Marek Bronstring says goodbye...
It’s been nearly 18 years (gulp!) since I founded Adventure Gamers and so, without being overly dramatic, it feels weird to be stepping down from my role after all this time.
As you may have read back in July, I’ve been looking to leave Adventure Gamers as its owner and manager, though not without also leaving the site in good hands. After a number of discussions prompted by the announcement, I’m happy to say that we’ve now found the ideal new owner.
Ivo Teel prefers to be mostly behind-the-scenes, and so I’m probably embarrassing him just by introducing him here, but I’ve got to put him in the spotlight at least this once! Ivo has recently taken over the reins as owner of Adventure Gamers, and I’m genuinely excited to see where he’ll take things from here. He’s a big fan of adventure games and brings some unique qualities that align exactly with what the site currently needs.
I was hoping to find a replacement who understands the value of the AG community and its genre focus, and with Ivo this is definitely no concern. We happen to have known each other online for a long time; we both used to hang out in the #monkey-island IRC chatroom back in the ‘90s (oof, I’m feeling old now…) and were part of some of the primordial adventure communities it spawned. After talking about our visions for the site, it was clear that Ivo wants to honor the site’s history, while improving the site in exciting ways.
What does this mean for Adventure Gamers? Well, mostly, it’s business-as-usual.
Jack Allin will continue to handle the day-to-day editorial aspects of the site, while Ivo will be taking care of the commercial aspects, technical development and setting the future vision/aspiration. Adventure Gamers will stay independent and community-driven, and totally focused on the adventure genre.
I’ll leave other questions for Ivo or Jack to answer, but let me just close by saying I haven’t felt so excited about Adventure Gamers for a long time—especially now that my limited time for making structural improvements is no longer holding it back.
I know that not everyone still recognizes my name around here—I’ve long been behind-the-scenes and not as active in the community as I used to be. But AG has been ridiculously meaningful to me, and now that I’m stepping aside I can’t help but feel hugely nostalgic about my time with the site.
I wrote my first reviews on AG back when I was 16—and it was hugely empowering to see the internet take my opinions at all seriously. Later seeing one of my reviews quoted on a game box for the first time was one of the most surreal things (it was for my breathless review of The Longest Journey, written during a time the genre seemed well and truly dead). I got to meet and work with some awesome people, got to attend E3 and GDC, survived a hacking attempt and lengthy legal dispute over a domain name (anyone remember our old domain without the trailing 's', adventuregamer.com?), had a dumb ongoing rivalry with Just Adventure+, redesigned the site four times (but never to my satisfaction), migrated 10 years’ worth of content to a whole new system, and now finally I get to say goodbye and enjoy Adventure Gamers simply as a reader and follower.
I’m still going to lurk here and offer assistance whenever I can, but right now I’ll be skooching over into the passenger seat. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Ivo and I look forward to all the great things to come!
Over to you, Ivo...
Ivo Teel says hello...
Is that an appropriate way to start this conversation? Ugh. This spotlight is hurting my eyes; can you turn it slightly to the right? Ah better. Thanks for that!
As mentioned by Marek, I’m the new owner of Adventure Gamers. I definitively want to ensure that Marek gets the attention that he deserves as well though, so now that we’re fiddling with that spotlight anyhow, let’s turn it back on Marek for creating AG 18 years ago and making it into the site it is today! Big respect! *bows*
But it wouldn’t be entirely right to just put the spotlight on Marek, as I feel that Jack deserves some of this spotlight as well. If it wasn’t for Jack’s dedication over the years, backed by a very enthusiastic and passionate community and its volunteers, AG certainly wouldn’t be in the shape it is today.
Now that we’re done with all the spotlights shining around the room, I guess people are curious to know more about me. I'm a Dutchman living in Ireland with my family (wife and 4-month old son). As Marek mentioned, we’ve known each other for many years. My online journey started back in ‘96 and lead me to the #monkey-island chatroom, under the nickname CaliMonk, where I made many friends for life! It’s what fueled my passion for technology and kept my gaming flame burning brightly. There are so many fond memories of all those years there, it’s amazing to see many from that original community still active in the gaming scene, sometimes in quite spectacular companies or even running their own. I've actually worked in the gaming industry myself for a long time and still do (although there's no relation between my work and my personal interest/focus on Adventure Gamers).
Games have been a profound part of my life. Ever since I got a chance to play on an Atari ST I was hooked on the potential, and as someone that has an overflow of imagination at times, it was jawdropping to see what was possible. Over the years I played many games on both the Amiga and PC, from platformers to fighting games to adventure games. It’s really this last genre that stuck with me the most, although I’ve played and enjoyed my share of games in many genres that I occasionally vlog about.
I didn’t start playing adventure games in a really particular order; it was a bit random at the time, my first experience being Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I saw it at the home of a friend when I was eight, and I just loved the entire idea of being able to explore and crawl into the skin of the ‘hero’.
After that I played as many adventure games as I could, loving the ones from Lucasfilm/LucasArts the most, with Monkey Island 2 being my all-time favorite. I did enjoy the Sierra adventures a lot as well; it’s what helped me learn English, sitting behind my computer with a dictionary playing King’s Quest to ‘open cupboard’ (to me it was a cabinet!). I enjoyed many others too, from Discworld, to Simon the Sorcerer, to Rex Nebular and Broken Sword.
When Marek mentioned he was going to step away from the site, something triggered within me directly. Still remembering the moment he announced the founding of “Adventure Gamer” in #monkey-island, to closely watching it evolve over the years (just as Mixnmojo did) was amazing. It’s something that I feel shouldn’t be lost in time, it should be treasured in its current form and then pushed beyond. Not just for ‘our’ generation but also for the generation after us that don’t know all these great games or have the fond memories we have (yet).
Adventure games as a whole have evolved a bit, and despite now being a niche genre, in terms of sheer number of gamers they are probably more popular now than ever. Great developments in the scene are happening, from the highly anticipated upcoming release of Thimbleweed Park and the new life of the King’s Quest series, to recent releases of remastered editions of Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle by Double Fine and their upcoming remaster of Full Throttle.
Also exciting are the smaller budget releases like Duke Grabowski, Kelvin and the Infamous Machine and Her Majesty’s SPIFFING, to name just a few. Entirely new groups/generations of people are now experiencing adventure games, partially due to the work Telltale is doing with their interpretation of the genre as ‘interactive storytelling’. It’s amazing how far the genre has come, and although it has different sub-divisions nowadays, it’s still going strong. Even if I’m not personally a fan of every sub-division, it’s rewarding to be able to see people passionate about games and building fond memories playing them alone or with friends.
This is a community I feel strongly a part of; it aligns with my passions as a gamer and I enjoy putting my heart and soul into it. So there you have it: my motivations for doing this. In the future you’ll see AG get a rejuvenated injection of energy, fueling the awesome group of people that are already running it daily. Together, we’ll try to get it to the next level. A redesign will follow at some point (bringing it more into this era’s tech), we’ll explore other formats (e.g. more video?) and find the right ways to give the community the platform they deserve and feel comfortable with. Obviously our writers and game creators need to get the support they deserve as well, so finding the right way to combine this all will be the challenge we face. I’m excited though!