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The first mentions of KQ ever on the Internet/The KQ/Sierra On-Line Archives

posted by Anakin Skywalker on - last edited - Viewed by 2K users

Not exactly newsworthy, but I thought it was interesting for it's sentimental value. These are from the Usenet Archives--the first iteration of the "Internet" dating all the way back to around 1980.

The VERY FIRST mention of King's Quest on the internet happened on January 15th, 1985; A James. W Hoffman was asking for help:

"My children (age 8-9) managed to map out all of King's Quest but
have no idea where to begin. Any hints for them or clues
for getting around some of the bad guys or how
to get the treasures
?"

http://groups.google.com/group/net.micro.pc/browse_thread/thread/c8bb67f99917bddf/5db4b79a56b61cfa?hl=en&q=king%27s+quest#5db4b79a56b61cfa

Followed by another post on February 25th, 1985 also asking for help, by an R. Curtis Jackson:
http://groups.google.com/group/net.games.video/browse_thread/thread/b588d4bd4fba9c53/b26b7877190ebaf2?hl=en&q=king%27s+quest#b26b7877190ebaf2

"I have a friend who needs desperately to know how to move the
boulder in the cave -- he's figured everything else and it is
driving him and about four of his buddies crazy. He has stooped
to asking for a complete spoiler, so I told him I would see what
the Usenet could do
."

Two posts in November 1985, the first by a Michael Lopez, the second by a David Somner: http://groups.google.com/group/net.micro.pc/browse_thread/thread/695dfb14410ca505/4ae7865d2cb810f0?hl=en&q=king%27s+quest#4ae7865d2cb810f0

" Does anyone know how to :
1) move the huge boulder in the cave
2) find the mirror
3) find a cutting tool to cut the bucket off the rope in the well
4) find the shield
5) use the cheese for some purpose
6) use the note from the witches house
7) how to avoid the dwarf
8) to guess the gnomes name? What is it?
9) to make the giant fall asleep faster
"

"Hmmm... I tried to get this game about 2 years ago, but was told by several
people that this game wasn't being made any more... Could someone tell
me where it might be possible for me to get a copy? Even better yet, could
someone post a listing of games for the IBM-PC saying where to order them
from, and the price? I think that a lot of people could benefit from this
.
-Dave S."

It's now January 1986 and Michael Lopez still hasn't finished KQ1, he writes another post asking for help: http://groups.google.com/group/net.micro.pc/browse_thread/thread/8e52e917c7bfa81e/d93df94ae3a098ee?hl=en&q=king%27s+quest#d93df94ae3a098ee

"I've finally got all of the items - the mirror, the shield, and
the chest - but, when I go to the king, I'm not sure what I'm supposed
to do. If I try to talk to him, he says to come closer, but I cannot
get any closer to him. Any suggestions would be apprieciated
Thanx
Mike
"

More people asking for help, February 1986: http://groups.google.com/group/net.games/browse_thread/thread/ef092e82679db59e/34062bd79222506?hl=en&q=king%27s+quest#034062bd79222506

"After you have all three treasures, how do you get
the king to stop asking you to come closer?
Is there any way to find out the gnome's name?
How does the magic ring work?
What are the gold egg and gold walnut for?
-thanx, Steve Miller ihnp4!bambi!steve
"

A man asking for a game recommendation for his 11 year old daughter, who is a fan of KQ, in September 1986 http://groups.google.com/group/net.micro.cbm/browse_thread/thread/481f2a10c802a294/733f3c7a98103133?hl=en&q=king%27s+quest#733f3c7a98103133

"My daughter's 12th birthday is coming up. She has been playing
"King's Quest II" on a friend's Tandy and wants something similar
for our C64. She says the graphics for "King's Quest" are terrific.
My understanding is that "King's Quest" is not available for the C64.
Can anyone recommend an alternative "adventure" game with good
graphics
?"

29 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @DAISHI said: 300000 a success during the better days of adventuring. No wonder the genre died.

    That's the thing. The adventure genre never truly 'died'--It just didn't have a big enough fan base to begin with when compared to the much more accessible action and RPG games. It wasn't a case of a genre dying because the fan base abandoning it, it was more that other genres far eclipsed it in sales and so the studios abandoned the genre. I think adventure games still sell around 300,000-500,000 copies...Meaning that the fanbase is still there. It hasn't lessened or expanded. It's just a nice fanbase in the larger pool of video games.

  • Anakin in the 1980's and early 1990's I don't think any genre exceeded 300,000 mark... Gaming was generally concidered a niche community in general... It was looked down upon by other industries like the movie industry as a passing fad...

    The multimedia era of mid-1990's started changing those opinions though.

  • @BagginsKQ said: Anakin in the 1980's and early 1990's I don't think any genre exceeded 300,000 mark... Gaming was generally concidered a niche community in general... It was looked down upon by other industries like the movie industry as a passing fad...

    The multimedia era of mid-1990's started changing those opinions though.

    I'm talking about the late 1990s--when your article dates from--when the adventure genre is said to have 'died'. I just feel it never died in the sense that people lost interest in the adventure genre, just that the audience for other genres was larger.

    In the '80s and early '90s, up to around 1993 or so, the adventure game genre seems to have been the dominant genre--The most technologically advanced, the most popular...

    I don't understand though how by say, the late 1980s, early 90s, gaming could've been seen as only a fad...By that point, video and computer games (in all genres and forms) were overall a multi-million dollar industry, and video gaming had been going strong since Pong came out in '72.

  • @Anakin Skywalker said: That's the thing. The adventure genre never truly 'died'--It just didn't have a big enough fan base to begin with when compared to the much more accessible action and RPG games. It wasn't a case of a genre dying because the fan base abandoning it, it was more that other genres far eclipsed it in sales and so the studios abandoned the genre. I think adventure games still sell around 300,000-500,000 copies...Meaning that the fanbase is still there. It hasn't lessened or expanded. It's just a nice fanbase in the larger pool of video games.

    Half my reason for developing an adventure game (besides the fact that I love them) is that it is Blue Ocean territory. It's a market not super saturated and without the cutthroat stakes of other genres.

  • I don't understand though how by say, the late 1980s, early 90s, gaming could've been seen as only a fad...By that point, video and computer games (in all genres and forms) were overall a multi-million dollar industry, and video gaming had been going strong since Pong came out in '72.

    Some of the Sierra magazine/interaction articles actually have some pretty good explanation on this... There is an article on why Sierra brought in Bill Davis as Creative Director to try to bring a bit of Hollywood development style and directing into game development, in a try to make something that could compete with and surpass the movie industry...

    Keep in mind your claim of "going strong' is an overstatement... You missed the whole video game crash of 1983, which made many in the entertainment industry second guess gaming, and think it was a passing fad and risky endeavor...

    Also the gaming with its 'million+ sellers' didn't really come along until late 1990's early 2000's as far as I know (late 1997-2001ish)... That was largely in part do to sells of console 3D gaming... Tomb Raider, Mario 64, etc...

    1996's Quake might have been on that list... I do know they claim that the entire quake series as a whole sold around 4.5 million units (conflating the numbers)... But its possible the first game in the series sold under a million...

    That's when people start seeing video games as a popular powerhouse...

    Adventure gaming was a growing industry, and then it hit a plateau.... It might have shrunk a little as some powerhouse games sold less (or few at all) than similar games in previous years (what you might call a 'sleepers'), but it never kept its momentum, that other genres were picking up.

    For example Grim Fandango only sold about 94,000 units in the US, which was pretty low even by adventure game sales standards of previous years for Lucasarts... Which on average they sold at least 200-250,000 units in the US, IIRC.

    That was certainly a 'failure' (and was actually representive of adventure game sells of that era, since it was the best selling 'adventure' after KQ8 that year)...

    300,000 in the US for Gabriel Knight (if numbers were not being conflated for the first two) or KQ6 was excellent for a single game... for early to mid 1990's. It probably represents the hight in popularity of the adventure gaming industry...

    KQ8 had a little under 900,000 IIRC (that's probably because it was drawing in action-gaming or RPG crowd)... I don't know if that includes just domestic sales or world wide sales as well... One review pointed out that Siera may have actually may have shot itself in the foot that Christmas as they released three triple-A games, KQ8, QFG5 and Return to Krondor, as the reviewer (I think it was in CGW) noted all three games had similar boxes, similar mechanics, and similar styles... While all three games were good, having three similar games, made the decision to decide which one to buy all that more difficult, and not wanting to put the time into playing three games that were nearly the same (at least on the surface) during that season made him nearly decide not to get any of them (with the choice to wait for a bargain price to come around)...

    Also I know a good number of people who played adventure games, simply moved onto other genres as those games improved in quality.... That's probably a good sign as to why games like Grim Fandango simply didn't sell as many copies, as might have been if it had come out a couple of years before... because many of the Adventure game players jumped ship...

  • Reading this thread really makes me miss "Sierra". It's just a name now....

    I really do. Nothing gold can stay, but I do have fond memories of the company in it's earlier days.


    Bt

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    exo

    @BagginsKQ said: KQ8 had a little under 900,000 IIRC

    Nearly all of which ended up in used game bins and such. The used game market is super saturated with that game. I see a lot of KQ7 as well.

    The earlier games that didn't sell as well are more than making up for it with their used game going rates. Too bad Sierra will never see a dime of that market, otherwise they would know that interest is alive and well in these games.

  • I haven't seen a used game bin (for PC games) in actual years.

  • Yep, never seen any game store that will buy back used pc games...

    Part of that has to do with the pc game market and most games have some form of copy protection...

    Maybe he meant 'yard sales' or something akin to 'ebay', i.e. personal online shops/auctions (where gamers put up there own games for sale on the internets)? If you take the latter into consideration actually you can find pretty much all the KQ games and Sierra games on the 'used market'...

    We won't even try to count how many classic boxes of any Sierra game in general that ultimately ended up in landfills... Very few people are rabid and fanatical collectors... and not everyone stays a 'collector'... Not with economy changing, people needing to downsize, or move around.... Foreclosures, even...

    As for anecodotal stories, my local Software Etc (now GameStop) never really liked to carry pc games, any pc games they brought in generally ended up on the bargain bins a month or two later, since few people would buy them... They generally would only get a copy if you 'preordered' it...

    Sierra adventure games were ironically the ones I found usually in the bargain section the same year of their release... They were also the rarest of the pc games carried in my local store... The usual suspects were action games, rpgs, shooters, racing games, simulators, that sort of thing... With really only a single rack to put them on... This was back in the early to mid 1990s... After awhile they just stopped carrying pc games altogether, in the late 1990s, unless you 'preordered'.

    Console games were always more profitable... Both on initial and the resale (since they were the only games they would 'buyback')...

  • Off topic, but I still laugh when I see Steam games in Value Village and other thrift stores. They're completely useless.

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