Reply To: Sierra Game Remakes

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Look at me, the newcomer opening up all the old cans of worms! Sorry in advance if anyone didn’t have an interest in reviving this thread!

I usually hate remakes, for all the reasons already stated. Perhaps the only notable exceptions to this rule are the films “Sabrina,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” and “The Lord of the Rings.” LucasArts (forgive my blasphemy!) game remakes — Loom, Monkey Island 1, and Indy Crusade — are also exceptions, as I see them as enhancing the experience without changing or adding anything. Similarly, I enjoyed Sierra’s own King’s Quest, Space Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry remakes.

When it comes to fan additions or alterations to existing work, any work at all, I almost always hate it. Fans will never be able to sit in the minds of the creators, so fans will never truly get it right. Sure, they might be able to clone what the original authors did yesterday, but do they know what the authors want to do tomorrow? But this has its exception, too: I was blown away by AGDI’s King’s Quest II. Of course, this is a notable exception because Josh Mandel worked on it. Still, it’s not the same as having Roberta. Had it been a Space Quest remake, I’d be singing a completely different tune.

I have mixed feelings about Sierra fan games, for all the reasons already stated, as well as a few that most here seem to be missing. From what I gathered of Roberta and Ken’s own words, Sierra was a dynamic product of its times. What made it special was that it was born from cutting-edge technology — being the pioneer in the industry on all fronts — and it embraced and simultaneously created new technology with each new game. The King’s Quest IX Project addresses quite a lot of this rather admirably, but, as I’ve mentioned before, it just isn’t a King’s Quest without Roberta.

I see AGDI and KQ9 as two ends of the fan spectrum: one focuses on the original story with reminiscent technology, while the other focuses on new story with new technology. While I immensely enjoyed the King’s Quest II remake, and I know I will probably be disappointed with King’s Quest IX’s story, I really feel that King’s Quest IX is the “right way” for fan games.

The last part that Ken mentioned is the capitalism: they didn’t make their games just because they loved them, but because it paid bills. Even more importantly, whether or not it was their primary goal, the market popularity allowed their games to contribute to the industry. If fans come up with something new, and I think KQ9 might be a mold-breaker being a pure adventure game, it would be nice if the industry took notice of it and said, “Yeah, WE should do that, too!” If anything, that would be the best (and, probably, only) way to revive the adventure game industry. The only way to do that, however, is to market and sell the product so that it competes with the other software makers and, most importantly, gets noticed.

In short, I don’t think there should be any more remakes. Remakes are just reminders of the low-tech past and are all the more fuel for current game companies to go in the opposite direction. There should be additions, but I would love to see these guided by the original authors and marketed. Sure, it means that you and I won’t be able to get nice freebies, but if it means getting more, better, longer (faster, stronger…) adventure games back into mainstream, I think it’s worth another measly $50.