A survival guide for millennial thirty-somethings.
There is a stack of magazines, untouched for years, in the back of one of my home’s hall closets, the one lovingly referred to as “The Library”.
From 1997 to 2000, I had a subscription to a magazine that I think would fundamentally alter my life. That magazine was InQuest, later renamed InQuest Gamer because marketing.
A company called Wizard Entertainment had success creating Wizard, a magazine for comic book collectors, by combining a pricing guide for collectible comics with review and preview articles. They were riding the bubble of high-priced collectible comics (you guys remember that year when Superman was dead?) and by including the serious-minded price guide, they managed some stability in a niche market.
And using a similar strategy, they launched InQuest – instead of comics, this magazine focused on game culture, and used the booming Magic: The Gathering trading market as its backbone. Again, about half the magazine was a price guide, and this “legitimate” content meant that the writers were free to explore more creative methods of reporting.
And this magazine had everything. Looking back over the magazines, I see the more traditional reviews and previews of games like Legend of the Five Rings and Tikal, but also a dearth of writings that spoke to the gaming community at large. Though the magazine played cheekily with the rivalry between “dice-chuckers” and “card-floppers”, there were articles of interest and use to the whole of the community.
For the pen-and-paper roleplayers, a guide on how to better construct riddles and puzzles. For the deck-building card gamers, a complete walkthrough of the rules for an upcoming system, abstracted play theory.
In general, the magazine had a sense of its community and embraced it. My favorite articles that I’ve run across so far include:
Looking back, I realize how much this magazine provided for me, and how much I still admire it. My subscription from the impressionable age of 12 has forever shaped me. I love games of all sorts, and talking about every aspect of games and the culture that surrounds them fills me with immense joy.
InQuest published its last article in 2007, and Wizard went digital in 2011. A quick glance at their website’s gaming section tells me that there is a void in this world. The collectible card market has long since died down, thanks to the creation of the much less nefarious Living Card Game system, and perhaps the existence of the price guide as an important trade reference document was the only thing keeping this sort of writing afloat. I hope not. I’d hate to miss out on anything.