10-1 | Let’s Begin Again

Article

Let’s Begin Again
Sierra On-Line and the Origins of the Graphical Adventure Game

Laine Nooney

Abstract:

The author retells the origin story of Sierra On-Line and its historic first prod-uct, the graphical adventure game Mystery House. She reviews the academic and journalistic writing that placed the story almost exclusively inside a nar-rative about early computer games, treating it as a saga of the competition between the graphic adventures Sierra On-Line produced and the literary games developed by companies like Infocom and dubbed interactive fiction. The author argues that such video game history proved both inaccurate and obfuscating, the she uses archival documentation and a counter-historical methodology to describe a different kind origin for Sierra On-Line and to deride the obviousness of presumptive beginnings within the discipline of game history. Key words: adventure, adventure game, game historiogra-phy, game history, genre, interactive fiction, Ken Williams, Mystery House, Roberta Williams, Sierra On-Line