Many adventures I received this month are similar in style and presentation to the companies’ last efforts, e.g. those from Level 9 and Digital Fantasia. One might expect some advance with each new adventure, perhaps an improvement in presentation or programming. How to cram as many locations as possible into the 48K of the Spectrum, for example, while retaining some useful graphics. Since their initial releases Phipps Associates have made improvements to their games by taking the graphic routines and machine-coding them for a faster response. Some houses produce too many games churned out on a modular basis. This weakens the impact of each adventure such houses release since it is originality and uniqueness that marks the successful adventure. Quilled adventures clearly reduce the opportunities for original programming leading to flat-footed structures and storylines. For the companies themselves it may be a better marketing ploy to go for the one big, original game for it is difficult for any adventure to chart high and make an impact.
Now that I’ve mentioned the rather prosaic world of marketing, I’ve always wondered why there is such a poor selection of adventures in the high street shops. To make matters worse for the consumer several of the so-called specialist computer shops, often just off the high street, don’t fair much better — it’s a case of The Hobbit, or an Artic adventure or leave for home empty handed. The Hobbit is a good adventure but along with the Artic games they can now be considered a little dated if for no other reason than most committed adventurers will have by now completed them. If the record buying public were confronted with the same dilemma it would be a case of choosing either AC/DC or Barry Manilow!