LucasArts vs Sierra Part Two: The Remembering

E3 is fast approaching. But right now, our thoughts are still stuck on the works of past designers like Roberta Williams, Al Lowe, Ron Gilbert, and Tim Schaefer. That’s why a few weeks ago, we looked back on the grand age of adventure games, when LucasArts and Sierra produced some of the most memorable point-and-clickers of all time. As we approached the late 80s, it looked like Sierra was far ahead with great titles like King’s Quest, Police Quest, Space Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry in its library. But before we could declare the early 80s as a landslide victory for Sierra, team Lucas struck back with the release of Maniac Mansion, one of the most hilarious and loved adventure games of all time. So join us as we say goodbye to the last great adventures of the 80s, and say hello to the best Sierra and LucasArts adventures of the 90s.


Above: Sierra’s in the lead with a cotton gin and two Gelflings. But LucasArts has a David Bowie and Bruce Campbell. It’s still anyone’s game 

Does our amazing scoring system confound you? Don’t worry. Just head here to catch up on what went down in part one of our retrospective.


Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
Lucasfilm Games
Released: 1988

Lucasfilms’ second adventure game that used their proprietary SCUMM engine introduced adventurers to Francis Zachary McKracken, a tabloid reporter who finds himself roped into a quest to save Earth from hostile aliens who want to make humans dumber than they already are.

Above: Zakku Makkurakken-san sure looks in the Japanese version of the game

Above: You’ll find out that Elvis is an alien along with other “truths” that tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists have known for years 

King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella
Released: 1988

The fourth entry in the King’s Quest series introduced Princess Rosella, one of the first major adventure game protagonists to be widely recognized for her lack of a penis. The game sent you on a quest to the land Tamir to search for a magical fruit that could heal King Graham, who suffered a near fatal heart attack.

King Graham: “I’m not quite dead yet.” 


Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places)
Released: 1988

The smarmy protagonist still has a gigantic forehead and is still looking to get laid. The sequel slightly played down the sexual content and discarded the dating sim-like gameplay in favor of a more linear design, disappointing many pre-pubescent gamers looking for hot pixelated action.

Above: The game begins with Larry mowing the lawn of the woman he lusted after in the finale of the original. Unfortunately, she can’t remember who he is 


Police Quest II: The Vengeance
Released: 1988

Police Quest II put you back in the role of Sonny Bonds. This time, we found our hero once again in pursuit of the drug dealer Jessie Bains, who has escaped prison and plans to extract his revenge on everyone involved with his capture in the original. The sequel also featured a little more gunplay, but as always, the focus is on good detective work and following the proper procedures.


Tangent: Having a gun is one of the coolest things about being a cop


  • dacole78 - May 29, 2009 3:50 p.m.

    for a great lucasfilm game that wasn't mentioned here try loom great game that I wish my disks still worked on..
  • pinoklin - May 28, 2009 8:21 p.m.

  • CARLINNIT - May 28, 2009 6:45 p.m.

    Ah, Grim Fandango. The stuff dreams are made of...
  • solsunforge - May 28, 2009 9:19 a.m.

    Well I shake my head in a left and right fashion as I read your verdict. True scum vm was a awesome landmark achivement and you actually forgot to mention loom for lucas arts. But this argument is a toss up I suppose but you did forget a lot of sierra point and clicks such as torins passage(created by al lowe the maker of leisure suit larry) you forgot laura bowe murder mysteries . True monkey island is awesome and is stil lawesome but you can play the sierra games still but you said you couldnt. Ever hear of dosbox? Its how all old games are played. On a side note someone mentioned some game from westwood must not of read that this piece was on sierra vs lucas arts. Those 2 companies are not westwood/bullfrog/maxis/ea (I mentioned all of those because they were subsidiaries of each other who got bought out by ea. Anyways I still maintain sierra as the winner and fan favorite. Captcha: ceiling ranger
  • iggzy880 - May 27, 2009 9:30 p.m.

    I gotta say, what this shows me is that Sierra kinda flooded the market and Lucas Arts had a handful of truly memorable games
  • JohnnyMaverik - May 27, 2009 1:28 p.m.

    Lol, just cuz of this im now guna go hunt down my copy of Monkey Island 1, 2 and maybe even 3 nd re-install, try nd find a way to make em work on vista, and play the best adventure games ever. Monky Island was actually my first game which i picked up when i was six, nd i still blame it and Toomb Raider 1 & 2 for making me a gaming nut.
  • cookie23q - May 27, 2009 9:18 a.m.

    lucasarts ftw
  • Sandman89 - May 27, 2009 5:03 a.m.

    Shit...typo :-p
  • 435 - May 27, 2009 3:11 a.m.

    Neglect for the Laura Bow adventures saddens me, Mr. Nagata.
  • RedOutlive10 - May 27, 2009 3:02 a.m.

    I remember Grim Fandango, story and characters. That game was so awesome... Remake pretty please? Or maybe another adventure game with the same flavor.
  • usmovers_02 - May 27, 2009 12:40 a.m.

    It's Myst or bust for me. I wasn't a gamer in the 80's and was only just starting in the 90's. When it comes to adventure games, I've gotta have at LEAST the graphic quality of Myst. I just can't do old games anymore (except for you Prince of Persia! You'll always be #1!) reCAPTCHA: who outlines (not me)
  • Wizrai - May 26, 2009 10:59 p.m.

  • Starplatinum - May 26, 2009 10:47 p.m.

    Nice trip through memory lane. Almost makes me want to play through Monkey Island again. Great article but needs more Gabriel Knight!
  • Shartdragon - May 29, 2009 9:57 p.m.

    Lucas arts is with out a doubt the winner. The Monkey Island series and my favorite Grim Fandango were the shit. I am getting ready to load Fandango now for another run through the after life with Manny. My only wish is that they would still make games like these. Tim Schafer's Psychonauts is the closes thing any body has come to capturing these classic adventure games. And I hope that Brutal Legend will another great game from Schafer.
  • Master_Leep - May 29, 2009 8:04 p.m.

    Sierra wins in my book.
  • TanookiMan - May 28, 2009 9:41 p.m.

    Has anyone ever played I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream? That adventure was messed up!
  • cassadinechik - May 27, 2009 9:08 p.m.

    Ah - Phantasmagoria gave me such nightmares! I still get shivers. Thanks for the memories, this was my intro to gaming so many years ago...
  • GlassPants - May 27, 2009 6:55 p.m.

    I totally agree with the Lucas Arts choice. I still proudly wear my Monkey Island 2 T-shirt anytime I can
  • notthatgoodthanks - May 27, 2009 5:25 p.m.

    Yeah lucasarts deserve the win. The 90's were full of so many classic adventures that they can't not win. Monkey island 1+2, grim fandango, sam and max, day of the tentacle... just amazing games, that are tough and decent fun.
  • Bashar - May 27, 2009 4:12 p.m.

    Doesn't need thinking. Lucasarts are the best. Well were at least at the time :). Sierra did some good games, but they lost focus and they took pride in how many different ways you can die, missing the real point of the game. FUN!

Showing 1-20 of 32 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000