In search for the best adventure game – Part 1

Keeping with the theme of episode 21 of our podcast vintage computers, I thought a write up on the creators of the adventure game was due. So put on your favorite polyester lounge suit and prepare to enter The Kingdom of Daventry.

I shall take you back a long way in time, in the year of my birth 1979 AD, On-Line Systems was founded by married couple Ken and Roberta Williams.
Mission Asteroid and Mystery House were developed and released in 1980, the very first adventure games, devised for the Apple II, Atari 8 bit and Commodore 64, This was a major step up from the typical text based adventure games out at the time, this had graphics, albeit monochrome, static line drawings, however Mystery House alone sold 15,000 copies and earned a respectable $167,000.

This put Sierra on the map and funded a lot of their initial adventure games, such as Wizard and the Princess (a prelude to the King’s Quest series), Cranston Manor, Ulysses and the Golden Fleece, Time Zone and most notably The Dark Crystal, based on Jim Henson’s fantasy film. Like with most of Sierra’s games at the time, this was designed by Roberta Williams. It was also the first Hi-Res Adventure released under the SierraVenture line.

Sierra’s big break came when they were contacted by IBM in 1983 to create a game for its new PCjr.  Roberta wrote a story based on fairy-tale elements, Kings Quest was born, the first adventure game to have a third person view.  The entire series chronicles the royal family of the Kingdom of Daventry.  Both the original and sequel has you playing the character of Sir Graham, Kings Quests III and IV involve the protagonists, Graham’s long last son Alexander (Gwydion) and daughter Rosella. There were seven official Kings Quest games.

Whilst the Kings Quest games hold fond memories of my childhood, it wasn’t until I stumbled upon Police Officer Sonny Bonds, that I really began to love the adventure game. I became immersed into the life of a Police officer with Police Quest. The countless hours playing this game, gained me new skills that I use today. This is where I learnt how to touch type. My Amiga 500 became my most valued and treasured possession and it also spawned my interest in law enforcement.

Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (1987) was created with the assistance of retired police officer Jim Walls, this set the standard for realistic storylines. From your days as a common traffic cop to being promoted to narcotics and actually playing undercover in a poker tournament.

What sets this game apart from the rest was the driving interface; Sonny has the ability to patrol the streets of Lytton in his squad car.

Many sequels came after this, in fact there are a total of 6 Police Quest games, and this also spawned the SWAT series later on.

Can you hear it? That suave, sophisticated, sleazy music score?  Most likely not as you are ready this, rather than listening to it, however I bet you have it in your head right now. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present to you, the one and only, Larry Laffer.

Leisure Suit Larry, every child’s fantasy of looking at soft porn without the need to really hide it from your parents! that’s if you can get by the general knowledge questions it asks you at the beginning of game. I struggle with it now!!

This series stands out amongst Sierra’s catalog, as these are the only produced games that contain sexual themes…

From the brain child of Al Lowe, Larry became an instant classic.

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the lounge lizards, taught young minds how to pick up girls and fail miserably, have sex with prostitutes with rubbers and gamble at casinos. A must for any aspiring young child!!

Keeping with the theme of most of the Sierra franchise, the typing expedition of sex, lies and video tape, the game was set in the fictional town of Lost Wages, you take control of Larry, a middle aged male virgin, on the prowl and looking for love.

The first game was released in 1987, it was remade into a point and click in 1991 and believe it not being remade again for a 2013 release. There were seven Larry’s under the Sierra banner, funnily, there is no Larry 4, this was unreleased, so therefore skipped entirely.

Now I am only reminiscing about the Sierra games I played during the late 80s and early 90’s. Fans of the developer may have also played as Roger Wilco in the Space Quest series or as a sword dwelling hero from the Quest for Glory franchise, but I literally don’t enough space (pardon the pun) to go in to significant  depth on every single Sierra classic,  Hey this may spawn a sequel article?