I’m continuing to play the King’s Quest games in DosBox these days. Tonight I just completed King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne with 175 points out of 185.
To me, the art of these games is, in many ways, vastly more impressive than your modern 3D modeled game. The fact that every pixel on the screen was hand drawn and not rendered with some world generating algorithm just astounds me. Furthermore, even more so than King’s Quest I, the artists get tons of animation mileage out of so few pixels. They are not going for realism, rather they were trying to communicate a narrative, ideas and emotions. Yeah, that’s right. Video game romanticism.
In these first two installments, storytelling hasn’t been as much of the focus. They seem to be more geared towards exploration and object hunting. Although I had to look for hints twice (one of those times I had the right idea, I just forgot to re trigger an event during my many restores and saves), the adventuring is not so much about complex puzzle solving. That’s not such a bad thing since these days I don’t have the time to scratch my head for hours (I couldn’t get more than 2 or 3 rooms into Graham Nelson’s Curses, although in theory I liked that game). Perhaps as I play through these games I will get better at thinking through puzzles and then I can go back and attempt to take on an Infocom classic.