Play it Again for the First Time - King's Quest I (AGI): Day 1

Chris Kennedy's picture

King's Quest AGI Box I have several new years resolutions for 2011. One of them is to replay most of my library of Sierra adventure games. I started this year out by playing the original version of King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown. I played the game with my wife, and she hasn't played it before. I am therefore titling blog entries like this one "Play it Again for the First Time."

Please note that this blog may contain spoilers. If you haven't already played King's Quest I and do not want solutions to puzzles or major "plot points" revealed, I must request that you stop reading this blog entry.

Let's talk about the game. It's King's Quest I. If you owned a computer in the 1980s and you played games, you know the game of which I speak. I should quickly mention a few things.

1: This is the King's Quest I that used Sierra's AGI (Adventure game interpreter) engine. Though it is the roughly the original version, it is certainly not the first release as it went through many ports. It is not to be confused with the 1990 graphical remake. You can read more about this on wikipedia
2: We played the game on the vintage computer mentioned in the first episode of the Armchair Arcade podcast
3: AGI games for the IBM PC only supported PC Speaker sound. That said, I picked up a patch that allows the game to playback the Tandy 3-voice versions of the music via the MIDI output to my Roland MT-32. This enhanced the experience a bit from the original version.
4: Though I have played through King's Quest numerous times, I mostly played the 1990 remake whenever I played. This was the first time in a LONG time that I have played through the AGI version of King's Quest I. I was delighted that I couldn't remember some of the puzzles. It is a lot more fun when you have to use your puzzle-solving skills rather than simply walk through the game based on memory.

Many of my entries will sound like I have never played the game before. They are meant for entertainment rather than to show if I am a true King's Quest veteran or not.

The experience (in a rather raw, sharing of thoughts type of format) -

1/23/2011 - Tonight I introduced Laura to King's Quest. Her first thought was that the man (Graham) was jaundiced. After asking her what that meant, I said "no. He is fine." And...I informed her that they only 16 colors to work with back then. She acknowledged the 16 colors by stating, "ahh yes. I remember that from when I played Commander Keen." Yes. She has indeed played a few classic games.

She enjoyed trying to figure out what objects were called because they all seemed rather "blob-like." Bush, shrub, tree? What is it??

The game told us that a tree was a "beautiful Maple Tree", and then said "what is Maple" upon us typing "look in Maple Tree"

She liked when I said, "I wonder what happens when we go in the lake." Upon entry, Graham started flailing much like he does when you fall in the moat with the alligators. I said, "Oh no. He's drowning." Then Laura said, "swim?" I typed swim...and he swam. Laura was amused that you had to tell him to swim.

Early in the game, we found a dagger. After a little while, we also found a goat in a pen. We opened the gate to the pen and went in. We tried to talk to the goat. The goat was uninterested. Upon learning this, Laura suggested we kill the goat with the dagger. I made an appeal by stating, "it's only a goat!" and she responded, "kill it!" I threw the dagger at the goat, and it died a bloody death. At this point, we couldn't much do much else. We couldn't take the goat, and Graham didn't want the dagger back. Assuming we probably shouldn't have done that, we restored the game.

Later, we encountered a rat. A BIG rat. I said, "oh. Let's kill the rat." And Laura said, "No. Don't kill the rat." I was shocked because she wanted to kill a helpless goat yet didn't want to kill a giant, menacing rat. I tried to the kill the rat, but the game didn't let me.

Later, I questioned her reasoning behind wanting to kill a goat but spare the huge rat when it was obvious which one was a threat and which one was not! Her response - "I just have to say....the game let us kill the goat yet wouldn't let us kill the rat. That has to mean something."


Laura has enjoyed it so far, and that means a lot to me.


Aaron Wegner
Joined: 01/20/2010
she's a natural

It sounds to me like she is a natural at these games. She hit right on the crazy things you can / cannot do.

I love those AGI games. It's extra fun to me to figure out what to type in and see all the responses for wrong guesses. I am particularly fond of the early Space Quest games.

And... isn't your library of Sierra games pretty sizable? That resolution sounds like a major commitment.

Chris Kennedy
Chris Kennedy's picture
Joined: 08/31/2008
Yeah...kinda big

Yes. There are a lot of Sierra games in the library, and I plan on growing that collection this year.

The great thing about collecting old PC games is that there doesn't seem to be as large of a crowd that pays for the stuff. Compared to something like rare Japanese console games on the PC Engine, Neo Geo, or MSX systems.

I wish they were still cranking out text-based games in these franchises. Seems like the parsers these days would help make the interface easier to use.

Joined: 01/21/2009
I tend to look over old

I tend to look over old games, get that old urge and play um for a short bit, seldom do I lay more then a 10 -15 minutes.. DUNE II and Might & Magic III would be the exceptions.. I rcently dug out my old WING COMMANDER 3 and 4 cds' and do believe Im going to give them a shot.. I suspect those really tough missions will probebly end the dream.. but who knows..

Very cool you have sombody to play them with, I used to play a few of the last "sierra" type games with an Ex GF, we both enjoyed it.. but er... young love and all that, time and such early in a relationship just didnt afford much for gaming. Last one we played was the BLADE RUNNER game.. still havent finished it... its just much better playing those games with somebody I find..

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