23 July 2008

Gaming Legend: Roberta Williams

Photo Source: Sierra Planet

I've been a huge fan of old Sierra games; King's Quest series, Phantasmagoria, Space Quest and of course, Police Quest. And when I first played the games in the 90s, the name Roberta Williams would pop up a lot. No surprise there, since she was the designer for a lot of the games (alright maybe not the later two but definitely the first two).

Introductions First

Roberta Williams and her husband Ken Williams started Sierra On-line which propelled a new trend in computer gaming. Their adventure games became legendary; great sense of humor, caters to an intelligent audience and interesting storyline.

Roberta Williams was a legend in setting standards for game designs. And let's not forget, she was one of the first female game designers (heck, R&K Williams established Sierra - tink, tink, tink - that was an arbitrary reference to the blinking star on their logo).

A little bit more about Roberta Williams

For a short bio on the famous game designer, check out Nation Master. Yes, I'm sure the Softporn cover bit will grab the attention of some readers out there.

In an interview with Women Gamers, Roberta Williams talks about her pioneering work, fun with King's Quest and of course, what it felt like to be a women in a male dominated industry.

There was no such thing as a female presence in the computer industry until I came along and made the adventure game category a big and important thing. It may now be up to some other enterprising and creative woman to come up with another big idea to capture all of those women out there who would just LOVE to play a computer game!

As for a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of the classic games, I found another interview, this time by Adventure Classics (via Moby Games)

Once I had figured out the ‘framework’ (now thought of in terms of the ‘game engine’) that I wanted for the game, the programmers came into the picture. Normally, they would essentially build the game engine around the type of game that I wanted it to be. They would do their best to fulfill my vision of the game. So, in those days, the game engine was built around my ideas, not the other way around, as, it seems in today’s world, so many games are.