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If I have learned anything in my life, I have learned this: When in doubt, or in trouble, pick up anything that is not nailed down, and if it is, look for loose nails or boards. Check carefully into, under, above, below, and behind things. Read everything; you might learn something. Wear clean undergarments, brush after meals, and always remember: nothing is as it appears.
—Advice from King Graham's father Sir Hereward
King's Quest was the very first animated graphical adventure game on the PC. Featuring a stunning 16 colors and genuine animation, the game showed off the cutting-edge abilities of IBM's 1984 hardware release, the PCjr. It sold poorly until it was released for the Tandy 1000 almost a year later, when it established Sierra as the foremost developer of adventure games until the mid-1990s. The game used a Text Parser of the kind seen in earlier games, such as Zork.
Today, the original King's Quest is regarded as a classic of the genre, having spawned seven official sequels, all improving in quality up until the eighth. A ninth game, a Fan Sequel, was in the works until a cease-and-desist letter was issued in 2005... and then rescinded. And then Activision issued a new cease-and-desist letter in 2010. And then it was rescinded... again. The Silver Lining is currently being completed, with four of the five planned episodes already available at their website. Different teams, such as AGD Interactive and Infamous Adventures, have also created fan remakes of the first three games, getting their controls and graphics up to the level of the popular fifth and sixth games. Find them here and here.
A precursor to the series, Wizard and the Princess, also known as Adventure in Serenia, was made in 1980 by On-Line Systems, designed by Roberta and Ken Williams, the founders of what would Sierra Entertainment.
The first game tells the story of Sir Graham, an adventurer who sets out to recover three legendary lost artifacts of the kingdom of Daventry in order to win the crown of the dying king. Gameplay involved typing commands to perform such tasks as GET CARROT and GET FOUR LEAF CLOVER, not to mention OPEN DOOR (or SWIM...). Latter games involve his quest to rescue a princess and the adventures of the family that inevitably results from this rescue. Games 5-7 move to a point and click interface, while 8 is a three-dimensional RPG. Roberta Williams was apparently forced, over her own objections, to include hack-and-slash arcade elements in King's Quest 8—a demand which caused her to resign in disgust shortly after it was finished.
An episodic revival of the series was made in 2015 by The Odd Gentlemen, which finished one year later.
Individual Pages: (Kindly add tropes exclusive to these works only to their pages)
- King's Quest I: Quest for The Crown
- King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne
- King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human
- King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella
- King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder
- King's Quest VI: Heir Today Gone Tomorrow
- King's Quest VII: the Princeless Bride
- King's Quest: Mask of Eternity
- Aborted Arc: The Black Cloak Society. At least three villains are identified as members of the group, and a fourth member is named, but nothing ever comes of it.
- Arguably, all of the KQ villains could, theoretically have belonged to the society. Dahlia (in the first game) and Hagatha (in the second) shared their MO of clever plans, and use of The Dark Arts. Lolotte and Malicia are more debatable. Williams stated she didn't intend to tie all the games together, that it was just a one-shot mention. Given how much sense it makes, though, the fans tend to run with it anyway.
- Award Bait Song: "Girl in the Tower" in King's Quest VI, "Land Beyond Dreams" in King's Quest VII
- Badass Family: Not in the casual way of Badass, but every single member of Graham's family has gone on a daring adventure. Yes. Even Valanice.
- Well, King Graham is built like a linebacker, that just doesn't usually do him much good against the powerful creatures he faces. Alexander, for his part, holds his own in a sword fight with a useless sword. Give him a book of magic, however, and he's a fairly competent sorcerer. Rosella manages to shoot an evil fairy in the heart with an arrow.
- You've got to be a certain level of Badass just to marry into the family, it seems. Cassima more than earns her stripes when she finally stands up. Edgar spends a lot of time under More Than Mind Control, but still comes through when needed. Valanice managed to level up to the task when she perceived a threat to Rosella.
- Big Bad
- Black Cloak: The Black Cloak Society
- Cash Cow Franchise: At least until the bottom fell out of the adventure game market in the mid-late '90s, taking Sierra with it.
- Catch Phrase: You'll typically hear some variation of, "Perhaps you can find a use for it," throughout the series as the royal family of Daventry collect items.
- Chaos Architecture: Justified, explained, and averted. The game worlds have almost nothing in common with each other...but that's because they don't even take place in the same countries. Part of Daventry is only briefly explorable in III, but it looks like the area in I and seen in the intros of the first two games.
- A very clever aversion comes in The Silver Lining, wherein the land of the green isles is almost completely identical to its incarnation in VI, but with some expansion.
- Played straight in Mask of Eternity though. At least the Daventry portion of it. The land of the dead doesn't even look like it does in VI. (Presumably because Connor isn't in the same spot as Alexander was in.)
- Changing of the Guard
- Copy Protection
- Damsel in Distress: Princess Cassima and Princess Valanice.
- Edgar is a Dude in Distress in his games.
- Drop in Nemesis: Several.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Being inspired by fairy tales, the series has quite a share of princesses: Rosella, Alicia, Cassima. Celeste might count as one, but she goes by 'Lady Celeste'.
- Evil Sorcerer: The Society of the Black Cloak.
- Expanded Universe: Three Tie-In Novels and Novelizations of the games in the Player's Guide.
- Fairy Tale: The series' principal source of inspiration. Dozens of familiar fairy-tale characters and situations are used or referenced throughout the franchise.
- Fan Remake: The first three games have been remade to give them updated interfaces and graphics (the third even getting two remakes by two different teams), the fourth may or may not be still in progress by yet another team, and the fifth was remade into a text adventure.
- Fan Sequel: Several, of varying quality. There are the action-oriented King's Quest ZZT and ZZT2. There's also the highly odd King's Quest 2¼: Breast Intentions. A much-hyped the "ninth game," titled The Silver Lining, with full voice-acting and 3-D graphics, underwent legal battles for years. Now the Cease and Desist order has been rescinded, meaning that The Silver Lining has been released! And then there's Spiritual Successor A Tale of Two Kingdoms.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The series mixes creatures, plots and stories from Classical Mythology, Arabian Nights, traditional fairy tales, High Fantasy and whatnot. Take King's Quest VI, for instance: it's got Druids, Grecian Winged Humanoids, Lewis Carrol-esque whatizits, genies and many others inhabiting the same chain of islands. Justified by the creators: the supplementary material implies that Daventry is at the crossroads of reality and imagination, and all fairy tales are true there.
- Genie in a Bottle: Several.
- Genre Savvy: If you know your away around fairy tales and myths, you'll have a much easier time solving many of the games' puzzles. Important caveat: villains are sometimes quite savvy themselves, and many fairy tale tropes are played with in different manner, so you may find out it's the wrong genre after all. In this case, be sure to Have a Nice Death.
- Ghibli Hills: Wilderness, in each game.
- Girl in the Tower: Trope Namers, with two examples-- Valanice and Cassima.
- Grave Humor
- Guide Dang It: It's a Sierra series. That's really all you need to know.
- Guile Hero: With the exception of KQVIII, the heroes of the series rely on cunning and trickery to solve problems.
- Happily Married: Graham and Valanice, Alexander and Cassima.
- Have a Nice Death
- Hyperspace Arsenal: All of them. In KQV, Graham pulls out a sled that he's been carrying around. Just in case...
- King on His Deathbed
- Kleptomaniac Hero: With a notable subversion in the first game.
- Legion of Doom: The Black Cloak Society wasn't designed as a way to link all of the series' villains together...but at least three antagonists (Manannan, Mordack, Alhazred) are explicitly stated to be members, and it's entirely possible that all of the series' antagonists could have been members or allies. Note that this is based on a single throwaway line in the sixth game, that none of the antagonists other than these are ever stated to be related, and that Word of God denies this. Still, it's a popular fan theory.
- Magic A Is Magic A: The way genies behaved tended to depend on the specific genie in question in the earlier games. By the time of VI, where a genie was a major part of the ongoing plot, they finally sat down and made some rules.
- Magic Mirror
- The Maze: Several, always infuriating.
- Mercy Rewarded: Several.
- Modest Royalty: In all games but the first and the last, the protagonist(s) is (are) a member of royal family. However, they wear very modest clothing (e.g., Graham in KQII and V, Rosella in KQIV), have none of the haughtiness usually associated with royalty and never use it to solve problems or push around other people.
- Mood Whiplash: While the games have never taken themselves too seriously, the cartoony King's Quest VII was a drastic change in style. And then it went right to the other extreme of grim and Darker and Edgier with Mask Of Eternity.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Several throughout the series.
- Hagatha in KQII
- Abdul Alhazred in KQVI
- Malicia in KQVII
- Neutral Female: Subverted in King's Quest VI.
- Nice Hat: Graham's iconic Robin Hood-esque feathered cap, which is so nice he prefers it over a crown. He even wears it to his son's wedding!
- Nonstandard Game Over: Several.
- Notice This: Several.
- Numbered Sequel: All the games in the series-- except for the eighth, which is officially titled "King's Quest: Mask of Eternity".
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: In the first seven games, everything either kills you or doesn't. Played with in the fourth game, where Rosella can take some short falls (within the same screen) and only be incapacitated for a few seconds, but falling more than one screen is fatal. Same goes for Alexander in the sixth game.
- Pixel Hunt
- Planet England: Sort of, see the trope page.
- Point of No Return: Many of the games take place in a relatively wide area which the player is free to explore at their leisure, but nonetheless include various sequences where once the player has entered an area, they can only proceed forwards or get killed trying. In King's Quest VI, for example, the final act takes place in the palace, and is a clear Point of No Return.
- Press Start to Game Over: Crossing the bridge on the first screen of the first game is a deadly challenge.
- Public Domain Character: The series features many fairy-tale characters (The Snow Queen, Beauty and the Beast, Rumpelstilstskin...) and even freaking Dracula in the second game.
- Pungeon Master: The voiceover narratives in the AGD remakes.
"Perhaps you should consider seeking advice from other sources and not just from your piers."
- The original series had a lot of these too, particularly in King's Quest V:
"The old witch caught you toadally off guard."
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Goes back to back with Modest Royalty.
- Shout-Out: The villain in King's Quest VI is named, of all things, Abdul Alhazred.
- Standard Hero Reward : Played completely straight in the second and sixth games. But when it comes to Rosella in the fourth and seventh, this goes to Zig-Zagging Trope.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Rosella is a blonde, fair-skinned, extroverted Spoiled Sweet Genki Girl Action Girl who tends to take after her mother in looks and her father in personality. Alexander is black-haired and medium-skinned, is more self-depreciating, soft-spoken and reserved, and bookish, and takes more after his father in looks and mother in personality.
- Spiritual Successor: A Tale of Two Kingdoms, which started off as "King's Quest 2.5", but after considering the threat of a cease-and-desist order, rewrote its plot to remove the KQ characters. The atmosphere of fairy tales is still intact, though.
- Talking Animal: All over the place.
- Justified in some cases: One of the spells Alexander can craft, in III, gives him the ability to understand animals, and allows him to listen in on their conversations. In V, Cedric is explicitly magical, and all other cases are covered by the piece of magic whitesnake that Graham eats at the start of the game. This still doesn't explain how all these animals know that they can talk to this human in particular.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Even when dealing with monsters, a peaceful solution gives you more points, although most of the games have at least one enemy that you HAVE to kill. Of course, this goes right out of the window in King's Quest: Mask of Eternity.
- KQI, Graham shoves the witch into her own cauldron to escape her house. This is not actually necessary, though.
- KQII, Graham kills Dracula, which is not necessary either. (in the Fan Remake, this gets a twist : the vampire turns out to be an ally. It's the werewolves at the church you have to worry about! And by "ally" we mean he will kill you if you don't fetch such-and-such item for him.)
- KQIII, Gwydion/Alexander kills Medusa and the dragon, the latter of which is necessary. (The AGD Fan Remake offers an peaceful solution to the former. If you can prove to Medusa that you are a good man with a pure heart, her look will not turn you into stone, but rather lift the thousand year old curse that was put upon her, and revert her to her human form.)
- KQIV, Rosella kills Big Bad Lolotte. And a worm and a fish, in case it matters.
- KQV, Graham kills Big Bad Mordack.
- KQVI, Alexander kills the Minotaur.
- Tie-in Novel: Three of them, but they aren't very well known, even among fans.
- Troperrific: Just about every fairy tale trope was played straight, subverted, inverted, deconstructed, reconstructed and then some throughout the series.
- Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born : Alexander and Rosella.
- Unwinnable: Too many parts to count, though King's Quest V has the highest amount in the series; the developers seem to have actively enjoyed creating scenarios that lead to unwinnable files. This was averted by the seventh game or so.
- King's Quest VI did cut down on them a bit. King's Quest VII went further, and had no way to be rendered unwinnable. Even if you forgot to get the flower in an early chapter that's needed at the end, an identical one is up for grabs at the end.
- The AGD remake of the first game has an option that prevents you taking any action that would render the game unwinnable.
- Video Game Remake: In addition to the Fan Remakes listed above, Sierra gave the first game an official remake of its own. Although, unlike Sierra's later "Quest 1" remakes, KQ1 was only upgraded to slightly-better-but-still-EGA graphics and an improved interpreter/text parser, not to full VGA and point-and-click.
- Wrap Around: The first four games (the first one in two directions, even).
- Zip Mode: You can adjust the game speed, and at maximum the protagonist is uncontrollably fast on modern computers.