Author Topic: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals  (Read 2741 times)

WRK

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Good Evening,

I would like to share this quite interesting article involving
adventure games, criminals and Leisure Suit Larry:
www.nodontdie.com/al-lowe/

Have a good reading and happy Friday the 13th.

Retro Wolf

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #1 on: 13 Mar 2015, 17:05 »
Very interesting and educational! Thanks for sharing WRK.

KodiakBehr

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #2 on: 13 Mar 2015, 20:14 »
A great read.  Thanks for this!

Mandle

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #3 on: 13 Mar 2015, 22:16 »
That was a great morning read. Thanks for the link. So much more in there for indie game devs than the title suggests too.

Adeel

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #4 on: 15 Mar 2015, 12:11 »
Quote from: Al Lowe
[...]I think too often today the games are built on a game mechanic[..]
[...]and it's too damn often in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

I wholeheartedly agree!
-

Monsieur OUXX

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #5 on: 18 Mar 2015, 16:06 »
Al Lowe is probably telling the truth about the dirty financial stunts that happened at the time.

That said, never forget that Sierra also died of relying on a games genre (point n' click games) that didn't know exactly where it was going back then, and needed some atrociously expensive mutation just to *hope* for survival. That's why Sierra tried FMV (Phantasmagoria and its several CDs), why Broderbund/Cyan experimented a whole bunch of bold pre-rendered 3D techniques (the dynamic depth-of-field in Myst 4 manages to top the 360° video of Myst 3!), and that's why some companies miserably failed with moving to real-time 3D adventure games.

All those changes had one thing in commong: R&D and development were very expensive, so Sierra (and others) turned to bigger companies to receive financial backup, willingly or unwillingly.
Sierra was also a game publisher, and tried diversification (remember how they actually launched Half Life?) but there's no magic: for all that, you need a lot of money, you can't continue to do things in your garage the way you used to. Maybe Roberta and Ken were not the sharks they should have been. I'll leave that very cynical sentence to your judgement ;)

 

Monsieur OUXX

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #6 on: 18 Mar 2015, 16:09 »
Quote
-- What do you think game companies today should or could learn from that?
-- I think it would be "watch who you accept as a board member."

Some wise advice for Screen 7 and Wadjet Eye, who will be both entering the NY stock exchange imminently. ;) ;) ;)
« Last Edit: 18 Mar 2015, 16:31 by Monsieur OUXX »
 

m0ds

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #7 on: 24 Mar 2015, 15:31 »
Haha, yep! MONEY! BEEAAUUTIFUL MOONEEEY!

When your company starts to be owned by people who are businessmen/board members and not at all game designers (let alone players) you're not treading near deep water, you're already sludging around waste height in excrement of a sewage plant. So I agree with Al - sad as it is - what happened is bad but it at least allows us to learn from it.

Quote
the big problems came when game developers lost control of their companies

Luckily it doesn't happen so often nowadays, (people do their own thing) so it's less likely someone like WEG or S7 would ever be in that threatened position. Sad and a shame for the original Sierra folks, but hey at least they help future adventure game companies avoid similar mistakes and be that little bit stronger. I'm sure even Al Lowe can appreciate that 8-)

We'll have our own problems to face though, that didn't exist back then. For example small digital distributors are currently in a bit of jeopardy (as of start of this year) owing to new VAT regulations across the EU, making it a real pain for selling your own games online (without using a 3rd party like Steam or GOG, or being VAT registered, which is not ideal for people who just want to make games and not run businesses).


Queen Kara

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #8 on: 24 Mar 2015, 23:49 »
I love how we Sierra fans keep getting new insight and stories on "what really happened" to Sierra back in the day and ultimately led to the crap end it had. Luckily oldies from the true original Sierra haven't really given up on gaming stuff completely so at least there's that. So much love, joy , sadness, and pain but at least our idols ( and fellow fans ) keep the home fires burning.

And...of course...there's still the love.
Klaatu Verata Niktu?

SinSin

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #9 on: 17 Apr 2015, 08:45 »
A lovely little read, I still feel for Sierra :~(

Darth Mandarb

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #10 on: 17 Apr 2015, 12:44 »
This article just brings into sharp focus my love of crowd-funding and the indie scene (like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo).

I have something (super secret) coming down the pipe... I'm actually REALLY hoping that some sell-out big "games" company tries to offer me a deal.  I'll lead them on, making it seem like I'm going to do it.  Blog posts, updates to backers, etc.  Drag it out for awhile and then make a HUGE scene publicly shaming those scumbags and telling them to go back to making their cut 'n paste garbage and leave game making to the real professionals.

A boy can dream...

MiteWiseacreLives!

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #11 on: 17 Apr 2015, 13:27 »
Now how long until the big commercial companies begin to falter and extinction of AAA games comes about?
Then the forums, in 2025, will lament the fall of commercial gaming now replaced with a mild hobby-sport of entertaining little games which by the way are all folks have the attention span for anymore...
  :P I do think we may see a cycle happening, mega games with massive teams and mega budgets just don't seem sustainable for much longer, IMHO, but they will rise again.

Darth Mandarb

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #12 on: 17 Apr 2015, 16:42 »
I don't think the big firms are in any danger.  The mindless masses relentlessly eat up the garbage they put out on the curb.  They don't put out games that are "art", they put out what the sheep want to eat.  That hunger is still going strong (and they know this).  I just like that the indie scene is becoming more prevalent.

Monsieur OUXX

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #13 on: 17 Apr 2015, 16:47 »
and then make a HUGE scene publicly shaming those scumbags

Can I be the one guy in the room (under disguise) who stands up and starts slowly clapping? -- when you start doing the scene in the middle of a serious Powerpoint presentation with 500 journalists in the room
 

Snarky

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #14 on: 17 Apr 2015, 17:04 »
I have something (super secret) coming down the pipe... I'm actually REALLY hoping that some sell-out big "games" company tries to offer me a deal.  I'll lead them on, making it seem like I'm going to do it.  Blog posts, updates to backers, etc.  Drag it out for awhile and then make a HUGE scene publicly shaming those scumbags and telling them to go back to making their cut 'n paste garbage and leave game making to the real professionals.

Sorry, you lost me. You're going to "make a huge scene" shaming a company for offering to help you make your game? Telling off a company that was willing to take a chance on your project for only making "cut 'n paste garbage"? Have you thought this scenario through?

Darth Mandarb

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #15 on: 17 Apr 2015, 19:05 »
Sorry, you lost me. You're going to "make a huge scene" shaming a company for offering to help you make your game? Telling off a company that was willing to take a chance on your project for only making "cut 'n paste garbage"? Have you thought this scenario through?

Yes.

Snarky

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Re: Sierra... poor victim of a hostile takeover by criminals
« Reply #16 on: 17 Apr 2015, 19:07 »
Good luck with that.