King's Quest

aka: KQ1, King's Quest 1, King's Quest: Quest for the Crown
Moby ID: 122
PC Booter Specs

Description official descriptions

Sir Graham is a brave knight who is sent on a quest to retrieve three treasures that were stolen by deception and stealth: a shield that protects its bearer from invaders, a mirror that foretells the future, and a treasure chest that is forever filled with gold. If Graham takes these treasures back to the royal castle, then the ailing King Edward the Benevolent of Daventry will hand over the crown. During his travels, Graham will meet characters that will either help or hinder him.

King's Quest is commonly considered the progenitor of third-person-perspective adventure games. As opposed to earlier graphic adventures, the player is able to navigate the protagonist on screen in eight directions, creating an effect of three-dimensional exploration. The player character can also be obscured from view when hiding behind an object, is subjected to gravity, and has different animations for actions such as picking up an item, falling, swimming, etc. Graham can be moved around with arrow keys and perform various actions when the player types commands, normally consisting of noun and verb combinations (e.g. "Take flower", "Talk man", etc.).

The game world consists of a cyclic outdoor area with places of interest (houses, characters, etc.) that must be found through exploration. Much of the kingdom is accessible to Graham from the beginning, and there are only a few restrictions imposed on traveling. In order to complete the game, the player has to procure certain items and use them in correct situations or with specific characters. Some of the puzzles rely on fairy tales, and a good knowledge of those makes them easier to solve.

The game awards the player points for most of the actions Graham performs. Since some of those are not crucial to completion, it is quite possible to finish the game without having attained the full score. Some of the tasks in the game have multiple solutions, though the game may grant the player less points if a simpler one is chosen. Many hazards await Graham on his journey, and death is frequent if the player is not careful. The game can also be rendered unwinnable by failing to collect a specific item or wasting it.

Groups +

Screenshots

Credits (PC Booter version)

11 People (8 developers, 3 thanks)

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 68% (based on 19 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 187 ratings with 12 reviews)

Truly one of the classics

The Good
Everything. The gameplay was complex and new for the time of release, as were the graphics. In a time when computer games consisted of black screens with dots on them and a lot of numbers to keep up with, Kings Quest showed what a computer game could be. I, along with many, many other people, was completly engrossed in this game for months during 1984 and 1985.

The Bad
The hardest thing about Kings Quest is that when compared to todays games it appears very old and dated. This is not a fault but something to be understood. The gameplay strongly overplays this and a good run through Kings Quest will give a modern gamer an understanding of his roots.

The Bottom Line
At the time of release Kings Quest was everything that a computer game tried to be. Over the test of time the gameplay has paled, as have the technical elements; but Kings Quest is still one of the classics, as it will always be. Anyone interested in where the computer games of today come from, why Sierra is a major player in the computer game world today (despite their recent work and reputation) and why the Kings Quest series of games have sold millions and millions of units should take a look at this game.

PC Booter · by Andy Roark (263) · 1999

Sierra's first quest was the dawn of a new era

The Good
Sir Graham is sent by King Edward to find the three lost treasures of Daventry. Find them to become King yourself. The graphics are dated today obviously but at the time they were incredible. The story is simple & a knowledge of fairy tales will help in knowing what to do next. There are sometimes two different ways to solve a puzzle, an okay way & a good way for maximum points. A fun way to kill a few hours even today.

The Bad
The inane gnome puzzle, so bad it was simplified in later versions.

The Bottom Line
This piece of gaming history marked the point when PC games went from interactive fiction to graphical.

DOS · by Grumpy Quebecker (817) · 2023

A proto-type, not a classic

The Good
This is the game that started the ball rolling for the graphic adventure genre. It was the first game to include a controllable third person avatar AND text parser for interacting with the game environment. Bright and colorful, the game chronicles the efforts of Sir Graham to reclaim the three treasures of Daventry and take his place as heir to the throne.

The Bad
You really can't say anything bad about this game and get away with it. The game is so old, it can't be held to today's standards by any means. That's just the problem with it, though. Some of this game's contemporaries (Zork for one) are still revered and played today. King's Quest is practically unbearable to play anymore -- the characters move excruciatingly slow, the graphics are comical, and the plot/puzzles are not, in all honesty that deep or interesting. The game consists of a conglomeration of fairy tale characters who present puzzles that are mostly easily solved by common sense and folk-lore knowledge.

The Bottom Line
The best thing that can be said for this game is that it paved the way for a classic series and a revered genre. Appreciate it for what its worth, but leave it on the shelf. If you want to re-capture the magic of 25 years ago, download the amazing fan-made remake at agdinteractive.com

DOS · by jTrippy (58) · 2007

[ View all 12 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Year PCjr? Edwin Drost (9742) Mar 21, 2017
Any other adventure games like KQ1&3? Lain Crowley (6629) Mar 30, 2012

Trivia

Code Decryption

The developers used encryption to hide code from prying eyes. The encryption key was Avis Durgan. However, according to PC Gamer (July 2000), nobody can remember why this key was chosen or who Avis Durgen is -- not even Ken Williams!

.. but Al Lowe does remember:

Avis was Jeff Stephenson's wife's maiden name. I guess he was in love!

Development

Originally developed by Sierra On Line and produced by IBM as a show piece for the IBM PCjr. The game was later produced by Sierra and was the foundation of the best-selling King's Quest series.

Graham

Sir Graham was so named because of designer Roberta Williams' fondness for graham crackers.

IBM Front Cover

Check out the IBM box's front cover--it has a completely wrong description and picture of King's Quest; this is because the box ad copy was written before the game was completed.

Novels

From 1995 through 1996 Boulevard Books published a trilogy of novels inspired by the King's Quest game setting of Daventry and featuring members of its royal family as the main protagonists:

  • The Floating Castle (1995), by Craig Mills, dealing with adventures Prince Alexander experiences between the events of King's Quests V and VI;
  • The Kingdom of Sorrow (1996), by Kenyon Morr, filling in some blanks regarding King Graham's activities between King's Quests II and III; and
  • See No Weevil (1996), also by Kenyon Morr, taking place seven years after the Kingdom of Sorrow and giving Graham's daughter, Princess Rosella, a chance to rule as regent during a crisis.

References

The flag of Daventry, as seen in the throne room, is in fact the flag of Sierra Leone. This is actually a pun referring to the development company, Sierra On-Line.

References to the Game

The website Homestarrunner.com created a game named Peasent's Quest quite similar to King's Quest. It has EGA graphics, text based typing, and the main character Rather Dashing is designed a little like Sir Graham.

Re-release

A complete version of King's Quest is available on Classic Games Collection CD featured with the July 2000 issue of PC Gamer Magazine.

Rumpelstilskin Puzzle

One puzzle, naming the gnome's real name must have been deemed too hard (or obscure) in the original version of King's Quest. I believe the clue was "Think back-wards" or something along those lines. The answer? The player had to write out the alphabet as follows:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
ZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBA
Substitute the letters from Rumplestiltskin with the letter below on the line. Of course most people entered Rumplestiltskin spelled backwards (logical) and this didn't work. In the SCI (1987) re-release of the game, the puzzle was made simpler with Rumplestiltskin backwards being the correct answer.

Technology

King's Quest was the first Sierra game to use the AGI game engine, which was used in Sierra's later games throughout the '80's. The way the engine was setup made it easy to port a game written with AGI to other computer platforms.

Awards

  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2007 - One of the "Ten Most Influential PC-Games". It managed to link texts and graphics and caused the rise of Graphic Adventures.
  • The Strong National Museum of Play
    • 2020 – Introduced into the World Video Game Hall of Fame

Information also contributed by Andrew Shepard; Indra, Joakim Möller, Pseudo_Intellectual, Ricky Derocher, rstevenson, Shai Greenberg, Tibes80, and Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe.

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Related Games

King's Quest: Quest for the Crown
Released 2001 on Linux, DOS, Windows
King's Quest: Collector's Edition
Released 1994 on DOS, Windows 3.x
King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones
Released 2002 on Linux, Windows, 2010 on Macintosh
King's Quest I+II+III
Released 2010 on Windows
King's Quest: Mask of Eternity
Released 1998 on Windows
King's Quest 7+8
Released 2010 on Windows
King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human
Released 2006 on Windows
King's Quest III: To Heir is Human
Released 1986 on DOS, 1987 on Atari ST, Amiga...
King's Quest 4+5+6
Released 2010 on Windows

Related Sites +

  • AGD Interactive
    Download King's Quest 1 remake for free
  • Game Map (Sega Master System)
    Images with maps of all locations and their position to each other.
  • King's Quest Realm
    An interesting sight devoted to the entire King's Quest series. It offers hints, a message board and a superb section devoted to the history of these popular games.
  • King's Quest at Wikipedia
    Includes an entire history and list of creatures, games in the series and more.
  • ScummVM
    supports the DOS, Macintosh, Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIgs versions of King's Quest under Windows, Linux, Macintosh and other platforms.
  • Sierra Gamers
    The Official Website of Ken Williams and King's Quest creator, Roberta Williams.
  • The King's Quest series at Game Nostalgia
    An illustrated overview of King’s Quest 1984 up to King's Quest: Mask of Eternity (including various fan games).

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 122
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Contribute

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Andy Roark.

Amiga added by POMAH. Apple II added by KnockStump. Macintosh added by Martin Smith. SEGA Master System added by Katakis | カタキス. Apple IIgs added by Garcia. Atari ST added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Paul Budd, Indra was here, Katakis | カタキス, Jeanne, Guy Chapman, Andrew Shepard, game nostalgia, Macs Black, Picard, Patrick Bregger, Jo ST, SoMuchChaotix.

Game added May 18, 1999. Last modified May 7, 2024.