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Sierra SCI: Sierra 256 colour and SCI games for the Macintosh 68k and PPC

Similar to my work to recreate the release timeline for Sierra’s Adventure Game Interpreter (AGI) games, I’ve done a bit of research to gather the release timeline of their SCI and other 256 colour adventure type games (e.g. by Dynamix) for the Macintosh.

1. Reconstructed Timeline

From Sierra’s 1992 Mac only in box catalogue, based on the LC being included it appears the minimum hardware requirement is a 68020 16Mhz CPU
  • Spring 1992, Sierra’s Spring 1992 Newsletter Volume 5 Number 1 announces that Sierra is dropping support for Black and White Macintosh systems, but raves about Macintosh’s new Multimedia capabilities and includes a section called Mac to the Max, Sierra’s New Games for the Macintosh, and adds the following games to their price list:
    • Heart of China (Dynamix), System 6.07
    • King’s Quest V (SCI), System 6.07
    • Leisure Suit Larry 1, assuming the 256 remake, I’ve yet to confirm it was actually released.
    • Leisure Suit Larry 5 (SCI), System 6.07
    • Police Quest 3 (SCI)… I’ve yet to confirm it was actually released
    • Red Baron (Dynamix)
    • Rise of the Dragon (Dynamix), System 6.05
    • Space Quest 4 (SCI), System 6.05
  • Summer 1992, Sierra’s Summer 1992 Newsletter Volume 5 Number 2 adds several new colour games to their price list for Macintosh systems running at least System 6.0.7, 2 MB of ram (also mentions that under System 7 some users may have to disable their cpu cache) :
    • Castle of Doctor Brain (SCI)
    • Ecoquest (SCI), I’ve yet to confirm it was actually released
    • Hoyle’s Book of Games 3 (SCI)
    • Mixed-Up Mother Goose (256 color SCI remake)
    • Nova 9 (Dynamix)
    • Police Quest 1, assuming the 256 remake, I’ve yet to confirm it was actually released.
    • Space Quest 1 (256 color SCI remake)
    • Willy Beamish (Dynamix)
    • Kings Quest 1, II, III and Space Quest III are also mentioned.
    • Police Quest 3 (SCI) is again listed… but I’ve yet to confirm it was actually released.
Sierra’s Summer 1992 Newsletter Volume 5 Number 2 price list for Macintosh. This appears to be the last time any Macintosh AGI games are listed for sale by Sierra.
  • Spring 1993, Sierra’s Spring 1993 Volume 6 Number 1 Newsletter’s price list adds Stellar 7 and King’s Quest VI, removes Ecoquest, Larry 1 (remake), Police Quest 1 (remake), and Police Quest 3…. I don’t think any of these were actually released.
  • Summer 1993, Sierra’s Summer 1993 Volume 6 Number 2 magazine announces that Kings Quest VI is now available for the Macintosh, 4MB, 256 color, System 7.0 or better. Also includes:
  • Fall 1993, on September 18, 1993 several of Sierra 256 color SCI games stop working due to a date bug, Sierra’s 1993 Holiday Volume 6 Number 3 magazine describes the problem, and announces a patch to correct the issue. They also add several games to their Macintosh price list:
    • Larry 1 is back again… so was the remake released for the Mac?
    • Hoyle Classic
    • Freddy Pharkas (SCI)
    • Slater & Charlie
    • Gabriel Knight, Larry 6, Police Quest 4, Quest for Glory 1, Quest for Glory IV are all announced as future releases.
  • Spring 1994, Sierra’s Spring 1994 Volume 6 Number 4 magazine updates the Macintosh price list to push those coming soon games further in to the future…. It also includes Larry 1.
  • Fall 1994, Sierra’s Fall 1994 Volume 7 Number 1 price list adds, for 68020 Macintosh Systems running 7.x+:
    • Gabriel Knight
    • Leisure Suit Larry 6
    • Police Quest 4 Open Season, Mac CD
  • Spring 1995, Sierra’s Spring 1995 magazine includes their Mac Track describing their plans for new Macintosh games, and added the following to their price list, and back cover:
    • Kings Quest VII, Mac CD
    • Phantasmagoria, Mac CD
    • Space Quest 6, Mac CD
    • Mixed-Up Mother Goose, Mac CD
    • The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain, Mac CD
  • End 1995, Sierra’s Holiday 1995 magazine’s price list adds:
    • Gabriel Knight II, Mac CD (mid 1996)
    • Hoyle’s Classic Games, Mac CD
    • Incredible Machine 3, Mac CD
    • Load Runner: On-line, Mac CD (mid 1996)
    • Outlook 1.5, Mac CD (mid 1996)
    • Shivers, Mac CD (mid 1996)
    • Torin’s Passage, Mac CD (1998, Europe only)
    • But… there is a note in the Summer 1996 edition of the magazine that some of the above games are not yet available…. they appear to have been released soon after… except Torin’s Passage. Another case of things being added to the price list that you’d can’t actually buy until months later?
  • Summer 1997, Sierra is sold, and the era of them making their quirky adventure games begins to come to an end, and the last of the SCI games for the Macintosh are added to the price list:
    • Leisure Suit Larry 7, Mac CD
    • RAMA, Mac CD

Fun fact: Torin’s Passage used the same version of the SCI interpreter as Leisure Suit Larry 7, so once we ported LSL7 Torin’s Passage was easy enough that I was able to do that one myself in my spare time. Weird that such completely different games were both made by Al Lowe and with the same exact engine.

Frank Kane (i tracked him down on LinkedIN)

2. SCI Date/Time Crash

On September 18, 1993 several of Sierra 256 color SCI games stop working due to a date bug, Sierra’s 1993 Holiday Volume 6 Number 3 magazine describes the problem, and announces a patch to correct the issue.

If your SCI Sierra game crashed when you try to run it, it may be due to the above error. Try changing your system’s clock to a date before September 18th, 1993 and see if the problem ends. The patch provided by Sierra only pushes the problem in to the future, the issue reappears at a latter date, I’m will post it once I determine the exact date… some where in the early 2000s.

3. Other Patches

Thanks to the internet archive there is a backup copy of Sierra’s FTP site containing many of the patches released for their Macintosh SCI games.

4. Releases and release requirements

As I have time I plan to update the table below to include all the games listed above and the minimum system requirements for each game, with links to any Patches for the game (and the patch description)

8MBx40 33MhzNo3
Castle of Doctor Brain6.072562MB
Ecoquest* 6.072562MB
Freddy Pharkas256
Gabriel Knight 7.x+
Hoyle Book of Games V.116 & B/W
Hoyle Book of Games V.216 & B/W
Hoyle Book of Games V.36.072MB
Hoyle Classic
Kings Quest V6.072562MB68020 16Mhz
Kings Quest VI7.02564MB
Kings Quest VII2561
Leisure Suit Larry 1 (remake)*256
Leisure Suit Larry 56.072562MB68020 16Mhz
Leisure Suit Larry 67.x+256
Leisure Suit Larry 737.12568MB68040 33Mhz No1Yes
Lost Mind of Dr. Brain2561
Mixed Up-Mother Goose (remake)6.072562MBYes
Mixed Up-Mother Goose (deluxe)256No1
Police Quest 1 (remake)*6.072562MB
Police Quest 3*16 & B/W
Police Quest 5: Open Season7.x+256
Police Quest 5: SWAT2.17.125612MBPPCNo4
RAMA37.12568MB68040 33MhzNo3Yes
Space Quest 1 (ramake)6.072562MB
Space Quest 316 & B/W
Space Quest 46.052562MB68020 16Mhz
Space Quest 6No1
Heart of China6.072562MB68020 16Mhz
Nova 92562MB
Red Baron2562MB68020
Rise of the Dragon6.052562MB68020
Stellar 7256
Willy Beamish6.072562MB

* The game was announced in Sierra’s Newsletter but doesn’t appear to have actually been released.

This is more of a note for me, I want to experiment with using set date: to auto change the date/time for playing sierra games.

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