Sunday, 24 October 2021

Welcome to The Adventurers Guild!

By the TAG Team


Ten years ago, “The Adventure Gamer” was born. TAG began as one man’s quest to play the history of notable graphical adventures, in order. Our initial host, Trickster, played and reviewed dozens of adventure games and chronicled the formative years of Sierra On-Line and LucasArts, among others. 

Seven years ago today, everything changed: Trickster’s quest came to an end. Instead of shutting down the site, Trickster handed off the reins of his project to the fans that supported him on his journey. No longer were we just a singular “The Adventure Gamer”, our family grew into a cadre of player reviewers to cover not only the games that Trickster didn’t make it to, but other games that he skipped from across the early history of our genre. We didn’t only keep the site that we love alive, we helped it to thrive. In those seven years, we’ve far exceeded the 45 original games on the site: we completed 74 main-line games and 99 “Missed Classics”. (Look for our special 100th Missed Classic later this week!) We’ve built a great community and continued to show our love for an important genre and era of retro gaming.

To honor this transformation and to celebrate our anniversary, the TAG team would like to present to you the next chapter of our adventure:

Welcome to the Adventurers Guild!

What does this change mean? It means we have a new name and a new identity, putting front-and-center that we are playing and reviewing games as a team. We’ll still play the same adventure games, in the same order. We’ll continue to have our community of reviewers and perhaps grow that community over time. We’ll still have the PISSED ratings and CAPs, and we’ll even keep our abbreviation “TAG”. (That was especially important!) All that changed was our name, our logo, and our emphasis. Our name change will also ensure that we are no longer confused for our friends at “Adventure Gamers”. 

Thank you to all of the writers and commenters that have made the last seven years possible. 



Special Feature! Top Traffic Games Countdown

Sometimes, we like to gaze at our navel and anniversaries are a good time to do that. Perhaps, we’re just happy that we can still see it! In honor of the day, we present to you a countdown of the most popular games on our site according to Blogspot. These are not the games that have the most readers or commenters (those tend to just be the longest games), but rather the games that had single posts with the most views. It’s confusing, but also unexpected!

#10 - Deja Vu II (1990)

Starting at the top of the list is Trickster’s playthrough of Deja Vu II. Exactly why this game is so popular is a bit of a mystery as Deja Vu II was neither as popular nor as well-reviewed as its predecessor. Nonetheless, the internet traffic Gods have agreed that this game is worthy of note on our site!

#9 - King's Quest VI (1992)

In the history of Sierra On-Line, there aren’t many games more popular but divisive than King's Quest VI. TBD’s playthrough revealed a rich world with multiple paths and endings, but also flaws that kept it out of our Top 10. I still hear that monstrous voice asking me for a ticket all these years later.

Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide game was one of the crowns of the Infocom period: funny, imaginative, and often completely inscrutable. Joe’s playthrough captured some of that zany fun, but also the immense frustration of a game that was just a bit too clever for its own good. This game’s placement on the list is no doubt helped by the enduring popularity of the novel series.

The Adventure Gamer broke its “classic games only” rule just once, but the popularity of our Hero-U review by Reiko (and all of the traffic and new readers that it brought to the site) gave us pause. Are we doing the right thing by sticking with retro games? Could we build our community by reviewing more modern games, or at least modern spin offs of classic games? We elected to stick with what we do best, but perhaps there will be future exceptions for games (like this one) that truly deserve it.

Trickster’s playthrough of Conquest of Camelot takes the next slot on our list. The legends of King Arthur are among the most powerful in the English-language canon, despite being originally written in French. Sierra’s 1990 epic gave justice to the legends while still providing a great middle-period Sierra adventure.

While Infocom’s Hitchhiker’s Guide game is already one of the most popular on the site, it’s dwarfed in traffic by Joe’s coverage of the “banned” 1981 adaptation of the same. Although “officially” licensed at first, Douglas Adams and Infocom essentially knocked this game out of store shelves. “Banned in Boston” was once among the best ways to advertise a play in New York, and no doubt its rarity has driven many curious readers to our site.

#4 - Mystery House (1980)

Joe’s coverage of 1980’s Mystery House was our very first “Missed Classic”. It was Sierra On-Line’s very first graphical adventure, a game that would indirectly launch the careers of dozens of fantastic game designers. It looks amateurish today, but Ken and Roberta Williams were onto something huge with this game. As such an important game in the history of our genre, it’s not surprising that it would attract a lot of attention.

#3 - Adventure Quest (1983)

Our third slot goes to Ilmari’s playthrough of Adventure Quest by Level 3. This was the point where Level 9 went all-in on copyright infringement and created an homage of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in text adventure format. Why this game remains so popular on our site, I can only guess (as opposed to, for example, our coverage of the much better selling Hobbit game by Melbourne House), but we’re not complaining.

It’s fitting that our #2 slot would go to Trickster’s playthrough of one of the greatest adventure games of all time. It remains tied for first place on our leaderboard. The game needs no introduction, but if you haven’t played it yet then you absolutely should. This game launched careers and was the pinnacle of the next phase of game design.

We can only guess how Morpheus Kitami’s recent look at a 1985 Alice in Wonderland game rocketed to the top of our charts, but it did. Should we blame Google and common search terms? Or Morpheus’s excellent look at the history of Alice games and his playthrough of a classic adventure platformer? This Alice game was a great joy for me as a kid and I was glad to see it on the top of the list.

Thanks for joining us on our journey. Do you have a favorite post or review? How do you feel about our logo and new names? Please drop us a comment!

Up next: Catch us in 3 days for the special 100th Missed Classic!

24 comments:

  1. I am very exited that we have been able to share this news with you. I love that our new logo pays homage to the very first "The Adventure Gamer" logo that Trickster made in 2011. It was very important that remain respectful of our history.

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    1. Most likely. The internet search engine gods would not smile on us if we changed that, although we could add a domain name later. We'll see what happens and we have to better understand how that works with Blogspot.

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  3. Great name change, better than Gamasutra's.

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    1. Wow at Gamasutra. They're going from something distinctive and global recognised to... an incredibly generic descriptor that requires a big dose of context to even realise what's being referred to. I agree, that's a terrible change!

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    2. Oh wow, had no idea about Gamasutra. That's terrible, feels like an excellent example of how modern video games have changed from being an industry of small teams producing art and entertainment to gigantic corporations producing "stuff that sells". No fun allowed, all major decisions are made by businessmen wanting to maximize profit, anything potentially politically incorrect must be scrubbed to prevent any stinks from being made. It's sad.

      Changing the name of this site, on the other hand, helps distancing it from the website Adventure Gamers, which always tends to pop up above it in google searches to the point it used to be somewhat difficult to find this site at all. It's a good move.

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    3. I had no idea they changed their name. I haven't read them in a long time, but I agree that their name change sounds terrible.

      For us, we had the "Adventure Gamers" problem and it would hit in small and unimportant ways. For example, when I'd read out and try to talk to devs for an interview or for research, they'd get our sites confused. They won't have heard at all about "The Adventurers Guild" so that's a problem in a different way, but I'd rather that we be us. I also have been kicking around some other ideas that would be best if we had a name that was less confusing. (Such as, once fan conventions kick off again, perhaps sponsoring a panel about adventure games. That sort of thing.)

      I'm glad you like the name!

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    4. I didn't know about it previously, but yeah, wow, what a colorless and bland choice of name.

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  4. game links redirect to weird places ?

    Great new banner btw

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    1. Wow. Thanks for catching that! I assure you that we had correct links before. I don't know what could have eaten them. I'll fix them!

      Thanks for the compliment on the banner. I am very happy the way it turned out. (We collaborated with a commercial artist this time to keep it a surprise. As the previous logos were fan-submitted, I hope we have more of those in the future.) Speaking of which, I will create a "Logo Gallery" page on the site to archive our past logos when I have a chance. I think this is the fourth, but it's possible that I've forgotten one...

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    2. Links fixed! Blogspot hasn't worked quite as well in the last few months. I wonder if perhaps it isn't getting the love it used to...

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  5. A new logo gallery has been placed in the left hand nav! Take a peek in there for all of our logos to date, including a long-lost logo that probably should never have seen the light of day...

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  6. Feels kind of weird getting the honor of top post. Really weird. I don't really feel like Alice in Wonderland was my best take on a game, even with the brief history of games until then. I do find it amusing that in an entry where I complain about search engines not giving me proper results when searching for things drives so much traffic here. Perhaps now I've accidentally contributed to a problem I find so awful. &_&

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  7. In 1993, you guys have already covered great games like Space Quest V or interesting ones like Shadow of the Comet, Ween or Freddy Pharkas. But the list of upcoming games is even better: Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max, Myst, Gabriel Knight, Judgement Rites, Lost in Time, Quest for Glory IV, Kyrandia 2... And I'm sure the reviews of very peculiar games, like The 7th Guest or Inca 2, will be pretty entertainment. I'm also looking forward to the review of The Beverly Hillbillies... Will it achieve the last position in the ranking?

    I'm sure the "The Year that Was... 1993" article will also be great considering the ingredients. In the meantime, we can entertain ourselves re-reading the previous "The Year that Was..." entries (by the way, you should consider highlighting these somwehere in the menu at the left... I found them in Google by accident):
    1987: https://advgamer.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-year-that-was1987.html
    1988: https://advgamer.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-year-that-was1988.html
    1989: https://advgamer.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-year-that-was1989.html
    1990: https://advgamer.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-year-that-was-1990.html
    1991: https://advgamer.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-year-that-was-1991.html
    1992: https://advgamer.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-year-that-was-1992.html

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    1. (The 1987 link doesn't work because there isn't a "The Year that Was..." entry for that year... I realized about the mistake 2 seconds after clicking "Publish"!)

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  8. Happy birthday!!! First of all, i want to congratulate every one in the TAG team for keeping this great blog alive after Trickster left. It is a great company, i started reading it about two or three years ago, first going back to all the older posts until i catched up. My only criticism, and this is made in good faith, so i expect you took it kindly, is that in the last years the Missed Classics seemed to get more attention that the main list games, so when i read that the Missed Classic surpassed the main games, it was no surprise to me. Don't get my wrong, i love the missed classics (specially the Infocom ones) but i would prefer if your priority was to cover first the main games. 2 main games and 1 missed classic, then 2 more main games and 1 missed classic....that woudl seem appropiate to me. But hey, it is just a suggestion, i will continue to read this blog for as long as it goes, and I, again, want to gave all my thanks to every one on the TAG team.
    I raise my cup in the hope of 10 more years!!!

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    1. That's a great observation! One difference is how we write Missed Classics. A single "Missed Classic" is supposed to be no more than 3 posts and many of then are just a single one. Mainline games usually are 7-8 posts, including separate posts for introduction and rating (which are smooshed into the MCs). I have broken this rule for the Infocom Missed Classics (and a few other writers have done longer ones too), but in general MCs are supposed to be bite-sized playthroughs of less important games.

      We aim to schedule such that there are 2 mainline games being played at once, plus one Missed Classic... but since MCs are shorter, there will still be more of them. We're also all struggling with scheduling since the start of the pandemic and it's no secret that we're running more games at once and less consistently to ensure we always have something good to read fairly frequently.

      As a writer, I am guilty of making this worse as well. I enjoy writing the shorter-form posts a bit more because it's more difficult (for me) to keep reciting "and then I did this" and make long games interesting for you to read. That's part of the reason that I kept veering off into Star Trek trivia for Space Quest V, for example. And that's also the reason why I've written so many MCs instead of tackling other games.

      Thank you for the constructive feedback! I'm also looking forward to 10 more years. :)

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  9. Wow, I don't think I've been around on the blog for even half of it but have thoroughly enjoyed it. Favourite review still has to be Alex's Conquest of the Longbow though!

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    1. Yeah, mine too. That one was super funny

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    2. I, too, have fond memories of both Alex's review of CotL and playing the game along, so it was nice seeing its name on the list.

      Congrats on the anniversary, the rebranding and the new banner, can't believe it's been ten years!

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  10. Happy birthday. Don't really post all that much anymore ince I really dislike reading playthroughs for adventure games I haven't played, thus getting them spoiled, but I've been checking in regularly, excitedly awaiting the 7th Guest coverage. Can't be far away now. :D

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  11. Nice to hear the Hero-U post was so well received. At the time I sent it off and didn't really hear much about it afterward.

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    1. Oh yeah. There is a reason that blogs that talk about recent releases get traffic. You did great! :)

      We gave some thought to a rule that we would review new games by legacy designers, but it didn't seem to be in service of our mission. Maybe we will redefine our mission later if there is interest, but we have been asked to review a small number of newer games since and have turned them down.

      I expect that we will review the new Hero-U game when it comes out, even if it's not the "true" sequel to Rogue to Redemption. But perhaps the Coles just will remain the exception.

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