a rumor today that Sierra, the software house that brought us Police Quest, Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry, is going out of business. This made me extremely sad as they produced many of the games that really kindled my interest in games and computers.
Sure I may have started off on the good ol' Commodore 64, with such epic titles as Blue Max and Pitfall but it was the PC games that really define my childhood.
When I was about 12, 13, 14 years old I really began to get into games - it also happened to be the same time when Sierra was hitting the top of it's game. I discovered the Police Quest franchise in about 1992, two years after the final Police Quest, "Police Quest 3: the Kindred" had come out. Sierra released a VGA version of the original Police Quest, "Police Quest 1: In Pursuit Of The Death Angel" in 1992 and that was the first version I played.
I instantly became hooked on the Adventure genre (or "quest" games, as my brother and I used to call them.) They had a pseudo non-linear aspect to them which allowed you to explore the world, in this case the fictional town of Lytton, anyway you wanted. Of course you wouldn't be able to progress in the game unless you carried out certain tasks, but that didn't prevent you from taking the Police cruiser out for a spin, or strolling around the police station to your heart's content.
I remember staying up for hours at a time in the study in our house in Hong Kong, trying to get past certain tasks in the games. It was a pleasant frustration though. You'd make a mistake, go back to where you had last saved your game and try it again, armed with the knowledge of your last attempt. Each successfully completed task was more satisfying than the previous.
These were the games that defined MY childhood. Some people rant on about Pong and Frogger and PacMan - I was too young for that. Kids today talk the about Tony Hawk games, Final Fantasy 24, and Splinter Cell. For me, it was Sierra's "quest" games.
Sierra weren't the only company producing great adventure games though. LucasArts were producing some fantastic adventure games at about the same time. Title like "Sam n' Max Hit the Road", Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and the incomparable "Day of the Tentacle". Indeed, Mike and I spent many an hour during my annual trips back to California, playing, discussing, dissecting the various offerings from the software companies of the day.
In fact, recently I managed to find the Police Quest series, Day of the Tentacle, and Sam n' Max online - I couldn't get enough of it. I played them religiously until I had completed all of them. That's how good these games are.
Sadly the Adventure genre is a dying one. There have been very few offerings lately; people are more interested in MMORPG and First Person Shooters. The demise of Sierra can only be the final nail in the coffin of what was to me, the best period in video game history.