Bits from my personal collection – A Merry Sierra Christmas

It’s that wonderful time of year, yes another holiday season is upon us. I’m trying to keep up the tradition of doing a small article before the holidays, showcasing items related to Christmas, and also using the opportunity to do a status of the year that has passed. This year I started doing Quick Bits, smaller and quickly written articles, allowing me to keep some momentum while still having time for all of the other things in life. I wanted to put a bit more energy into recording and uploading gameplay videos from the games I touch upon, I think it’s a nice addition to the articles but it definitely takes a lot of time.

This year the blog has seen 50 added articles along with over 120 new Youtube videos, much more than I had hoped for back in January. While writing about the history of old computer games definitely is for a niche audience, over 100.000 have visited this blog over the last five years and that definitely gives me incitement to keep on trucking.
I have started to do some very quick videos of my display cases, nothing too fancy, just simple pans over the titles in each respective case. Hopefully, I can cover many more cases in the new year.

I was looking for something to showcase this Christmas. I had a few things in mind but then I remembered the four animated Christmas cards by Sierra On-Line from the late ’80s and early ’90s and thought those would be a perfect fit. Sierra has a very special place in my heart, some of my best adventures as a kid came with kind regards of Sierra. The fantasy worlds, the imaginative stories, the frustration, and the biggest sense of achievement when hurdles were overcome and puzzles solved, Sierra delivered every time.

Sierra’s own publication initially named The Sierra Newsletter, introduced in 1987 covered upcoming games and interviews with the developers. The Newsletter became The Sierra News Magazine, then The Sierra/Dynamix Newsmagazine before evolving into InterAction, a more regular magazine in 1991. The magazine with today’s eyes might seem a bit cheesy but nonetheless gives an unprecedented view into Sierra, the company that defined gaming for nearly two decades.
I’ve dug out a couple of issues that had the most Christmas-themed covers.

Best wishes to you and yours for the holidays and from the bottom of my heart, thanks for visiting.

King’s Quest V, Jones in the Fast Lane, Red Baron, and Space Quest IV, the 1990 Christmas was definitely looking to be fantastic

Aces of the Pacific, Quest for Glory IV, Gabriel Knight, Police Quest IV, and The Incredible Machine, Santa surely knew what to give for the 1993 Christmas

In 1986 Sierra On-Line created its first electronic Christmas card, distributed to employees and friends and used by retailers who carried the company’s products to demonstrate the advanced graphics and sound available in the company’s many games. Sierra’s now well-proven Adventure Game Interpreter, AGI used in the company’s successful adventure games was used to create the Christmas greeting.
The animated card featured various season tunes as well as advertising for the first Space Quest, released the same year. Also, Roberta Williams’ King’s Quest get promoted along with the Black Cauldron, released the year prior.

In 1988 Sierra On-Line followed up on their 1986 Christmas card now using the company’s first iteration of the Sierra Creative Interpreter, SCI0, first used in the fourth installment in Roberta Williams’ King’s Quest series released in the autumn of 1988. SCI allowed for higher resolution 16-color EGA graphics along with the support of soundcards.

In October of 1990, Sierra On-Line released its third animated Christmas card. Like the previous cards, it was distributed to stores and was intended to showcase the graphics and sound capabilities of Sierra’s upcoming games, all using the Sierra Creative Interpreter, SCI1, which allowed for 256-color VGA graphics, mouse, and Soundcard support. With the subtitle, The Seasoned Professional, the 1990 version, unlike earlier Christmas cards, carried a short and humourous story, depicting a stage audition for Christmas characters where characters from other holidays keep showing up instead.
A 16-color EGA version of the Christmas card was also available.

For the holiday season in 1992, Sierra On-Line released its fourth and last animated Christmas card, intended to promote the graphics, animation, and sound capabilities of the company’s successful SCI framework used in its adventure games since 1990. The card also promotes Sierra’s subsidiaries Dynamix, Brightstar Technology, and The Sierra Network, established by the company in 1991.
The fourth card returns to Sierra’s Christmas card roots of showing animated Christmas scenery while Christmas music plays in the background.

2 thoughts on “Bits from my personal collection – A Merry Sierra Christmas

  1. I still have a copy of the 1986 card on my GDrive! I wondered if anyone else out there remembered it… It appears the answer is yes!

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