Roberta Williams (born February 16, 1953) was the designer of the King's Quest Series. She has been incorporated into the King's Quest lore as a great dreamer who has both dreamed into the world of Daventry and also changed the world through her dreams, and said to be a great sorceress. She was the narrator of some of the early KQ games (usually shown or mentioned when the character dies). She was respectfully known as the 'reigning queen of adventure gaming'.
Her History According to the World of Daventry[edit | edit source]
Roberta Williams has a connection to the history of Daventry as chronicled in King's Quest Companion. In it the author Peter Spear claims that according to information he received from his contact in the world of Daventry, Derek Karlavaegen, it was said that she is the great dreamer, and Roberta received her ideas about the world of Daventry from dreams and visions from people in the world of Daventry telling her stories about the world of Daventry. Peter Spear says he'd try to contact her sometimes when he got a new message from Derek, to see if she had received new information or was working on a new game, but he wasn't always successful. In those cases he would get in touch with someone else, for example Jane Jensen.
The remake of KQ1 is considered more to be Roberta's reinterpretation on the true history she originally received from Daventry, rather than remaining true to the history Derek originally submitted according to Peter Spear. A few minor differences include the backwards Rumplestiltskin answering to two names, item details or locations of items modified, and Graham forced to recover the treasures in a specific order (the treasures could be discovered in any order in the original). The linear order for collecting the treasures in the remake is different than the order in Derek's account. However alternately its possible that Derek's account wasn't entirely accurate, and he may have gotten certain details out of order by mistake, and that Roberta had received new insight in a dream from another citizen of Daventry that expanded the event and gave a more accurate portrayal of what really happened. On the other hand the original King's Quest 1 may be closer to the true history, and the remake is Roberta's own personal reinterpretation of the events.
In KQ6 there are minor differences between Derek's account to Peter Spear, and what actually occurs in the games. Such differences as the Drink Me potion being empty instead of full (When Alexander pretends to commit suicide he is far more dramatic than is the case in the game), riddles carved into the Catacombs to lead the way through it (but who's to say just because we can't look at the carvings in the game that Alexander couldn't see them?), and a possible change to who was on the coin of Daventry (was it Graham or was it Valanice?). However, these could be mistakes by Derek, or he intentionally hid the truth for some reason, and Roberta could have received a more accurate portrayal of events from someone else by dream.
Not all historians on earth always agree on the order of events and what happened in the past. One can look at the Gospels for instance to see that the writers didn't always show the events in the same order or portray the same details. Historians routinely disagree on what occurred during events in history in their works. So why couldn't it be the same in Daventry? Since to error is Human, and Derek Karlavaegen is most certainly human he is bound to make a few mistakes unintentionally, missing a few details when Alexander, or Graham recounted the events of their adventures to him. It need not be some grand conspiracy on his part, or even on the part of Graham and Alexander even to hide certain facts.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- In the Daventry Zone of Space Quest I, Berta and Ken are visiting Castle Daventry.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Roberta Heuer Williams (born February 16, 1953) is one of the most accomplished and respected computer game designers, and arguably the most influential female gamer of her time. In the eighties and nineties, Roberta and her husband Ken Williams were leading figures in the development of graphical adventure games. They founded the company On-Line Systems, which later became Sierra.
Roberta and Ken married on 4 November 1972, she was 19, he just turned 18. They have two children, D.J. (b. 1973) and Chris (b. 1979). Their contribution to gaming was partially chronicled in the book Hackers.
Roberta posed nude (appearing from shoulders and above) for the cover of the game Softporn Adventure by Chuck Benton, published by On-line Systems.
Williams' legendary storytelling and creative prowess was exhibited in titles such as King's Quest, Mixed-Up Mother Goose, and The Dagger of Amon Ra.
Williams' career spans two decades with a full and active portfolio that has had a significant contribution to the gaming industry. Though Sierra was sold in 1996, Williams' production credits date until 1999. She has contributed to the fields of game design, production, content, and sound.
The last known status of the Williams family was documented in an interview by an Asian game publication. The interview stated that they had built a house in Mexico and planned to move there for a while. In the interview, Williams promised her return to the video game industry as soon as she figured out how to combine the adventure genre with massively multiplayer online gaming.
Works[edit | edit source]
- Mystery House (1980)
- Adventure in Serenia/The Wizard and the Princess (1980)
- Mission Asteroid (1981)
- Time Zone (1982)
- King's Quest I: Quest For The Crown (1984)
- The Dark Crystal (1984)
- Mickey's Space Adventure (1984)
- King's Quest II: Romancing The Throne (1985)
- King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human (1986)
- King's Quest IV: The Perils Of Rosella (1988)
- Mixed Up Mother Goose (1988)
- The Colonel's Bequest (1989)
- King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder (1990)
- King's Quest I: Quest For The Crown (Remake) (1990)
- Mixed Up Mother Goose CD (1990)
- King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (1993)
- King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride (1994)
- Phantasmagoria (1995)
- King's Quest VIII: Mask Of Eternity (1998, Writer/Designer/Voice Casting/Voice Director/Documentation)
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
- Roberta Williams likes to read Horror stories and watch Horror films which gave her the inspiration to make a PC adventure horror video game Phantasmagoria (1995).
- When Mystery House was released, it became a big hit, so much so that both Roberta and Ken were receiving phone calls at their house and Roberta decided to form the Sierra Online company.