Reply To: Ken and Roberta Before Sierra

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Here’s a thought on the book, that hopefully people will keep in mind as they read it…

The book chronicles Sierra’s early days. I’m actually the villain in the book. Steve Levy, the author, was a writer at Rolling Stone, and had the belief that software was art, and that art should be free. He saw me as an evil person trying to make money off an industry that shouldn’t be commercialized. At the time, the computer game industry wasn’t taken seriously. No “real” programmer would work on computer games. Sierra was comprised of “kids” most in their late teens (17 to 25). A lot of money was made, and a lot of partying went on. All (or, at least most) of it is in the book.

When the book first appeared, I was horribly embarassed when my dad got a copy. I gave him this one comment – “I was 20 years old during the time that is chronicled in the book. I was a kid at the time. The person in the book feels more like a “character” to me now, than a younger version of myself. It’s too bad that my teen years were so well documented. I suspect that many others subjected to the same scrutiny, at the same time in their life, might also have much to be embarrassed about.” That seemed to calm him down….

It was funny when I meet people that read the book. Generally, instead of people taking offense, they seemed to want to go out of their way to work for Sierra! Everyone expected the “fun” place from the book, and were horribly disappointed when they discovered that creating games was really hard work and long hours.

It is a fun read, and I do endorse the book. I just hope you don’t expect I’m really like that (although there was a guy who looked somewhat like a younger version of myself who may have been like that a long, long time ago…)

-Ken W