The NEW State of Adventure Gaming Entry 2 - All Your Base Are Belong to Us

ou know, I take up the banner for Her Interactive so often that you would be forgiven for thinking I’m on their payroll. But I’m not. I’m just some poor schmuck (both literally and figuratively) with a big mouth.

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In the March 2009 issue of PC Gamer, in the midst of their annual ‘Let’s suck-up and bestow awards to the best games of the year so we can get box quotes’ feature, they pause on page 52 to ask:

WTF?

NANCY DREW

Seriously, how do Nancy Drew games always make it to the top-10 sales list?

You poor, clueless, stupid bastards really still don't get it do you? And you never will.

Let me clue you in on something. As far as Nancy Drew games are concerned, they are not cutting-edge, they don’t have 3D memory-hogging graphics, the main characters are not prostitutes or aliens and there are no BFGs or mindless violence.

What Nancy Drew games do have in abundance is a devoted and always growing fanbase that runs the gamut from Miley Cyrus fans to housewives to grandmothers to poor middle-age schmucks like myself.

And the reason the staff at PC Gamer does not understand why Nancy Drew games always make the top-10 sales list is real simple:

They no longer represent the majority of the gaming community.

I don’t have cold, hard facts in front of me at the moment so I’m sure the Internet nitpickers with no lives will find some evidence to the contrary, but still I think the following blanket statements would be hard to refute:

  • Today's gamers range in age from pre-teen to octogenarians bowling on their Wiis.
  • Today's gamers encompass probably every nationality on the face of the earth.
  • There are more female gamers today than at any time in the history of this industry.

Now, take a look at the masthead of the most current issue of PC Gamer. And just to belabor the point, let's take a look also at the current masthead of Game Informer, PC Gamer's competitor.

Rather than keep you in suspense - especially as you probably don’t have a copy of either magazine in front of you at the moment unless you are in the bathroom - the staff, as depicted on the masthead for both magazines, appears to be from their headshots all white males in their twenties and maybe a few in their early thirties.

So let me re-emphasize my above statement again:

They no longer represent the majority of the gaming community.

The really, really sad part is that whenever any of these magazines have had a token female on their staff, she is inevitably always either the art director or a ‘hardcore fragger’ who can compete with the boys. Not that I’m claiming that all woman should only play Nancy Drew-type games, but I am claiming that if any of the woman who ever did work at any of these gaming magazines had as one of their qualifications that they preferred Nancy Drew-type games over first-person-shooters, well, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out honey-bunny.

While the readership of these magazines continues to shrink, the gaming community has grown and now encompasses all age groups and nationalities. So it is not that the magazine’s fanbase has shrunk, but rather that other demographics have increased. While they are busy ridiculing senior citizens for forming Wii bowling leagues, legions of new gamers are obtaining their information from the racially and culturally diverse gaming sites on the internet.

Now, you needn’t believe my opinion on this matter, nor would I want you to without some support to back-up my claims, so let’s ask the staff at Computer Gaming World for their opinion on reviewing a Nancy Drew game. Oops, seems they’re no longer publishing. Okay then, let’s try Electronic Gaming Monthly. Hmm, looks like they also went out of business. Computer Games Magazine? Nope, looks like they also bit the dust. How about your sister site Games Radar? Hmmm….seems that they really didn’t get it until threatened with a lawsuit.

Did any of the dim bulbs who approve the content of these magazines ever stop to consider for even a second that if they would have devoted just one page every few months to a fair and balanced review of a Nancy Drew or similar game that it might have gained them some new readers and maybe even some new advertisers? Nah, that’s too simple of a solution.

So with established video and pc gaming magazines floundering worse than the PS3, maybe it’s time that the ex-staff at some of these magazines – instead of bitching about lay-offs and corporate take-overs – take a good look in the mirror. What they will most likely see looking back at them is a twenty-something Caucasian male. What a lot of them still won’t admit is that they do not and have not for many years represented the demographics of today’s gamer. There are many good writers and thoughtful people who have lost jobs in this industry, but they need to realize that their attempts to continually push shooters/action/war games have failed miserably and it is time to embrace – instead of ridiculing - the wonderfully diverse world of games and gaming.

Let’s close on a positive note. There is a new Nancy Drew game – Ransom of the Seven Ships – on the horizon and I’m looking for a reviewer. So if any of you guys at PC Gamer are looking to add some diversity to those resumes I’m sure you’re working on at this very moment, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do for you. The pay is nowhere close to what you’re used to, but the games are much more rewarding.

*The original State of Adventure Gaming was a series of monthly columns intended to point out the absurdities in both the adventure and the gaming community. The NEW State of Adventure Gaming will be a series of articles/editorials focusing on one subject and published on a sporadic basis.

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