Remember the old Sierra Games?
April 5, 2001 1:56 AM   Subscribe

Remember the old Sierra Games? Remember back in the early 80's when King Quest hit the streets? Did you ever think to your self how they created that game? Sierra used a gaming engine called Adventure Gaming Interpreter, or AGI for short, for many of their popular adventure games. This engine which was "hacked" in the early to mid 90's, and there are groups of people that still develop games to be used with home made hacks of this engine. Find out how you can make your own games like KQ or take a look at what have people created or are creating right now, here. There's even someone saying that they are porting the hacked AGI stuff to Dreamcast.
-Ellis of the now dead
posted by ellis (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I played a whole stack of Sierra's games; I think I stopped around Leisure Suit Larry III and King's Quest V. Interestingly, I always found Lucasfilm's stuff preferable: their interface tended to be simpler, but the writing and attention to detail blew Sierra's out of the water. Maniac Mansion was the first game I ever had - a whole EGA world of excitement - and it just rocked. In fact, you'll find a similar sort of project as the Sierra one above over at the SCRAAM project headquarters. It's looking at unravelling and reworking the game system used behind LFL's games. Grrreat stuff.
posted by captainfez at 5:35 AM on April 5, 2001

I used to play all of those games too, right up to Space Quest 5. They definately had something that most current games lack. I would actually look forward to playing them all day, and they actually required you to think. Most games today are more action- and graphics-oriented, and while they are fun, they don't seem as fun as the Sierra games that came out 10+ years ago.
posted by antispork at 6:53 AM on April 5, 2001

How come old games are so much funner? (in general)

Is it just nostalgia?
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:17 AM on April 5, 2001

I work with a somewhat insane German woman who used to be a project leader on the development of a few of the Kings Quest games... It sounds like it was a nutty company back then.
posted by Neb at 9:23 AM on April 5, 2001

sonofsamiam: No, I think it's because, back in the day, nobody tried to impress you with graphics, because the graphics capabilites were so limited. So what's left? Gameplay. Something most of the modern gaming industry seems to have forgotten about.

Older games had great gameplay, and great replay value. That's rapidly declining now.
posted by CrayDrygu at 9:33 AM on April 5, 2001

At any given time, the game industry seems to trend towards one or two genres, until consumers get sick of them. Right now, everybody's cranking out first-person shooters and real-time strategy. A few years ago, it was Myst clones flooding the market; of course, everybody got so fed up with the crap from folks jumping on that bandwagon that the genre has all but died out. Perhaps it was the overabundance of KQ clones that caused people to lose interst in point-and-click adventures. I'm surprised FPS and RTS games have hung onto popularity as long as they have, but I have no doubts their twilight will come eventually.

Mind you, I'm one of the old farts who misses the glory days of Infocom.
posted by harmful at 10:05 AM on April 5, 2001

I recently bought the Lucasarts Archives Vol. 3, which includes some of their classic adventure games, including Secret of Monkey Island 1 & 2, The Dig, and Full Throttle. I'd bought it just to try Full Throttle, but the rest were a nice bonus. Review: It's one of their most entertaining games, albeit a little short.

And if you haven't played Day of the Tentacle or Sam & Max Hit the Road, you're really missing out.
posted by waxpancake at 10:34 AM on April 5, 2001

LucasArts can still tell a good story with modern game technology if they put their minds to it. I know I enjoyed Grim Fandango's plot and gameplay even more than the graphics. The opinions I've heard of the latest (3D) Monkey Island weren't so good, though. By the way, one of the great features of Day of the Tentacle is the old Commodore 64 on which you can play the original Maniac Mansion.
posted by harmful at 10:39 AM on April 5, 2001

Day of the Tentacle was the first game I bought that had voice acting (well, except for the Voice component for my Intellivision...)

We got it in it's second release, on the shiny CD thing for our wicked-fast 2x drive. Oh the days.

CrayDrygu, remember those screens in Leisure Suit Larry that would flash the picture of the Hott Babe you're trying to lay? That was showing off graphics. While you're certainly correct in saying that the games weren't all about graphics, there was definitely a whole lot of envelope pushing going on in that direction.

If you miss them, give Gabriel Knight 3 a try. It's kind of an icky glom of point & click adventures and a 3d interface, but most of the spirit is still there.

I've got a long weekend coming to me after today, perhaps it's time to get that dos 6.22 box I keep talking about setup...
posted by cCranium at 11:24 AM on April 5, 2001

Sierra games were great fun!!! I miss them!
posted by FAB4GIRL at 12:28 PM on April 5, 2001

Hmmm, I always despised Sierra games. They were just an exercise in trying to find out what was going on in the insane designer's mind. Lucasarts almost made adventure games something. Their's had a better sense of humor, but they have fallen to chuck out disposable Star Wars titles now.

I think certain games have much more replay then ever before. Take Counterstrike. It's a mod of Half-life. A game that came out years ago and it's the most played 1st person 3D online game.

Gameplay has always had it's ups and downs. The way the industry stands things may get worse. Games like Jagged Alliance 2, Black & White, and Master of Orion 3(if it ever comes out) have only seen improved gameplay. As long as they get the support they need, the proper trends may continue.

At any time there has only been very few good games. Perhaps your suffering from the classic 'good old days' memory syndrome. Of course, I immerse myself in game news daily so maybe it's just me.
posted by john at 1:26 PM on April 5, 2001

Want comedy, adventure and puzzle that start off easy and get harder with each turn. Check out the Larry Vales games. I'm currently playing Larry Vales II:Dead Girls Are Easy... I'm currently stumped on how to get the Commision's attention after the getting a file.
posted by ellis at 6:33 PM on April 5, 2001

Even the shittiest games ten years ago, had better gameplay than many games today.

Elite ( on the Amiga ) was one floppy, and bigger with more playing time than most other games. Fuck your cool graphics and sound if the gameplay is lacking.
posted by Zool at 6:35 PM on April 5, 2001


Come on. I Have been playing computer games since my first Vic-20. If anything, there are fewer bad games now. Mostly because there are less games being made.

There have almost always been the cases of game ruts. Recently there have been quite a few interesting games to come out. Certainly, this claim is very relative. If you are still pining for the days of text parsers then your best hope is some MUD.

BTW I played Elite to Deadly. I have no idea how many kills you needed for Elite, but damn I would sit in front of stations for hours blasting cops. It's been a long time since Frontier, which I had for my Amiga, but not PC.

Fear not! For as I said, I immerse myself in gaming. Here is your Elite4 info site.

Since is costs so much to make games, they tend to relay one proven concepts and therefore only in cases with a strong designer personality like in Black & White will you see much in the way of innovation gameplay. I prefer Turn-based strategy over realtime and I try and support those companies that creat those types of games.

Finally, I loved the Amiga game Zool. The Turrican series was probably my favorite.
posted by john at 7:32 PM on April 5, 2001

Ellis, I never heard of the Larry Vales games, but the titles are pretty funny. I'm going to give them a try. Know of any other games in this style that people are producing?
posted by Doug at 7:34 PM on April 5, 2001

"CrayDrygu, remember those screens in Leisure Suit Larry"

Nah, I never had any patience for that kind of game. Besides, what I meant was the point of the game wasn't to dazzle you with special effects. Of course people are going to show off, but there was still a game to play behind it.
posted by CrayDrygu at 9:42 PM on April 5, 2001

I was such a Sierra Games nut when those games were coming out. Of course, I was 12 at the time. I named my first computer 'Ken' after Sierra's CEO.

I'm right there with you, CrayDrygu; Sierra games started falling off right around the time CDROMs got big, KQ5 came out and they started their whole 256-color mouse-driven-interface stylee. And now they suck. sigh...

The original 2 or 3 Heroes Quest / Quest For Glory games were beautiful wonderful things.

All this talk reminds of the part in Space Quest 5 when you time-travel back to the first Space Quest game, and you're a detailed 256-color character walking around in a poorly-bitmapped 16-color world.

posted by JimmyTones at 6:37 AM on April 6, 2001

John, I don't think there are less games being made, are there? I'd be willing to buy less PC-only games, but there are places out there just churning games out like a sausage factory.

It's just that most of them aren't any good, and so don't get much publicity. I'm a casual gaming world follower and when I wander into a Babbages, there's always a few dozen games I've never heard of. And don't really want to.

Cray, I see your point, but I still think there's a game to play behind visual dazzlers like Q3. It's just a completely different kind of game.

I'm still looking for something that entertains me the way the old Sierra games did, but like JimmyTones, I'm going to have to credit my enjoyment of them to my adolescence.

Random comment: Baldur's Gate II was probably the best game I've played since Ultima 6.
posted by cCranium at 7:18 AM on April 6, 2001

It's true. The industry is still quite large so there always are new game coming out, but in the early 90's There were many more game companies producing games much more quickly. A lot of those companies have closed their doors or got bought out. It takes a lot more time and people to make a game and the total volume of production has decreased. Consoles have taken a lot of this. They are so huge now that they will likely be the number one reason video arcades dissappear.

As soon as the last company decided to stop making pinball machine, there ceased to be much incentive to go to arcades for something they couldn't get at home cheaper.
posted by john at 1:45 PM on April 6, 2001

« Older Rent a genius!   | (with one el). Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments