Maybe I didn’t notice as a kid, but I don’t think that’s it. I see the magazines that my kids get (I happen to be talking about one with Disney Princesses and one with Marvel superheroes, but I remember that the Lego magazine was like this too). These are 9 pages folded to 36 pages of nothing but drawings. I swear most pages have less than 50 words on them. Even the “puzzles” are a joke, solved in under a minute. I know that not all magazines are this bad, because we still get Boy’s Life, and it has content in it.
My whole life I have measured “entertainment” by time. A movie is likely two hours of entertainment, where as a book is likely cheaper and lasts 10x as long. Same as a concert vs. the album. So it won’t surprise you to hear that I seldom go to the movie theater, but watch a bunch of stuff on Netflix. Netflix costs me about as much as going to the movies (not counting the popcorn and drink) and lasts a month, OK, not a full month of entertainment, but likely in the 12+ hours range. I’m not cheap - I’m demanding. I demand more for my money than two hours of entertainment.
Why does this matter? Because this is the way I think, and this is the way Board Enterprises produces our products. Do not buy Royalty or Urban Developments if you are looking for great art! Royalty has the 263 characters described. None of them have a portrait. I could have filled at least twice as many pages with art, and many companies out there are doing that. But then I have to charge you for that art. There are a lot of people who don’t like our products because we don’t have enough art for them. Honestly, I think these people are stupid. If you buy a source book and want really nifty art instead of solid ideas you can use in your game, then buy a comic book. Your chance of getting valuable source material is extremely low, but there’s art. Probably cheaper than the art heavy source books too.
So as always - Do you want pretty? Go read Disney Princesses magazine. Do you want better games? Read Board Enterprises. May I suggest Grain Into Gold?