Publisher Sierra Entertainment released the breakthrough adventure game King's Quest: Quest for the Crown in 1984. King's Quest and its later installments were at the forefront of graphic innovation and received both critical acclaim and commercial success. In King's Quest the player assumes the role of the brave knight Sir Graham and embarks on a mission to recover three magical treasures and bring peace and prosperity to the Kingdom of Daventry. Later editions follow Sir Graham, later King Graham, and his heirs on various quests in Daventry and surrounding lands.
The original King's Quest is considered a pioneer of the graphic adventure genre. King's Quest was the first adventure game to feature third-person perspective. The game utilizes full screen graphics and allows players to control Sir Graham on screen, moving him in every direction possible using the arrow keys. Previous adventure games required players to type commands, usually a compass direction, in order to move the character. At its release King's Quest received critical acclaim for its state-of-the-art 3D graphics which allowed players to interact with the gameworld as never before. Sir Graham walks behind, in front of, and in between objects, a remarkable innovation at the time of release. The knight and his environment are also animated. He swims, jumps, climbs, and speaks with other animated characters. Background objects move on command, for instance typing the command "open gate" causes a gate to visually swing open. This was unprecedented at a time when most games featured static backgrounds that could not be manipulated. Later installments of the King's Quest series continued to push the technological boundaries. King's Quest IV, released in 1988, received critical acclaim for its cutting edge graphics and was one of the first games to feature a female protagonist. The fourth installment was also one of the first graphic adventures to support a sound card and featured an orchestrated musical score and complex sound effects.
The large, colorful world of King's Quest captivated gamers and earned the series a dedicated fanbase. It inspired many successful "quest" games, including the Space Quest and Quest for Glory series. King's Quest culminated in eight installments, the last released in 1998. Telltale Games is currently working on a ninth installment in hopes of revitalizing the franchise.