I grew up loving King’s Quest.  I mean, loving it.  The first title in the series was the first proper PC game I ever played, working my way through each puzzle with my parents until we finally helped Graham gain his seat on the throne of Daventry.  I was maybe six years old when I played for the first time, already being raised on classic fables and Disney movies, and here was a game that let me take part in one – respond to it, help shape it, determine its destiny.  I played a lot of games as a kid, but I am a gamer because of King’s Quest.

As I grew up, the series grew with me… to a point.  KQ IV, V and VI were wonderful experiences, but VII was Sierra’s attempt at turning the franchise into an interactive animated movie – with mixed results – and VIII was simply an abomination, an attempt to add action and RPG elements to a franchise that had always been about charming characters and simple storytelling.  And then it was over – or seemed to be.  KQVIII came out in 1998, the year I went to college, and another game in the series was never announced by Sierra.  I (along with most fans, I imagine) sadly assumed that the series was dead, and looked back fondly on the good games that had come earlier in its life.

But now it’s back.  Not officially, of course – The Silver Lining, first started by fans banding together ten years ago to eventually form “Phoenix Online Game Development,” has had to lose its King’s Quest label and was “shut down” twice before finally being cleared for release this year – but the first two episodes out of an eventual five are now out in the wild, available for you to download and put on the feathered cap of King Graham one more time.  How does it fare?  Well, that’s what we’re here to talk about.

It has some problems, I’ll say right up front.  Some of the writing is a bit awkward, there’s FAR too much exposition for a game that will largely only be of interest to folks who are already fans of the series, and the first episode in particular is extremely light on the gameplay.  But stick around, because there’s a lot of good things to say here as well.  The production values for a fan project are rather astonishing (some of the music and voice acting are superb) – most importantly, though, for someone who grew up with King’s Quest like I did and watched it fall to pieces, the world feels right.  These are characters I know, back in a place I want to visit again, and that’s more than enough to make me forgive their missteps.  The project was clearly made out of love, and that can go a long way.

There’s more to say, but obviously that’s why we recorded an episode about it.  So listen!

Want to talk about it with us?  Come join the discussion over at Colony of Gamers.