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
- Spring 1990, Sierra’s Spring 1990 Newsletter Volume 3 Number 1 contains an article about moving staff around to get Space Quest 3 completed, and leading to 3-D Helicopter simulator for the Macintosh being shelved.
- Fall 1990, Sierra’s Fall 1990 Newsletter Volume 3 Number 3 adds Hoyle’s book of games 1 and 2 to their price list (both b&w and 16 color SCI).
- Spring 1991, Sierra’s Spring 1991 Newsletter Volume 4 Number 1 adds Space Quest 3 to their price list, and includes a short write up of the new generation of games for the Macintosh (b&w and 16 color SCI)
- Summer 1991, Sierra’s Summer 1991 Newsletter Volume 4 Number 2 states that Sierra will begin focusing on Multimedia games on MS-DOS systems, but “We plan to begin development for Color Macintosh with a CD-ROM drive, but that hasn’t actually gotten underway”
- 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.
- 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:
- an advertisement for the Macintosh Version of the Sierra Award Winners Bundle: Kings Quest V, Red Baron, Rise of the Dragon.
- articles for Ready Set Read, and Yobi’s Magic Spelling Tricks, both of which can run on a System 6.07, 4MB and a Color Macintosh
- the price list is pretty much the same as the previous issue.
- 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
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)
|Castle of Doctor Brain||6.07||256||2MB|
|Hoyle Book of Games V.1||16 & B/W|
|Hoyle Book of Games V.2||16 & B/W|
|Hoyle Book of Games V.3||6.07||2MB|
|Kings Quest V||6.07||256||2MB||68020 16Mhz|
|Kings Quest VI||7.0||256||4MB|
|Kings Quest VII||256||1|
|Leisure Suit Larry 5||6.07||256||2MB||68020 16Mhz|
|Leisure Suit Larry 6||7.x+||256|
|Leisure Suit Larry 7||3||7.1||256||8MB||68040 33Mhz||No||1||Yes|
|Lost Mind of Dr. Brain||256||1|
|Mixed Up-Mother Goose (remake)||6.07||256||2MB||Yes|
|Mixed Up-Mother Goose (deluxe)||256||No||1|
|16 & B/W|
|Police Quest 5: Open Season||7.x+||256|
|Police Quest 5: SWAT||2.1||7.1||256||12MB||PPC||No||4|
|Space Quest 1 (ramake)||6.07||256||2MB|
|Space Quest 3||16 & B/W|
|Space Quest 4||6.05||256||2MB||68020 16Mhz|
|Space Quest 6||No||1|
|Heart of China||6.07||256||2MB||68020 16Mhz|
|Rise of the Dragon||6.05||256||2MB||68020|
* 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: http://www.synack.net/~bbraun/macsrc/SetDate-1.1.cpt.hqx to auto change the date/time for playing sierra games.