QUEST FOR GLORY WAS GANGSTA AS FUCK
It surprised me a bit too. I've always loved Sierra's adventure games; King's Quest VI and Gabriel Knight would both earn spots in my top 20 games of all time. I love LucasArts's classics, too, don't get me wrong (Grim Fandago is easily on that list too!), but the output of both companies were distinct enough that it was easy to love them both for different reasons. For LucasArts's games, they usually had a good sense of humor, a striking art style, and original settings. For Sierra's games, they were often (but not always) a bit more serious in tone and a bit grander in scale. Sierra's games also had a pervasive sense of danger where you were constantly on your toes looking for things that could end your game, whereas very few LucasArts games actually had a failure state, which always undermined any sort of sense of danger or tension that those games tried to put forward.
Sierra's games were also much more prone to stupid bullshit ("you missed this item six hours ago, so you have to start over now but we figured we'd let you keep playing until now just because"), which were recognizable as bullshit even back then. But they still had a lot of great qualities, as I mentioned above. For people who didn't play those games when they were new, though, Sierra's games will definitely have aged far worse than LucasArts's games. It's much easier to casually play through a LucasArts adventure game nowadays with little foreknowledge or need for a time commitment, because in a Sierra game you generally have to either devote the time to learn the game or use a walkthrough, which kills a lot of the reason those games are fun.
As someone born after the fall of communism, Sierra adventure games have never held any particular sway for me beyond the part where they make for great compilationsof all the waysyou can lose or die, and also that Phantasmagoria let's play that Vinny and Dave made a while ago. My experience with the genre mostly came in the form of anything that Humongous Entertainment made and that Pink Panther point and click where he learns about other cultures. As far as my nostalgic reminiscing from when I was 6 is concerned, those games are the shit and I will shank anyone who doesn't like Putt Putt Travels Through Time. Kids stuff for sure, but they're still responsible for some of my fonder early game memories.
This all being said, some of those old games should rightly be criticized for their bizarre, arcane puzzle solutions based on moon logic and whatever Roberta Williams was thinking about at the time. Sierra seems a more egregious offender in that regard, though Lucasarts isn't above reproach. On the other hand, it's unfair to hold these games to modern standards because they were often designed that way on purpose because that is what video games used to be. As a young person, it's difficult for me to wade through all of the nonsense without a guide, which sort of kills the whole purpose of the game. It's a catch-22.
I grew up on Sierra games (including playing the original leisure suit larry when I was like 7 years old... I remember asking my Dad what a "prophylactic" was because I had to get one from the kwik-e-mart. Good times... and to my Dad's credit he didn't even blink.) Anyway, I loved them. In particular the first Laura Bow game (the Colonel's bequest) was really groundbreaking in terms of game structure. I loved Leisure suit larry and Space Quest the most, but I played all of them. They got kind of terrible with Phantasmagoria and the FMV trend, but what company didn't? I played the Lucas Arts games as well, but I agree they were different (love Day of the Tentacle!) The Sierra games were really what made me a gamer, so I can't hate on them.
I don't think the negative opinions of Sierra are anything new. Even back in the day there was a pretty strong contingent of people that didn't like those games, and time hasn't been all that friendly to them.
That being said, I love the Space Quest games, especially 3-6, but those games have a lot of issues and some very obtuse puzzles in spots.
I loved me some Lucas adventure games, but they were still the adventure game equivalent of riding around with stabilisers on your bike.
Lucas games are definitely more palatable to a modern audience, but I don't know if that's because Sierra games have aged badly or because we have aged badly. No longer having the patience for a game if everything doesn't immediately go our way probably says more about us than about those games.
They haven't aged as well as Lucasarts games which is the problem. We've grown accustomed to games being easier and not very punishing, which is exactly how the Lucasarts adventure games were. Death was very common in old Sierra games, and in fact most of the challenge in the game involved figuring out how not to die. It was very trial and error focused. However you could save anywhere, so it's not like you had to replay significant portions of the game unless you had bad saving habits. You can call that bad game design if you want now, but at the time it was common and was not much of a problem. Plus the deaths often played into the humor of some of the games.
I loved the humor of the Space Quest series. I liked the edginess of the Police Quest series. The Quest for Glory series was a fantastic blend of adventure games and RPG's. Sierra games had a lot of things going for them at the time. It's easy to look back and point out all the flaws now, but at the time they were quite entertaining.
Anybody who doesn't like Gabriel Knight can fuck off, as far as I'm concerned.
I mean, my username is a reference to that game, for chrissake.
The first two Gabriel Knight games are absolute masterpieces. GK3 didn't make the jump to 3d very gracefully, but it has possibly the most devious puzzle I've seen in a game. I never thought I'd have to interpret poetry, Nicolas Poussin paintings, French history, Freemasonry, Christian theology and conspiracy theories for a fucking video game.
Use your keyboard!
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