Article concerning the development of the original King's Quest AGI. For development of the remake, see KQ1SCI development.


So IBM wanted a new type of game to show off its new computer. I was thinking about a fairytale adventure with lost treasures, giants, dragons, leprechauns, a gingerbread house, a troll bridge, guessing a gnome's name. Underground and sky castles were always popular stories, so I had to find ways to include them too. Flat pictures wouldn't do. It had to be animated. You had to be careful climbing the magic beanstalk or you'd fall. Limited floppy space would have restricted my design, but we had been compressing our pictures by drawing them as lines and fill colors for a while. That scheme was kept all the way up to King's Quest V. People were amazed you could walk around these detailed scenes, behind trees and in front of rocks.

I received a LOT of letters about the old gnome's name. In retrospect it was an awfully nasty puzzle (using a backwards alphabet to spell Rumpelstiltskin), but that was a typical "advanced" puzzle in those days. At least you had an alternate path to win the game if you couldn't figure it out. We toned it down a bit in the remake; now you just spell Rumpelstiltskin backward. (The Roberta Williams Anthology Manual, 1996)

Six programmers worked for eighteen months with a budget of $700,000.

Changed or unused materialEdit

Removed ideasEdit

I couldn't fit some ideas into King's Quest I, so I was happy to get a chance to include King Neptune, Dracula, everyone from Little Red Riding Hood, and that infamous rickety old bridge you could only cross so many times.-Roberta Williams. Many of these ideas would make it into King's Quest II. But many have made it into future games as well.

There are 27 pages of design document in the original game.  This is more than pretty much the first four games, put together, according to the listings at the Museum of Play.


Quite a different approach has been taken—and very successfully—by Sierra in its graphic adventure game, King's Quest, for the IBM PC and PCjr.
Requiring 128K of memory and the use of a color monitor, the adventure game actually lets you control the movements of an onscreen knight, Sir Grahame, as he moves about the colorful kingdom of Daventry.
The movement is smooth, the screens are redrawn rapidly, and Sir Grahame is seen walking in front of, behind, and even between objects. He climbs, jumps, ducks, swims, and can be warned of impending danger by sound effects. The command parser for such a game is necessarily much smaller than that used in an Infocom game, but the play requirements are not based on having a huge volume of words.
There are helpful fairies, elves, condors, and a god mother. But there are also unfriendly sorcerers, dwarfs, ogres, wolves, and an airborne witch.
Roberta Williams, who designed King's Quest for Sierra, admits that the game represents a big change from what has been done with computer adventure games in the past. "There's nothing like it," she says. "It's innovative."
Sierra's King's Quest, for the PC and PCjr with 128K, offers the best quality graphics in an adventure thus far. The interaction between the text and the onscreen graphics is clearly the way many future adventure games will be constructed. One element complements the other.
Bowing And Doffing
For example, as Sir Grahame stands before King Edward, type in the words BOW TO THE KING. As you hit the RETURN key, Sir Grahame can be seen bowing and doffing his cap.
And, Williams adds, subtle clues can be built visually into the game that an all-text adventure couldn't have. When Sir Grahame stumbles upon the house of a poor woodcutter and his wife, the screen shows an old and pitifully thin couple in a rundown house. The room is bare of food, a subtle clue to the player that an offering of something to eat might be very much appreciated by this mysterious couple.

System requirementsEdit

1st and 2nd releases (PCJR): PCJR model 1, 64 KB of memory, PCJR model 2, 128 KB of memory and a 360 KB 5.25-inch floppy disk drive.

4th release versions: Apple IIe, IIc Requires 128k

5th release version: IBMPC 256k IBM Tandy and MS-DOS Supports EGA, CGA, MCGA, VGA and Hercules monochrome.


Roberta Williams

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