Jump to content
Double Fine Action Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Right Said Brett

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sierra - An Article by a Lifelong LucasArts Fan

Recommended Posts

I remember playing parts of the first games at a friend's place 25 years ago. We weren't all that good at English back then, so figuring out the right words to write was hard. I never completed any of them then, and I don't think he did either. It wasn't until many years later that I played the AGDI remakes of the first two games and actually managed to complete at least the first one. Not sure about the second.

I like the article so far and I look forward to taking part in your experiences with the King's Quest series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
By the way, I played the AGDI remakes for the first three games in the series too... more on that in Part 2 (which will be uploaded later today).

The remakes (both the fan remakes and the few Sierra ones) are definitely the way to go if you don't like the parser (which most LucasArts fans don't, since only Labyrinth had one and most LucasArts adventure fans started playing in the SCUMM era).

When I was younger, I had beaten pretty much every LucasArts adventure game (sans Labyrinth, as I also started in the SCUMM era), but while I played a lot of Sierra games I'd beaten few of them since they had their difficulty roots much more planted in the text adventure era (which makes sense, as Roberta and Ken were inspired by Colossal Cave Adventure). I've beaten most of them now that I've gotten older (well most of the big name games, Sierra made so many adventures that there's so many I haven't even played before). I like them too, but I'm more open to the text parser and dead ends than most LucasArts fans (probably because Space Quest II was my first adventure game, followed by Maniac Mansion, which was the first one I completed, and the game that cemented my status as a LucasArts fan), so I'm willing to play the older games too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like most of the Sierra games, and played them as a kid. I have a friend who beat every single one of them, even all the AGI games, as a kid. People blow their archaism out of proportion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When I was younger, I had beaten pretty much every LucasArts adventure game (sans Labyrinth, as I also started in the SCUMM era)

I always forget about 'Labyrinth' being a LucasArts adventure. I've never got around to playing it. Did you play it eventually, Jenni? If so, is it any good (regardless of the parser interface)? The only other LucasArts adventure that I've yet to play is 'Zak Mckracken and the Alien Mindbenders', even though I've got the FM Towns version loaded into ScummVM. As a self-confessed lover of LucasArts, I really should have played it by now.

I started to play Labyrinth, and it does seem like it could be good. It's just that I'm not too good with mazes in computer games since I have a hard time telling the difference between rooms. I do intend to finish it though, to see how the story stands up since the beginning is pretty good. Only the beginning of Labyrinth has a text parser though, once you get into the Labyrinth the interface changes to a verb selection drop down menu (similar to Sierra's children's games such as Troll's Tale). They did it that way to have a Wizard of Oz black and white to color feeling, but like The Wizard of Oz, the transition has lost it's aura of amazement over time.

I can understand why you haven't yet played Zak McKracken. I finished it, but this one has a lot of pointless mazes too. Labyrinth and Zak McKracken would probably stand the most to get some modern remakes, since mazes (at least those not solved through puzzles, like in the Monkey Island games) have really gone out of fashion in adventure games and those stand out the most (plus they have dead ends, along with Maniac Mansion) as being from the design ideas of the past and aren't as timeless as the others. All of those games could have the dead ends worked out well in a remake (although it would be nice if the originals were included too for the purists, in the hypothetical scenario that these remakes were ever made).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of mazes, anyone remember an adventure game called Igor: Project Uikokahonia? That had a maze of random rooms in it, and the way to get through it was to go through the rooms in order so that you spelled out a word.

...ugh.

You couldn't even keep track of where you were - you basically had to figure out the path (south x3, west x2, etc) and write it down, then hope you'd got it right as you sent through room by room.

And the icing on the cake? Once you'd finished your business with the area past the maze, you had to go back through the thing... In REVERSE.

Hated that bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent entry, Eddie. Sorry I interrupted it - that'll teach me to try posting on my tablet (which takes toughly 5 times longer than using a keyboard).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like the Rumplestiltskin puzzle.
A-HA! Found another one!

QUICK, GRAB THE SODIUM PENTATHOL! WE NEED TO GET HIM BACK TO THE LAB ASAP!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You must also be partial to having a car battery clamped to your nipples, whilst simultaneously having a strict nun spank your bottom with a spiked paddle. Still, to each their own.

Hey! It's the simple pleasures that make life worth living.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
King's Quest is bad.

Trust me, I'm a King's Quest expert.

You'll have to read the upcoming installments of this retrospective to find out whether I agree or not. Although the title of this thread pretty much confirms that I don't ;)

Your opinions are factually incorrect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really enjoying reading your retrospective! Can't wait to read the rest!

I would like to point out, however, that the dousing the dragon with water puzzle is in every version of the game, not just AGDI's remake. In fact it's the more favourable solution as it awards more points. The least violent alternatives you can find in the original KQ games were always the most favourable and thus awarded more points. Also, the Rumplestiltskin puzzle was indeed spelled backwards in both Sierra's and AGDI's remakes. It was only in the ancient AGI version that you had to reverse the alphabet. I don't really think there was as much of a concept back then of having puzzles that are too difficult. There were always easier solutions and the difficult ones were bonuses that added to replay value, which you had to be clever to implement back then with limited resources and storage space. Also, there wasn't really any game design standards at the time. They were literally breaking new ground as King's Quest was the first "3D" animated graphic adventure of its kind. They must have done something right because the game was immensely popular.

I also think that the people who played computer games back then didn't play them casually. It was a big event that people took the time to patiently enjoy and to go back and try again if they didn't get full points to find better ways to solve puzzles. It wasn't about "defeating the player" per se. Many people would also play with others and when everyone is suggesting outlandish solutions just to find the answer you're bound to run into it eventually most of the time. It wasn't until LucasArts came along that they created a new standard for a different style of adventure game that different people enjoyed more. Problem is, a lot of these people consider this style "better". I could say it's "watered down", but I enjoy LA games as well. :)

So, different time, different people, different goals, no game design standards (they were pioneering a new field), and limited resources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Farewell dear friend/mere aquaintance/absolute stranger, St_Eddie.

My our paths cross again soon. Or swords. Whichever comes first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like one of those attempts to get along with mediocre things, like "Hey, i never had sex but this is a good thing, somehow." knowing deep inside of you that you're lying to yourself. Saying so, LucasArts forever, burn Sierra! :o)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...