Trickster had said it was. Ever the gentleman, Trickster took my criticism with dignity and invited me to comment more on the blog. And comment I did.

The mysterious person behind the blog

I wasn’t the only one to drift to TAG from Addict’s, and in a short time a bunch of more or less regular commenters had gathered to cheer Trickster in his efforts to go through the notable bits of adventure game history. Although the basic idea of the blog wasn’t new, you shouldn’t think this was just some pale imitation of Addict’s blog. No, because Trickster achieved something far greater. He built up a community for adventure gamers, with clever innovations like the CAP system, which spurred us all to help Trickster, play along, comment on the games and generally just keep the discussion alive.

When it was time for Trickster to move away to new challenges, I was glad to see the community I had learned to love so much take on the responsibility for carrying the project further. Although at first I took much of the administrative responsibilities, I don’t want to take any primary credit for the renewal, since for me it was from the start a community project. It wouldn’t have been possible to continue the blog without TBD, who bravely volunteered to be a partner in administering the blog and has been a faithful companion ever since, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Joe, who has always been a fountain of creative ideas, like the introduction of Missed Classics and various interviews of game developers, and who eventually became a part of our administrative staff.

Kudos also for our first few reviewers, who kept writing high-quality reviews during the first year, when we were just getting acquainted with the whole community blogging. The blog couldn’t have moved on without the acerbic wit of Aperama and his love-hate relationship with the French adventure gaming. It couldn’t have been same without the gore filled GIFs of Deimar. It would have been a much duller place without the innate sense of humour of Alex and his eternal nemesis, Jim Walls. It would have been a one-sided experience without Reiko and her acquaintance with modern interactive fiction.

And let’s not forget people who guest blogged a few games during that first year: Mad Welshman, who gave us an intriguing, albeit never completed glimpse into Wonderland, Kenny McCormick, with his impeccable taste for creating controversy, and Andy Panthro, a connoisseur of computer and video games in general. Heck, we should also mention the very first guest reviewer of the blog, Zenic Reverie. They all were long-time gaming professionals and the blog was fortunate to get them share their experiences with us. Remember that you are always welcome to do more reviews for TAG, if your personal projects just leave you any time for it!

The current year has brought us a bunch of new reviewers: a longtime commenter from the very beginning of TAG and our token French, Alfred n the Fettuc; a KGB connoisseur from the land of fjords, Torch (no relation to Fantastic Four); and a man who knows Infocom games inside out, Voltgloss. It’s great seeing new blood flowing to TAG, because it makes me certain that when in a hopefully distant future I will finally confront a puzzle too big to solve by human means and end up in an insolvable dead end, the torch of this great blog will be taken forward by new people.

The reason I am so fond of this blog is that I feel we’ve managed to achieve so much. I am not really talking about quantities here - we’ve reviewed thus far 92 official games and 47 Missed Classics, and stuff like that. The things I am speaking about have been happening behind the scenes. Our little reviewer community has gone through a lot. We’ve encouraged one another through hard times in our personal lives, and we have cheered, when one of us has hit some high point of life. We’ve seen people get their PhDs, find new jobs with more responsibilities, move to new homes, breed and raise up new generations of adventure gamers.

We’re also constantly trying to reinvent TAG, and one attempt you can see now before your eyes. There has previously been discussions about changing the colours, and with our new scheme, we are trying to retain some of the classic look of TAG, while still making the text more readable. If you find a post that has a broken image or colors after this redesign, let us know and we'll reward you with CAPs!

In addition, we have separated our past and present Active Reviewers from the CAP leaderboard to their own scoreboard (the more games you've reviewed, the higher you are on the list; Missed Classic are worth half of Main Games). Reviewers will still receive CAPs, of course, but they will be now more in the background and not on display (we thought of renaming CAPs anew as Commenter/Reviewer Assist Points, but the acronym seemed unpalatable). With this renewal, we can bring more of our dear commenters to the leaderboard and hopefully create anew that feeling of the early time of TAG, when getting on that leaderboard was a sign of a diligent commenter.

I’ve spent now a lot of time telling my story about TAG. It would be awesome if everyone of you who has been part of the journey of this blog - as a reviewer, as a commenter or even as a lurker - would be encouraged to reminisce and share their favourite memories about TAG with all of us. We’ve been through six years of this blog, let’s hope it will last at least sixty years more!


  1. I'd like to echo Ilmari's thanks to the community. This has been a group effort and for every friend that we've seen depart our shores, we have been greeted by several more. I hope we continue to see this community grow. Fixing the CAP system so that it's not biased towards the reviewers has been a big part of that and It's exciting to see so many new names on the leaderboard. There have also been a few other tweaks that no one is likely to notice, such as a cleanup on the game spreadsheet to make it more easily searchable and filterable.

    My story here is strange. I don't remember when I found this blog except that I also came over from the CRPG Addict. By the time I became addicted, Trickster was just ending his run and I volunteered to play a stupid James Bond game because I really wanted the chance to write about Space Quest IV, a favorite game from my childhood. Somehow from there, I ended up doing interviews and Christmas posts, and far far too many Infocom games. It has been a lot of fun.

    Best of all, my wife loves TAG because I'm spending all my time playing 25+ year old games instead of loading my bookshelf with more PS4 games that I never touch. It's a win-win! Although I now own a surprising number of books on computer history, Amiga art, and a growing collection of ancient hintbooks. Maybe it's not quite as straight-forward a financial win as it appears...

    Happy TAG-aversary!

    1. >a cleanup on the game spreadsheet to make it
      >more easily searchable and filterable

      The extra column (main/MC/Guest) makes is harder to browse on a 1366 pixel wide resolution (there's now a horizontal scroll bar) and isn't really needed; you can easily filter them by opening the submenu in the A column and typing "MC"/"G" and hitting "select all" and/or "clear".

    2. Of course, I can set zoom to 90%, but that also requires extra clicks and would have to be used by me way more often than MC/G filtering.

  2. I am a lurker since the beginning. love the blog. Happy Anniversary!


  3. Great update, you guys! You've been busy. Congratulations on six years. I like what you've done with splitting out the reviewer status list.

    Sorry, I've been lurking a lot lately due to other commitments between reviewing games here. But it's an honor to be a small part of this neat little community. I'm looking forward to continuing in my niches of puzzle and parser games, and sometimes also branching out, like I did with Dune.

  4. Wow, I have #1 CAP leaderboard position now! The highest I've ever had! :-D I guess I'm gonna keep on commentating.

  5. Thanks to Trickster for starting this blog, thanks to all the reviewers and thanks to all the commenters!

    It's been great to be here and chat with everyone about adventure games and I hope we continue for many years to come (until every adventure game has been reviewed)!

    Happy Anniversary!

  6. This was fun so far, although this new look and feel is destroying my eyes. Is there a chance to have a night mode ? or something a little quieter ?

    Congrats on the rest

    1. The colors are tricky but certainly open to adjustment. The challenge is that the old color scheme was very difficult to read for some, plus it had things like grey-on-black color schemes for clicked links. It was not that great. We wanted to make the site overall more readable.

      There are a ton of nice blog themes, but we also wanted to retain as much of the classic look as possible. Too much color (shifting to orange or blue for the primary color scheme) might have looked nice, but it wouldn't have felt like "us", at least not right away. It was a difficult balancing act.

      We'd be happy to bat around some further improvements to make the site as readable as possible for everyone.

  7. Happy anniversary to you too!

    I have now come full circle (sort of) as I discovered this site while looking for stuff to read about Quest for glory 1 (Heros' quest/EGA) as I was replaying it after just having bought the QfG collection from GoG. It was (and still is) pretty hard not geeking out over the fact that Corey Cole was commenting as Trickster was playing through his game.

    I've only every reviewed one game, but it's nice to still be on the list. I think separating the reviews rewards from the main CAPs list is probably a good idea ( though wouldn't CRAPs fit nicely alongside PISSED? )

    Hoping for many more years of adventure gaming!

    1. You have signed up for another game this year, which automatically makes you a regular reviewer in our eyes (which reminds me that the rules for becoming a regular reviewer should probably be codified at some point - it's something like committed intention to play more than one game during a gaming year).

      Nice to see someone caught the acronym! That line was actually just a last minute idea and was meant mostly as a joke. I did toy for a while with the thought that CAPs would in fact be changed to CRAPs, but then I considered we'd have to track every place CAPs were spoken - and I just couldn't be bothered.

  8. Wow! Six years! How time flies.

    When I created The Adventure Gamer, I knew from the very beginning that having a thriving community was just as important to me as enjoying the games themselves. It was for this reason that I created the CAP system, introduced competitions with games to be won, and put up What's Your Story posts for any reader that wanted to share. It worked better than I could ever have hoped for, and there is no better proof of that than the fact the community took over the blog when I burnt out.

    The three years that I spent creating posts for The Adventure Gamer were wonderful years for me. I will always look back on them fondly, and with a great sense of pride. The blog gave me purpose in a very transitional period of my life (anyone that has just had their first child will know what I mean), and my wife can attest to how close I felt to all the regular commenters. I would talk to her about things that community members did and said as though they were very present in our lives, and they were.

    There is a part of me that regrets walking away from the blog, particularly as my attempts to build something similar since have not been successful. But it was very much the right decision at the time. I was being pulled in too many other directions to ignore, and when the thing you once loved doing starts to feel like a chore, you have to listen to that.

    This blog isn't mine anymore. It belongs to the community. Thanks to Ilmari, TBD, Joe, and everyone else that has contributed to keep The Adventure Gamer alive. May it continue for many more years.


    PS: Adventure games are still very much part of my life. My 7 year old daughter and I played through Mechanarium together on the weekend. Who knows? Perhaps she will nostalgically blog through the game for The Adventure Gamer many years from now.

  9. Six years already, congratulations. I came also from CRPG addict. Unfortunately there is so little time and so many things to do that I can't participate as much as I'd like, much less play the games themselves so reading about them here is a great alternative.

  10. Yeah, what a great post Ilmari! Time flies, and it's been a blast to be a small part in keeping TAG going. I don't comment nearly as much as I'd like, but I do always seem to find the time to play and write about these games in. Here's to another six--and more!--years; we'll all be geriatrics by the time we hit games made this decade . . .

  11. I'm also a lurker pretty much from the start. I really enjoy the blog and play along on the rare occasions I have the time. I think you're all doing a great job and I hope the blog lives on as long as there are adventure games to play. Thanks for all the hard work!

  12. I'm selling these fine leather caps.

  13. A belated but hearty thanks to all involved. I actually read this post before it went live but never got around to commenting - I blame Quest for Glory I for entertaining (and sometimes frustrating) me enough to eat up my time.

    As for my story, like many I would occasionally read the CRPG Addict blog, then started reading here.

    I ended up reading all of this blog's posts while only reading the CRPG addict blogs about games I'd actually played.

    Part of the reason for that is likely that Adventure games have historically been more story focussed than RPGs, and part of it was Trickster's writing style, which made reading about games I hadn't played as interesting as games I had.

    There have been countless blogs that start off with a grand idea and go for a while then just stop after the drive to continue has left the blogger. So a big thanks to Trickster for both starting the blog and giving control to others to continue his work. It's been a blast being part of it, first as a reader/commentor and now as a writer/administrator.

    And a very big thanks to Ilmari for taking over the bulk of the admin duties, and being always organised - not to mention picking up the slack when I've forgotten to do something - I can't recall the number of times I've done something such as posting a final rating and then thinking the next day "Oh no, I forgot to update the spreadsheets" only to find that Ilmari's already quietly done it when he noticed I hadn't.

  14. Happy 8th Birthday TAG!!!!
    I don´t know if anyone is going to read a comment for a two year old post, but i couldn`t let pass the opportunity to express my love to this site. I began reading this site (sorry if my writing is a bit crappy, my first language is spanish) by chance when i was looking for a review or walkthrough of Laura Bow II, and google drove me to one of the post of this blog, and i started reading and think, hey, this is a mashup of a review and a walkthrough, it`s even better, it`s the actual impressions of someone playing and trying to solve a game of the genre that i love most of all (i gotta say, maybe it was the same story but with a game called Dreamweb, although i don`t know it you already reached that game, which by the way has some very interesting issues to discuss). So, from that day on, it`s been i don`t know how many months reading every single post and every single comment in order (yeah, i have a OCD like Joe). The problem with that, is that i don`t comment the latest posts, but i started at least to bet a game score at least. I hope to catch up and become a more usual commenter, but i still got two more years to catch up (i gotta admit that i divide my reading time between reading this blog and The Digital Antiquarian, where i have a lot to catch up too). Right now, i am reading the Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes posts, my all favourite game of all time with Maniac Mansion. My four year old daughter is already a Monkey Island fan, so maybe in a decade or so she will check up on this blog like i do.
    Anyway, all this rumble is because i am really fond of this blog, i read two or three posts every day and i think of all the reviewres and commenters as long distance friends. Today, reading this posts, and being the same day but two years later, seemed fitting to express my feelings.
    You are doing a truly awesome work and important work.
    Keep on.
    Cheers from Argentina

    1. Leo! We get notified of older comments and we do read them. I am very glad that you are enjoying our little shared project and hope you catch up eventually. You may want to check today's post because there will be something there that you may be happy about!

      Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes was a fun one and one of my favorites so far as well.

      We look forward to you catching up some day!

      (Btw, the blog's timezone is Australia time. The three current admins are divided between US, Europe, and Australia so we are a 24/7 shop!)

  15. One more thing, i upload the last comment at 1:35 pm of the 26th of november, but my commen was posted like it was upload the 27th, missing all the coincidence about the 6th and 8th anniversary. And then, i remembered that Tricky is from Australia and they are always ahead in time of pretty much the rest of the planet...

  16. Thanks Joe for your reply. Yeah, i got a mail a few minutes after my comments noticing me that TAG has a new post on the Consulting Detective series, but i never played that one, so i will read it in a few months i guess, cause you know, OCD....I do played the second entry in the Lost Files (The Case of the Rose Tattoo)and it was a very long game, it was pretty good, with great graphics and plenty of information about the victorian era, a lot of research done, but i think The Case of the Serrated Scalpel is better. (The pixel art and how they use it to convey light and shadows is the best one i`ve ever saw). I guess you will tackle the sequel when TAG get to it.

    1. Spoiler: You won the CAP award for the post because you guessed the score correctly.