A Happy 10th Anniversary to the Wonderland Games!
On October 24th, 2002, the very first Wonderland game was released, and
it’s certainly been a tumultuous ten years. While our five year
Anniversary affair was a splashy celebration, I felt that, given the
relative quiet around Midnight Synergy these days, a simple letter was a
more appropriate way to mark this occasion.
The First Ten Years
When Wonderland was first released, player feedback was immediate and amazingly positive. The non-violent setting, the intricate puzzles, and the characters of Stinky and Loof clearly resonated with players. We knew we had something special, as Wonderland quickly became more successful than any previous release combined.
The first few years after that were a whirlwind of activity, seeing the release of sequels Return To Wonderland in 2003, Wonderland Secret Worlds in 2005, and Wonderland
Adventures in early 2007. These years also saw the start of the online player community. Initially a forum with only a handful of members, it has since grown to thousands of members and nearly 300,000 articles posted. To this date, it remains a vibrant place with lots of very talented and kind people, helping each other with technical issues, and taking the Wonderland games further than I ever thought possible. My hat is off to all of you!
Of course, things were not always rosy. The player community went through several difficult transitions as it experienced its share of growing pains, and development on new games slowed down after 2007, as other issues in life took precedence, leaving 2009's Mysteries of Fire Island the only release during that time.
The Road Ahead
As many of you know, the development of the 3rd Wonderland Adventures
game, Planet of the Z-Bots, has been creaking and chugging along for
almost three years now. I have found this to be a particularly difficult
game to work on. Apart from other issues taking priority, including
family, health, and the need to simply take a break from game design, I also
found it difficult to work my way back into the game after extended
absences. But it appears that the game’s development is now set firmly
in its tracks, and barring unforseen events, I think that a release in
early 2013 is very likely.
The discussion forum includes some work-in-progress screenshots of the
new game, so be sure to swing by for a visit. And, just for fun, you can have a look at this
little teaser trailer to mark the 10th Anniversary...
Beyond Wonderland Adventures 3, anything is possible. I have a veritable
box full of ideas for other Wonderland (and non-Wonderland) games. I may
also explore other platforms and multi-platform development, so that our
games can reach audiences on Macintosh computers, iOS devices such as
the iPhone or iPad, and more. As always, time will tell, but I will say
that at this point the concept that intrigues me most has the working
title “Wonderland Academy”. Speculate away!
A Thank You
Finally, I would like to say how very touched I am by the kind words I’ve received from people around the world. There have been many wonderful emails from players who have enjoyed the games, the editor, and the community, and I am very happy to have created something that brought many people joy. I am also surprised in the many other ways that Wonderland played a role in people’s lives: the senior citizen who used Wonderland for his daily mental training as part of his rehabilitation, the teacher who designed problem-solving puzzles to engage hard to reach students in her classroom, the mom whose autistic son found calm and solace in playing Wonderland during difficult episodes, and so many more. Thank you for sharing your stories with me.
I truly feel that it has been a great privilege to have had the opportunity to work on these games, and so I want to end this letter with a heart-felt Thank You to all of you who for supporting Midnight Synergy over the years. It’s been a blast, it’s been an adventure, and I look forward to
what the future will bring.
All the best,