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!
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!
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.
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.
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!