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Greetings from Roberta Williams (Sierra On-Line)

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Total Posts: 8208

Joined 2012-01-02

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Roberta, i just want to direct you to a thread that we have here to your honor.

     
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Total Posts: 39

Joined 2020-10-05

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Advie - 04 March 2021 08:30 PM

yeah, I have a question, do have any idea how much we love you, and much we miss you, Oh, i can’t believe the Queen herself is here, Bless you, Roberta Williams!

is Farewell Totara exclusive on your page or will be available at other venues that like Goodreads… ?


I hope to have it on other venues like Goodreads—working on it!
Roberta

     
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Total Posts: 39

Joined 2020-10-05

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Advie - 04 March 2021 08:30 PM

yeah, I have a question, do have any idea how much we love you, and much we miss you, Oh, i can’t believe the Queen herself is here, Bless you, Roberta Williams!

is Farewell Totara exclusive on your page or will be available at other venues that like Goodreads… ?

Hopefully it will be found at Goodreads—we’re working on it!

Roberta

     
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Total Posts: 35

Joined 2020-08-13

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Hey Roberta! In the past couple years I’ve been playing through all the Sierra games I was too stubbornly LucasArtsian play as a kid, and I f*cked up. I’m a huge fan now! Especially of Phantasmagoria and the later Kings Quests. Kings Quest VI kinda knocked me on my ass with how good it was. Thanks for the many hours and hours and hours of entertainment!

I’m interested in your new book! This is your first novel, right? What inspired you to move away from games into prose writing?? And what really hooked you about the Great Famine to want to set a historical novel there?

Also—weird question—I was a big The Realm Online fan back in the day, as a… middle schooler, I wanna say? I know you were particularly interested in trying to cross MMO’s with Adventure Games and The Realm was theoretically Sierra’s first experiment with possibly merging the two… Did you have any hand in that game? Have you kept up with it at all? It’s apparently still going! I check in every few years and I’m always surprised it’s stuck around!

Thanks!!!

     
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Vegetable Party - 06 March 2021 03:23 AM

Congratulations on publishing your book!  Smile

To answer your question: probably a hundred. I’ll do my best to contain the excitable sprout inside and bring it down to five.

What was it like, writing a book?

Have you found other creative outlets in the past twenty years?

I know quite a few avid readers with a preference for historical drama. I think they’d be interested in your subject matter; I’ve noticed they’re also really into TV shows set in US/UK history - with (Dutch) subtitles. Are there any plans to translate your book?

Maybe this is an odd question for the pioneer of graphic adventure games, but have you ever considered creating a (new) text adventure? (there’s still a small scene, alive and kicking!)

Could you share a funny anecdote about working with all those characters employed by Sierra in the 80s and 90s?

For me, it was more difficult writing a book than designing a computer game. Really! A computer game, for me, seems to come naturally, but book writing is work! I love it—but it doesn’t come as easily.

But I do love historical drama which is exactly what my book is—and there is much drama surrounding the Great Famine of 19th century Ireland! I would be happy to have my book translated, if there was enough interest.

No interest in writing a text adventure game—I will always be a graphic person when it comes to that. I think text is for books, and graphics need to be in computer or video games. No two ways about it.

When I was working on Phantasmagoria, the most fun (and funny) time I personally had was when we were filming in our studio in Oakhurst, CA. Because it was a horror game, we had lots of props—scary/horror props—and lots of fake blood and fake severed limbs and heads, and you name it! In between shoots, we would goof around with the props and when the actors who were going to be filmed ‘dead’ and had their ‘dead/gory’ makeup on would tap dance or sing in between the shots and just bring us to tears with laughter. I loved it!

 

     
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mattaukamp - 07 March 2021 01:57 AM

Hey Roberta! In the past couple years I’ve been playing through all the Sierra games I was too stubbornly LucasArtsian play as a kid, and I f*cked up. I’m a huge fan now! Especially of Phantasmagoria and the later Kings Quests. Kings Quest VI kinda knocked me on my ass with how good it was. Thanks for the many hours and hours and hours of entertainment!

I’m interested in your new book! This is your first novel, right? What inspired you to move away from games into prose writing?? And what really hooked you about the Great Famine to want to set a historical novel there?

Also—weird question—I was a big The Realm Online fan back in the day, as a… middle schooler, I wanna say? I know you were particularly interested in trying to cross MMO’s with Adventure Games and The Realm was theoretically Sierra’s first experiment with possibly merging the two… Did you have any hand in that game? Have you kept up with it at all? It’s apparently still going! I check in every few years and I’m always surprised it’s stuck around!

Thanks!!!

I’m glad you now enjoy Sierra’s games! Yes, it’s my first novel. I’ve always wanted to try to write a book—I used to tell my mother when I was a youngster that I wanted to write children’s books. But I wound up designing adventure games instead! Similar, in a way, but yet not a book. So I have now done it! The reason for the Great Famine was because of research into my mother’s Irish ancestry and I discovered many interesting things about them and about the Great Famine during my research. I felt that a book needed to be written about that period and about that particular terrible event. But I wrote it with a twist, I wrote it with my own ancestors as the main characters—kind of like Alex Haley when he wrote Roots, wrote it with his own ancestors as the main characters. I always liked that he had done that. Though I’m not comparing myself in any way to the great Alex Haley—just his idea of writing his book that way.

No, I was not involved with development of the Realm, although I knew that it was popular, but it just wasn’t what I did—which was obviously, adventure games.

     
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Thanks for the answers thus far.

This one is a bit of a hypothetical, as we do know Mystery House was a huge success, even for today’s standards. Many indie devs would be happy to get the numbers MH did. Had Mystery House sold less, or even bombed, do you think you’d kept designing more games? Maybe not immediately after it, but at some point?

The second one is about King’s Quest, which was a huge leap forwards in every way imaginable. Were there any elements you wanted to implement in the game but were not able to do because of the limitations of the tech?

And finally, the game that fascinated me to no end, mostly because of how insanely big it is, even for modern standards, Time Zone. Considering the tech of the era, the game is nothing short of amazing because of its sheer scale in terms of how many screens it consists of. What were the lessons you learnt from doing a game of that scale? And, in general, you can tell anything you remember of doing that ambitious project during a time when computers were worse than modern watches.

And furthermore, as Sierra did produce some remakes as well, did you ever consider remaking Time Zone when tech evolved?

     
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Total Posts: 8208

Joined 2012-01-02

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Kenwilliams - 07 March 2021 01:51 AM
Advie - 04 March 2021 08:30 PM

yeah, I have a question, do have any idea how much we love you, and much we miss you, Oh, i can’t believe the Queen herself is here, Bless you, Roberta Williams!

is Farewell Totara exclusive on your page or will be available at other venues that like Goodreads… ?

Hopefully it will be found at Goodreads—we’re working on it!

Roberta

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of us.

i wanted to ask you and Ken, do you feel you both have been overlooked by the gaming industry for what you both really represent at it, from early pioneering and your amazing contributions, not just in our beloved genre, but at the whole gaming industry in general?

     
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Total Posts: 39

Joined 2020-10-05

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tomimt - 07 March 2021 10:08 AM

Thanks for the answers thus far.

This one is a bit of a hypothetical, as we do know Mystery House was a huge success, even for today’s standards. Many indie devs would be happy to get the numbers MH did. Had Mystery House sold less, or even bombed, do you think you’d kept designing more games? Maybe not immediately after it, but at some point?

The second one is about King’s Quest, which was a huge leap forwards in every way imaginable. Were there any elements you wanted to implement in the game but were not able to do because of the limitations of the tech?

And finally, the game that fascinated me to no end, mostly because of how insanely big it is, even for modern standards, Time Zone. Considering the tech of the era, the game is nothing short of amazing because of its sheer scale in terms of how many screens it consists of. What were the lessons you learnt from doing a game of that scale? And, in general, you can tell anything you remember of doing that ambitious project during a time when computers were worse than modern watches.

And furthermore, as Sierra did produce some remakes as well, did you ever consider remaking Time Zone when tech evolved?

Yes, Mystery House was an instant success. If it had not been a success, I doubt that Ken and I would have gone forward to start Sierra On-Line. We were lucky; it was all in the timing!

I always wanted to implement more elements and new technology than I was able—always I was constrained by the available technology of the times. But I always knew what I wanted to do ‘when the time was right’!

And you are one of the few people to ever mention Time Zone! I was very proud of that game and do believe that it could be awesome to remake for today’s players and using all of the new whiz bang technology. Unfortunately, Ken and I do not control any of Sierra’s old games; they are owned by Activision. Sadly…

 

     
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Advie - 07 March 2021 11:52 AM
Kenwilliams - 07 March 2021 01:51 AM
Advie - 04 March 2021 08:30 PM

yeah, I have a question, do have any idea how much we love you, and much we miss you, Oh, i can’t believe the Queen herself is here, Bless you, Roberta Williams!

is Farewell Totara exclusive on your page or will be available at other venues that like Goodreads… ?

Hopefully it will be found at Goodreads—we’re working on it!

Roberta

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of us.

i wanted to ask you and Ken, do you feel you both have been overlooked by the gaming industry for what you both really represent at it, from early pioneering and your amazing contributions, not just in our beloved genre, but at the whole gaming industry in general?

No, we don’t feel that we’ve been ‘overlooked’ by the gaming industry. If you think about it, we’re still pretty well-known…and it’s been a long time!

 

     
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Joined 2017-09-18

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Here’s my question: What are Ken’s 3 most annoying habits?

     
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Total Posts: 8208

Joined 2012-01-02

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Kenwilliams - 07 March 2021 06:48 PM
Advie - 07 March 2021 11:52 AM

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of us.

i wanted to ask you and Ken, do you feel you both have been overlooked by the gaming industry for what you both really represent at it, from early pioneering and your amazing contributions, not just in our beloved genre, but at the whole gaming industry in general?

No, we don’t feel that we’ve been ‘overlooked’ by the gaming industry. If you think about it, we’re still pretty well-known…and it’s been a long time!

oh, that is great to hear

i asked this because of the Netflix documentary which hadn’t really given Sierra_online that enough time that it really deserves

just a part in one episode of 6, which me angry, i thought Sierra_Online should ve had at least 2 episodes, bc the documentary was covering 50 years of gaming, and Sierra had been at the top for almost 20 of them,m.,, unfair I thought.

     
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Joined 2020-10-05

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Luhr28 - 07 March 2021 06:59 PM

Here’s my question: What are Ken’s 3 most annoying habits?

That’s a question to get me into trouble!! Since he may read this post…I’d better not answer!  Innocent

     
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Joined 2009-11-10

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The book looks interesting and exactly the type of novel I usually like reading. I love historical novels from Dumas to Bernard Cornwell and, well, my favorite Sierra game is Conquest of the Longbow Smile.

A minor nitpick on this page https://robertasbook.com, for people who tend to skip the “About the author” blurb and go straight to the the story blurb, it feels a bit jarring to read “This is an account of the ordeals of the Irish people during the Great Famine of mid-19th century, although she added a twist: “, the she refers to the author obviously, but in this context it feels strange? Might just be me though…


One thing I’ve always been curious about, how involved were you in deciding if a new game designer could work out and design his/her own game? Was it more Ken deciding this or did he defer to you and your experience in story telling?

     
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Joined 2012-01-02

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lovely interview made by Captain Blondebeard/Wierd Gaming Adventure, with Roberta Williams, I am sure the site will put it up on front by tomorrow, but here it is.

it is great to see you, Roberta Williams, looking good and happy.

on the part of being away from the industry, and that would never jump back to what you say’ been there, done that’ i can’t see why i am sure Activision would have wanted you at least as an advisory on ‘their products, you are underestimating what is the effect of your name on a KQ game or even any new adventure or a new Phantasmagoria would do.

Bless You, Roberta Williams for this graphic adventure genre, that captured the love of millions, upon different generations.

 

 

     

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