Classic Gamer Enthusiasts Release New King's Quest Adventure

If you cut your teeth on computer games in the mid-1980s, then you almost certainly remember Sierra On-Line. From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, Sierra On-Line (later renamed Sierra Entertainment). Sierra created many of the titles in the golden age of adventure gaming and earned itself a strong following. Even though the company is dead, a group of fans has persevered long enough to develop their own King's Quest sequel—The Silver Lining.

See this, sweetie? Your grandpa remembers when these were good graphics. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, I took my medication.

The development process was anything but easy--in addition to the usual problems inherent to any fanmade, volunteer project, Activision initially refused to grant the team a non-commercial license after buying the Sierra brand and IP off Vivendi. That looked like the end of the project, but developer Phoenix Online was evidently able to work a deal with Activision at the last minute. The game is therefore available, but only when downloaded from Phoenix Online's website.

The game's graphics aren't exactly modern, but the engine appears to do well with what it has. We've included the launch trailer for TSL below; if you're interested in downloading the game you can grab more information here:

A Hero Returns

If you ever played Sierra's Quest for Glory series, you might also want to check out a remake of the second and one of the most popular in the series—QF2 2. It's also a free download, and it plays best with a heavy dose of nostalgia.
Inspector 4 years ago

Never heard of the game before... maybe i was too small to game :)... I guess i'll download it and try :D.

marco c 4 years ago

You're killing me Inspector! :)

Many of Sierra's games were instrumental in my early geek-hood. All of the King's Quest Games, Leisure Suite Larry, Space Quest, Manhunter--lot's of great stuff.

jturnbull65 4 years ago

Don't forget Police Quest, the longest surviving of the Quests!

jturnbull65 4 years ago

Good call on Manhunter. I remember feeling totally immersed in the environment created by that game... in fact, more so than any game ever come to think of it.

3vi1 4 years ago

Don't worry, Marco. I saw this and thought: "Oh boy! A new Leisure Suit Larry can't be too far behind!" lol

skywalkr2 4 years ago

Long live Hero's Quest / Quest for Glory series.

Inspector 4 years ago

lol Marco, I just googled the game and it was created in the 1980's-1990's... i was not even born yet or i was 2 (King's Quest: Mask of Eternity-1998) :D

marco c 4 years ago

I was telling the team the other day when this post was being worked up that I actually have a King's Quest 4 User's Manual, autographed by Roberta Williams (she's quoted in the beginning of the video). She came to a Software ETC. store I was working in at the time for a signing, so I took advantage. Wow, I'm an old geek. :)

AKwyn 4 years ago

While I wasn't around during the time of King's Quest. I did grow up on the Sierra of the late 90's (The one with the S queen like logo). I just loved playing Drivers Edicatuon 98', one of the most rarest games of all time (good luck finding it). I also own some of their games from their 3D Ultra line and some from their Sierra Studio's brand. The day they rebranded it Sierra Entertainment was the day it lost it's soul. But I sure hope I'm able to buy the brand someday and relaunch Sierra the way it should be, mighty and producing the best games known to man.

acarzt 4 years ago

Never played this one lol.

I used to love playing Cyberia back in the day lol I know it's not a Sierra game.. but I used to think it was awesome anyway!

sackyhack 4 years ago

Holy crap Cyberia! Nostalgia rush!! I remember being stuck in the very beginning where I had to walk across a platform, but I kept on getting shot. I've actually been going back to these adventure games, trying to beat all the ones I missed. I recently finished Blade Runner, and am now working on I Have no Mouth and I Must Scream.

It's good to see fan projects like this, but I read the Kotaku review and they we're too happy with it. I hope the 2nd episode turns out better.

infinityzen 4 years ago

I always rathered QFG to KQ, but PQ and SQ were great. I think I actually still have every LSL. Those floppies are kinda hard to install now'a'days.

ClemSnide 4 years ago

Nostalgia huh? (cracks knuckles, winces, takes arthritis medication)

I played the original on the Apple ][ back when it was first released. At that time, graphics weren't really part of the gameplay, they just showed you what you might do instead of having a text description.

I wasn't actually too fond of Sierra's offerings, preferring the subtle texty goodness of Infocom adventures-- but those predate even King's Quest, being more contemporary with Mystery House Adventure.

By the wya, those weren't purple and green lines on purpose; one of the ways the Apple ][ got its unmatched 280x192 (with four lines taken up by text), six-color output by pulling some tricks. One of them was that white took two pixels consecutively to form-- a single-pixel line was purple or green, or blue or orange (depending on the most significant bit). But with the two graphics pages, a careful programmer could make flickerless animation.

And yet, by the time Double and Super Hi-Res was out, we had found ways around these quirks and were producing some impressive (for the day) graphics. The King's Quest line used that mode, which was a step up from standard hi-res. (I believe the screenshot in the story was from the Commodore 64.)

sackyhack 4 years ago

lol'd at "unmatched 280x192".  That's one of the things I never grow out of, being amazed by graphics and thinking it can't get any better.

Brief History of sackyhack's naivete:

Atari 2600:  "Oh ok this looks nice"

Commodore 64: "Wow those F1 cars are going INTO the tv!  This is what they call virtual reality right?"

Biomenace:  "Look at the colors! I better disable Turbo mode, I need every last bit of that 486's power"

Doom II: "The Spider Masetmind's legs are really made out of metal!!  I think I can see my reflection in them"

N64: "Wow, Mario looks JUST like his CG version!"

Q3 Arena: "Oooh curved surfaces"

Soul Calibur: "That's it, this is what real life looks like.  We've hit the peak"

Crysis: *head explodes*


Not to sound like a graphics whore, but I'm really looking forward to the next major leap.  Unfortunately I think it's gonna come with the arrival of the next gen consoles no matter how much pc hardware improves in the meantime, since most developers are going multiplatform instead of PC exclusive.

acarzt 4 years ago

In the PC market, there aren't any Sudden drastic changes anymore. Just steady progress.

In the console market... there is a 5 year jump in technology so when they get a new console it's like... HOLY CRAP! THIS IS WAY BETTER! lol

For a nice example of the steady changes... go back and play Half Life 2. The game still looks great for being almost 6 years old now. Then play each consecutive Episode. The updated and improved the graphics with each episode and you can see subtle changes. And then jump on over to Crysis. It looks good, but it's not that much better looking than the HL2 series.

sackyhack 4 years ago

Right, but I meant my personal reaction to improvements, not their rate.  My pc doesn't make incremental updates, it gets overhauls/replaced Big Smile  For example, I started with a 486, went to a Pentium III 700 Mhz (remember the software rendering vs hardware rendering option? I was a "software" guy), then a 2Ghz Pentium M, and now a Q6600.  The new build is the 1st time I have a standalone GPU.  So while the upgrade from HL2: EP2 to Crysis may not have been great,  for me the jump was from Q3 to Crysis since I didn't have the hardware to run the stuff in-between, and that jump was mind-boggling.

gibbersome 4 years ago

Hehe, nicely done sackyhack!

But I see another reason why graphic evolution has been slow. It's become too expensive and time-consuming to make a really beautiful game. So much so that smaller developers have been pushed out of the competition.

Joel H 4 years ago

Game engine evolution slowed considerably over the past 3-4 years. Remember that Vista, which was supposed to push DX10, never really took off well. Even while plenty of gamers were upgrading to the latest DX10 solutions from ATI and NV, Vista never commanded a majority share of the gamer install base. That meant plenty of gamers who *could* have been playing in DX10 were still in DX9.

Add that to the fact that virtually all game development today targets the console first and you've got the current situation.

acarzt 4 years ago

Heh... good point Joel... the only reason I made the move to Vista was because I got a DX10 card and wanted to be able to use it.

Gibber, I don't have any hard evidence, but it seems to me the PC gaming has slowed considerably.

You just don't see that many good games coming down the line anymore. But I wont give up on my PC gaming!

sackyhack 4 years ago

Long rant, sorry.

I honestly don't buy the "pc gaming is dead/dying" thing.  It's declined, sure, but I don't think it will ever die.  It's all speculation on my behalf, but at WORST I think we'll get the best version of console ports.  At best, I think the current trend will continue with roughly even split between console ports/multiplats and pc exclusives for a long time.

The reasons I think this is because 1st, there are several popular pc genres that consoles still haven't nailed, and with the rush towards family friendly content and motion controls they're moving even farther from them, or getting rather shoddy ports of them.  These include RTSs and complex RPGs.  Can you imagine playing STALKER or Diablo 3 with a 360 controller??  I'm willing to bet money that the next generation of consoles will all ship with motion controls as the focus with the majority of launch titles being similar to the Wii's launch titles.  Hardcore gamers will be left with nothing but the pc as their outlet.  Obviously there won't be a mass exodus to pcs since people who can afford consoles can't necessarily afford equivalent pcs, but I think there will still be a shift.

The other reason I think pc gaming will never die is that it drives development.  The consoles all have strict publishing controls, whereas on the pc it's quite easy for indie devs and modders to get started, or even for established devs to experiment with the help of DRM controlled digital distributions like Steam or D2D.  This fan-made project is another perfect example.  These guys wouldn't just be able to advertise on youtube and then release their game onto PSN or Xbox Live.    I believe improving tech also drives development.  IMO at some point the devs with enough money to support high production values, are going to look at pc games running at 2560x1600 with tesselation, complex physics, 32xAA, etc., and look at console games running at 720p, 0xAA and they're gonna want to make something that utilizes all of the advances in hardware (I love you id and Crytek).

Console games seem to be falling into an unfortunate pattern.  If it's a FPS, it has to play like COD, If it's a 3rd person action, it has to play like GOW, if it's a TPS, it has to play like Gears of War, and if it's an RPG, it has to be an RPGlite like FFXIII or Oblivion or it won't sell.  Granted, I absolutely love all of those games I mentioned, but their successors not so much.  While fresh content still pops up on consoles, I see it more on pc.  You'd never see a game like The Void or Penumbra series on a console.

Mods are a small factor too.  I can't count how many times on 360 and PS3 forums I've seen people drooling over Oblivion and Fallout 3 mods.  I'm sure at some point when hardware that can run those is cheap enough they'll make a switch, even if it's temporary, to try to those out.  .

Lastly, I think the current surge in console ports has a little bit to do with the economic climate.  What gibbersome said is true both for production values and risky projects.  Everybody suffered and lost money.  Companies lost investors and customers are buying less.  So once things improve, I think developers will be more comfortable taking risks and developing pc exclusives.  If the recession had happened a year earlier, DICE wouldn't have finished working on something risky like Mirror's Edge and EA wouldn't have published Crysis as a pc exclusive.  When everybody's back to making money, I think we'll again see great pc offerings like we did pre-2008.

So, I guess I'm rambling.  Kudos to you if you read the whole thing, you have my e-thanks.  As you can tell, I'm a huge game-nerd.  Too-long-did-not-read version: I don't think pc gaming will ever die, nor will it change much from how it is right now.

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