Sierra

Activision will make Sierra its "indie" label

Andy Chalk at

Activision announced the resurrection of the storied Sierra label last week, bringing it back into action with a new Geometry Wars and a reboot of the old King's Quest series. It was an unexpected move, given the publisher's historic focus on the bottom line and the tiny impact on it that old Sierra adventures are likely to have, but not entirely unpredictable in hindsight. After all, there's gold in them there indie hills.


King's Quest Reboot "is not a point-and-click game" but it's still an adventure

Shaun Prescott at

The new King's Quest game will not be a point-and-click adventure game, but it will be an adventure game, according to Activision's MacLean Marshall. Newly announced at Gamescom last week, King's Quest will release under the Sierra mantle, which Activision last week resuscitated for its digital, indie-leaning titles. While some no doubt hoped for a revamped point-and-click adventure in the vein of older King's Quest titles, that is not what we're going to get.


Activision confirms the return of Sierra and a "reimagined" King's Quest

Andy Chalk at

Last week's Sierra teaser has paid off pretty much as expected, as Activision has brought the famous name back from the dead, with plans to use it as a publishing label for "edgy" independent projects. It will also re-release at least some old Sierra classics, beginning with an updated King's Quest and a new Geometry Wars.


Sierra teaser site points to possible revival at Gamescom 2014

Shaun Prescott at

Put your speculation hat on and visit Sierra.com. There you will find a menacingly vague video which points to a reboot of the Sierra brand. Or, you could just view the video below. The site invites users to share the video, while indicating that further news will be announced at Gamescom next week.


Reinstall: Leisure Suit Larry: Love For Sail

Richard Cobbett at

Poor Larry Laffer. Few characters have ever been so misunderstood or unfairly looked down on than Al Lowe's perpetual but loveable loser, thanks to a couple of basic misconceptions about the series—that the Leisure Suit Larry games are sex games rather than comedy games about sex, and that Larry himself is some kind of sex monster, rather than a guy who spent at least his first trilogy specifically looking for love. Really. No fewer than three times is he happy to settle down after finding Miss Right. The whole 'ultimate pervert' thing comes far more from marketing than the action in the actual games.


Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is being remade, published by Activision

Ian Birnbaum at

Adventure game classic Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is being remade to celebrate the game’s twentieth anniversary. Series creator Jane Jensen announced a partnership with Activision to create a polished-up remake true to the original story that will be arriving in 2014.


Saturday Video Crapshoot: Police Quest 1, 2, 3

Richard Cobbett at

You have the right to watch this retrospective. You do not have to laugh, but any sniggers or guilty smirks may be taken and used against you. If you do not have a sense of humour, one may be provided. Everything else will assume the TV show "Castle" is an accurate depiction of police procedure.


Hero-U reaches Kickstarter goal; stretch goals detailed

Shaun Prescott at

Leisure Suit Larry to return with HD remake and new adventures

Tom Hatfield at

Of all the old adventure games to get a modern re-release, Leisure Suit Larry seemed one of the most unlikely, but nonetheless EGM are reporting that the series will be making a comeback (disgusting pun not intended). Replay Games have acquired the rights to Larry, and are teaming with original creator Al Lowe to create re-mastered versions of the original games and start work on new adventures.


Editorial: How to save adventure games

Richard Cobbett at

This feature originally ran in PC Gamer UK issue 225.

Adventure games suck. Sorry, but it’s true. This isn’t a lunk-headed action fan telling you this, nor a snotty RPG fan who wants to solve every problem with a sword. No. This is coming to you from a guy who considers beating every Sierra and LucasArts game ever made to be an amateur claim. If it exists, I’ve likely played it, or at least know of it. Broken Sword? Zork? The Last Express? Kingdom O’Magic? Les Manley? I’ve finished great adventures and rubbish adventures, and make no mistake, adventures are my favourite genre of all time. They’re what got me into gaming, the genre I’m most nostalgic about, and one still bursting with incredible untapped potential even today. Even so, today, they suck.

And that's something that can change. That's why I get cross. Adventure games deserve to be great once again. The catch is, they have to earn it, and almost none of them are even trying.

Saturday Crapshoot: Police Quest

Richard Cobbett at

Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, we pick up the shield, reach for a nightstick, and prepare to retread some very, very mean streets with the Lytton PD's top Sierra suicide squad .

LA Noire is coming soon to the PC. But crime? Crime has always been with us. Laura Bow's notebook saw her through two major cases back in the 1920s. Discworld Noir was funny, clever, and a brilliant spin on Terry Pratchett's most famous creation. On the indie side, The Blackwell Legacy games are doing a great job of telling mysterious ghost stories. During the FMV era, it turned out The Dame Was Loaded, and then of course, there was a game simply known as 'Noir' - and a personal favourite of mine, the (later, not sucky) Tex Murphy games, which took those classical stylings into the Future. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? We do. We've painstakingly dug it out a million times.

But few of those cases are stranger, quirkier, or just plain messed up as gaming's original interactive police procedural adventure. Prepare for the insanity that awaits... In Pursuit of the Death Angel.

Saturday Crapshoot: Pepper's Adventures In Time

Richard Cobbett at

Sometimes, it's fun to play the villain. We all know this. But there are limits. We live in a civilised civilisation, and as such, not everything can be permitted. There are scoundrels whose mere existence is an affront to the one true Queen, she who all right-thinking Ladies and Gentlemen call Majesty. There are sins that should never be played out, particularly not in an 'edutainment' game designed to inform and shape other fragile minds. Some things, some people, are just... beyond inappropriate.

This is the story of one such wretch, and her most deserved punishment.

These are the crimes of Pepper Pumpernickel, the girl who stole America.


They did it first

Richard Cobbett at

In a world of clones and copycats, it’s worth remembering that every idea was once new.

Whether it’s Richard Garriott turning himself into the world’s first cosplayer by showing up at conventions dressed as his alter-ego Lord British, or Westwood inventing the RTS in Dune II, these are the moments that defined the games we play today. On PC, anyway. Herzog Zwei? What’s that?

But what about some of the more obscure firsts? Who made games talk? Who made film ratings part of our industry? Which FPS first came up with the idea of mixing driving and shooting, in much the same way that the genius who first combined salt and vinegar crisps and broken up pieces of Kit-Kat created the most delicious snack of our age? That is the question.

We’ve gone back into the archives in search of the geniuses, the dreamers, the designers and games that proved there were still ideas left to explore – just as today’s designers continue to prove how much more can be done.


Crap Shoot: ImagiNation

Richard Cobbett at

Richard Cobbett heads back in time to play with one of the first dedicated gaming networks, now reborn for a new generation to wander through its worlds and virtual arcades.

Once upon a time, there was a magic world called The Sierra Network - later renamed ImagiNation. Only available in the US (and even then, only if you had a lot of disposable income) it was one of the first dedicated gaming services in the world - a place to go, hang out, and play games like Chess and Red Baron with fellow pioneers. If you were lucky, you might have found Bill Gates at one of the tables. If you were even luckier, you might have found love in one of the social areas. For most people though, actually taking part was an impossible dream, with the closest they could get being to jiggle the pages of Sierra's official magazine until it looked like the screenshots were actually moving.

Years later, the dream is a reality. ImagiNation is back, and now anyone can play.

See what Half-Life looked like in 1997

Tom Francis at

The marketing for Half-Life 1, before Valve got seriously good at it, was bizarre. Remember the magazine ads with a glowing baby, a lambda for an iris? It looks like they also weren't quite as good at making trailers back then - or perhaps publisher Sierra wasn't. Soxy discovered an ancient trailer for the game on his copy of 1997 quiz game You Don't Know Jack - Volume 3, and it's funny to see what they thought was impressive back then. Doors opening, for example, apparently warrant a smash cut.