King's Quest I

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

King's Quest: Quest for the Crown (originally simply King's Quest) is the first game in the long-running King's Quest series. It was released in 1984 and had a huge impact on the world of gaming: It was the first animated computer game (the earliest ones simply had static images), it cemented Sierra as the premier maker of Adventure Games in the '80s, and it helped popularize the adventure game genre and many of the tropes associated with it (for better or for worse).

The plot is simple. You are Graham, a knight in the realm of Daventry. Your king has tasked you with finding Daventry's three lost treasures: A magic shield that protects the kingdom from war; a magic mirror that can see the future; and a magic treasure chest that magically replenishes itself. To find these treasures, Graham must explore the kingdom and solve puzzles. Oh, and avoid random deaths, that's important too.

The game is best known for its Fantasy Kitchen Sink setting, limited graphics and interface (blocky 8-bit characters and Text Parser), often exasperating puzzles, random deaths and Unwinnable situations (though the fan remake has a "no unwinnable situations" mode). It has been remade with better graphics twice, once by Sierra itself, and once by fans.

Tropes used in King's Quest I include:
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Your reward for winning the game.
  • Death by Despair: The King dies from this at the end.
  • Excuse Plot: There is very little plot, which is present mostly as an excuse to mash different fairy tale characters and situations together. All There in the Manual, my friend.
  • Fairy Tale: A major source of characters and puzzles. This game includes references to The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Rumpelstilkzin, and Hansel and Gretel, among others.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: In the same game as Rumpelstilkin, there are leprechauns. Yeah.
  • Giant Flyer: The condor.
  • Guide Dang It: Ifnkovhgroghprm (or Nikstlitselpmur, depending on which version you play).
  • Heroic Mime: Averted for the opening and closing cutscenes, but that's it.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Generally yes, with a notable subversion at one point
  • Last Lousy Point: Several, such as eating the candy house; bowing to the king, giving the bowl to the poor couple after saying the magic word, etc.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Somewhat, in that the game has random encounters with several nasty monsters, albeit always in the same room. This feature is notably absent in pretty much all later graphic adventure games.
  • Magic Mirror: The magic Mirror, one of the Three Treasures of Daventry. It foretells that you shall win the game.
  • Nintendo Hard: The beanstalk (in the original EGA version, that is). And some of the puzzles as well.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: One of the antagonists is the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk.
  • Oxygen Meter/Super Drowning Skills: If you walk into the water, Graham will flounder helplessly until he drowns. Unless you type "swim" at which point he will start swimming. He will drown if you stay in the water too long, however.
  • Sequel Hook: In the epilogue, it's mentioned that King Graham looks into the magic mirror and sees his descendants having many more adventures...
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Not killing some of the monsters (and resorting to trickery instead) gets you more points, but isn't required to win the game.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • You need all three treasures to win the game. There's a dwarf that goes around stealing your things. He appears randomly and is difficult to evade. If you have any of the Three Treasures on you when he shows up, he steals them. And you can never get them back. Have fun playing the rest of the game! The dwarf appears at random times but always in the same two screens.
    • Earlier versions of the game allow you to drop things from your inventory, including those three treasures. Whatever you drop is Lost Forever. Ironically, you can drop the treasures between the moment that the game checks for them to get to the endgame, and the actual endgame.
  • Useless Useful Skill: There is a command for ducking, which you need precisely never in the game. It does help you keep from getting caught by the witch.
  • Video Game Remake: It has both an official one and a fan one, which is available for free online.
  • Zillion-Dollar Bill: The bottomless gold chest, never seen nor referred to again. Alexander is given a hefty sum of money from this in King's Quest VI: Heir Today Gone Tomorrow. Due to Shipwreck, he's left with just one at the start of the game. The description of the coin does say it comes from the chest though. Coins from the chest also appear in King's Quest II +.