It seems only yesterday, when in a computer store in Hobart, my father found a colourful box on the shelf. “King’s Quest” was the title of the game. “I’ve heard of Sierra,” he said. “Apparently their games have very good graphics. You kids will like this.” When we returned home after that trip I put the disk into the floppy drive of our XT and was immediately immersed in the world of Daventry. I knew straight away that adventure games were the genre for me. My friends thought these games were too slow paced, but with the world, the story, the exploration, the puzzles, this was my kind of adventure.
Twenty years later, adventure games are still my chosen genre. Sadly, during the mid to late nineties, adventure games went out of fashion and faded away into obscurity. Watch out though, because adventure games live on. Ameteur programmers and hobbyists are re-creating these classic games. One in particular that has gained a lot of press recently is a fan-made sequel to the King’s Quest series. This game is The Silver Lining. This game has faced many legal obstacles. Recently however, Pheonix Online have reached an agreement with Activision (the current owners of the Sierra intelectual property) and the first chapter of the game will be released in ten days.
The developers have blended the classic feel of the Sierra adventure game with modern 3D technology to make something that still feels like King’s Quest, but is still a game of the twenty-first century. In fact, if Sierra were still making adventure games today, I can well imagine that this is just what their games would be look like. The user-interface is very similar to the classic sierra icon-driven system. The scenes are still static rooms around which the characters move, but the characters are modelled in 3D, and there are complex camera moves during cut-scenes.
It seems that the strong fan reaction may have been the thing that tipped the scales in favour of this game, ultimately moving Activision to grant permission to Pheonix. It just goes to show you the power of a bunch of twenty and thirty-somethings, who have never grown up.
Let the quest continue!