King’s Quest 1 (AGI)

Game Title:
King’s Quest (Quest for the Crown)
First Release Date: 05-xx-1984
Part of Series: King’s Quest
Next Game in Series: King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne
Notable Points: First 3-D Animated Adventure
Designer: Roberta Williams

The Kingdom of Daventry is in serious trouble, after its precious magical items have been stolen from Castle Daventry. King Edward the Benevolent lacked an heir. A sorcerer promised to help the queen bear an heir, if they gave him their mirror that tells the future; looking in the mirror, the king and queen saw a vision of a young man becoming king. Thinking it was their own future son, they gave the mirror to the evil sorcerer. Alas, it was a lie and she had no heir. Years later, as the queen was sick and dying, a dwarf showed up promising to give a root that would cure her ills, if only the king would give him the “shield that protects its wearer against danger”. The king agreed. The dwarf gave the root to the king, and departed. However the dwarf had lied to the king, and the queen’s condition grew worse and she died. Sometime later the king looked for a new queen. One day, he rescued a beautiful young Princess Dahlia from the land of Cumberland. However, on the night of their wedding, she was discovered to be really an evil witch, and she stole the chest that is always filled with gold from the treasure and flew out of the castle on her broom. In time, the castle fell into ruin. Knowing that he had to save the kingdom, King Edward sends his bravest knight, Sir Graham, to retrieve the lost treasures. Because he had no heir, if Graham should succeed, he would become the next king.

King’s Quest 1 History

Roberta says:
So IBM wanted a new type of game to show off its new computer.  I was thinking about a fairy tale adventure with lost treasures, giants, dragons, leprechauns, a gingerbread house, a troll bridge, guessing a gnome’s name.  Underground and sky castles were always popular stories, so I had to find ways to include them too.  Flat pictures wouldn’t do.  It had to be animated.  You had to be careful climbing the magic beanstalk or you’d fall.  Limited floppy space would have restricted my design, but we had been compressing our pictures by drawing them as lines and fill colors for a while.  That scheme was kept all the way up to King’s Quest V.  People were amazed you could walk around these detailed scenes, behind trees and in front of rocks.

I received a LOT of letters about the old gnome’s name.  In retrospect it was an awfully nasty puzzle (using a backwards alphabet to spell Rumpelstiltskin), but that was a typical “advanced” puzzle in those days.  At least you had an alternate path to win the game if you couldn’t figure it out.  We toned it down a bit in the remake; now you just spell Rumpelstiltskin backward.  (The Roberta Williams Anthology Manual, 1996)


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