Scorpia is back

Not sure if this has been posted already. Anyways, PC gamers from the 80’s might be interested to hear that Scorpia is back on the web, at (big surprise)

For those that have never heard of Scorpia, she was the adventure/rpg columnist for CGW in the 80’s, up to, I’m not sure when. I always liked her reviews, she never hyped the games and she played the games to completion. I bought/avoided many games based solely on her reviews.


Didn’t she try to do a “Pay to Subscribe” website a while back?

She left CGW in early 1999. Not sure what happened or why she dropped out of mainstream game journalism after such a long and illustrious career, but I’d be curious to find out. Always liked her stuff in CGW, she was one of the resons I subscribed in the first place.

Wow, her site looks like it hasn’t been redesigned since 1999, though it would only appear to be a couple months old…

Wow. Interesting news. I have not seen anything from Scorpia for a long, long time.


I’d guess she dropped out because adventure games and RPGs kinda dropped out.

Are you kidding? RPG’s are more popular than ever–just unusual to see people playing them in private any more, since the rise of the MMORPG. Old school adventure gaming has mutated to the point of being unrecognizable, but I still see a lot of adventure gaming elements in games for the various console platforms.

I wonder why Scorpia stopped writing?

I don’t think she stopped writing, she just stopped writing for CGW.

Well. Console RPGs are alive and well. MMOs are doing great thanks to WoW. But traditional party based PC RPGs? Its pretty much a dead genre from my perspective. The last one I can recall from a big publisher was TToEE and that was 2 years ago?


I think she got eased out at CGW. Desslock sort of took over RPGs at CGW back then, but he’s at PC Gamer now. I think she gave a major RPG a bad review, a game that everyone else loved (Baldur’s Gate maybe?), and CGW posted a dissenting editorial or sidebar to sort of say, “Hey, it’s only her – not us.”

Or maybe I’m just imagining all this. I think the games changed and she didn’t, is what it comes down to, and CGW wanted to go in a different direction.

She did have a pay-per-view site but I don’t think it did that well.

Yeah, that’s how I remember it as well.

Ok, I dug this up which gives her take. There’s also this from Johnny Wilson (it looks like that game was Darklands, Mark, but that wasn’t the reason). Maybe Jeff for Windows can give the CGW side of her departure if he thinks that’s inaccurate. I believe she was let go right after Johnny Wilson left, but couldn’t say for sure.

Asher’s summary is pretty much correct. The Baldur’s Gate review (she hated the game) was kind of the last straw. The feeling was that she had just kind of lost touch with the audience and with PC gaming in general. (For example, we had to twist her arm to upgrade from DOS, among other ongoing problems.)

And, really, her relationship with the magazine was a relationship with Johnny. Those two went way back. He was the only one who even knew her real name or what she looked like. She was incredibly unfriendly to the point of hostility to all the rest of us (I was her editor for years and she never had one nice thing to say to me), so she essentially had no one on her side once Johnny left. That’s what happens when you operate that way.

I stand corrected. Thanks, Jeff.

Wow, Jeff Green’s description makes me think she’s a mutant scorpion who loves computer games and doesn’t want her secret out.


Always a shame when someone bites off their nose to spite their face…

Actually, I don’t really mean to stir up this shit after all this time. I think I just got annoyed clicking over to the link above in this thread that has her old interview with Randy Sluganski, and her minor diss of me. But I can probably get over it 5 years down the line. :)

As a CGW reader before I was a CGW editor, I loved Scorpia. Even when she pissed me off later, I still had to acknowledge that no one really had quite the talent she did for writing great hints to adventure games. She really was the master of that.

Wait, was Randy Sluganski involved with a major magazine at one time or was Scorpia just interviewing him because he’s at Just Adventure+ and she did some stuff there?


I’m sorry but her page’s background with black text makes my eyes bleed

With the recent exception of Oblivion, I’d tend to debate this RPGs are more popular than ever notion. In fact, I would apply your adventure gaming has mutated to the point of being unrecognizable idea to RPGs instead.

Really, MMOs aren’t anything like the old traditional RPGs of yore. They’re not much like anything except other MMOs, actually. Console RPGs have always been somewhat unique in the genre, really becoming a genre in and of themselves.

I’m not advocating the olden days of RPGs or anything. I just wanted to point out that in general they are very much not more popular than ever. Oblivion was the first traditional RPG we’ve seen in ages, which is one of the reasons I’d say it is so popular. Many people get not only a sense of nostalgia from it, but the indication that this it is where traditional RPGs were headed had they not taken the Baldur’s Gate/Console/MMO detours.

I’d argue that with you somewhat. Baldur’s Gate definitely opened up RPGs to a mainstream audience more so than many of the games before it, and I’d say that Morrowind did the same thing a few years ago. That’s one of the reasons why I think Oblivion is so popular – they actually fixed a lot of the things that were broken in Morrowind. Plus having the game on console and PC makes a bit of a difference.

For the most part, most RPGs don’t really appeal to the broader masses, and thus aren’t percieved to be as “popular”. Even MMOs were really just seen by the broad consumer base as a hobby for nerds and geeks in the days of EverQuest, when the only stories about it on TV were about addiction and lives being ruined. Now, there are people who never played anything but Solitaire hooked on firing up their PCs and playing WoW.

I think we’re about to enter another “Golden Age” of RPGs, with Oblivion, the continuing impact of WoW, and some of the games coming up (Blue Dragon, Age of Conan, and several others I’m sure other folks will point out).

Concerning Scorpia and her departure from CGW and all that, I’m reminded of a little idea that’s been kicking around my noggin for a little while now. Jeff’s comment that she “…just kind of lost touch with the audience and with PC gaming in general” is probably as accurate as can be and I have no point in particular with which to debate. I also can’t comment on her departure or her disposition or anything of the sort, since I only read her stuff and never knew her outside of her work I’d read in the magazine each month.

I’m sure Scorpia did lose touch with the audience, from one point of view. The other point of view, and it may be an entirely invalid PoV because it’s just something I’ve been toying with personally, is that the gaming media is far more influential than one might suspect.

What do I mean by this? Let’s pick on G4 for a second, or maybe X-Play in general. One of their big demands seems to be that every game simply must have multiplayer. If a game comes along that doesn’t include a multiplayer component and isn’t a critical hit type of game (which they always rate well, regardless of the fact that similar games are usually trashed, but that’s a whole other can of worms), they will knock it severely for its lack of the feature. It doesn’t matter if the game lends itself to a multiplayer mode or not - they’ve come down firmly on the stance that multiplayer is the future and the now and they make the claim, repeatedly, that it’s what gamers want.

That’s really what I have issue with - the “it’s what gamers want” idea. We all know how easily the general population is told by the media at large what they are supposed to approve of, disapprove of, want, and not want. The same goes for the gaming population and the gaming media, I think. It’s far from Fox News levels of dragging the dog’s leash, but I think it’s there and I often wonder just how much the gaming media saying “gamers want feature X” is accurate and how much is the bias of the one doing the speaking.

Let me try and condense my stream-of-thought ramblings by posing a simple question: Did Scorpia lose touch with the gaming audience or did she lose touch with the gaming media? I’m sure it’s a little bit of both and a whole heap of other things, but I myself remember not caring for Baldur’s Gate, either. I was a big fan of story and world driven RPGs (think Ultima) at the time, and the whole while I was being innundated with how Baldur’s Gate was reviving a dead genre, was the wave of the future, and one of the best RPGs yet made, I couldn’t help but feel like I was more or less being “forced” to like the game by both the fact that there weren’t many other RPGs out at the time and by the strong-arming of the gaming media telling me that I was so very wrong with my feelings about the game. I even remember trying to play through BG1 several times, many of such times having been motivated by reading yet another article or review praising the merits of the title. I felt like I just didn’t “get it” and if only I could, I would understand and enjoy what had to be a wonderful game. After all, it re-launched the genre and spawned a slew of copycats, all of which were designed in this new RPG style that I just did not like. I was lost.

I did enjoy BG2 a great deal, though. I’m not sure why I liked it when I hated BG1 so much, but its story hooked me and its world and the exploration of it was more interesting, I guess. I’m not sure what it was, actually. Go figure.