Friday, 26 April 2013

What's Your Story? - ClintRVA

I'm really not sure whether I've ever mentioned it on the blog (I've certainly thought about doing so a few times), but I always change my laptop wallpaper to match the current game that I'm playing. I find it really helps to get me in the mood for playing, not to mention that it acts as a general reminder that I need to get on with it (a blog with no posts isn't going to build a community). I try to find the highest resolution image I can for each game so that my desktop doesn't look like a bunch of random colourful pixels. I quickly realised that every time I was searching for a high resolution Sierra adventure game wallpaper, I'd end up at one particular site. That site was http://www.sierrawallpaper.com!

The above-mentioned site doesn't just contain a title screen wallpaper for each Sierra game though. It actually acts as a screenshot walk-through, with meticulously captured screenshots running from the very beginning of every game right through to the end. Obviously such a site is dangerous for me to hang around, as it contains a visual solution for all the games I want to discover for myself, but as a source of Sierra related images and a nostalgic trip to childhoods all over the world, it's perfect! Why do I mention all this? Because I recently received a What's Your Story response from the site's owner Clint! Not satisfied with his admittedly insightful and intelligent responses, I asked him if he had the time for a few more interview style questions. He generously accepted, and the result of all of this can be found below.


ClintRVA: A cool guy who I'm sure will have lots to contribute when we reach Space Quest III.

My home country is… The United States, and more specifically, I'm in Virginia, where we were once known for tobacco, Thomas Jefferson, and Pocahontas, and where we're now known for... well, those same three things.

My age is… Thirty

The first adventure game I played was… King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella. When my dad bought our first computer (an 8 MHz Packard Bell), it had just come out, and the salesman talked him into getting it. Man, do I owe that guy. I mostly watched my parents play it, but I was mesmerized. They kept falling down the twisty staircase in the haunted house (you know, the one that leads up to the organ?), so Dad went out and bought a genuine Microsoft two-button mouse for some obscene sum of money. Oh yeah, and while he was doing that, ANOTHER salesman talked him into buying a Creative SoundBlaster. So we learn two things: first, my early computer technology was pretty advanced for the time, and two, my dad is a sucker for advanced technology.


Never fear! I punished the game for your parents' (and my own) frustration caused by these damn stairs.

When I’m not playing games I like to… Listen to music, watch movies, and hang out with my family. I see a lot of live shows -- or, I should say, I used to, before my two kids came along. I've attended well over 100 concerts, almost all of which are painstakingly catalogued here.

I like my games in (a box, digital format)… Every sort of way. My box collection is small at the moment because the large collection I once owned was trashed in some massive houseclean years ago. But I have all of my old favorites digitally, ready to play whenever I want to fire up DOSBOX.

My favourite adventure game is… Police Quest II: The Vengeance. I've played it countless times -- I love the story, I love the characters, and I especially love the music. I bought a Roland MT-32 on eBay last year and it was an incredible treat to finally experience that game the way it was meant to be played. I really dig the entire Police Quest series (which, of course, consists of 1-3... Jim Walls IS Police Quest). While there aren't many who would call it their favorite "Quest" series, it's definitely mine.


It may not top the leaderboard, but I was pleasantly surprised by Police Quest II.

The thing I miss about old games is… It's a tie between the restricted color palette and the MIDI music. Obviously both are largely for nostalgic reasons, but I do feel there was a high level of artistic talent required in making beautiful scenes out of 16 or even 256 colors. Musically, I absolutely love the synthy sounds of the "greats" from that bygone era: Ken Allen, Mark Seibert, Clint Bajakian, et al. I'm especially looking forward to hearing Ken's new Kickstarter CD.

The best thing about modern games is… The fact that adventure gaming is coming back! These recent Kickstarter pushes, spurned by the recent success that Telltale and others have had, are such a blast to support and follow. A true renaissance, it seems.

The one TV show I never miss is… Mad Men and Justified are the only ones I follow religiously. But they're both REALLY good.


If the show is as cool as this image, I want to see it!

If I could see any band live it would be… The Smiths. "I know it's over..."

My favourite movie is… Unforgiven. I was named for Clint Eastwood... and there will never be a better cowboy.

One interesting thing about me is… If you're still reading, please swing by Sierra Wallpaper at www.sierrawallpaper.com and see if there's anything there for you. (I'm guessing there will be!) Brandon Klassen of The Art of Sierra helped me pull together a fantastic website dedicated to showcasing the beautiful vistas that the Sierra On-Line artists created. I try to post a new game each month, and am very actively doing so. Thanks for visiting, and come like us on Facebook to stay up to date!


Nicely retro!

BONUS INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

The Trickster: What made you decide to create the site? Has it turned into something different to what you originally intended?

Clint: It all started when I discovered that DOSBOX could take screenshots. I was playing through my favorite Sierra On-Line title (Space Quest III -- I'm sure I'm not the only one who pins the blue ribbon on that perfect game!) and began capturing every scene, thinking that I'd make a SQ3 screensaver. But that wasn't really good enough, because I had to leave the room and come back to enjoy it. So why not make them my desktop, and switch them out every hour? Bingo! As I finished SQ3, I moved to replay another oldie, and the same thing happened. The website was born not long after, as I want to share these with the great fan community around the world who cherishes these games as much as I do.

Sierra Wallpaper has actually turned into more than I intended, thanks to the gentleman who brought it to the next level: Brandon Klassen, of the Art of Sierra and the Sierra Archives.


There are 29 fully captured games up already. I wonder how many Sierra adventure games there are?

The Trickster: What was Brandon’s involvement and can you tell us anything about the goals of The Art of Sierra / The Sierra Archives?

Clint: Brandon reached out to me sometime last year and offered to form a partnership between our efforts -- and it's been tremendous. Brandon offered SW a content management platform that makes it extremely easy to upload screenshots and get them out to my adoring public. <grin>

While I won't speak to his ultimate goals, I'd say that Brandon's affection for Sierra is rivalled only by his passion for archival. One thing that was really important to both of us was that the high-resolution wallpapers offered on SW be of the highest quality possible without reaching into impracticality (huge bitmap files), and that's something you don't often see on other sites.


This is what I found to be immensely impressive. I still have no idea how you do it.

The Trickster: Have you played all the games previously and are now just chronicling them, or are you experiencing some of them for the first time? Do you have a no walkthrough policy?

Clint: I was born in '82, putting me at prime adventure-gaming age right in the middle of Sierra's greatest period. I played almost every game they made, making sure I got my hands on as many as possible. Most of them we owned, thanks to Santa Claus and the Babbage's at Valley View Mall, but some of them I borrowed from friends' older brothers (the Leisure Suit Larry series... sorry, Mom!) or downloaded, once the internet came around. For the purposes of SW, and since I've played them all before, I always use walkthroughs -- I try to post the screenshots as linearly as possible, and the walkthrough helps ensure completeness in the solution of puzzles, dialogue, Easter eggs, etc.


To Clint's Mom: This is what Clint was up to! (We all were if that makes it better)

The Trickster: I notice you haven’t attempted to capture every possible pathway or death in each game. Is that something you’d like to do, or is capturing a successful play through enough?

Clint: I considered capturing death sequences, and even tried getting a few, but they aren't all that interesting without animation. The goal of having the still image is primarily to capture both the environment of the scene and the artistic command of Sierra's creative team. I do capture a second shot with action, or even dialogue, if I feel it will enhance the experience for the viewer. Here's a good example.


I'm afraid you'll have to wait until I complete a lengthy list of other games my lady!

The Trickster: Do you receive much in the way of feedback from visitors? Have any of their uses for the images surprised you?

Clint: The occasional thank you comes through our Facebook page, but mostly people come by, download, and leave -- and that's perfectly fine with me. I'm not on a quest for glory (ED: I see what you did there and I give you 40 Sierra points for it).

Replay Games has occasionally posted a screenshot on their FB feed to generate discussion and goodwill with their fanbase. That's about all I've seen, though I'm sure the images are being used elsewhere. Again, I have no problem with that... I don't own them to begin with!

Comments: Make it all worthwhile

If anyone else wants to send their What's Your Story responses through and get 20 CAPs in the process, please send them to theadventuregamer@gmail.com.

10 comments:

  1. Um... That screenshot is not from Police Quest II. It's from the first one. :-)

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    1. Yes...um...well...aahhhh...hmmmmm...no, I cannot come up with anything clever that will explain how that happened.

      All fixed now though!!! :)

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  2. Awesome! I love your site, and have used it for wallpapers myself on occasion. Now though, I just have images from my upcoming Kickstarter adventures on rotate. :p

    What would you say sets the Sierra games apart from the other big publisher at the time, LucasArts? In other words, why Sierra?

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    1. Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it! The answers to your questions are: not much, and I'm not sure. I loved LucasArts as much as I loved Sierra, and think that LA games were probably higher in quality, overall, despite being much more limited in number. I think I started with Sierra because they were the first games I played as a kid, and they have a little more room in my heart for that reason. I intend to work on LucasWallpaper.com someday. :)

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    2. Heartroom counts for everything. :)

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  3. http://www.gog.com/gamecard/fahrenheit_indigo_prophecy

    Game is 2.99 usd - promo last 3 more days :)

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    1. Damn, I new I should have gotten around to posting the sale first thing this morning when I saw the email.

      Fine then: Steam sale:
      Resonance: -75% off Offer ends 29 April http://store.steampowered.com/app/212050/

      New release AND sale: Kairo: http://store.steampowered.com/app/233230
      Oh and The 39 Steps is also a new release: I only mentioned it as a sale last time.

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  4. Hey another VA user! I'm in Virginia Beach myself. Your website reminds me of some art that a quick Google search didn't turn up. I can't remember what it was for, but somewhere I have a folder filled with Sierra artwork. I want to say it's based on either King's Quest IV or VII. The folder itself is patterned like a sky and it has a bunch of lithographs inside. Now I need to go see if I can find them. Anyone else know what I'm talking about?

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  5. http://www.indieroyale.com/

    New Indie Royale bundle includes the Back to the Future adventure game from Telltale

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  6. Loving that Sierra game screenshot website!

    The one that I'm looking forward to seeing is Space Quest IV, it had some really amazing art.

    Do you know if you'll be able to get scans of the original painted backdrops that that era of Sierra games used? If they still exist anyway, I hope they weren't destroyed! (although they may belong to the artists who created them)

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