After Hours

Questing before the age of WoW

World Of Warcraft is the top online destination for questing today, but long before Kil'jaeden the Deceiver ever dreamed up the Lich King, there was another quest to be had. Almost all modern questing games can be traced back to Sierra's King Quest. This video has a run through and here's a look back.

World of Warcraft is the top online destination for questing today, but long before Kil'jaeden the Deceiver ever dreamed up the Lich King, there was another quest to be had. Almost all modern questing games can be traced back to Sierra's King's Quest. This video has a walk-through, and here's a quick look back.

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World of Warcraft has gone from phenomenon to obsession for some people.  If nothing else, it is definitely the undisputed leader when it comes to online questing. With the addition of the latest expansion pack, The Wrath of the Lich King, WoW has once again captured the imagination of online gamers.

Questing games have long been a genre for computers. They started out being text adventure games like Zork, but as graphics improved eventually the games did as well. One of the most successful early questing games was King's Quest from Sierra.

The video shown here gives a complete walk-through of the first version of King's Quest -- Quest for the Crown. This is the first half of the game. You can see how the quest concludes on Youtube.

Questing 80's style

King's Quest: Quest for the Crown was introduced in 1984. It was one of the first graphical questing games available for PCs. It debuted on the PC, PC jr, and the Tandy 1000. It became an instant sensation, inspiring other games like it, such as Space Quest, Police Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry.

King's Quest was the story of the brave Sir Graham, who was searching for magical items stolen from good King Edward. After finding all the items, Sir Graham would become king.

Graphics were very primitive. As you can see in the video, there were only 16 colors in the first version, and they were all 8-bit. Big, blocky, and with little detail, the games required you to use a lot of imagination to figure out what was going on. The maps didn't scroll with you. As you went to the edge of the screen, the game would snap and you'd appear on another screen.

Unlike WoW, which grows through the use of expansion packs, Sierra Online issued sequels of King's Quest, much like movies. Other versions included:

  • King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne
  • King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human
  • King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella
  • King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!
  • King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow
  • King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride
  • King's Quest VIII: Mask of Eternity

Mask of Eternity was the last version of the series. It came out in 1998. The graphics had improved tremendously by then. Throughout the series, however, King's Quest remained a single player game. Even though the name of the publisher of King's Quest was Sierra Online, you never actually could play the games online like you do with WoW.

You can find out more about King's Quest and other Sierra games by visiting Vintage Sierra.

14 comments
eric
eric

Dont forget the Might and Magic series and the Ultima Series.

DC_Federal_Employee
DC_Federal_Employee

Sierra Online games were my favorites. My very first game was Space Quest (on my very first computer...Tandy 1000 EX). Kings Quest 3 was the hardest of the bunch (quit after KQ4).

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

HHGttG, Leather Goddesses of Phobos, Hillsfar, Quest for Camelot, Sundog, PoR, and the hundreds of others that were excellent in their time!

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

World Of Warcraft is currently the top online game and it's only getting bigger. Long before WoW however, questing games were standard fare for PCs. One of the earliest graphical questing games was Kings Quest. I've put a video up with a complete playthrough of Kings Quest I on Classics Rock: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/classic-tech/?p=203 Did you ever play Kings Quest or any of the other Sierra games? What was your first quest on the PC?

Mikebanks
Mikebanks

Does anyone remember these two games for the Amiga and Mac? They came with graphics, the latter in 1985. Pryority Software, the publisher, went out of business soon after, but they were good games, and the graphics were rich on the Amiga: Forbidden Quest Gateway Gateway (scripted by Michael Banks) had nothing to do with Fred Pohl's novel of the same name. The programmer was Bill Pryor. He also designed and wrote Forbidden Quest. --Mike

Tink!
Tink!

That was my first REAL PC game. Played it on the Apple IIGS, Floppy disks. That brings back memories! :D

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

He was over there eating a dead orc a minute ago. He's a little thing; round body, high tail; looks kinda like a lower case letter 'd'...

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I had all of those titles. Police Quest (still an all time fav), King's quest, Space Quest and the ever popular Leisure Suit Larry In the Land of the Lounge Lizards.

jck
jck

But on my Commodore...it would have been either...Gateway to Aphsai (sorta graphical...cheapo graphics lol)... Or Pool of Radience by SSI. Can't remember the first one I have ever played on the PC. Only looked at WoW one time. Too cartoony and drawn out for me. ah how I long for the days of Zork. lol

Mikebanks
Mikebanks

Thanks for this post. Great memories here! When King's Quest came out, my daughter was at just the right age, and I enjoyed it, too. And this of course brings to mind so many other adventures--text from Infocom and Scott Adams, on through the other early graphic adventure games. Sierra On-Line was the first to bring out adventures with monochrome graphics (line art), beginning with "Mystery House" in 1980. I remember playing it on an Apple II. Later I was playing Sierra games on PC clones. (When I first read the header of this post, I thought you were going to write about WOW!, CompuServe's abortive GUI online service. This subject is more fun!) --Mike

road-dog
road-dog

But this was funny as heck!!! I watch it every now and then for giggles. NSFW The Serenity Now Funeral Massacre: http://tinyurl.com/rna46 The guy trying to get away by going into the lake kills me every time.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I also remember a game, was it called Mobius?

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

That totally got me set for the weekend. Second funniest clip I've ever seen on YouTube (Kimbo Slice tackling the guy in Miami is still #1). :) Does it make me a bad person to say that if I played those sort of games, I would have done the exact same thing???

road-dog
road-dog

What I love about video is how completely unapologetic Serenity Now is. These guys rock! Also, I like how the music changes while the view switches back and forth between the funeral and SN running in for the assault. Then "Scatman" playing during the bloodbath... PRICELESS! The only improvement I could suggest might be the incorporation of "the mob rules" by Black Sabbath.