This time, Pig-Min did an e-mail Interview with Becky Waxman, who is doing Moderator & Publisher/Developer Liaison of GameBoomers.

GameBoomers is community for Adventure Games, but this is not another usual game community. Many members are elder, in their age of 40's - 70's, and have played games for a long time.

GB could be called as 'Commuity for Another kind of Core Gamers'. You could agree ,after reading this interview and visit GB to share the joy of Adventure Game.

Korean version of this Interview

Gameboomers

User image
Logo of GameBoomers.

1. First of all, please introduce GameBoomers to Pig-Min readers. And please introduce Admins / Moderators of GameBoomers, as Career of Gamer.

The GameBoomers website first went live in 1999. Since then, we’ve grown steadily, and currently have over 6,000 active members.

We have multiple forums. (Link to the main forum.) Our largest forum is the Adventure Game Discussions forum. There our members read and post about the latest adventure game news. They discuss aspects of recent releases and memories of the adventure classics. There’s also an active Adventure Game Hints & Help forum where staff and members try to help people who are “stuck,” as well as the DarkSide forum for discussing non-adventure games (RPGs and action games), the Garden of Puzzling Delights for gamers who create their own puzzles, and a forum for Casual gamers (recently opened).

GameBoomers is known for its huge inventory of adventure game walkthroughs, its thoughtful reviews of adventure releases, its large database of member reviews, and its eagerness to assist other gamers.

Our staff composition is unusual for a gaming website. We span half a century in terms of age -- with staffers ranging in age from those in their twenties to those in their seventies. Over half of our staff members are women. We hail from all over the world, though the greatest concentration of staff members is in North America.

How would I describe the gaming career of a typical GameBoomer? Well, a surprisingly large number of us got our start by playing Myst. Others started with earlier games ? the original “Adventure,” and the King’s Quest games, for example.

We found our way to GameBoomers by different routes. Some of us were searching the web for Hints for a particular game and stumbled across the GameBoomers Hints forum and walkthroughs. Others discovered the site through links or comments in other gaming forums.
 

2. GameBoomers is made up with 'Game' + 'Baby Boomers'. We all know 'Game' very well, but not sure exactly about 'Baby Boomers'. Please let us know about that.

The Baby Boomers belong to the generation of North Americans born between 1946 and 1964. Immediately after World War II, there was a “boom” or strong growth in the population, with many soldiers returning home and starting young families.

The Boomer generation has had a tremendous influence on American culture through sheer numbers. It’s a generation that’s now in its prime earning years or entering retirement. GameBoomers has attempted to reach out to this Boomer demographic, which is often sorely under-represented on “generalist” gaming sites that target the under-25 male demographic.

All ages are of course welcome at GameBoomers (though you must be at least thirteen years old to register). Our site hopes to make all its members comfortable. We welcome those who are new to gaming, those who just want a quick word of advice, those who want to discuss games in detail and depth, those who are technologically adept, and those who are not.
 

3. Could you please let us know, what are the good & strong points of Adventure Games?

Let’s start with what defines an adventure game (I know the definition isn’t perfect, but at least it allows the start of a discussion). An adventure game is an interactive story set in a fully-realized, explorable environment, in which the vast majority of the challenges involve using wits (not reflexes) to advance. These games tend to offer more leisurely-paced, less violent gameplay than (for example) first person shooters, arcade, or real-time strategy games.

The Pros. Memorable characters and plotlines mean that adventures remain fresh and entertaining for years. The gamer absorbs the atmosphere and personality of the environments and has time to pay attention to the details of the surroundings and the plot. This creates a quality of immersion in the story and gameworld that isn’t possible if you are rushing through while fighting off assorted threats.

Gameplay that involves wit and imagination can give the gamer the satisfaction of that “aha!” moment. For example, when the right inventory combination becomes obvious, or when the gamer figures out the way a mechanical device is operated, or when conversation with a character reveals a solution to one of the game’s mysteries.

The Cons. Because adventure games are often strongly story-based, they tend to be more linear than games in other genres. Therefore they don’t have as much replay value. Also, most puzzles can be solved only one way. This means that the gamer will inevitably experience moments of frustration where progress can’t be made without thinking in unfamiliar ways or by asking for a hint or by consulting a walkthrough. (The GameBoomers Hint forum moderators work hard to provide timely hints to members who are “stuck” in order to try to ease the frustration.)

Adventure gamers as a group tend to favor the PC over console games (and few adventures are made for console platforms). So adventure gamers (and the developers who design adventures) have to deal with getting games to run on a vast range of hardware configurations. Action gamers accustomed to a manic pace, the latest graphical effects, and free movement through real-time 3D environments may find that adventure games seem slow-paced and old-fashioned.  
 

4. Too many people says 'Adventure is dead', especially in Korea, but we all know 'Adventure never died'. As I wrote in local column, Adventure is just moved to Europe (and Eastern Europe) / Indie / Franchise(CSI / Nancy Drew / Sherlock Holmes / ... etc.). Please describe about that by GB way, and let people make sure 'Adventure is still alive'.

According to the Puzzle and Adventure Game Online Database, there were 36 adventure games released in English in 2007 and 44 released in 2006. That’s enough to keep any adventure gamer busy. In 2008, I find the hardest problem is keeping track of the upcoming adventures. Currently our “Upcoming Games Page” contains links to over seventy adventures that are under development.

That said, the industry has changed. There aren’t many publishers willing to sink several million dollars into the development of an adventure game. And more and more adventures appear to be purchased over the web rather than off of store shelves.

Sierra and LucasArts no longer develop new adventure games. However, designers who used to work for these giants are returning to adventure gaming and have begun to develop new adventures, including Telltale’s Sam & Max episodic series and the upcoming Gray Matter, A Vampyre Story, and Mata Hari.

As you mention above, adventures based on famous detectives or popular television shows are reliable hits. And there’s an ingeniously creative Indie adventure industry that seems to be echoing the successes of the Indie film industry.
 

5. GB has a branch forum about 'Casual Games', and many GB addicts write tons of threads & replies even there. 'Adventure Game' & 'Casual Game' have something in common, and even some Casual Game Portal as Big Fish Games have 'Large File Adventure Games' section to sell. And recently, some 'Casual Games' are made very similar to 'Adventure Games', as [Azada] & [Dream Chronicles]. Please share us your opinions about 'Casual Games' as 'Adventure Gamers'.

A Casual game (here we go with definitions again) is a game you can pick up and play without advance preparation. You don’t need to spend an hour tweaking the game interface or studying the manual or playing a preparatory tutorial before launching yourself into the game.

In a Casual game, you can play for an hour, then return in a month and play for another hour without having to remember the story or what steps have already been solved in a multi-stepped puzzle. Casual gameworld environments are limited, so you don’t return after a month to find yourself lost in a vast landscape, not knowing where to go next.

You can return to Azada after a long absence and pick up the game with relative ease. However, to get back into an adventure game after a long absence, you might have to replay sections or read a record of the dialogs or wander around the gameworld to reorient yourself.

As Casual games gain stronger stories and elaborated gameworlds, they do seem to be becoming more like adventure games. And as Casual gamers branch out into other genres, this is likely to increase the demand for adventure games. It’s an intriguing trend to watch.
 

6. GB forum is very famous for friendly & professional communication. If some people would like to get some information, as what to purchase & play, just post a question thread & will get good answers very quickly. It might be due to the reason, that GB forum has many good gamers, who has had long-term gaming career & elder enough to be very kind. What do you think about that?

If you enjoy helping other gamers, or if you need assistance yourself, GameBoomers is definitely the place for you. There are gamers who are uncomfortable with the “passionate,” sometimes overcritical exchanges on some gaming forums. These gamers would rather spend time with gamers who are friendly and courteous.

Maybe because many of us are older, we see the value in trying harder to get everybody to get along?

 
7. We all know about BAAGS (Buy All Adventure Games Syndrome), which represents GB very well. Anyway please share us background episodes about that, as who made it / what kind of feedback you got about BAAGS / ... etc.

To read about the “…levels of descent into the pits of this sickness,” click here.

This description of BAAGS was written by Syd, a long-time member and past administrator at GameBoomers. I think it speaks for itself. Although there are adventure gamers who buy games selectively and prudently, getting to Level 4 and beyond does seem to coincide with the amount of time spent reading and posting at GameBoomers.

Collecting adventure games has become a hobby for many. Finding a good price for a rare adventure game (boxed and in mint condition) can become a form of entertainment in and of itself.

Extreme examples of BAAGS syndrome include gamers who decorate their living rooms with shelves of game boxes. Also, gamers who hide the extent of their collection from their spouses, and gamers who throw everything else out of their basements and garages in order to make room to store the boxes.


8. Please recommend 10 GOOD games, and the reason why.

I’m recommending ten games ? these represent particular aspects of adventure gaming. I’m only recommending games that are available via download, so that all the games are readily accessible to Korean gamers. All of these games have been reviewed at GameBoomers, so you can find out more about the ones that interest you by visiting the GB Reviews Page.

Detective Adventure :
Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis (also known as Sherlock Holmes versus Arsene Lupin).
This game contains gorgeous, expansive 3D environments. It shows Holmes in top erudite form, and reveals the quixotic side of Watson. Arsene Lupin, an unusually likeable villain, gives Holmes a run for his money and his reputation. If you like varied and cunning puzzles, this will provide hours of enjoyment.

Science Fiction Adventure :
Culpa Innata.
A vision of a compelling future utopia. You assume the role of Phoenix Wallis, a Peace Officer investigating a crime which has dangerous and puzzling implications. An unusually complex background story and lots of intriguing details give the game world a sense of realism and an odd flavor of menace. Interviewing witnesses and suspects means that there’s an emphasis on character interaction, including plenty of dialog.

Fantasy Adventure :
Uru : Ages Beyond Myst.
The Myst games have always been an explorer’s delight, and this one is no exception. Uru immerses the gamer in sumptuous, organic and technological Ages (worlds) which weave together a history of a lost civilization. Challenging mechanical puzzles and feats of jumping and kicking use the game’s real-time 3D capabilities in novel ways.

Comedy Adventure :
The Sam & Max Season Episodes.
A cartoon-style episodic series with colorful graphics, wacky animal and human characters, eccentric plots and sophisticated humor. Some of the most inspired writing and musical satire in gaming. The series appeals to a broad range of gamers and has acquired a cult following. This is a good place to start if you haven’t played an adventure game before and want a game that doesn’t take itself (or anything else) too seriously.

Horror Adventure :
The Lost Crown: A Ghost-hunting Adventure.
A reluctant hero acquires enhanced “real-life” ghost-hunting equipment. His findings draw him inexorably into the ghostly legends of a British coastal town. Black and white graphics with oddly beautiful touches of color. The surreal quality of the gameworld complements the compelling, gradually unfolding story.

Historical Adventure :
The Secrets of Da Vinci : The Forbidden Manuscript.
Shortly after Da Vinci’s death, a brash adventurer tricks his way into the Renaissance inventor’s former residence to follow an intricate trail of clues left by the Master himself.  Love, a mysterious conspiracy, and the soldiers of the king are obstacles along the way. It features a fascinating, multifaceted inventory system with unusually imaginative challenges.

Indie Adventure :
East Side Story.
The fourth in a series of mystery adventures by a Swedish Independent developer. The environments consist of still photographs altered to look like Impressionist paintings. Layers of light and color haunted by background music with a wistful, mystical quality. Various quirky characters that help/hinder are also represented by still photographs.

Freeware Adventure :
Samorost 2.
Most of the levels in this enchanting online flash game are free ? you can pay a small fee for the last levels if you choose. A small gnome living on an asteroid tries to rescue his dog, which has been kidnapped by strange creatures. The game environments are finely wrought, and the game has an aura of innocent delight. If you are a casual gamer who would like to try an adventure with a more Casual-game-like structure, this is a wonderful introduction.

Adventure/Action Fusion :
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey.
A sequel (in some sense) to the well-regarded “The Longest Journey,” Dreamfall takes the gamer on a spectacular ride through alternate worlds ruled by science and magic. It contains memorable characters, gorgeous 3D environments and a lavish musical score. The ending leaves the gamer begging for a sequel. If you are an action gamer who would like to try an adventure game, this is an excellent choice.

Top-Rated Adventure :
Syberia.
Every June the members at GameBoomers participate in the “Twisty List” poll ? where many of us name the top fifteen adventure games that we would recommend to other gamers. (Votes can be for a favorite game, but votes also include games that would be good for new adventurers to try.) Syberia is always at or near the top of the list. It features eerie, moody landscapes, unusual animations and an engaging heroine who starts out on a quest that leads to self-discovery and the fulfillment of long-buried dreams.

Note :
The English language versions of many of these games can be downloaded via Gamers Gate, The Adventure Shop and/or Steam.
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst can be downloaded from the Ubisoft shop,
The Lost Crown: A Ghost-hunting Adventure from the Got Game shop
and Samorost 2 can be downloaded from the game’s website.


9. Did you try some Korean games, or even heard or experienced about them? If so, please share your thoughts about that.

I haven’t played any Korean games. I admire people who are multilingual and can game in multiple languages. Unfortunately, I’ve only played games in English and French (and French was a stretch).
 

10. Please leave some message for Pig-Min readers.

Stop by GameBoomers sometime and say hello!


Korean version of this Interview

Gameboomers
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