Love's labours won
August 28, 2008
Despite the reappearance of classic games on XBLA, Virtual Console, GameTap and elsewhere, relatively few modern gamers have been clamoring for remakes or graphical overhauls of point-and-click adventure games (at least ones not called "Sam and Max").
Sure, fans of the old LucasArts and Sierra classics get very excited about rumored re-releases of games like Day of the Tentacle or Space Quest, but in the grand scheme of things, nobody seems terribly interested in bringing back point-and-click adventure games as a money-making proposition. Such games are beloved by many (including me), but the genre we once knew - full of so many smart, clever, funny games - is gone forever.
All of which makes me rejoice at the appearance of Quest for Glory II. This labor of love from AGD Interactive ('AGD' stands for Anonymous Game Designers) could only have happened through the efforts of people who truly care about this terrific game and believe it deserves to be preserved for future generations and spiffed up with a shiny new coat of paint. How else to explain nearly eight years of work and devotion lavished on a game most people have never heard of? How else to understand the careful attention to detail and graphical subtlety in a nearly 20-year-old game released for free this week?
Archivists and restorationists get very little love or attention. They generally work behind the scenes, piecing together fragments of things, making sense of someone else's ideas, trying always to preserve and convey the original spirit of an artifact they feel driven to both protect and share. Such people are lovers in the truest sense. They devote themselves to the objects of their affections with no expectation of personal reward or even acknowledgment. The artifact is everything, and the objective is to ensure it lives on in all its original splendor. Quest for Glory indeed. :-)
The game industry has done a woefully poor job of preserving its history. Just as in the early days of the silent cinema, many early games have been lost, some permanently, essentially because nobody thought they were worth saving. And the old games that do exist are often inaccessible to us for all sorts of reasons (hardware incompatibility, missing documentation, outdated media, etc.)
And so it falls to the fans, the lovers, the enthusiasts to step in and play the roles of historians, archivists, and preservationists - just as they have done for the cinema. You might be surprised to learn how many films from the first 50 years of the cinema exist today only because of the devotion of personal collectors, former studio employees, and others who believed these now-precious gems were worth saving.
We gamers owe AGD a giant thank-you. They began with a set of original QFG2 screens "connected to each other without alleyways, dialogs, or a lot of interaction" and added new animations, a complete graphical overhaul, and the fixing of thousands of bugs. The Sierra adventuring and role-playing elements remain intact, and the plot, characters, and locations are unchanged from the original. It's a wonderful update that clearly emerged from a desire to bring new life to a classic while preserving all the charm and magic of Lori Ann and Corey Cole's original game.
You can download the game here. I just checked again and, yeah, it's still free. Get on your flying carpet and pick it up now before they change their minds.