The treasure hunt was the main concept of play for the earliest King's Quest games, in particulary KQ1 and KQ2, and to some extent in KQ3.
The idea of the 'treasure hunt' goes back to the Zork games in which the player tries to collect as many treasures and/or items to get a full score. But collected items are not necessarily used for puzzles by themselves, or using them might lead to lower final score.
The treasure hunt is the simplest of adventure game design, and is also utilized in games such as the Mixed-Up Mother Goose, and Mixed-Up Fairy Tales.
John William's describes:
- "I first experienced computer gaming through her early work...so I sort of grew up on her style of adventure game design. She has a clean and crisp style of design that states the goals of the game clearly and makes your challenges clear, which I find refreshing...I really do think "King's Quest I" was the finest adventure game ever written, and the most fun to play...I also liked "King's Quest II" a lot. I think both of these games are great examples of the kind of adventure games that I like to play and that started the whole adventure game following in the first place. "King's Quest I" and "King's Quest II" are unlike most computer games written nowadays. Frankly, they don't feature the deep, complex plots of games like "Police Quest III" and "Conquests of the Longbow". Instead, these games are basically treasure hunts with lots of fun puzzles thrown in to add challenge. They feature simple goals -- you know what it takes to win the contest with the computer. For me, adventure games have represented a pleasant diversion -- something I could boot up and get lost in for a few hours at the end of a long day. I view them the same way some people review Rubik's Cube or a crossword puzzle. I want simple goals -- something I can jump into the middle of and go...I want hard puzzles -- real mind benders -- so that when I solve one I can sit smugly... with a sense of satisfaction. This straight forward "goals and puzzles" approach to adventuring represents the oldest and purest approach to the art form. Everyone at Sierra has their opinion about how adventure games should work, of course, but as for me, give me the old-time adventuring. Give me the early "King's Quests."-John Williams, Interaction Magazine, Spring 1992