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Sierra on Usenet

Started by TheReturnofDMD, July 19, 2010, 05:29:46 PM

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For those who don't know, the usenet archives on google groups are an archive of all messages--basically of the rudimentary internet--with posts going back as early as 1984 by people. The messages have been archived on there with dates and times etc. There is a LOT of Sierra stuff--from comments from early fans discussing how to solve puzzles as far back as 1986 to Ken Williams talking directly to fans in 1996 and 1997. However, the structure of the Usenet archives is failing and I was thinking some of us fans could get together and copy and paste archives before they are lost forever--They are really a treasure trove of Sierra fandom. It's interesting to see people back in 1991 or 1992 discussing what KQ VI, for example, might be like.

Just to give you an example, here's Ken himself responding to a fan about the game "Urban Runner" on December 11th 1996. The original thread was a "Matthew Murray" and others decrying how Sierra 'sucked' and Ken and other employees responding, and it veered off into other discussion.

"As long as I'm here posting, I would like to comment on a prior message
regarding Urban Runner...
Urban Runner was a flawed game. It spent several years in development,
and several million dollars into development we decided that we had a
product that was never going to be 'of Sierra quality.' We had already
announced and advertised the product, but were not satisfied with it. I
decided to release the product, but at a budget price. Urban Runner was
released at $19 suggested retail - which I felt was a very good
price/value proposition. The product was flawed, but it wasn't a total
waste of time. $19 for a 4 CD FMV product is not a bad deal.
Some retailers did not get our message about the price decrease and sold
some copies at $70 -- this didn't happen many times, but it did happen.
We refunded a hand full of people $70 even though the retailers only
paid us about $12 for the product -- and did so with a smile. This is
the Sierra way of doing business. I am proud of how we handled Urban
Runner. I'm not delighted that we shipped a non-perfect product, but it
is almost impossible to develop a Sierra quality product, so it doesn't
surprise me that even we have trouble doing it 100% of the time.
Thanks! - Ken Williams, Sierra"

"I wish that it were possible to do as you have suggested, unfortunately,
ad schedules are set often a year in advance. Urban Runner was a rarity.
99% of the time it is possible to keep working on a game until the
quality is up to Sierra standards. With Urban Runner, this turned out
not to be the case. We made the decision to cut spending and release it
as a budget title. Sierra's customers are smart -- my guess is that they
figured out quickly when they saw it retailing under $20 that it wasn't
our best work.

(Posted on: July 19, 2010, 07:25:38 PM)

After Ken changed the name of the thread from "Sierra Sucks!" to "Sierra is awesome", a fan on December 12th 1996 replied:

'' Mr. Willams, I agree with you. Sierra is am excellant company and I
have never played a sierra game I didn't like(well, except for Alien
Legacy). In my game collection, Lucasarts and Sierra take up the most
space on my shelf.

I hope sierra keeps pumping out the hits.

BTW, I saw somewhere that you actully visit the programming center
for the games and check out their progress. And since sierra is working
on Quest for glory 5, Kings Quest 8, and just realeased Larry 7, Why
has plans for a Space quest 7 been released yet?"

To which Ken replies on 12/14/1996:

''We are thinking about Space Quest 7. I want to do the game, but Scott
Murpy has been out for a while coping with the after effects of a motor
cycle accident. My guess is that we'll have something on the market by
Spring 98.
Thanks - Ken"


LOL@SQ7 - Spring 98.  Not even close.
Weldon Hathaway