We all need to escape.
Isn't it true? That's why the movie industry can coax us out of millions of dollars a year, why every home in the U.S. holds a television set, and why people like James Clavell, Tom Clancy and Stephen King provide us with glimpses from their imaginations in trade for seven-figure checks from their publishers.
It's also why one of the most popular forms of computer entertainment is the adventure game.
When you think about it, computer adventure games have a lot in common with books and movies. They can transport us from the hum-drum staleness of our everyday lives into wild and exotic surroundings, where anything can happen, where the unexpected is commonplace and excitement is guaranteed. Whether it be exploring the deepest jungles of Africa or battling creatures from another planet, the adventure game takes us on a journey into an unpredictable and exhilarating unknown. We go willingly into danger, knowing escape is always possible—aware that, no matter what predicament we find ourselves in, we can always return to the safety of reality.
Of course, computer adventure games—especially the text-only type—won't delight all who attempt them. They require an inordinate amount of patience and can be as frustrating as trying to lose weight on a cheesecake diet. In fact, some people I know would rather chew glass than be forced to complete an adventure. It takes a very different sort of person to explore the labyrinth of Zork than it does to guide an airborne Ground Attack Vehicle through the battlefield of Starglider.
Or does it?
Now, with more powerful graphics capabilities, adventures are becoming—at least in the visual sense—more action oriented, more like movies. So much so, that confirmed arcade fanatics are starting to climb aboard the adventure bandwagon, are discovering that it is, after all, fun to untangle the Gordian knot of perplexities adventure creators are so fond of weaving; satisfying to think about their next move, rather than blast blindly forward, twisting the handle of a joystick into oblivion.
Hey, I think that's great. We're all adventurers at heart.
This issue is packed with people who have their hearts in the right place. Award-winning science fiction author Orson Scott Card gives us an intriguing look at adventure games of the future, while Michael Banks, creator of Pryority Software's Gateway (and a science fiction author, as well), gives programmers advice on writing and marketing adventure games—a must-read for any software designer interested in entering this lucrative marketplace.
Want to know where you can find the solutions to those stumpers? Andy Eddy presents some valuable words for frustrated gamers, advice culled from years of adventure experience. And topping off our adventure features is Brad Mott's "Crin's Castle," a complete, type-in text adventure written in ST BASIC, along with West Coast Editor'Charles F. Johnson's lesson in schizophrenic programming.
So read on, friend. The ST-Log adventure awaits.