Just a small promotion for my humble Youtube channel, where I have added gameplay videos of On-Line Systems‘ early Hi-Res Adventure titles. A few of these have a very special place in gaming history, with Roberta Williams’ Mystery House, from 1980, being the first adventure game featuring graphics. Its successor The Wizard and the Princess, also from 1980, improved on the formula with a bigger story, larger settings, and added color graphics. The Hi-Res Adventure series solidified not only On-Line systems but also designer Roberta Williams as a serious contender in the interactive fiction genre which later led to a partnership with IBM that in 1984 resulted in the hugely popular and commercial successful King’s Quest series, a series that ultimately helped define the company and the adventure game genre for the decade to come.
Mystery House, the first adventure game to feature graphics. Designed and illustrated by Roberta Williams and programmed by her husband Ken. Mystery House was released in the summer of 1980 as the couple’s first game. The murder mystery, inspired by Agathe Christie’s novel “And then there were None” and early text-only adventures, quickly grew into a commercial success, spawning the successful Hi-Res Adventure series and positioned On-Line Systems, later Sierra On-Line, on the trajectory to become one of the biggest game companies in the world for the better part of two decades.
The Wizard and the Princess, the second adventure title in On-Line Systems’ Hi-Res Adventure series. Designed and illustrated by Roberta Williams and programmed by her husband Ken. The Wizard and the Princess was based on the fairy tales Roberta used to read as a child and is considered a prelude to the hugely popular King’s Quest series which four years later would help save a struggling Sierra On-Line and sell millions of copies down the line. The game improved upon Mystery House both in story and scale but also in technical abilities being the first adventure game to feature full-color graphics when released in August of 1980.
Mission Asteroid, the third released title in On-Line Systems popular Hi-Res Adventure series. The game was, like the two earlier Hi-Res games, written and illustrated by Roberta Williams and programmed by her husband Ken. The title was labeled Hi-Res Adventure #0 as it was meant to be an introductory game to the series and the adventure game genre in general. The puzzles were easier and the game shorter than the previous two games.
Cranston Manor, the fourth adventure title in On-Line Systems’ Hi-Res Adventure series. This was the first title not to be designed by Roberta Williams who was creating Time Zone. To keep up the momentum in the Hi-Res series Ken Williams acquired the rights to do a graphical (and slightly altered) version of Larry Ledden’s text-only The Cranston Manor Adventure.
Ulysses and the Golden Fleece, the fifth adventure title in On-Line Systems’ Hi-Res Adventure series. Designed by Bob Davis and Ken Williams while Roberta was hard at work creating Time Zone, her most ambitious project to date.
Time Zone, the sixth title in On-Line Systems’ Hi-Res Adventure series. It took designer and writer Roberta Williams and her team of artists and programmers more than a year to complete. When released in the spring of 1982 it was the biggest game to ever have been developed. The original retail price of $99 (around $275 in today’s money) paired with its high difficulty level resulted in a commercial failure.
The Dark Crystal, the seventh and last title in On-Line Systems’, now Sierra On-Line, Hi-Res Adventure series. Designed by Roberta Williams with plot and events following Jim Hensons’ 1982 fantasy movie of the same name.
Over the years I have recorded hundreds of gameplay videos and whenever I have the time, I’ll edit and upload them, all in 4K – Check it out here and remember to subscribe as I’ll continue to add new videos in the future.