King's Quest Omnipedia
King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder

Here you will find links to each of the versions of Roberta William's King's Quest V.

King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder
Developer(s) Sierra On-Line
Publisher(s) Sierra On-Line
Director(s) Bill Davis
Producer(s) Ken Williams
Designer(s) Roberta Williams
Writer(s) Roberta Williams
Lead Programmer(s) Chris Iden
Lead Artist(s) Andy Hoyos
Composer(s) Ken Allen, Mark Seibert
Platform(s) MS-DOS, Windows, NES, Mac, Amiga, FM Towns, Tandy Memorex VIS, NEC PC-9801
Release(s) November 9, 1990: MS-DOS (EGA)
1991: MS-DOS (VGA), Macintosh, Amiga
August, 1991: FM Towns
November 09, 1991: PC-98
December 1991: MS-DOS (CD-ROM)
1992: Windows 3.x
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder is an adventure game developed and published by Sierra On-Line on November 9, 1990, and it serves as the fifth game in the King's Quest series. Its graphics were groundbreaking and it became the best-selling computer game in history at that time. It was later re-released on CD-ROM that featured voice acting and other small changes.


King's Quest V was the last game to be exclusively designed by Roberta Williams. The writing is all hers. The plot and puzzles are hers as well.[1]


While the game certainly has many references from many different fairy tales... The overall story and plot can be compared to two similar Harryhausen films; 7th Voyage of Sinbad, and Jack the Giant Killer.

Version Differences[]

Both Floppy Disk versions had a slightly different menu system and an extra walk icon. The drop down menu also included a 'stop' for exiting the game, and a image of a floppy for saving and loading games. The game also had a copy protection measure involving using the magic wand to cast spells at various points throughout the games. The character portraits were slightly different between the two games (the floppy versions had big animated close-ups for rat, ant, and bee), with the CD-ROM version removing subtitles (and having some recorded digital music in places). The CD-Rom version also has new larger animated full-color cursors for on screen action. MT-32 (on floppy) has some digital sound effects, that doesn't work with SoundBlaster setting (lightning, water drip, snake rattle, a low mooing from the ox, dog scratching/growling/barking, river water (on most screens), door opening/closing sounds for example). Adlib also has some of the sound effects but obviously not digital quality (such as a snake rattle). For some reason SoundBlaster setting lacks some of the sound effects (for example snake rattle of any type).

Notably the copy protection is randomized, and it is possible save in a screen just before you enter a screen with a copy protection, and then keep loading until you can enter the tent, witch's house, move the boat, etc. Restoring only if you mess up the spell.

Their were two separate floppy versions one that came in a stand-alone 16 color EGA (designed in 320x200 res) and the stand alone 256 color VGA (also 320x200) PC versions. There are differences between each version including some modified art, some of the sprites are done in a different color (a white cat inside the bakehouse in the EGA version for example).

The Amiga version was 32 color and based on the updated CD-ROM version interface (lacking the extra walk icon). The Amiga version also contains digital sound effects much like the cd-rom version such as water from the river, or the sound of doors opening, snake rattle, dog barking etc (but they are not necessarily the same exact sound effects used in the CD-Rom version).

Puzzle design[]

The game (and the entire series to some degree) is noted for sometimes strange puzzles, which not only have unusual solutions, but there is also no hint for them in the narration (but may require outside knowledge from myths, fairy tales, or pop culture they are based on).

  • The yeti must be killed with the custard pie (a reference to a common gag popularized in 1909 in the film, Mr. Flip[2]). The Official Book of King's Quest notes to try a bit of slapstick comedy and do what Soupy Sales would do. Eating the pie leads to losing points to indicate it being wrong action.
  • Graham scares the snake away with a tambourine. Snakes, like most creatures will start, then flee, at sudden and unexpected noises.[3] Snakes are actually more perceptive to the vibration caused by noises, rather than the noise itself as they do not have external ear canals.[4]
  • Mordack's wand recharger must be activated with the moldy cheese. No one knows the logic behind this, and even Josh Mandel wondered what Roberta's explanation was. The Companion suggests a couple of explanations, one is that it seems to look like a 'cheesy-looking' contraption, perhaps suggesting it has the appearance of the sort of technology seen in science fiction movies. Perhaps the 'logic' is if something looks 'cheesy' it must run on cheese? The second is that Graham notices the aroma of the machine's liquid heart seems to be that of stinky liquefied moldy cheese, and the memory of the smell of the cheese he had put in his pocket being similar made him put two and two together.[5] The Official Book of King's Quest doesn't really explain but says it makes sense that it would have to use the last item in the game, that hadn't been used yet.
  • Graham melts Queen Icebella's heart using his harp, she then prevents her wolves from attacking Graham (which may be a reference to the idiom "music tames the savage beast"), such as in the biblical story of David attempting to sooth Saul's hardened heart with his harp music. Icebella and the idea of her frozen heart is based off of the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
  • Graham uses a crystal to reflect energy back towards statues, this is inspired by similar sphinx statues found in the Neverending Story, and the black Watchers in the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The solution to hold up the crystal is similar solution made by Sam Gamgee, holding up a crystal flask to dispel the energy of the Watchers.
  • Since the inn appears to be a deathtrap, it would seem illogical to go back in there at any time. Graham must, however, get tied up in the cellar after getting the hammer and saving the rat. Granted if one looks carefully, they can see the rat hole in the wall, which offers a slight visual clue. This however requires dying there once in order to see it. Save early and save often and make multiple saves.
  • Dead ends; As in many of the earlier KQ games, there are several ways to make the game unwinnable (in general forcing the player into a death situation).
  • The snake guarding the path to the mountains and the tambourine were actually added to the game to prevent players from moving on until they had acquired all the necessary items in Serenia needed to progress into the mountains and beyond. It was added to prevent players from traveling too far, and getting stuck due to additional dead ends caused by missing items [6] The exception is it is possible to enter the mountains without the cloak, sled, food, harp, but this will lead to deaths halfway into the mountains. Lacking the lamb leg will lead to starvation, but you can go back and get the lamb leg (as long as it is before Cedric is captured), eating the lamb leg averts this death. Likewise, forgetting the sled will ultimately lead to a death if you try to pass the small bridge of ice at the bottom of the hill, where the sled is used. Forgetting the harp will lead to death in Icebella's palace. There is no way back only forward at the point Cedric is captured without the proper items only death.


The King's Quest Collections come with a French/English localization of the game, but has some interesting differences. This version is somewhat closer to the Amiga version in that it has digital sound such as snake rattle, tear drop sounds, ox moos, door opening/closing, the river has water rushing sounds (though water sounds more like a adlib sound effect than a digital sound effect). The icon bar has been updated to remove the extra walking cursor (and stop button),, and has the brown background, various menu changes, that would later be used in the CD-Rom version. This version has language support for several languages (including English accessible from a extra option in the "Sierra" button in the settings menu), but the introduction is in French (it is possible to modify this however with third-party patches). Other differences is this version contains the talk portraits and larger animal closeups from the floppy version.[7][8]

There is however a bug in the collections verison that makes it impossible to beat the game it can be patched using this.[9]

NES port[]

King's Quest V was ported over to the Nintendo Entertainment System, utilizing an original engine with interface base loosely on the floppy version of KQ5. It has a few minor puzzle, locations, introduction and story differences; King's Quest V (NES).

References to Wizard and the Princess and references in other games[]

King's Quest V makes many references to material from The Wizard and the Princess, and is later referenced in other games. This game has been referenced and satirized in other Sierra games.

  • From Wizard & the Princess, the game takes place in Serenia.
  • The game includes the Endless Desert of Serenia, it includes a version of the village of Serenia, all from Wizard and the Princess.
  • Like in Wizard and the Princess, Graham travels through Serenia and across the sea to reach another land where an evil wizard resides.
  • The rattlesnake is a reference to the rattlesnakes found throughout Serenia in Wizard and the Princess.
  • The ship hole puzzle was a reference to similar puzzle found in The Wizard and the Princess, where a rowboat has a hole that must be patched in order to safely cross the ocean.
  • Both wizards in both games are both defeated through magical shape-shifting battle.
  • King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow — one of the items in the Pawn Shoppe is a "hull hole detector", which is a joke at the expense of the boat hole puzzles in both Wizard and the Princess and King's Quest V.
    • The shop also has "owl courage potion", referencing Cedric's cowardice.
  • Cedric's "if you're going in there, Graham, I'm staying out here" quote is referenced in the Space Quest series as well as Freddy Pharkas.
  • Graham can be seen being carried by a Roc in Space Quest X era in Space Quest IV.
  • In Ms. Astro Chicken in the Space Quest series, one of the targets is Cedric.
  • Cedric can be seen being eaten by vultures in Freddy Pharkas.


  • The demo for Freddy Pharkas makes reference to the broken wagon in Serenia.
  • In Quest for Glory 4, if the player attempts to answer "Cedric" to one of the Leshy's riddles, the bush shudders uncontrollably.
  • In Space Quest 6, when you look at the tiny shuttle door while inside Stellar Santiago, the narrator will comment that "now you'll have to solve one of those puzzles where you have to find a one pixel coin or something". This refers to the gold and silver coins in KQV, as well as possibly the ring in KQ6 (these objects are clearly indicated by very noticeable glints).


"...Unfortunately it took some time to realize all the possibilities the new format offered; some players felt icon-based games were less challenging. I kept thinking about this as I wrote King's Quest VI."-Roberta Williams

Voted "Best Multimedia Fantasy/Adventure Game" by readers of MPC World.[10]

It originally sold 500,000 copies, making it the bestselling computer game for the next five years.[citation needed]

Computer Gaming World's Scorpia in 1991 praised the "tour de force" VGA graphics, sound card audio, non-typing parser and user interface, but criticized the gigantic, yet almost pointless, desert map. She concluded that the game was best for new adventurers because of its easy puzzles, and a "pleasant diversion" for more-experienced players."


  • Game Designer / Producer: Roberta Williams
  • Executive Producer: Ken Williams
  • Creative Director: Bill Davis
  • Art Designer: Andy Hoyos
  • Artists: Deena Benz, Ernie Chan, Jeff Crowe, Richard D. Zeigler-Martin, Tamra Dayton, Dana Moody, Roger Hardy Jr., Douglas Herring, Eric Kasner, James Larsen, Cheryl Loyd, Hector Martinez, Harry McLaughlin, Gerald Moore, Maurice Morgan, Vasken Sayre, Jennifer Shontz, William D. Skirvin, Cheryl Sweeney, Barry T. Smith, Cindy Walker, Deanna Yhalkee
  • Lead Programmer: Chris Iden
  • Programmers: Chris Iden, Oliver Brelsford, Juan Carlos Escobar, Chris Hoyt, Doug Oldfield, Raoul Said, Robert W. Lindsley
  • Development System: Dan Foy, Pablo Ghenis, Eric Hart, John Hartin, Robert Eric Heitman, Corey Cole, J. Mark Hood, John Rettig, Larry Scott, Jeff Stephenson
  • Composers / Sound Effects: Ken Allen, Mark Seibert
  • Creative Consultant: William D. Skirvin
  • Documentation: Bridget McKenna
  • Cover Design: John Gamache

Voice Cast[]

  • Narrator: Art Lewicki
  • King Graham, Innkeeper's Pal, Harpy: Josh Mandel
  • Cedric the Owl: Richard Aronson
  • Crispin, Toymaker, Innkeeper: Leonard Bergeron (Ray)
  • Mordack: Andy Hoyos
  • Alexander, Eagle, Toymaker's Son: Barry T. Smith
  • Cassima: Dianah Pressley
  • Rosella, Alicia, Queen Beetrice, Willow: Diana Wilson
  • Tailor: D. J. Williams
  • Elf, Harpy: Nancy Zdenek
  • Queen Isabella: Lori Ann Cole
  • The Genie, The Snake, Man in Town, Singing Ants: Mark Seibert
  • The Rat, Amanda, Woman in Town, Harpy: Roberta Williams
  • Gypsy Man: Kenny Long
  • Baker, Baker's Brother: Dick Roberts
  • Herbert, Gnome: Gregory James Thomas
  • Shoemaker, King Antony: Dan Long
  • Shoemaker's Wife, Gypsy Fortuneteller, Witch: Sarah Long
  • Sir Greywolf: Frederick D. Gott
  • Toymaker's Granddaughter: Kristen Hoyos
  • Hermit: Bill Davis
  • The Cat, Irate Customer in Taylor's Shop: Guruka Singh Khalsa
  • Harpy: Barbara Eicker
  • Singing Willow Tree: Debbie Seibert

FM Towns Staff[]

  • Character Voices - Japanese: Hideaki Sugai, Atsushi Kubota, Urara Suzuki, Tomoyuki Shimada, Tomoko Asano, Hiroko Yamaguchi, Akiko Skjellerup (as Akiko Maeda Skjellerup), Sayako Amano, Aiko Kamine, Kanzo Takemori, Tetsuo Shimamura, Tomoya Okada, Masaki Kato
  • Japanese Translation: Akiko Skjellerup (as Akiko Maeda Skjellerup)
  • Special Thanks to: J. Mark Hood, Tomoyuki Shimada, Robin Bradley, and the rest of the QA staff

PC-98 Staff[]

  • Japanese PC-9801 Version Staffs: Gary Kamigawachi, Akiko Skjellerup (as Akiko Maeda Skjellerup)
  • Documentation: Tomoyuki Shimada, Akiko Skjellerup (as Akiko Maeda Skjellerup)

NES Staff[]

  • Design: Roberta Williams
  • Associate Producer: Mark Flitman
  • Lead Programmer: József Szentesi
  • Artists: Rudolf Komjádi, Borbala Kovats, Nándor Orbán, Barbara Paris, Radan Pribadi Hannawati, Ildiko Somos, and Reka Vereb
  • Programming: Pal Baji, Zoltán Bartos, István Fey, Andras Foldes, Peter Gosztola, and Phan Cuong
  • Composers: Ken Allen and Mark Seibert

Manuals and Guides[]


External Links[]


Video Walkthrough by Kawaii Games[]

King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder Gameplay Walkthrough 260 Points