Tag Archives: Sierra On-Line

Interview with Roberta Williams (Phantasmagoria Reunion)

Conversations with Curtis – Watch Roberta & Victoria Hemingson (who played Adrienne in Phantasmagoria) reunite for the first time since 1995! Join Victoria Morsell Hemingson, Paul Morgan Stetler and Daniel Albu as they talk to the one and only Roberta Williams (of Sierra fame)!

Roberta Williams is a pioneering figure in the world of computer gaming, best known for her significant contributions to the development and success of Sierra On-Line, a prominent game development company. As the co-founder and former lead designer of Sierra, Roberta played a pivotal role in shaping the adventure gaming genre and revolutionizing interactive storytelling. Her imaginative and captivating game designs, such as the groundbreaking “King’s Quest” series, introduced players to richly detailed worlds, complex puzzles, and engaging narratives, setting new standards for interactive entertainment. With her innovative approach to game design and her dedication to pushing the boundaries of technology, Roberta Williams has left an indelible mark on the gaming industry, inspiring countless developers and players alike.

Drunken Master Paul Interview & Behind the scenes of making Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh

Paul Stetler who played Curtis Craig from Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh from Sierra On-Line now has a YouTube channel and in this video he’s reviewing my good buddy Drunken Master Paul. Lots of good stories about being on the set of making the game, how he originally got his job at Sierra and much more!


Conversations with Curtis

Sierra Flashback w/ Ken & Roberta – Good, Bad & Disappointments

In this video we sit down with Ken & Roberta Williams in their house in Southern California for an exclusive chat about Sierra On-Line games including some of their biggest hits and some of their failures and disappointments. We discuss the making of the popular games like King’s Quest, Leisure Suit Larry & Phantasmagoria…but also some of the hidden gems and nuggets from Dynamix, Papyrus, Coktel Vision and more.

Ken Williams | Co-Founder of Sierra On-Line – Retro Tea Break

Ken and Roberta Williams created Sierra On-Line in 1979 with their first graphical adventure game for the Apple II compute “Mystery House”. From these humble beginnings the world opened up for them and with games such as Police Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry and Kings Quest, Sierra rocketed to the top of the charts and became one of the biggest game publishers in the world. Today we meet Ken and discuss those early days, and find out a little more about his history and his exciting new game.

Microsoft now OWNS classic SIERRA GAMES?!?

Microsoft’s announcement to buy Activision for $70 billion comes with an added surprise: They will also own classic Sierra On-Line game franchises! King’s Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Space Quest, Phantasmagoria, Tribes, Willy Beamish, & hundreds more. Here are my thoughts on the epic merger and what it may mean for the future of Sierra games we all love.

Ex-SIERRA Game Developer is selling Original Source Code! — BUY a piece of HISTORY!!

BUY Al Lowe’s SIERRA collection: https://www.ebay.com/usr/al_lowe – He’ll be posting more unique items in the coming days and weeks!

We went through so many boxes, uncovering games I’ve only seen online, he showed us hint books he has written, accolades and awards he’s received and so much more.


– – Hey you guys, Metal Jesus here and I’m back again with Drunken Master Paul. – And I’m so excited to be here today, because, and I really can’t believe I’m saying this, we’re at Al Lowe’s house, yes, that Al Lowe, my favorite designer from our Sierra days, Al Lowe and we’re gonna go through some of his stuff, he’s gonna show us some things he’s had in his collection for 800,000 years and not only that, rumor has it, he’s selling some of this stuff, yes, that’s right, some of Al Lowe’s prized possessions are going up on auction for you guys, I’m so excited. – I know, this is gonna be amazing, let’s take a look. – Hi, I’m Al Lowe and for 16 years, I designed and wrote and programmed and coded music and various other things for Sierra On-Line back in the 1980s and ’90s, so I started in 1982, I was employee number 20 and by the time I left, Sierra had about 1,200 employees. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane, while I walk through my attic and find some things that nobody has seen, including me in 30 years. –

[Metal Jesus] Now while we were primarily there to help document the cool stuff in Al’s collection, he also wanted us to help him gauge just what memorabilia he had, that would be of interest to collectors like us. – This is my box full of archival copies of the source code and the original artwork and everything from the Larry games, this is one and two, you can see it got much bigger for Larry three and I even got Larry five to fit in two boxes and the VGA version of Larry one, which came out at the same time as these. So this is all the original stuff and I backed everything up, because I knew that Sierra didn’t and I thought if something happened in the future and I needed to go back and refer to the original code, so everything is in these disks, I believe to make a game, if you had the right tools. A lot of the stuff, a lot of the things that we wrote were in regular text files, so they’re certainly readable nowadays. Here’s what I’ve got in here and it says, oh, there’s a, oh, look at that, I could zip then, this is a later version, than I stuck in here, ’cause that zip wasn’t around back in those days and that’s the latest version, so that’s the one we, I think that’s the master disk, I would suspect. Oh, yeah, Ship Master, that would be the shipping master, so this is the one that I built the game on, this is the master and here’s the source code and what’s that say? – Words and objects. – [Al] Words and objects, yeah and Views was our name for animation, why we called it Views, I have no idea, but you’ve got to remember, we were inventing vocabulary as we invented the games, nobody knew what you call, like our background art was always, instead of a screen or background, it was called a Pic, so you had Pic and you had Views and there’s the Pics and the Sounds and the Sound source code and that’s clearly dated, look at that, June of ’87. –

[Metal Jesus] As we were going through some of his disks, I was kind of surprised to see King’s Quest three there. It says King’s Quest three. – Yeah, it’s the source code. – [Metal Jesus] This is the source code for King’s Quest three? – Yeah, the original source code. – [Metal Jesus] Okay, so my guess is, that this might be of value. – It’s the only copy on Earth. – Yeah. – I guarantee it. – Okay, so– – That, ’cause nobody at Sierra ever bothered to keep track of anything. – [Metal Jesus] What’s BC? – Black Cauldron. – [Metal Jesus] Oh, the Disney game. – The Al Lowe game. – [Metal Jesus] Okay, so and then, do you think this is Police Quest here? – Disney didn’t have anything to do with it, other than– – Well, I– – I used their backdrops. – [Metal Jesus] It was a licensed Disney game, right? – Yes. – Yeah. – [Metal Jesus] I love the fact that you put Al Lowe above Disney, as it should be. – Yeah, I’m not– – It’s an Al Lowe game and Disney kind of– – Yeah, it really was. –

[Metal Jesus] I always forget that Al Lowe programmed and created one of the very first Winnie The Pooh games. – Oh, here. – [Metal Jesus] Okay, so you actually– – You may not be able to read these, I think this was done, does it say what it is there? – [Metal Jesus] Yeah, it does, I mean, it looks like you’ve labeled all the disks, so latest versions, but then you have, so you’ve broken the game out into a bunch of different like– – And I saved it onto Disney disks, because we had too many of them, I guess. – [Metal Jesus] And here was a mystery box he wasn’t 100% sure what exactly was in here, he hadn’t opened it in three decades. – Oh, no, this is all the utilities it takes to make it. Oh, my gosh, look at that, oh, there’s a game disk, latest version and right protected. – Yeah. – Yeah, that’s the master, I guess, I would think that’s the master. Here’s the pictures that we used on ’em, this is the OrcaM was the compiler that I used, so there were objects and text and Apple PicDraw was a program, that Sierra used to draw graphics on the screen and I made my game pictures fit that, because it already existed, I didn’t have to rewrite that. – [Metal Jesus] I’ve never seen this before, this is, it says Sierra On-Line on it. – This is the cult classic, Troll’s Tale. – [Metal Jesus]Okay. – For the Apple two, I think and it was the third game I wrote, it used the same engine, this is how geek I was, man, when I started, I thought, well, I’m gonna do more than one adventure game like this, so I’ll create an engine and a database manager, so I can just type in multiple games and have them write themselves. – [Metal Jesus] Oh, interesting. – So I actually created the tools first and then wrote the games with the tools. –

Okay, so– – This is extremely rare, this is a game nobody’s seen. – Let me tell you that– – Have you seen it? – [Metal Jesus] No, there’s a bit of a debate, ’cause I took a picture of this, shared it on Facebook and people are like, no, no, no, that’s The Dark Crystal, I’m like– – No, no, it uses the same graphics as The Dark Crystal, we didn’t have to redraw their pictures, but I made the game using that interpreter, that I was telling you about, that I built, so that it was multiple choice questions for little kids. But here, look at the pictures on the back, see. – [Metal Jesus] Yeah, this is extremely rare, Gelfling Adventure, yeah. – Yeah, the characters in The Dark Crystal were gelflings, but see, we shipped it with a map. –

This is the first game you ever did ever? – This is the first game – Ever, ever, ever? – I ever did and this is the packaging that we used, this is a genuine plastic baggy from the Bradley Bag Company of Los Angeles, we had to order those. – Wow! – Ah-huh, and that’s a piece of index card stock, that we folded in half and it just was made to fit right inside it and we also had pre-print postcards inside there, – Amazing. – and the floppy disk, that we copied ourselves on my neighbor’s pool table. – So this is– – We set up an Apple two, opened the lid of it, blew an electric fan at it and put in five disk drive cards and pairs of disk drives, so as fast as we could move the disks into the drives, – Wow! – the first one was copied and we took ’em out, so we ended up producing hundreds of games in one evening – Wow. – on my friend’s table. – So this is the original packaging? You didn’t just build, the stapling. – It’s the original package sheen. – Wow, can I take it out? – I don’t know, you’ll let out the factory air. – Oh, no. I’m full of factory air, trust me on that, I’d be happy to put some back in. – Yeah, no, we sold these out of our house and in fact I think my home address is on there, yeah, see down here? 5815, is that it? Yeah, East Parkside Drive. – Wow, this is stunning, I mean, these are the very first games, that Al Lowe ever programmed and you’re letting these go, right? – These are pre-Sierra. – Pre-Sierra games. – Yeah. Actually when Ken – Amazing. – and Roberta saw these games at a trade show, that’s when my relationship with Sierra started was we were selling these little bags, but yeah, these two are from Sunnyside Soft, – Wow. – that was our company in Sunnyside, Fresno. – Amazing.

This is Sierra On-Line Incorporated Softporn and when I think of soft porn, I think of Al Lowe, so– – What? – Yeah, we all have our fantasies. So tell me about Softporn. – I think of Showtime usually or Cinemax. – I don’t pay attention. – [Al] But this was a game that Chuck Benton wrote, so somebody said, well, we need a cover shot, Ken’s got a hot tub, well, let’s pose in the hot tub, – Okay. – and so we’ll get some good looking women, – Okay. – [Al] and get ’em in the hot tub and we’ll get the guy, who’s the waiter down at the local restaurant, ’cause he had a tuxedo, well, that didn’t hurt sales at all. – No. – Yeah, ah-huh, and legend has it that one of those women was Roberta Williams, who later went on to great fame and fortune as a game designer and we’ll always swear, that nobody got a picture, that showed anything. – Oh, that’s fantastic. – Yeah, the funny part of the game is that there’s not really much dirty in it, other than the goal, I mean, the goal is you’re a virgin and you’re trying to lose your virginity. –

[Metal Jesus] We went through so many boxes uncovering games I’ve only seen online, he showed me hint books that he’s written, accolades and awards he’s received and so much more and then towards the end of the day, the collector and fanboy in me, he just came out and I ended up buying all the Larry games, that I was missing from my collection and then I got him to sign ’em. – And now my son, go in peace. – He completes my Larry collection. – I make you complete. – More than you know, thank you so much, man. – Oh, you’re welcome. – This was so much fun. – This was a great afternoon, what a way to spend an afternoon. – I know, I know, so cool.

Alright, guys, that’s a quick look at Al Lowe’s amazing collection. – That was so cool, I can’t believe some of the things that man still has around, that’s awesome. – I know, thank you very much, Al for inviting us into your home and showing us your cool stuff. – Really appreciate that and we’re gonna put a link to his auctions in the Comments and it’s not just this stuff, that we showed you, actually he’s going through his entire attic, – Oh, yeah. – his entire collection, – It’s amazing. – and he’s just kind of clearing some things out and would really like it to go to a good home, so by all means, check that out and go get some of this stuff, you’ll never find it anywhere else and it’s Al Lowe! – I know, so cool, right. Right, love to know what you guys think down in the comments below, please let us know if you’d like to see more of these, ’cause there are more Sierra developers in the area. – Yeah, they’re lurking around and we know where to find ’em. – That’s right, alright, guys, thank you very much for watching, thank you for subscribing and take care.