Sierra On-Line released Hero's Quest I: So You Want to be a Hero, in 1989. Due to a trademark issue, it was later renamed Quest for Glory: So You Want to be a Hero. Quest for Glory combined graphic adventure and role-playing game (RPG) elements to introduce a unique hybrid genre. Its playability earned the game instant success. The player begins by creating a character and assigning a variety of statistics. Three classes are available to choose from, including fighter, magic user, or thief. The character's class determines the types of puzzles and side-quests the player faces throughout the game and is noted for providing replay value. Once the character is created the player enters the Valley of Spielburg, a land plagued with evil and in need of a hero. The goal is to defeat the evil witch Baba Yaga and free the princess from her curse, thereby bringing peace to the Valley of Spielburg. Along the way the player explores the town and valley, battling monsters, interacting with townspeople and fantasy creatures, and completing various quests. Later installments follow the Hero and his friends to various lands in the fairytale world of Gloriana, each with a different theme including Arabian Nights and Slavic folklore. Like most RPGs, the games are based on character building. However, this is not accomplished by gaining levels through combat. Skill levels increase as the game progresses through character interactions and the utilization of skills. This unique combination of adventure and RPG made Quest for Glory a genre-defining game.
Quest for Glory introduced a variety of realistic elements to the videogame world. Time passes within the game and cycles between day and night. The character must sleep and eat on a regular basis or risk dying from lack of stamina points. Gold that is brought from one land to another must be exchanged for the currency of the new land before the player can purchase goods. The Quest for Glory series is known for its humorous dialogue and subtle references to pop culture. Its mixed genre attracted a wide variety of gamers, making the series a commercial success. The series culminated in five editions, the last released in 1998. Players can import their hero from one game to the next, retaining his skills, items and wealth. This allows players to truly build a character and guide him on his many adventures.