Adventure Probe Magazine
Adventure Probe Magazine (or Probe as it was affectionally called by its readers) was an A5-sized publication that ran from June 1986 until 2007, making it probably the longest running paper-based adventure / IF fanzine, at least in the UK. At its height, circulation was 500+ which eventually declined to about 5-10% of that figure. Published monthly, it never missed a single issue.
Adventure Probe was the "sister" publication of the short-lived "Adventure Contact"; a similar fanzine but devoted to game authors and programming mechanics, while Probe was originally aimed at adventure players.
Initially edited by Sandra Sharkey with Pat Winstanley, the fanzine was later helmed by Mandy Rodrigues. Barbara Gibb became the final, and longest serving, editor when she took over from the July 1992 issue.
Despite the changes of editor, the format of the magazine remained similar throughout its lifetime, with the bulk of the content being supplied by the readers of the fanzine: the adventure players, reviewers and game authors of the day.
The magazine also had several associated software labels. Mandy Rodrigues ran Atlas Adventure Software and during her time as editor Barbara Gibb set up the associated label Adventure Probe Software (which later incorporated WoW Software).
There was a strong community built around the magazine and the readers organised regular get-togethers as well as the annual UK Adventure Convention.
The content of each magazine generally included: Game reviews (sometimes more than one per game). Clues, hints and tips (from the cryptic to straight spoilers, from getting you through the first stages to complete walkthroughs). Various articles on the adventure / IF topics, interviews, and adventure writing tips. Stories, jokes, poetry, quizzes, book reviews, comic strips, spoof classified ads, a personal column and not to forget the letters page. Before email, the letters pages were the community forum pages and were a lively mix of debate, opinion and strangeness. The letters pages, together with the news section and game advertising, now form an invaluable archive of the activity in the UK text adventure scene at the time.