Sierra Collector’s Quest – P.1 – User Article

Sierra Collector's Quest - P.1 - User Article


Sierra On-Line is more than just the company behind Leisure Suit Larry and King’s Quest. But how much bigger it actually is, only a new reference book made clear to me.

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In the past few years, some surprising books and announcements surrounding the venerable Sierra On-Line company have come to our gamer’s eyes and ears. Ken Williams published his view of the company’s history, Shaw Mills left in his book The Sierra Adventure Fans and employees have their say, that SpaceVenture the Two Guys from Andromeda landed after many years of wandering in the home spaceport and with Colossal Cave 3D Adventure developed Robert Williams her first computer game since King’s Quest 8. The most serious newcomer, however, is likely to be the Sierra Collector’s Quest be. A collector’s catalog that should be quite unique in its attention to detail.

The Kickstarter

Launched in September 2020 Stephen Emond launched a Kickstarter campaign to launch a massive project: he promised CAD $35,000 to develop and print the first two volumes of a complete Sierra catalogue. Volume 1 will be the classic series Hi-Res Adventures, King’s Quest, SpaceQuest, Police Quest and Leisure Suit Larry include. The accompanying second book, with its 28,000 planned entries, is the index for all further volumes and should therefore be omitted from the numbering with the designation Sierra Collector’s Quest 0. Both volumes should have 750 pages and be both paperback and hardbound, and of course available digitally.

Now the gold rush days at Kickstarter are long gone. Nonetheless, Stephen raised an amazing CA$100,173 from 425 backers. In addition to the books, physical gifts such as Sonny Bond’s police badge, bookmarks or a buckazoid attracted visitors. The stretch goals released during the campaign included interactive digital checklists in the PDFs, a digital ad archive and access to the design documents.

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Stephen estimated it would take about a year for the books to be delivered. Since he already with the Ultimate-Row of Richard Garriot a comparable project he had to know what he was getting himself into, right? Ha! It quickly became clear that he had laid a good basis with the estimated 28,000 entries. But the bigger waves the project made thanks to the Kickstarter, the more products came to light. When Stephen printed the books, there were a whopping 37,741 entries in Volume 0. Of course, this 34 percent increase was also reflected in the number of pages.

But the manufacturer only allowed 780 pages, according to Stephen, so the font naturally got smaller and smaller. Anyone seriously wanting to browse through this issue should place a magnifying glass next to the book because the tables have become very small. The PDF editions don’t have this problem, of course, and I can read Volume 1 just fine because of the many illustrations and the comparatively large font. Thankfully, Stephen also kept the digital editions in color and not fading for cheap-guys like me. Color in the printed works is only available from the firmly bound gold version. Further supplements will be sent to Kickstarter customers at regular intervals. But of course only as a PDF.

A typical double page spread from Volume 0.

So what exactly is in these books, you ask? Volume 1 is a complete listing of all releases related to the series mentioned above. After an introduction to the respective production history over one or two pages, countless more follow with illustrations, figures and supplements. As far as can be found, each pack is illustrated and described in detail. To back this up with a few numbers:

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If you get the idea, all variants of Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards to collect, you get 24 issues in the EGA version published in 1987. On top of that, the 49 entries of the VGA remake released in 1991. Collectibles such as patch, replacement and demo disks are also listed. But then you also have every language and cover variant on the shelf. I’m sure it looks great, but it might be going a little too far.

Delivered as ordered

But what matters is on the shelf. My copies have been there for six weeks now. Other backers are still waiting for delivery, so I’d rather not complain about the packaging. That was not there except for the outer box. In Europe, the books are shipped from Amazon – and apart from the two books, nothing was in the package. I had wished for a very small amount of packaging material, because a few creased pages could have been avoided that way. But after a little lying and bending, everything is fine and the books adorn my shelf. The slightly different size is striking. Volume 0 is a little larger than the “regular” first volume. I asked Stephen how this irregularity came about and at first he didn’t believe me. Both books should be the same size. He thinks that his books probably broke the knives of the press. He offered me an exchange, but this way I have a particularly rare collector’s copy at home.

The fancy Gold Edition didn’t quite fit my budget, so I make do with the handy paperback editions. Whereby the word “handy” is used here as a synonym for “you can use it to kill someone”. With their DIN A4 size, both books together weigh a lot that my kitchen equipment can no longer measure. A little Internet research later, I know that there are 4.5 kilograms of concentrated Sierra nostalgia on the table in front of me. For the die-hard fans, Stephen also offered the opportunity to add a little extra volume with a higher Kickstarter tier Quest for Gloryseries with a foreword by Corey and Lori Cole to acquire. However, since this is a chapter of the next volume that was previously decoupled, I thankfully refrained from it.

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And what is all this for?

But what does the willing buyer do with such books? I for my part am not a collector. Except Leisure Suit Larry 5 in the German version, the available Sierra classics are only on my digital game shelves. All those fancy clickable checklists are wasted on me. Likewise the attention to detail in every single entry. While I just leaf through the books in amazement and enjoy the cover variations, there are certainly game collectors who have exquisite taste AND many game boxes. So I’m at Christian Smith from the stay forever-Podcast asked why he supported this Kickstarter campaign and what he expects from the books. I found his answer surprising, but also understandable:

I did not support the project because I expect it to be of practical use. It’s not really a book, it’s more of a reference book. As a collector, I find it extremely fascinating to see how many versions and variants there are of individual games. At the same time, it’s extremely depressing because it shows you so clearly what’s still missing and that you’ll never have it “completely”. I gave money primarily because I wanted to support Stephen Edmond in his mammoth task of collecting and documenting all Sierra releases. I like documentaries and find the archival character of the project exciting.

Oh! Softporn Adventure 2 – The Female Edition! (Left side: collectibles, right side: discontinued games)