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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 985 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
  • So you define 'darkness' as the opposite of physical light? As physical nature describing the setting? Shadows and darkness?

  • @Jerminator said: 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.



    Good point, Jerm. And don't forget the pawn shop owner from KQ6! :D

  • Lambonius you are an art major right? What is darkness in art? Mostly a physical thing (light vs shadows?)? Or are there the psychological aspects like literature?

  • @BagginsKQ said: Lambonius you are an art major right? What is darkness in art? Mostly a physical thing (light vs shadows?)? Or are there the psychological aspects like literature?



    Depends on the time period and context. :)

    The type of "darkness" that is being referred to in this thread, however, is one of the major pop culture cliches of today, which is, I think, why many of us have so much trouble stomaching it.

  • @Lambonius said: Depends on the time period and context. :)

    The type of "darkness" that is being referred to in this thread, however, is one of the major pop culture cliches of today, which is, I think, why many of us have so much trouble stomaching it.



    Yeah. Ohhhh, grimdark so deep! :rolleyes:

    Proper dark story-telling can be found in the original Grimm Brothers fairy tales. Those things were gruesome. In recent years the best 'dark' story I've seen was the Sweeny Todd movie.

  • Grimm fairy tales were dark from a 'psychological' dark sort of way.

    In general KQ takes the route of the more sanitized Disney-esque route, where the more dark aspects of the original fairy tale have been removed...

  • @KuroShiro said: Yeah. Ohhhh, grimdark so deep! :rolleyes:

    Proper dark story-telling can be found in the original Grimm Brothers fairy tales. Those things were gruesome. In recent years the best 'dark' story I've seen was the Sweeny Todd movie.



    You should check out the Gotrek and Felix book series. Very good, they exist in a world which is "grimdark" to begin with. Very excellent series.

  • @BagginsKQ said: Grimm fairy tales were dark from a 'psychological' dark sort of way.

    In general KQ takes the route of the more sanitized Disney-esque route, where the more dark aspects of the original fairy tale have been removed...



    A little OT but what kind of darkness would you call The Twilight Zone? It's not outright horror--But it is disturbing. Could it be called psychological darkness, ala Grimm's Fairy Tales?

  • @Anakin Skywalker said: A little OT but what kind of darkness would you call The Twilight Zone? It's not outright horror--But it is disturbing. Could it be called psychological darkness, ala Grimm's Fairy Tales?



    I wouldn't call it dark at all. At least, not the cliche kind we're so used to seeing today. They're usually too comical, or perhaps to put it more accurately, they don't take themselves too seriously. I'd call them black humor, if anything.

  • @Lambonius said: I wouldn't call it dark at all. At least, not the cliche kind we're so used to seeing today. They're usually too comical, or perhaps to put it more accurately, they don't take themselves too seriously. I'd call them black humor, if anything.



    Even considering the context of the time in which they were made? Today they might seem comical because we're so used to blood, guts, gore and every form of psychological horror...But in the late 1950s, early 1960s? I mean consider episodes like The Hitchhiker, or Living Doll, or Nightmare at 30,000 Feet....I don't really see any humor in them, not even black humor.

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