Beginning in 1988 the Sierra game boxes included three inserts which were all part of a linked marketing campaign to generate interest in a novel new option in the computer industry – sound cards. As with the early focus on IBM gaming, Sierra took a bold business strategy and moved toward integrating full score sound into their games. The risk was that the value added component to the games could only be appreciated by the fans if they agreed to fork over extra money for a non-essential upgrade to their computers. To make it worth the cost Sierra did their part – they hired professional composers to write the music, they made a demo cassette for customers that was delivered free of cost and – most importantly – they asked their customers to take a technological leap with them. Two decades later the idea of a computer without a sound card is insane but the three documents on this page were part of what made that future a reality.
Music Card Marketing
Music Card Marketing
All three of these documents would be standard inserts in many of the game boxes throughout 1988 and 1989. In addition the quarterly Sierra Newsletters (later InterAction) would focus on various aspects of both the music, the personalities and the business process of changing an industry. The Sierra fans were allowed to feel like they were part of the process and given the opportunity to help the company they love while being rewarded with impressive, embedded, deep musical scores in their favorites games. It was a win/win deal and it worked – in no small part because of the novel Sierra approach to not only see the future but also treat their customers not as just potential customers but allies and friends.
To hear the music Sierra Gamers heartily recommends spending time on Quest Studios. Tom Lewandowski has faithfully captured, recorded and archived the music of Sierra On-Line and makes it all available for download on his site. Alistair at Sierra Music Central also focuses his efforts on the music of Sierra On-Line. Both sites can be visited using the links below.
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