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Dear Ken and Roberta,
I couldn’t agree more about Sierra being a part of a great history. I would like to contribute my part of the book with a little history of my own.
I first became acquainted with Sierra in the winter of 1990. My parents traded an old car that we had for a Tandy 1000 (PC-XT class) computer. The system was used and came with a number of peripherals as well as software. There were three Sierra titles that came with it as I recall. These were King’s Quest I, King’s Quest III, and Helicopter Simulator.
I was immediately engrossed by these games. I was 14 at the time and life was rather grim for us back then. It was nice to have a world that I could escape into and forget my worldly cares for a time.
My Christmas and Birthday for the next few years involved collecting other titles in the King’s Quest series as well as Space Quest and Quest For Glory.
In 1992 my parents took us to the then headquarters in Oakhurst for my 16th birthday. That was an experience I will fondly remember throughout my life. I had the opportunity to meet Ken and he autographed our game manuals. I think I still have them in a box here somewhere. We also got to meet Lori Cole when they were working on Quest For Glory 3.
That visit and the monthly messages from Ken in the magazine really inspired me. From that time on I wanted to be a programmer at Sierra and contribute to making truly awesome games, but it just was not to be. I did learn to program though and it was due to Ken’s stories from his early programming jobs that inspired me.
I can really relate to what Ken was saying about the history and nostalgia of not just games, but computers also. In the years that I played Sierra games I bought my first hard drive, CD-ROM drive, sound card, and VGA monitor. The term MPC or Multimedia PC was born during these years. This protocol dictated a certain criteria of system performance, CD-ROM type and speed, and sound capability. These are all things we take for granted now.
I remember one article Ken wrote back in the early 90’s about his goals for the future. I remember distinctly he mentioned that he would like to see Sierra grow larger than her biggest competitor Electronic Arts. I think we can all be proud that this goal did not come to pass. Many of Sierra’s competitors that still produce games are deeply driven by Hollywood. Content and quality are sacrificed to meet deadlines that coincide with movie releases.
For me I would much rather see Sierra pass away to remain with me as a fond memory than to see her sell out to the demands of Corporate America. A lot of what Sierra was helped shape me into the person I am today and I am thankful for that.