I just wanted to thank everybody who put their efforts into making this all happen. I always remembered the "Kunkel Report" columns fondly but I haven't read most of them in well over 15 years so it was almost like stepping into a time machine. In re-reading the columns, I am pleased that the obsession with swords & sorcery as the dominant paradigm in the design of adventure games is over. There's a lot more sci-fi, but there are also exactly the type of western, war and other genres that I had hoped to see when I wrote that column. There are even games based on organized crime, espionage and assassin cults; we have urban gang banging, platoon-level combat, western quests and a satisfying selection of other subject matter instead of the old parade of agitated elves, serial spellcasters, dyspeptic dragons, souped-up swords and magical medallions. I think that diversity has been a good thing.
And I'm hardly surprised that Virtuality is the answer to a trivia question as opposed to an arcade staple. In fact, VR itself never quite became what it was supposed to be. I've always been told that the primary reason VR never caught on in the entertainment world had more to do with insurance than gameplay. One way or another, it only took one or two cases of people in non-tethered VR headpieces stumbling down the stairs or toppling off a terrace for the safety folks to insist that the player be tethered to their computer or console. Whether this was in arcades, where heavy headpieces and lockdown player cages assured that no player would ever either hurt themselves or forget for so much as a second that they were in a crude facsimile of "reality."
However, VR wasn't just about putting on eye and ear pieces and pretending to interact in a simulated plane of existence. Arnie Katz and I once had the pleasure of meeting the visionary Jared Lanier who brought a bunch of his VR materials up to the Electronic Games office back in the 80s. All you needed for Jared's brand of VR was a video camera, a monitor and a computer. He turned on the camera and monitor and you could see yourself in the same room you occupied in "reality." The only difference was that in the room on the monitor, you could slo see a variety of musical instruments which the user could "play" by manipulating them using the position of the instruments on the monitor as a guide.
Sound familiar, fans of Wii Music?
In any case, I have quite a few more columns and I am flattered that the good folks at Retromags are interested in posting them.