The Home of Modern Graphical Adventure Games
All of the above ads are from the December 1982 issue of Creative Computing. These ads were on the bottom of succeeding pages. There are actually more ads, but Substack said that the newsletter would be too long. I will publish another newsletter with the rest of the ads.
Since there are quite a few games mentioned here, I’ll just quickly tell the story of the birth of the company that sold them: Sierra Online.
Sierra was founded by the married couple Ken and Roberta Williams. After graduating from college with a degree in physics, Ken attended a trade school and learned to program mainframes. Throughout the 1970s, Ken worked at many companies as a troubleshooter. Over the decade, Ken improved as a programmer.
In early 1980, Ken bought an Apple II with plans to port the FORTRAN programming language to the system. He even registered a company under the name On-Line Systems. At the time, Ken had a remote terminal installed at home for work. Roberta discovered Adventure, an early interactive fiction game. She became so involved in the game, that she neglected her 8-month-old baby. Once the Apple II arrived in the home, she discovered other text adventure games.
Like many gamers, Roberta started thinking about making her own games. She tried to interest Ken in her idea. Eventually, Ken gave in. Together, they created Mystery House, an adventure game with basic graphics. They packaged it in Ziplock bags with instructions and charged $25. The game was a big enough success that Ken gave up his programming job and decided to focus on making games full time. They followed up several fantasy games under the On-Line Systems brand.
In 1982, the company was renamed to Sierra On-Line when the company moved to Oakhurst, California. Sierra was a reference to the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains. Ii the following years, Sierra On-Line would produce the games it would be game famous for, including the King’s Quest and Space Quest series. (Years later, Sierra would be the original publisher of Half-Life.) And the rest is history.
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