Reply To: Discovery Documentary about Gaming (Sierra was included!)

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So, yesterday when I was having dinner, I saw this really cool documentary on the Discovery channel. The documentary was about the evolution in gaming and started with Pac Man, Pong and the rise and (almost) downfall of the consoles. But, the coolest thing about the documentary was the inclusion of Sierra Online! Ken, Roberta and Al were interviewed and told about the early days of Mystery House (first game with graphics), KQ I and Leisure Suit Larry (first adult oriented game).

I know a lot about Sierra (games) but the documentary gave me some new insights. First of all, cool Porsche Ken! Never knew you drove a Porsche 944 in the early days 😛 Second, I knew that MH was special because it had graphics but the coolest thing was that MH quickly sold about 10.000 copies. This may not be a staggering amount nowadays, but at that time it meant that for every PC sold, a copy of MH was sold. According to the documentary it was almost one-on-one. Not many PCs were sold back then (way too expensive) so this is quite impressive! Hence the Porsche 😛

Well, we all know why KQ was special… Showcase for IBM’s PC jr, cool tunes, improved 16 color graphics, nice text parser etc etc.

LSL, as we all know, was one of the first games marketed for an adult audience. Al said that at that time, almost every game had a hero. Hero saves the day, hero gets the girl bladibla. LSL was one of the first games where the main character of the game was a big time loser. Larry, our lovable anti-hero is a loser, is put down by everybody (even dogs), doesn’t have a lot of luck in love but still is our hero. Most games at that time were set in space or in a magical kingdom, but LSL was the “first” game that had a “realistic” setting with real characters, real places and real life stuff. Also, most games back then were action games like shooters and platform games. In the documentary, it is said that because of the pace of those action games, story telling was difficult and actually a non-issue. The Sierra games however, had a much slower pace and were the ideal platform for story telling. Throughout the years story telling became more important and nowadays game stories rival big movie productions. It was really cool to see the evolution in terms of production value. According to the documentary makers, the next big thing in games are realistic charismatic characters. So, not just realistic characters, but characters that you really care about (anybody remember FF’s Aries?), characters with a life story. We’ll see what this will bring us…

I’m done rambling 🙂

PS: I saw the documentary yesterday, if you’re Dutch you can probably see it again sometime this week.