It's actually quite strange that the King's Quest Collection on Steam has this version rather than the original. Not a very accurate journey through the evolution of the series.
We’ve made it to the first remake on the list, and unsurprisingly it’s the original Sierra “Quest” game that got the treatment. The original King’s Quest was a huge success, and pretty much all adventure games that have come after it owe it a debt in some way or another. But interfaces, visuals and sound quality had moved on a fair bit by 1990 (six years after the original’s release), and some bright spark at Sierra realised they could apply the most up to date engine to the game and stick it back up on the shelf. We’ll discuss how successful this plan was a bit later, but first let’s take a look at who was involved in the project. Roberta Williams is still listed as the game’s designer, but given it’s a remake, one has to wonder how much involvement she really had. I’ve not played the remake previously, so I don’t yet know how different it is (if at all) from story and puzzle points of view. Perhaps someone can find an article, such as an interview, that clarifies her involvement? Regardless, no other members of the original King’s Quest team took part in the remake. Sol Ackerman, Charles Tingley, Greg Rowland and the MacNeil brothers had all left making adventure games behind by this stage, while Chris Iden and Jeff Stephenson were busy making King’s Quest V (Roberta likely was too).
I've read that there were two separate covers for the game, but haven't been able to find the other one.
So who was involved? Well it seems to me that this game was a training ground for wannabe programmers. The experienced Jerry Shaw (Police Quest 2, Hero’s Quest) was leading the show, but there were no less than six first time programmers working beneath him (Gary Kamigawachi, Randy MacNeill, Raoul Said, Chad Bye, Oliver Brelsford and Mark Wilden). All of them would go on to work on future Sierra adventure games (our friend Corey Cole will definitely recognise a few of those names). The Art Designer was William Skirvin (Larry II & III, King’s Quest IV), while the animation and backgrounds were handled by the majority of the team that worked on Codename: ICEMAN (Jeff Crowe, Cheryl Loyd, Cindy Walker) along with newcomer Jennifer Shontz. Finally, the game’s music and sound effects were produced by Ken Allen (The Colonel’s Bequest). What’s interesting is that this was the very last adventure game that Sierra made with the SCI0 engine. Given the purpose of the remake was to modernise the aging original, I have to question why they didn’t wait a few months for the superior SCI1. As it is, the resulting game, which was released as Roberta Williams’ King’s Quest I: Quest for the Crown, has a similar look to King’s Quest IV, using 16 colours (the same amount as the original) and offering optional mouse and soundcard support.
It sure seems a long time since I replayed this!
It's definitely a step up, but not as pretty as I would have hoped.
The response to the remake was pretty bad, with many critics and fans feeling that Sierra had “destroyed a classic”. The process of updating the game was compared to colorizing classic black and white films, which was frowned upon by lovers of cinema. It wouldn’t be the last time that Sierra would remake series-launching games (Leisure Suit Larry, Space Quest, Police Quest and Hero’s Quest would all get remade in the next couple of years), but it did halt their plans to remake more of the early games in the King’s Quest series. It’s important to note, particularly for those wanting to play along, that an unofficial remake was made by Tierra Entertainment in 2001. I’ll be playing the version that’s included in the King’s Quest Collection that’s available on Steam (the GOG collection doesn’t contain the remake). For some reason I wasn’t able to find the collection on Steam to purchase, but using one of Lars-Erik’s gifts (the one that Laukku has declined to take) allowed me to get it. I’ve downloaded the files from Steam, but will be running the game with my own settings in DOSBox. A quick look back at the Year Ahead post for 1990 reveals that it was Laukku who traded CAPs to make me play the game, so I assume he’ll be playing along (right?). Anyone else up for a little treasure hunt? Shouldn't take long!
Better than King's Quest V you say?!
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance (see below for an example bet). If you get it right I will reward you with 20 CAPs in return. It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.
Vg frrzrq n onetnva V unq sbhaqCreuncf V fubhyq unir xabja
N cynpr jvgu ornhgl nyy nebhaq
Fubhyq pbfg zhpu zber gb bja
Jub nz V sbe 20 PNCf naq n pbcl bs Ora Gurer, Qna Gung & Gvzr Tragyrzra Cyrnfr (qbangrq ol Ynef-Revx bapr ntnva)?
Extra Note: Once again, Lars-Erik will gift the next readily available game on the list to the reader that correctly predicts what score I will give this game. So, if you predict the right score (or are closest), you will get 10 CAPs and a copy of The Secret of Monkey Island from Steam. It foesn't get much better than that!? Good luck!