The old days

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    • #21192 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      To be honest, I don’t think thre will ever be another company like the old Sierra (for good or bad). Sierra became what it was more out of circumstance and location then any deliberate formula.

      For one, Sieerra was small to start. Everything happened in one place from the first inkling of a game design to the final loading of finished product onto a truck. All said, about 200 people that all worked in one place made the games happen from start to finish. That just doesn’t happen any more. Many modern games have 200 developers alone, and behind that, a  vast corporate network that funds, manufactures, distributes ad promotes the games -usually in far flung dissparate locations.

      There is a certain magic that happens when all the hands that touch a product are crammed into one building. A lot of synergy gets built that way.

      Couple that with the fact that we were all tucked up into a mountain valley, isolated from the rest of the world. to paraphrase Josh Mandel, we weren’t just working together, we were living together. After hours, by choice or not, you would run into your co-workers whether it was at the movies, a bar, a restaurant, the supermarket -the town was ungodly small!

      To say the least, the Sierra of old managed by circumstance to concentrate and distill the talents and energy of a small number of people into those games.

      Today, the closest you will find are the independent dev studios, which are btw getting gobbled up left and right. But even the independents live and die by the decisions of the big publishers. With dev costs rising, and hits far and few between, its a tough environment to work in, let alone thrive.

      Sadly, what I saw as a brave new world 15 years ago when I started, has seriously lagged in its evolution. Technically we have come a long way, but creatively I think we are mired. Fun, creativity and a sense of wonder can only come from devs free to follow their passion. Unfortunately, publishers have very narrow views on what constitutes potential success and you must stay on that path.

      At one time, Sierra defined the genre and therefore could afford to explore it’s potential. But even Sierra fell victim to the market and started churning out sequel after sequel and produced no new IP. What new IP did get developed, was usually killed in development.

      but I ramble…..

    • #21193 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      To be honest, I don’t think thre will ever be another company like the old Sierra (for good or bad). Sierra became what it was more out of circumstance and location then any deliberate formula.

      For one, Sierra was small to start. Everything happened in one place from the first inkling of a game design to the final loading of finished product onto a truck. All said, about 200 people that all worked in one place made the games happen from start to finish. That just doesn’t happen any more. Many modern games have 200 developers alone, and behind that, a  vast corporate network that funds, manufactures, distributes and promotes the games -usually in far flung dissparate locations.

      There is a certain magic that happens when all the hands that touch a product are crammed into one building. A lot of synergy gets built that way.

      Couple that with the fact that we were all tucked up into a mountain valley, isolated from the rest of the world. To paraphrase Josh Mandel, we weren’t just working together, we were living together. After hours, by choice or not, you would run into your co-workers whether it was at the movies, a bar, a restaurant, the supermarket -the town was ungodly small!

      To say the least, the Sierra of old managed by circumstance to concentrate and distill the talents and energy of a small number of people into those games.

      Today, the closest you will find are the independent dev studios, which are btw, getting gobbled up left and right. But even the independents live and die by the decisions of the big publishers. With dev costs rising, and hits far and few between, its a tough environment to work in, let alone thrive.

      Sadly, what I saw as a brave new world 15 years ago when I started, has seriously lagged in its evolution. Technically we have come a long way, but creatively I think we are mired. Fun, creativity and a sense of wonder can only come from devs free to follow their passion. Unfortunately, publishers have very narrow views on what constitutes potential success and you must stay on that path.

      The one hope I had was that the internet and wide access to broadband would make it possible for independents to bypass the publisher and maybe bring back some of that garage dev spirit. It doesn’t seem to have worked that way -at least not yet.

      At one time, Sierra defined the genre and therefore could afford to explore it’s potential. But even Sierra fell victim to the market and started churning out formulaic sequel after sequel and produced no new IP. What new IP did get developed, was usually killed in development -usually b/c no one in marketing ‘got it’.

      but I ramble…..

    • #21194 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      Well said Marc!

      -Ken W

    • #21195 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      I totally agree with you! Like most of you Sierra fans, I also wanted to work at Sierra and Sierra only. I’ve read many interviews of game designers, artists, musicians etc working for Sierra that were so glad to be working with a really creative and dedicated team. Ofcourse other companies also have an amazing team but I always got a special ‘Sierra’ feeling when playing Sierra games. I did get the same feeling playing other games (MI3, Reunion, Broken Sword, Toonstruck, Diablo, Megarace, FF7) but still…

      I always liked the idea that when you bought a Sierra game, you automatically became part of the Sierra Family. You knew the games were designed by people who loved adventure games and you knew that there was a big community that loved the games as much as you did.

      I remember Ken saying in one of the video’s of the KQ collection, that in the old days, the whole industry (yeah that was a long time ago), went camping or something and were throwing buckets of water at each other. These gaming pioneers had one goal and that was to create games and show people how great a game could be. Technically advanced and fun! After this, Ken says that the thing that only matters nowadays is grabbing a few points of marketshare.

      Things have changed big time, it’s all about the money! I really can’t blame game developers, but I can blame them for the quality of recent games. Sierra will never again be the company that we loved, and I’ve made my peace with that, but I’m still hoping we’ll see Gabriel Knight 4 someday!

      It’s a good thing we still have those good memories 😉

      Now I’m rambling too!

    • #21196 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      But there’s a Gabriel Knight 4 Campaign going on and you are more than welcome to help out! We at the official Sierra boards created it hoping to get VU’s attention. The site can be found here:

      http://www.gabrielknight4campaign.com

    • #21197 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      I know the website 😉 I’ve signed all GK4 petitions that I could find, I’ve send postcard and emails to VU, but still I don’t think we’ll ever see a new GK adventure game. Even if we see a new ‘old franchise’ game I don’t think it will be an adventure. Look what happened to LSL. The Sierra adventure days are over, just take a look at the new lineup. Even if they release the classic compilations, I don’t think we’ll see a new adventure game.

      BTW, did you know that I haven’t bought a Sierra game since GK3 was released? I used to buy every new Sierra game that was released, but since GK3 was released I haven’t bought a single Sierra game…

    • #21198 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      Due to copyright laws, we will have to wait 75 years (?), until Sierra creations are public domain, and by that point…I doubt anyone will care. The only plausible solutions, given that VU has killed those franchises and Adventure Games.

      1:Fan games
      2:New Adventure Games

    • #21199 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      Every time I read someone ‘rambling’ on about the old days of Sierra
      and how there was a sense of ‘family’ there… I get a little sad.

      I, too, wanted to work for Sierra. I began developing games (all the
      way down to maps and character dialog!!) when I was about 9 years old.
      ‘CityQuest’, ‘Sim-Theater’, and ‘SierraVenture’ (yeah, I know…) where
      all the Sierra characters would come together in one world and you’d
      switch between characters at certain sequences. Aaah, the years….

      Anyway, I did a presentation for my Technical Writing class about the
      style of Sierra’s documentation. I came upon some really cool
      discoveries in my research, such as Ken and Roberta always starting
      their letters with ‘Dear Friends’ and the humble line, ‘The only catch:
      you gotta tell us why you don’t like it. Otherwise we’ll never get
      better. Send it back to us and we promise we’ll make things right’ in
      the Sierra No-Risk Guarantee. Things like that show that there’s real
      people behind the brand name. I think that’s a big part of the ‘Family’
      feel. Seeing pictures of them in the catalogs and hearing about their
      personal lives, especially in the 10th anniversary edition not only
      brought us closer to the company, but closer to the people who made it.
      Things like that build loyalty, and the fan base you see here and all
      over the internet today.

      Will there ever be another company like Sierra? I don’t know, but
      personally I think back to all the non-sierra games I’ve played back in
      the dos days as well as the console games and I don’t find myself
      wondering about what the founders of Mindscape, Software Toolworks,
      Broderbund, High Tech Expressions or Nintendo are doing these days. In
      fact, I couldn’t tell you their names. But I still think about Sierra
      often enough to check the message boards. 🙂 Sort of a Sierra Family
      Reunion, you could say…

      -Tom.

    • #21200 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      That’s why I think copyright laws should be changed and why I think abandonware is a good thing rather than a bad thing since if a company isn’t selling or supporting a game, then they’re not making or losing any money over it.  So then a fan is left with no option other than to wait for the company to re-release the games (unlikely) or to make it freeware (extremely unlikely).  And then of course, many games were released on multiple systems with varying differences.  So someone who grew up playing the Amiga version of King’s Quest IV is out of luck since that particular version will never be released again and any attempt to try to acquire it is considered illegal beyond buying it on ebay if you’re lucky enough to find it and for below $80.  And in that case, the company still wouldn’t be making money off that game, only the price-gouging ebayers would be.  I’m already afraid for the many Apple IIe games I grew up playing in school labs that are probably gone forever.

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