By Al Giovetti


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Whatever Happened to Shay Addams

An interview with Marilyn Coberly


Subject: Hope you can help

From: Marilyn Coberly

Marilyn Coberly wrote:

Coberly, Marilyn: Do you know what happened to the magazine Questbusters? Also, is Shay Addams still alive?

Coberly, Marilyn: Thank you for your help.

Al Giovetti: Marilyn,

Al Giovetti: I really have enjoyed getting your letter about QuestBusters. The times when I was writing for QuestBusters were some of the most enjoyable times of my life. I was one of the original QuestBusters editors and I kept writing in the magazine until the last issue that I knew of.

Al Giovetti: I like to think that The Computer Show continues the QuestBusters tradition. I would love to use the QuestBusters name, but Shay is very protective of his copyright and the price he quoted me to sell it was out of my price range.

Al Giovetti: For those who do not know, Shay Addams was one of the earliest and most prolific computer journalists. Shay had an Adventure Road column in Compute Magazine and in several other rags back when the only gaming computers available where the Apple II, Atari 800, Tandy TRS-80 (afftectionately called the Trash 80) and the Commodore 64.

Al Giovetti: In 1984, Shay came up with the idea of a black and white newsletter and magazine which was written for and by a tight group of hard core, fanatic gamers, of which I had the pleasure of being a part. The QuestBusters magazine was published monthly and continuously up until just a few years ago, 1996, when Shay published the "Autumnal Equinox Issue" with no date.

Al Giovetti: QuestBusters also published hint books and got into that field earlier than any other commercial company that now plies her wares. QuestBusters was a group of gamers who when confronted with a problem in their games sought out other gamers for hints, cheats, and walkthrough solutions.

Al Giovetti: QuestBusters branched out later in its carreer to offer a second magazine called Simulations! which Shay, myself and several other journalists wrote for. QuestBusters was the first magazine to put call names in the review or preview author's name to indicate how the author felt about the game.

Al Giovetti: Shay Addams is still alive but I believe that he is no longer interested in computer games. Shay felt the internet would be the death of his magazine and simply was suffering from game burnout. Shay told me last time we talked that he had become a professional gambler. I guess I should give him a call again.

Al Giovetti: Shay was really a card. He claimed to be a lineal descendant of Charles Addams, who created the Addam's Family cartoons for the New Yorker, Playboy and many other mainstream magazines. Shay also had that Addams affinity for the macabre, and would often wander from a conversation by sharing his gore-ridden dilusional ramblings before he snapped back into reality. He was very entertaining to talk to.

Al Giovetti: A 1994 article by author Jerry Pournelle for Byte mentiones Shay and gives the following address and contact information for him: Clue Books Express, P.O. Box 85143, Tucson, AZ 85754, (602) 743-3709. Shay did live in Miami, Florida for a while until one of the locals took a machine gun pistol or assault rifle and shot up the houses on his street. Shay then moved to Tucson where the closest person lives 35 miles away on the Indian reservation. At least thats how Shay tells the story in his unmistakable style.

Al Giovetti: Rich Heimlich and Russ Ceccola, two Quest Busters regulars worked together on Escapade, one of the early game webzines. Ultimately it was sold to ActionWorld,Inc., and Rich stayed on to run the new effort while Russ opted to head in his own direction starting www.raise-a-ruckus.com. Read more about Rich Heimlich.

Al Giovetti: Clancy Shaffer, another long time QuestBusters writer, started writing for me and has done some good work since those days.

Al Giovetti: If you need any back issues for the magazine, I could make you copies, if you pay my expenses, since I still have most of the older issues.

Al Giovetti: If you need any help with games, such as hints, cheats, or walkthroughs, email me and I will gladly get them for you.

Al Giovetti: Did you write for Shay? I would love to get some of the writers from the original magazine to write for me.

Thanks for asking....


From: "Coberly, Marilyn" mmranch@wolfenet.com *

Coberly, Marilyn: Thanks so much for responding. I have had no luck otherwise. I tried e-mailing to Russ Ceccola and to Shay Addams and have received no response.

I hear from Russ periodically and I see him at the Electronic Entertainment Expo parties every year. Russ is vowing to continue writing and start doing a good job on his website, but as of this time we can see no evidence of this. Russ really enjoyed working for Shay, and still looks fondly back on that time in his life when he was writing for QuestBusters.

Coberly, Marilyn: Personally, I'm sorry he turned away from computer games to gambling. I have a book (history of Ultima) that he signed and I loved all his reviews and news. I can see his side of the story regarding the internet, but I'm not one of the people who play games on the internet. All my games are the disk style.

Al Giovetti: Many people still prefer the non-internet gaming experience. There are many who have tried internet games only to find them loaded with people who delight in humiliating and degrading other people. Many game players are repulsed by this desire to kill other players, and they return to playing against Artificial Intelligences rather than being exposed to these "player killers" that many online game companies cater to.

Al Giovetti: Others revel in the solitary game challenge against the computer while playing Blackgammon or Chess. Many others simply enjoy the immense story telling ability of the computer in games such as graphic animated adventures, like Curse of Monkey Island recently from Lucas Arts.

Coberly, Marilyn: Yes, it was a fun magazine. No, I didn't write but I've subscribed since June 1989. When you see Shay next, would you pass on the message that we miss him and his magazine. I'm not the only person who has been trying to find out what happened. It stopped so abruptly, the last issue I have is #118 and the Adventure Road section talked about renewals and things that would be in the next issue, but there was no next issue. It was like Shay had died and the magazine folded.

Al Giovetti: If you have names, addresses, emails, etc. for others who wish to find out more about QuestBusters and Shay Addams, please let me know and I will publish a list on my board in hopes that Shay will respond to the petition for a return of the magazine.

Coberly, Marilyn: I've accessed your web site and love it, I didn't realize you were the author.

Coberly, Marilyn: Was #118 the last issue? Were there many issues before June 89? I still have all the issues in a notebook and refer to them when I play the older games. I've no problem reimbursing you, let me know what you feel is fair.

Al Giovetti: I am unsure what the last issue was. Number 118 would seem to be correct, since I can find my #117 but not my #118. Unfortunately I can only find issues back to July, 1988, which is volume 5, number 7. This would mean that QuestBusters has 54 issues that I cannot find. (Volume 1, number one would have been published in January of 1984 or December of 1993 if we use a simple issue count to go back in time.) I have 11 issues that you do not have and you have one issue that I cannot find. I will gladly exchange for the #118 and $20 plus postage for the other 10 issues that I have that you do not.

Al Giovetti: I will gladly pay to get copies of the other back issues that I do not have.

Coberly, Marilyn: Again, thanks for responding.

Marilyn Coberly, 10940 NE 33rd Place, Suite 103, Bellevue, WA 98004, 425-822-1655 fax: 425-822-5083

I do have many of the older issues and can give you the following information:

Running a Barnes and Noble Book Search on Shay revealed the following titles:

  • Ace's Guide to Star Reach & Master of Orion Shay Addams / Paperback / B&N Price: $18.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order) , January, 1995
  • Aces of the Deep Official Players Guide Shay Addams / Paperback / B&N Price: $18.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order), January, 1995
  • Book of Clues Shay Addams / Paperback / B&N Price: $18.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order) , September, 1993
  • Casino Player's Software Guide Shay Addams / Paperback / B&N Price: $18.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order), September, 1996
  • Quest for Clues Shay Addams (Editor) / Paperback / B&N Price: $29.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order), July, 1989
  • Quest for Clues the Book of Orbs Shay Addams (Editor),David Ladyman (Editor),Beverly Garland (Illustrator),David Dehay (Illustrator) / Paperback / B&N Price: $16.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order) , May, 1992.
  • Quest for Clues: The Manual of Swords Shay Addams,David Ladyman (Editor),Keith Wilson (Illustrator) / Paperback / B&N Price: $16.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order), January, 1993
  • Questbusters: Book of Clues Shay Addams / Paperback / B&N Price: $18.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order), September, 1994
  • Questbusters: Book of Clues 2 Shay Addams / Paperback / B&N Price: $18.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order), October, 1994
  • Questbusters: Keys to the Kingdom Shay Addams / Paperback / B&N Price: $18.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order), September, 1994
  • Questbusters: Keys to the Kingdoms III Shay Addams / Paperback / B&N Price: $18.95 - Regular discounting not available on this title.(Available in 4 - 6 Weeks / Special Order), October, 1996.
  • A Poker Player's Software Guide written by Shay Addams is referred to at this URL.
  • King's Quest Companion (solutions to I-V), by Shay Addams
  • Official Book of Ultima (solutions to I-VI), by Shay Addams
  • Railroad Tycoon: Master Strategies for Empire Builders, by Shay Addams
  • Quest for Clues IV, by Shay Addams, 1991


  1. From: Marilyn Coberly

    1. The first issue of Questbusters I have is June 1989.

    2. My company e-mail address and information are still on your web page under "Where is Shay Addams?" Would you please delete reference to my company name and address and update my e-mail address to this one.

    I look forward to seeing the E3 video, I understand RPG games were coming back.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. From: Marilyn Coberly

    Got the back issues, thanks for your help.

    I also see you changed one of the e-mail addresses under "What Ever Happened to Shay Addams?". Thanks for that but near the middle there is another entry. If that could also be changed. I can hardly wait until you are able to add the film stuff from the E3.

    Any word on Shay?

    I still can't locate Shay.... I would love to talk to him again.

  3. From: Srandra05@aol.com

    Hi Al,

    My name is Randy Sluganski and I am presently co-editor of a webzine called Just Aventure.

    I immensely enjoyed your article re Shay. I was a sporadic contributor to Questbusters and was also privileged to have been published in one of Shay's Quest for Clues books.

    If I remember correctly, at that time Shay lived not very far from me. I believe he was living in Wall, PA or another small town around Pittsburgh. By the time I found this out though, he was in the process of moving to Arizona so I never did get to meet him in person. I did have occasion to telephone him at various times and always found Shay to be very interesting.

    I do miss those early days of gaming. Getting a new issue of Questbusters in the mail was always a thrill.

    Randy Sluganski Co-Editor - Just Adventure http://www.justadventure.com
    Ans: Randy, you could always write for us? Subject: [Fwd: Just Adventure] Date: Mon, 04 Jan 1999 01:35:11 -0500 From: Black Wizard To: wizards@charm.net

  4. Subject: Just Adventure From: Randy Sluganski
    Hi Al, This is Randy Sluganski, the co-editor of the Just Adventure site and former sometimes writer for Questbusters. I have decided to take you up on your offer, if it is still open, and would love to do some writing, etc. for you. Let me know what you are looking for etc. and we will see what we can work out. In the past year alone I have had the pleasure to interview John Saul, Roberta Williams and Douglas Adams just to name a few. Take a look at some of my recent work at the site http://www.justadventure.com. I will have a review of Redguard and the "Best of the Year" on-line later in the week. If I meet your qualifications, let me know! I am sure our paths must have dovetailed many, many times over the years. It will be a pleasure to finally do some writing for you. Randy Sluganski

    Subject: I have back issues of QuestBusters!
    From: WBurnsidej@aol.com

    Hello Mr. Giovetti,

    I was reading your article on Mr. Shay Addams. I notice that your QB collection started at vol V no. 7. I have the following back issues available. I would be happy to copy them for you. The issues are:

    Vol II no. 4
    Vol. III no. 1,3,5,6
    Vol. IV no. 1-12
    Vol. V no. 1-6

    I also have all the issues from vol. V no. 7 to 117. I need a copy of issue 118. I never received this issue. Also I am looking for issues Vol. I no. 1 to Vol. II no. 3 and Vol. III no. 2,4. If you still need the issues above e-mail me (WBurnsidej@aol.com). I will be happy to copy them for you. All I require is postage & handling.

    I have read your reviews in many publications over the years. I started gaming on a ZX-80. I have owned an Atari 2600 with the Starpath Supercharger. ( I wish I kept that piece of hardware and the games.), Commodore Vic-20, Atari 1200XL, 65XE, Commodore 64, Atari 520STFM (upgraded to 1 meg with hard drive), NES, SNES, Playstation and now an WinTel machine. I have programmed TRS-80's with cassette drive, Apple+, and TI-99s. Fortunately or unfortunately, according to my wife I still own most of the computers and software. Alas the ZX-80 went to computer heaven. I look fondly on those days. I had a hell of alot of fun. I enjoyed Questbusters and the other publications. I have only one question, What was the Game Doctor's real name ? Well I will stop rambling. Let me know what you need.

    From: Carl Querbach Hi.. I was one of the first subscribers to QB. I have a box full of issues also an autographed copy of Quest for Clues. I was sorry to here that Shay Adams got out of gaming but I also gave it a rest for a few years. I just got involved again with computers and have been on line for a month. I started playing Baldur's Gate which was based on the old gold box games of SSI. It is the kind of game we dreamed about years ago. Anyway it started me wondering about QuestBusters and what had happened to them. My subscription just faded away. Glad to see this site.

    AG: I would like to think that I am carrying on the tradition of Shay Addams, my mentor and friend ... err fiend. I miss Shay a lot as do many other people.

    From: Carl Querbach: Thanks for getting back to me. No I never wrote for QB guess I was just to busy playing the games. You got me curious and I went and organized my QB box. So here is a list of the issues I still have.
    l988- all except September
    l989- all except the middle pages of Feb. issue
    l990- missing Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. and Nov. (Must have let subscription slide)
    l991- have all issues
    l992- have all
    l993- I am missing June, July , Sept. and I have #112, 114, 115,117 and 118.

    After that I just stopped getting them. It was kind of awkward for me to subscribe because I am Canadian and I had to go get postal orders in U. S. funds also the postage to Canada was fairly high. Then the games started getting really complicated and along with paying $70 for a game you had to add on a $20. hint book. The price of reading is high in Canada. Anyway I won't bore you with my gripes. As for writing for you---It's a thought. What kind of stuff are you looking for?

    AG: I am looking for writers who want to write about the things that they love -- games. So you fit the bill. Write about what you are playing and send it in.

    CQ: As I said I'm in the middle of Baldur's Gate---do you know about this game?

    AG: The Computer Show has extensive coverage of Baldur's Gate. Take a look at the site and let us know what you would like to write for us.

    CQ: One question before I leave it has been on my mind since 1988. Was the Stephan King that did the reviews in QB THE Stephen King?

    AG: We will never know whether Stephen King really wrote for QB and Shay. Shay is a rather famous individual both for his own work and for his grandsire, Charles Addams. Many people enjoyed rubbing elbows with Shay cause he looked kinda like the stereotypes of the characters, and he talked a bit like them. Shay had his own macabre sense of humor. Once could really believe that he was in the presence of that greatness that spawned two television series, the comics, animated tv show and two movies.

    From: Rich Heimlich Reply-To: rich.heimlich@home.com Subject: A piece you did on The Computer Show. Date: Sat, 13 May 2000 00:58:56 -0400

    Rich Heimlich: Al, I'm writing because I just got a note from a company who is considering me for an executive editorial position asking about a search link that took them to "Whatever Happened to Shay Addams".

    The FACT is that Russ and I did start Escapade (it was my idea) and we brought Arnie Katz along with his group. I then sold the entity to a company called ActionWorld who turned Escapde into Inside Games. From the middle of Escapade's existance all the way through the entire history of Inside Games, Russ was suffering heavily from burnout and literally stopped writing.

    With regard to Ruckus, I have had an open invitation to be a partner in it, but Russ has not gotten out of the writing funk and, to this day, the site is just as it was when Russ put it up that first day a couple YEARS ago. He refers to things coming and they haven't since that time.

    AG: I have utmost respect for the entire Questbusters writing team.

    I had thought Russ was fed up with writing for the project, perhaps Russ was fed up with writing period, maybee that is why he said he was fed up. Did Russ own part of escapade?

    RH: No. Russ was a paid employee, granted a more exposed one with a lot more input,but the venture was owned by myself and investors. Arnie wasn't an owner either. Russ would likely say he was a "partner" in it, but in reality, he was not a part of the actual ownership group.

    AG: When Russ got into his writing "funk," was any attempt made to give him other work, like editing?

    RH: Of course, and he opted to just disappear. It drove Arnie and I nuts because we both were very friendly with Russ and depended on his voluminous output to be there. A thousand promises were made about helping out and 999 were broken. I'm still friends with Russ as well but this part of it is well established.

    AG: I am glad you and Russ are still friends. I am glad to see that the both of you are still around. Do you know where the rest of the Questbusters are?

    RH:I heard from Clancy once but that was years ago and he was something like 97 at the time so I have to believe that he's not with us any longer. Beyond that, I haven't run into any of them.

    AG: I have heard that Shay is living in Las Vegas now and is good friends with Larry Laffer, exchanging phone calls once a month.

    RH: Hheheheh. I know he's putting out poker strategy books.

    AG: It was nice to hear from you.

    RH: Ditto. I just wish it was under better circumstances.

    AG: Many people remember Questbusters. I get a lot of mail on my Whatever happened to Shay Addams article.

    RH: I miss it. Not quite enough to start it back up, but still.... Al

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