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Old 06-01-2010, 09:35 AM
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Default Abandon logic, all ye who enter here - Let's Play King's Quest VII

Well, try though I might, I guess I can't avoid it any longer. At the end of my King's Quest VI LP, I proclaimed that there was no KQ7. And now, you're going to find out why I would disown the game from the series. But first, as usual, a little history lesson.

Prologue - The Decline of Sierra Online

During the early 1990s, Sierra was on top of the PC gaming world. They were the name you mentioned when you talked about "hardcore adventure games", not that anyone called them that at the time. Every company wanting a leg up on the market was imitating either them or LucasArts (who commanded what could insultingly be called the "casual adventure games" market). Then... King's Quest VII happened.

Mind you, their decline technically started even before that, but King's Quest VII was where it all started going wrong. The game features a distinctly cartoonish look in a series that built a reputation for itself with its previous two iterations as having beautiful hand-painted watercolor backgrounds that wouldn't look out of place in a Miyazaki film. The animations, while higher in resolution and more varied than previous games, are horribly rendered and often comically freeze in unlikely frames for dialogue scenes. But the most jarring change is the difficulty.

You cannot ever truly die in King's Quest VII. Every time you get a game over, you can go back to just before you bungled it and try again. This was a much-appreciated change, but coupled with the simplified interface (you can only interact with one command cursor, or with inventory), it makes the game feel more like a LucasArts imitation than a Sierra original. Sierra was never any good at making simple adventure games, and it shows badly with KQ7.

Sierra never got their groove back after this game. By the time the bastard child of the series, Mask of Eternity, came out, Sierra wasn't even a shadow of its former self. If not for Half-Life, they wouldn't have survived long enough to regret making it, in fact.

And now, we're going to play through Sierra's grand blunder. Hold on tight, folks, we're in for a long one.



Part XV onwards have no fancy image links in this post, due to image limits. But the text links are there!

Text links:
Introduction
Part I
Part II
Part III (1 of 2)
Part III (2 of 2)
Part IV (1 of 2)
Part IV (2 of 2)
Part V (1 of 2)
Part V (2 of 2)
Part VI (1 of 2)
Part VI (2 of 2)
Part VII (1 of 2)
Part VII (2 of 2)
Part VIII (1 of 2)
Part VIII (2 of 2)
Part IX (1 of 2)
Part IX (2 of 2)
Part X (1 of 2)
Part X (2 of 2)
Part XI (1 of 2)
Part XI (2 of 2)
Part XII (1 of 2)
Part XII (2 of 2)
Part XIII (1 of 2)
Part XIII (2 of 2)
Part XIV (1 of 2)
Part XIV (2 of 2)
Part XV
Part XVI
Part XVII
Part XVIII

Complete!

Last edited by Sky Render; 08-08-2010 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:52 AM
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:22 PM
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Why did the think Rosella needed another game? She has a perfectly good game to go adventuring in in KQ4! Or did people think Queen Valence needed a game? Because when I was a teenager I certainly thought up all sorts of wild adventures for 65+ old Queen's to go on (mostly involving White Parties and Cat City...)

Wait, no I didn't. At least it isn't Mask of Eternity...
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:00 PM
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At least it isn't Mask of Eternity...
That's more or less my litany to keep me going for this LP, incidentally.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:26 PM
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Dear god, it's even worse than I remember. I wish thee luck in your feat of endurance.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:52 PM
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How on earth did this come out after King's Quest VI? Oh man...

On the plus side, with this thread, all that's left is to find someone who hates fun enough to play through Gabriel Knight 3 and Mask of Eternity and I'll be all caught up on my Sierra Shitstorms! Hurray! ...I think.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:09 PM
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Actually, we'd also need someone to tackle the Myst clone abomination that is Lighthouse as well. I still have a copy of that somewhere, but I've pretty much zero interest in ever installing it again.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:22 PM
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I remember PC Gamer falling all over itself in previews trying to make this look like anything but a pile of terrible ideas and outright theft (The Oogie Boogie Land business was hilarious.)
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post

Prologue - The Decline of Sierra Online

During the early 1990s, Sierra was on top of the PC gaming world. They were the name you mentioned when you talked about "hardcore adventure games", not that anyone called them that at the time. Every company wanting a leg up on the market was imitating either them or LucasArts (who commanded what could insultingly be called the "casual adventure games" market). Then... King's Quest VII happened.
But, but... what about Outpost? And Quest for Glory 4? That was the start of their well-deserved reputation for bug-ridden crap(alright, QfG 4 is great if you can work around the bugs). Although if your looking at just the slide of their flagships series into phoned-in hack work...
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:54 PM
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Well you'd also need someone to play through Phantasmagoria 1 (with Boobies) and two and the two Shivers as well.

QFG4 (with speech) is one of my favorite games of all time! Yeah, but you do need to patch it.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapper Gopher View Post
But, but... what about Outpost? And Quest for Glory 4? That was the start of their well-deserved reputation for bug-ridden crap(alright, QfG 4 is great if you can work around the bugs). Although if your looking at just the slide of their flagships series into phoned-in hack work...
Yeah, I mentioned that the decline started before KQ7 in the next paragraph. KQ7 was just when it really sank in that they were on the downward spiral.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:45 AM
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With all the hype that surrounded this game when it first came out, I was really upset that I couldn't play it at the time. Then, a few years after it came out, I finally got the chance.

If Sierra had sent one of their employees to my house to personally kick me in the stomach, that might be about as stunned as this game made me. I played for maybe half an hour, then quit, bewildered. For a long time afterward, I kept wondering how so many things could go so far wrong on a single project.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
You cannot ever truly die in King's Quest VII. Every time you get a game over, you can go back to just before you bungled it and try again. This was a much-appreciated change,
Which they'd actually hit on years earlier with Manhunter and then forgotten about for half a decade.

I still say Gabriel Knight 2 is a high-end example of adventure gaming and it hit after KQ7. But, yeah, things weren't too great from this point onwards.

Anyway, growing up, there wasn't much distinction between Sierra and Lucasarts until this one, when it became obvious that Sierra had lost their fastball. There wasn't any differentiation between the audience for the games.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:51 AM
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The torment begins in earnest now!

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Old 06-03-2010, 09:34 AM
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Oh hey I think I actually played this one.

I got to... I forget. Something about a fountain and a shepherd's hook and some cheese?
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:36 AM
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Oh hey I think I actually played this one.

I got to... I forget. Something about a fountain and a shepherd's hook and some cheese?
We're a good 7 to 10 parts from that particular bit of anti-logic, but rest assured, we will be dealing with that eventually.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by falselogic View Post
Why did the think Rosella needed another game? She has a perfectly good game to go adventuring in in KQ4! Or did people think Queen Valence needed a game? Because when I was a teenager I certainly thought up all sorts of wild adventures for 65+ old Queen's to go on (mostly involving White Parties and Cat City...)

Wait, no I didn't. At least it isn't Mask of Eternity...
Who is this "they" you speak of? I figured they made this because this is what Roberta Williams wanted to do. She always had pretensions of being Disney caliber.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:02 AM
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Who is this "they" you speak of? I figured they made this because this is what Roberta Williams wanted to do. She always had pretensions of being Disney caliber.
How don't you know what you base that on? Considering that up to this point Sierra had been focused on increasing the realism of all of their games. To go cartooney is quite a departure from their design philosophy.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:12 AM
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That's true, she also had pretensions of being a live action director. Hence Phantasmagoria and its sequel.

But with King's Quest, she had this huge desire to emulate Disney, to be the Disney of computer games. You have to remember, she hired Robby Benson to play Prince Alexander in 1992 right on the heels of his playing Beast in Beauty and the Beast in 1991. And then she followed that up with this sub-Don Bluth thing.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:28 AM
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That's true, she also had pretensions of being a live action director. Hence Phantasmagoria and its sequel and the last Gabriel Knight game.

But with King's Quest, she had this huge desire to emulate Disney, to be the Disney of computer games. You have to remember, she hired Robby Benson to play Prince Alexander in 1992 right on the heels of his playing Beast in Beauty and the Beast in 1991. And then she followed that up with this sub-Don Bluth thing.
The Last Gabriel Knight was a 3d game (the 2nd one was live action) and Roberta Williams didn't have anything to do with either of them... Those were Jane Jensen projects.

Off topic: Roberta Williams is apparently writing a piece of historical fiction right now tracing Irish history, the Potato Famine, and the Irish immigration to the US...
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:57 AM
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Off topic: Roberta Williams is apparently writing a piece of historical fiction right now tracing Irish history, the Potato Famine, and the Irish immigration to the US...
But when the Irish get to the U.S., they get beaten up and locked in a jail cell, and realize that in Dublin they forgot to trade the locket for the nail file they need to pick the lock.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:33 AM
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The music towards the beginning of part one sounds like its ripped directly from the swamp in Quest for Glory IV. Or vice-versa? I'm not sure which came out first.

Also, I'm taking the jackalope to be a metaphor for Sierra's treatment of their loyal fanbase.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:08 PM
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But when the Irish get to the U.S., they get beaten up and locked in a jail cell, and realize that in Dublin they forgot to trade the locket for the nail file they need to pick the lock.
That goes without saying. Let's hope they remembered to save and save often!
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:16 PM
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King's Quest was always kind of the lesser series in our eyes as kids, however. Sure, III was awesomely mindbending with learning to work your way around the time limit and such, and VI was legitimately great, but the real big gun Sierra games were always Space Quest and Larry.

KQ had just too big a stick up its ass. Or, conversely, not enough of one, as Police Quest was always a lot of fun (particularly the second game).
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:26 PM
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I've always wanted to head a police academy solely so I can say "Officers, today you embark on your Police Quest." at the graduation.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:47 PM
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Man, I remember playing this when it first came out. I was maybe 13 and the family had just purchased our first computer ever. I had gotten Curse of Monkey Island and KQ6 to go with it - saw this and thought: it looks like they mashed these two great games together! What could possibly go wrong!

Oddly enough, it wasn't the bizarre moon logic that turned me away, it was the game-breaking bugs. And the patches to fix said bugs that introduced even more bugs! I got stuck somewhere along the line, put it down and haven't been back since. I look forward to actually finding out how the damn thing ends, assuming Sky Render isn't driven mad before he gets to that point.

Edit: Checking my dates, CoMI came out 3 years after this KQ7, so I'm misremembering my childhood or my mind is trying to block out a traumatic experience: you decide!
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:48 PM
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Since I have class early tomorrow and am going to be busy for the rest of tonight, you get part II about 17 hours earlier than usual. Hooray!

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Old 06-04-2010, 04:54 PM
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I've always wanted to head a police academy solely so I can say "Officers, today you embark on your Police Quest." at the graduation.
Welcome to your first days at Police Academy Four.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:30 PM
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So are you looking for comments here or on youtube? I'm thinking it'd be better to have them here. Instead of splitting the conversation between the two... But, didn't want to step on toes...
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:30 AM
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Comment wherever you feel fits. Conversation is more possible here, but anything posted to YouTube will be seen by any viewers the LP gets outside of Talking Time who don't want to follow the link-back in the video descriptions.
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