Collecting Sierra games. How to tell if it is an original?

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    • #21105 Reply

      I bought a couple Space Quest IV games and some other Sierra games off of Ebay. Since I am collecting these games, I’m wondering if the boxes itself are original. I have several games in the original Sierra slip-cover beige box, with logo on it. These are original.

      Sierra then started using plain white boxes in newer games and games re-released as budget. But what kind of white boxes did they use? Were they all white, on inside and outside. Or was the inside of the bottom half, grey cardboard color? I have one SQ IV game that has an all white box, inside/out. The other box has is grey cardboard color on inside of the bottom half of it.

      Also one SQ4 slip-cover is smooth. The other SQ4 slip-cover has embossed lettering of the artwork. The sierra game manuals in some of my games are black&white. Did Sierra use black&white generic manuals that had generic mouse/keyboard instructions?

      I just want to make sure the whole game and box is authentic.

    • #21106 Reply

      You’ll want to head over to to check out the article about looking at Sierra boxes / packaging / stuff. This is a huge area of discussion. I plan to sooner or later setup an article with more information than what is at that site (such as going down to the specifics of each varying release), but it’s a great starting place.

      In short, Sierra did have cheaper redistributions of their games, often either “slash” releases or “value-priced” releases. Anything with black-and-white photocopy-quality manuals is considered a “slash” release (budget release) and not a true Sierra release. These boxes are not identified. The box colors of these had great variation, white, black, grey, even the same game released as slash could have had different box color variations. The other kind, “value-priced,” often had various yellow circular stickers on the box – and these often had boxes and manuals that were just fine in terms of quality but perhaps not the same as the original release (but I can’t recall if these were actually Sierra-distributed or not). There are many other cheaper releases of Sierra games, some by Sierra itself, that probably not all variations of have been discovered yet.

      I’m not sure what slash CDs were like, if there ever were any (there are “Value-Priced” CDs), but the slash disks were cheaply produced and usually had plain white labels and no Sierra logo or the usual type of wrap-around label that you see on Sierra disks.

      The Space Quest IV box with emboss is an original. Without emboss, I don’t know for sure in this instance, probably a slash version, especially if it is one with a photocopied manual. Also at you can check for pictures of what the contents of each box should have in the original Sierra release.

      The slash releases are pretty much worthless by the way – unless of course you just want to play the game. But you have to be careful on eBay.

      Hope that helps!

      Perhaps I’ll start working on that article sometime soon, showing examples from my own collection. I know it would be a great resource to be able to look at what specific boxes and items should be like in detail.

    • #21107 Reply

      I currently have three copies of Space Quest 4: 16c, 256c and Multimedia. The two disk versions have an embossed glossy slipcover, but the Multimedia version is matte and not embossed. It’s an original release because it was out at the same time (and at the regular price of $65. OUCH!!).

      Now that I’ve had a major resurgence in my Sierra collecting, I’m finding all sorts of variations in the different releases. I’ve almost got it down to knowing what kind of disks (mountain label, colorband, etc.) are in the box based on the stickers on the outside! Handy when dealing with Ebay auctions.

      I’ve also always wondered about Sierra’s return policy of, “Just send us Disk 1 and we’ll send you a whole new set.” — Well, I’m assuming each game was “tweeked” as bugs were found after release, and subsequent releases had the patches already applied. Case in point being Quest For Glory 2. I have three different versions (disks only) that have different dates on the files and a different sized RESOURCE.000. A disk from one set will not work with a disk from another set, despite the version numbers being the same on the labels and in the game. Now, if I could only find the release notes on every version (I know HQ1 included a readme) I could find out what they fixed/changed/made better in each one!! It would be cool to try and collect ALL versions of a given game.


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