Wizard and the Princess (also known by its original PC version title Adventure in Serenia) is an adventure game first released for the Apple II and Apple II Plus. It was primarily designed and created by Sierra On-Line founders Ken and Roberta Williams. It is the second title in Seirra's series of "Hi-Res Adventures", after 1980's Mystery House. The plotline and setting both serve as a thematic prequel for Sierra's long running King's Quest adventure franchise. Unlike Mystery House, Wizard and the Princess implemented rudimentary coloured graphics; regarded as the very first featured in a computer adventure game.
The storyline takes place within the fantastical realm of Serenia. King George's only daughter, Princess Priscilla, has been kidnapped and imprisoned by the dark wizard Harlin. Harlin has taken the Princess to his lair; a foreboding castle deep within the mountains of Serenia. King George, in an act of desperation, has offered up to half of his Kingdom to anyone who thinks themselves as worthy enough to travel to Harlin's Castle, defeat the wizard and in turn rescue Princess Priscilla. The player assumes the role of a wandering man who has decided to accept this arduous quest. Most of the game comprises of walking across Serenia searching for the aforementioned Princess.
The IBM PC version, which was released in 1982 marketed the game as Adventure in Serenia, with the plot described as though it were actually a sequel to Wizard and the Princess. However, the game itself was exactly the same in all respects; it was the box description which suggested that it took place some time in the distance future after the wanderer had first defeated Harlin. Harlin has somehow reincarnated, and challenges the wanderer to relive the story of his previous quest. Harlin then somehow turns the Sands of Time, returning the adventurer to the beginning of the original game. Harlin states that although he has been vanquished once, nobody can defeat him a second time. Princess Priscilla offers some encouraging words, upon which the wanderer must embark on the same quest to destroy Harlin for a second time.
Wizard and the Princess was first distributed by Sierra On-Line Systems in clear-plastic bags, including an instruction sheet and the game on a 5.25 inch floppy disk. The instruction manual originally mistitled the game as "The Wizard and the Princess". The original production run sold over 60,000 copies. The inspiration for the storyline came from a variety of classic fairy tales which Roberta Williams had frequently read when she was a child. The major upgrade from Mystery House is the inclusion of colour graphics. The limitations of the Apple II system meant that it was only possible to display six different colours on the screen at one time. However, the innovative use of optical dithering (interspacing two pixel colours closely together to give the illusion of a third colour) made it appear as though there were more on screen at once.
Wizard the the Princess was eventually ported to the Commodore 64 and the Atari 400/600, as well as the IBM PC. Roberta Williams has stated that she did not like the IBM PC version because the colours apparently looked "atrocious". Sierra Entertainment's Interaction magazine considers the game to be a prequel to the King's Quest series.
King's Quest V for example returns particularly to the Kingdom of Serenia. The plotline of Wizard and the Princess is referenced and expanded within the King's Quest Companion. According to the book, it states that the wanderer was a barbarian who rejected the offer of marrige for saving the Princess, and so travelled into the desert and died. All that was ever found of him was a skeleton and a single shoe. Princess Priscella went on to marry a man called Kenneth the Huge, and thus became Queen of Serenia, after King George's death.
RAM: 40k Physical Memory
1 Disk Drive (5.25 inch floppy disk)