FOR SOME TIME now one aspect of adventuring has become ever more prominent in my mind as I’ve walked through a local park. This park has a river flowing through it, buildings of some interest, both genuine historical structures and more fanciful follies, alongside the traditional embellishments of a city park — layers of flowers of every hue lining sinuous pathways. What struck me on my stroll was the realisation that every device needed to fill an adventure lay not in a darkened room festooned with the latest bits of microcomputer hardware, but out there in the sunshine and sudden summer rain. Why not base an adventure on this very park? This got me thinking about adventuring and microcomputing and where it was all going. Why indeed had adventures come to be based upon myth, legend and fantasy when they could concern themselves with the real world and all its infinite variety and natural abundance.
I noticed a little while ago an artist featured in CRASH went to all the trouble of obtaining a real specimen before attempting to draw an ant. Rightly, the artist judged no better feel for the subject could be infused into his work than that derived from the real thing. So it is with novelists. Authors, even when they can’t visit the real location which provides the backdrop to their book rely upon the most authentic second-hand accounts they can find, such as tourist guides, street maps and other novels, and by so doing, enrich the final draft.
Adventures, until greater memory and perhaps finer resolution can produce more meaningful graphics, are closely related to the short novel and it is nothing short of amazing that no-one has attempted to write an adventure which deals with a real life structure or situation. Surely there is an area between frivolous amusement and erudite education where microcomputing can play a part in broadening our whole perception of where studying and work finish and leisure and relaxation begin? It seems only fair that microcomputers should cushion the bumps along the road of social upheaval which leads to the revolutionary world of computers and robots (remember them? They were all the rage on Afternoon Plus about two years ago when discussing the future seemed like a good idea).
How about an adventure where the subject matter concerns itself with a real Scottish castle and a story which gives an authentic rendition of its history? Or perhaps it could traverse a real park (say Hyde Park in London, Central Park in New York or your local Jesmond Dene) whereby at the end of the adventure the player has not only enjoyed an entertaining game but has also picked up the rudiments of some tourist spot.
Two games this month had me thinking even more about the possibilities. Although I do not know for certain, I think an Arendarvon Castle does not truly exist in NW Scotland, and when considering the layout of the submarine in Sub Sunk I find it hard to believe the author has consulted any reputable works on the subject of submarines or their internal design. It is hard to imagine indeed any author embarking on a novel concerning submarine warfare without first consulting the facts so freely available to anyone with the time and tenacity to unearth them. By and large, considering the high standard of published novels, most authors look on research as an essential prelude to writing itself. It is my hope that adventure authors will consider carefully their subject matter and what relevance it might have.