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How do you define 'dark' or 'darkness' and how does this relate to KQ?

posted by BagginsKQ on - last edited - Viewed by 987 users

I'm curious how people define darkness in storytelling, and how do you feel it relates to the KQ series?

What is the cinematic/literary/fiction definition of dark? How does it contrast with your own interpretations of dark?

Here are a series of comments on how Roberta viewed darkness for various games in the series, that I have found;

This quest (KQ6) seems to have a darker, more ominous tone than the other King’s Quests; it is also more wordy. Is there a reason?

I was thinking that same thing the other day, but I don’t believe we made it intentionally ominous. It just turned out that way.


First of all, I have to say that King's Quest comes from ME and each one is different and has its own flavor. Some have a darker tone, and others have a lighter tone. Some touch upon violence, and some don't. King's Quest reflects the mood that I am in when I go to tackle another one.

KQ3 was very dark, and it utilized lots of magic and magic spells with the basic idea of finding ingredients for "black magic" spells and then casting those spells. (Certain religious groups were upset with me over that one!)

KQ8 indeed has a story, actually, a much more profound story than prior King's Quests. It is a new telling of the ultimate "quest" the quest for the most powerful, spiritual, benevolent item of all; the Mask of Eternity. This story takes its cue from two sources: the Quest for the Grail, and the Christian story of the struggle between God and Lucifer. When we say that the story is very dark that's really not true; it's just that the story is more profound and seriously looks at the struggle between good and evil. Rather than taking a bubbly, Disney view of good and evil, I chose to look at the struggle between good and evil from a more serious, traditional, almost spiritual, viewpoint. If you look at the traditional stories of the Grail and even in past Christian legend, you find that it is not light-hearted, gooey, and bubbly. Those stories are filled with conflict, peril, finding ones own morality, proving oneself a hero by overcoming evil creatures of Chaos, but yet proving oneself virtuous and good with all things good. That is the theme with this game.

"The idea I sorta had in the back of my mind in developing this game, its not really heavy, or fleshed out strongly, it was the idea of exploring spirituality a little bit, I don't want to get heavy with this, but the idea of religions maybe, or lightness and darkness, chaos and order, and why people believe the way they do, and I sort of went back to primitive religions, and looking really at all religions, seeing what was some commonalities among them... -Roberta Williams, Talk Spot 2.


Here is a comment from Mark Seibert;

December 1998; What would the game have lost the most if you had made in the KQ7 style?
"I think the ambience, I think the game has a wonderful mood to it, it's kinda of dark and mysterious and look of the screen and the music and the sound effects just make for a wonderful experience. I don't think it would have gotten the same experience from cartoon animation."
-Mark Seibert, Talkspot Part 2

38 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • "Darkness" can be many things. People often use this generic term these days to describe something they feel as mature, but mostly it's over-melodramatic and generically gritty.

    King's Quest has always had some "scary" elements, but they're mostly spooky and still in the realm of whimsical. King's Quest is definitely more whimsical fairy-tale than a DARK, GRITTY Adventure™.

    Bt

  • You know, just because Roberta says something doesn't mean it's right. I think she made a severe mis-calculation with MOE's direction and execution. It happens. Sometimes the creators of something take their work in a different direction, and it doesn't work too well. (* cough Prequel Trilogy cough*)

    Bt

  • Just because you say something doesn't mean what you say is right... It's just an opinion, just as much as Roberta's thoughts are just opinions, or the people that questioned Roberta, are asking based on their opinions.

    The purpose of this thread, is to get everybody's opinions. Not just your opinion.

    BTW, the purpose of this thread isn't to discuss the merits/lack of, for KQ8... So 'would you kindly' stay on subject?

    Andrew-Ryan.jpg

  • First, your previous post was largely about MoE, so Blackthorne is justified on commenting specifically about it.

    Second, I tire of people saying "your opinion is just an opinion" as if to invalidate any position anyone has on a subject when they hold fast to their views. If people don't actually believe in the things they are saying, it makes the argument moot anyway since no one would be sincere enough to care about being honest.


    On topic, I would agree that KQ is spooky in places while still retaining a sufficient level of whimsy. KQ6 is probably the darkest of the first 7 games, but it is held together by a more compelling story than the others which justifies the tone.

  • KQ6 doesn't really strike me as that dark, but maybe that's just me. For a game to be dark for me there needs to be the sense that some unexpected peril can happen at any time.

    I thought the KQ2 remake did that very well with the whole sequence of getting the 3rd gem (night-time, creepy chapel, Dracula's castle, getting attacked by wild animals).
    The ambiance is just right, something they failed to do properly in KQ6. KQ6 is still a great game with a fantastic story though, mind you.

  • First, your previous post was largely about MoE, so Blackthorne is justified on commenting specifically about it.


    Actually they are just an assortment of quotes where Roberta or others talked about opinions of darkness in the games, with examples like KQ6, KQ3, and KQ8. It's not just 'largely" KQ8...

    Or at least how Roberta interpreted 'dark'. Not everyone seems till have the same definition for what dark means... Which is he purpose of this thread...

    As for 'someone's opinion is just an opinion" you may notice Blackthorne tried to use that against Roberta Williams opinions. I brought them only into this thread to be inclusive of all the opinions on darkness out there including the one who designed the games.

    KQ4 anyone?
    Ya I'm curious of people's opinions on this game was it truly 'dark' or not?

    I sort of get the impression based on her comments about KQ6, that she didn't really view KQ4 as "dark" as KQ6.

    You can also infer from one of her above quotes that she must have viewed KQ3 to be darker than KQ4.

    Was she right or was she wrong?

    I believe MusicallyInspired or maybe Lambonius have strong opinions on what 'dark' means at least from a cinema/fiction background (may even have clinical definitions handy?), it would be interesting to get their opinions in this thread.

  • @BagginsKQ said: Actually they are just an assortment of quotes where Roberta or others talked about opinions of darkness in the games, with examples like KQ6, KQ3, and KQ8. It's not just 'largely" KQ8...

    Or at least how Roberta interpreted 'dark'. Not everyone seems till have the same definition for what dark means... Which is he purpose of this thread...

    As for 'someone's opinion is just an opinion" you may notice Blackthorne tried to use that against Roberta Williams opinions. I brought them only into this thread to be inclusive of all the opinions on darkness out there including the one who designed the games.


    Ya I'm curious of people's opinions on this game was it truly 'dark' or not?

    I sort of get the impression based on her comments about KQ6, that she didn't really view KQ4 as "dark" as KQ6, was she right or was she wrong?

    I believe MusicallyInspired or maybe Lambonius have strong opinions on what 'dark' means at least from a cinema/fiction background (may even have clinical definitions handy?), it would be interesting to get their opinions in this thread.



    Personally I define "dark" as creepy, eerie, spooky, etc. KQ6 was a mature game, with complex and mature plot points, more sophisticated than any previous KQ game, sure. But it wasn't that dark. The Land of the Dead is dark until the dancing skeletons. The only really dark--as in, creepy, eerie, spooky--part of the game is the Catecombs. However, KQ4's dark tone doesn't let up AT ALL. It's a very bleak, lonely feeling game. It has almost a Twilight Zone kind of feel to it--that eeriness.

  • KQ game, sure. But it wasn't that dark. The Land of the Dead is dark until the dancing skeletons


    I suspect you have never heard of dark comedy/black comedy? Amusing aspects do not mean that something isn't dark. RotD is darK throughout, and progressively gets darker up to the point you challenge Samhain, who is a very dark souless character... Dark in a HR Geiger sort of way, dark in a Hellraiser kind of way...

    Here are many of the definitions of 'dark'... These may not necessarily be aspects of the the "literary" definition of dark. I'm not entirely sure 'creepy, scary' are defined by these definitions or even synonyms. But I'm not entirely certain what is covered under the literary definition either, Musically Inspired may up on that.




    a: devoid or partially devoid of light : not receiving, reflecting, transmitting, or radiating light b: transmitting only a portion of light

    2

    a: wholly or partially black bof a color: of low or very low lightness c: being less light in color than other substances of the same kind


    3

    a: arising from or showing evil traits or desires : evil b: dismal, gloomy c: lacking knowledge or culture : unenlightened


    Doing a search on dark fiction, one blog gave this definition,

    “Dark” fiction is anything that leaves the reader feeling disturbed by what he/she is reading or that creates a negative emotional response in the reader. Sometimes it is graphically violent content, sometimes it is themes of mental illness or abuse. This in no way is an indication of how poorly a novel is written. In fact it demonstrates that the book was so well written it affects the reader’s subconscious and lingers for days after. Dark fiction leaves the reader disturbed rather than entertained or enlightened.

    This definition wouldn't really apply directly to much in KQ except maybe to the abuse and punishment Alexander suffered under Manannan. It might apply to to the suggested violence implied in the history of Alhazred... Or the life Cassima was forced to live under as a slave under Mordack...

    Here is another definition from a website (which I say doesn't exactly apply to any KQ game, no KQ is really horror);
    Dark fiction is another term for horror, a genre of fiction concerned with fear, death, and the sinister side of human nature. This is not limited to written literature, but encompasses a wide body of popular media, including movies and television series. Although such fiction is not for all tastes, writers of horror maintain that their work discusses important aspects of the human experience. The term dark fiction is sometimes used to distinguish certain stories from the mainstream horror genre. These stories may be less fantasy-oriented than most horror fiction and contain subtler emotional effects.

    Neither of these definitions really include creepyness or scariness in their definitions, but seem to suggest much more subtle and psychological emotional responses in the reader.

  • Mainly darkness in storytelling is used by describing settings where the story takes place. For instance maybe the main character casts a shadow, or perhaps it turns from day to a night setting.

    KQ used this a few times, mainly in KQ4 during the night scenes, and I recall a storm brew in KQ3 when the sky got dark with clouds and such. Really a useful tool for a good story and can be found in everyday life.

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