Another Year, Another Dollar

This issue closes the fourth year of publication of The Journal of Computer Game Design. Can you believe it? What was once a flimsy experiment has become an Industry Institution.

Not much has changed with the Journal in the past year. The subscriber base has held steady at about 300. I’ve held the line on subscription rates at $30, despite increases in postal rates and printing costs. The basic format and layout haven’t changed. And, as always, I can never get enough articles.

There will be some changes coming over the next few issues. I’ll be asking Aaron Urbina to try his hand at improving the look of the Journal. We can certainly afford a spiffier page layout. I also want to put together an index of back issues, something many of you have requested. We’ll also become a bit more commercial in several ways. First, we’ll be slowly expanding the JCGD Library of resources you just can’t get anywhere else. The second change is bigger:

I’ve decided to permit ads in the Journal -- but with restrictions. I will permit only those ads that, in my sole and exalted judgment, are good for the industry. What in blazes do I mean by a fuzzy phrase like "good for the industry?" I can’t say with clarity. I can say that ads for job openings and tools and resources are good for the industry. Ads by people looking for work are good. On the other hand, corporate image ads and ads for games are definitely off-limits.

All ads must be submitted in plain ASCII. Sorry, no corporate logos or camera-ready art. I will print them in Journal format; the look and feel will be that of classified ads.

Ad Rates
The ad rate will be $30 per column inch. That’s five lines of text, plus a header. (This paragraph and its header fill one column inch.) The minimum fee is $30. I will prune long-winded ads. Payment must accompany the ad submission.

Miscellaneous News, Gossip, and Opinion
Cinemaware has apparently flickered out. After the big layoff last spring the word was that Bob Jacob would try to keep the company going in abbreviated form. But it now appears that even that was unsustainable.

Sierra has fired up The Sierra Network. It still has not come up to full speed, but this bold experiment should prove interesting. Sadly, the stock market does not seem to share Sierra’s optimism: Sierra’s stock price has slipped badly over the last six months.

Sierra also managed to ruffle a few feathers with its parodies of other games in the latest Space Quest. Some of the jibes were a tad harsh, and a few people in the industry were irritated. Now, Sierra and LucasFilm have been trading friendly jibes in their games for some time now, but this time it seems that Sierra went a little too far and cast the net a little too wide. Some apologetic phone calls seem to have smoothed the waters. I hope that the industry learns a lesson from this microscopic brouhaha: let’s cool it with the inside jokes and jibes, OK?

Speaking of LucasFilm,
Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe still hasn’t shipped. LucasFilm must be angling for some sort of vaporware record. LucasFilm itself is going through some big changes. Look for the company to move away from disk-based games and put more effort into videogames.

Speaking of videogames, sales of Nintendo cartridges have been falling since last Christmas. Our industry short-timers who view Nintendo as the Rock of Gibraltrar are about to experience something exciting: the earth will move. It’s unlikely that the demise of Nintendo will mean a collapse like that of 1984 -- Sega is moving to take up the slack. Much market chaos will ensue. Those who live by videogames die by videogames.