Tuesday, June 28, 2022

"The Thinking Magazine for Adventure Gamers"

Issue #40 of White Dwarf (April 1983) featured an advertisement for the first issue of TSR UK's Imagine, which premiered the very same month. 

In addition to the usual hyperbole, the ad is also notable for making use of the term "adventure gaming" to describe the hobby it services. In certain quarters, "adventure game" was preferred to "roleplaying game," in part, I think, because "roleplaying" was at the time more strongly associated with the field of psychology. I don't recall ever encountering the term often back in my youth. To my American ears, it sounds very British, but that might just be confirmation bias on my part. Regardless, it doesn't appear to have been widespread in its use, even within the United Kingdom, as evidenced by the title of Games Workshop's own foray into the field.


  1. The Fighting Fantasy books were, despite the obvious connections to and origins in rpgs, called "Adventure Gamebooks".

    On the other hand, in the late 80s/early 90s Games Workshop insisted on labelling a series of very-much-not-roleplaying-games as "3D Roleplay" for some reason known best to them.

  2. I think adventure gaming was used here in the US also, at least I feel like it did show up in The Wild Hunt and/or Alarums & Excursions.

  3. I believe the term "adventure gaming" (in our industry, as opposed to video games) was coined in the 80s as the blanket term for RPGs, hobbyist board games, and miniature games (card games weren't there yet). It was promoted by GAMA - that's why the Origin Awards are given out by "The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design." It was popular for a while: when Tim Kask left DRAGON he founded a magazine to cover all aspects of the hobby and called it Adventure Gaming Magazine. (Good magazine, also provided a home for Dragon cartoons: you can find back issues on Drive Thru...) With the rise of computer games in the 90s, the term faded out, replaced with "Tabletop Game" but it remains in use in GAMA and some other places.

  4. White Dwarf gets a rival... Future letter columns will now have comments like "you're much better than Imagine" or "Imagine is much better than White Dwarf..." or maybe that's just my false memory.

    Oh, one thing about White Dwarf, before I forget. I heard from a reviewer that the *number ratings* for reviews in White Dwarf were assigned by the editor rather than the reviewer, and often reviewers were stunned when their positive or negative review got a much different rating than their overall tone intended. No idea if that's true or not, but it might explain the sometimes odd ratings. I certainly learned to ignore the rating and read the review text.