''Save early, save often, and don't overwrite saves.''

Sierra Entertainment, Inc., more popularly known under their former name, Sierra On-Line, is an early game developer. The company is credited with various milestones in video game history, such as creating the very first "graphic adventure game" (''Mystery House'', essentially InteractiveFiction with extremely crude line-art drawings), some of the earliest animated games (''VideoGame/KingsQuest''), and implementing beyond PC-Speaker sound into a game (''VideoGame/KingsQuestIVThePerilsOfRosella''). Sierra also was responsible for introducing the Japanese PC games ''VideoGame/{{Thexder}}'', ''Fire Hawk'', ''Silpheed'', ''VideoGame/{{Zeliard}}'' and ''Sorcerian'' to Western audiences. Sierra's milk and honey days were the mid-80s to the mid-90s: this was the era of [[AdventureGame adventure gaming]], when games focused more on testing the player's ingenuity than their reflexes.

Sierra's works are gaming classics and Sierra is now commonly associated with three things:

* {{Adventure Game}}s, which made up the majority of its line
* {{Text Parser}}s, where the player had to write out all commands, from "PICK UP BOWL" to "OPEN DOOR" (Sierra switched to a [[PointAndClickGame point-and-click interface]] in the 90s.)
* [[TrialAndErrorGameplay Sadism.]]

Sierra's games are notoriously difficult. Death is [[EverythingTryingToKillYou everywhere]] and springs up at random, and if you haven't saved your game in a while, too bad, you have to start everything all over. The games are riddled with situations made UnwinnableByDesign, and since Unwinnable doesn't mean Unplayable, you often didn't realize the game was moot until you had been playing for hours. Or days. Sometimes weeks.

Sierra's infamous CopyProtection was a nuisance; their GuideDangIt moments made you want to scream. Though often their puzzles were well thought-out, equally as often they ventured into SolveTheSoupCans territory. And it bears repeating: death and unwinnable situations are ''everywhere''. It's possible that their games existed solely to keep you dialing their 1-900 hint line.

Yet, despite all its... quirks, Sierra produced some of the finest games of the 80s and 90s, and easily some of the best ever adventure games. Their work featured hand-crafted oil paintings for backgrounds, elaborate music, professional voice actors and composers, memorable (and loveable) characters, amazing worlds, enjoyable stories, and creative gameplay. Sierra never took itself too seriously; games were loaded with gags, puns and {{Easter Egg}}s. Although deaths were frequent, they were always friendly and most times featured a joke or pun; half the fun of a Sierra game is playing through [[HaveANiceDeath to find all the]] [[TheManyDeathsOfYou unique ways to die]].

Sierra fizzled out in the late 90s, with the decline of adventure gaming, plus being bought out by a comglomerate named [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cendant Cendant]] which had its' mitts in hotels, real estate and car rentals- soon after the company was formed, it sold Sierra and other software companies (including Creator/BlizzardEntertainment) after an accounting scandal. It was bought by Vivendi Creator/{{Universal}} (although after Universal's merger with Creator/{{NBC}}, it became just Vivendi), who were cool enough to let amateur game makers create fan games of their series until 2009, when it was merged into Creator/{{Activision}} and subsequently closed down.

However, in the recent times, Creator/TimSchafer's success with crowd funding on Website/{{Kickstarter}} has inspired several of the old Sierra teams to reunite under new banners, and thanks to several successful funding campaigns, many of them has started to work on SpiritualSuccessor and [[VideoGameRemake Remake]] projects.

On August 7, 2014, Activision announced that they would [[http://www.shacknews.com/article/85680/sierra-entertainment-set-to-return-with-new-game-at-gamescom-2014 revive the company]] at Gamescom 2014. At Gamescom, it was announced that ''VideoGame/GeometryWars 3: Dimensions'' (developed by Lucid Games, a company formed by former Creator/BizarreCreations staff) and a new ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' (developed by The Odd Gentlemen, the people behind ''VideoGame/TheMisadventuresOfPBWinterbottom'' and the upcoming ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' adventure game) are the first titles under the revived Sierra label. Unfortunately, as of 2015, it appears that the Homestuck game was permanently tossed out when it came out that the funds for the kickstarted game had been appropriated to fund King's Quest, which soured many fans on both sides, Homestuck fans being upset that a game they had funded had lost the money they had raised while King's Quest fans found that the use of stolen funds to fund the new game made it hard to enjoy. Activision's plan for the label is for working with indie developers who have original projects under development or who are interested in tackling classic Sierra properties.

Compare Creator/{{LucasArts}}, their main rival, whose games were decidedly more forgiving. Also compare with its eastern counterpart Creator/{{Atlus}}, which, like Sierra, was known for creating very difficult games and were defunct for years before being revived by its parent company.
!!Notable Games and Series include:

* ''VideoGame/ThreeDUltraLionelTraintown''
* The ''[[VideoGame/ThreeDUltraPinball 3-D Ultra Pinball]]'' series of DigitalPinballTables
** ''[[VideoGame/ThreeDUltraPinball 3-D Ultra Pinball]]''
** ''[[VideoGame/ThreeDUltraPinballCreepNight 3-D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night]]''
** ''3-D Ultra Pinball: The Lost Continent''
** ''3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball''
** ''[[VideoGame/ThreeDUltraPinballThrillRide 3-D Ultra Pinball: Thrill Ride]]''
* The ''Aces'' series of flight sims (''Aces Over Europe'', ''Aces of the Pacific'', ''Aces of the Deep''; developed by Dynamix, published by Sierra)
* ''VideoGame/TheAdventuresOfWillyBeamish''
* ''VideoGame/BetrayalAtKrondor'' and ''VideoGame/BetrayalInAntara''
* ''Birthright''
* ''VideoGame/TheBlackCauldron'' (yes, based on [[Disney/TheBlackCauldron the movie]])
* ''VideoGame/CodenameIceman''
* ''VideoGame/ConquestsOfCamelot''
* ''VideoGame/ConquestsOfTheLongbow''
* ''Crazy Nick's Software Picks'' series (a series of budget titles consisting of arcade sequences from other Sierra games)
** ''King Graham's Board Game Challenge'' (includes checkers and backgammon from ''Hoyle 3'')
** ''Roger Wilco's Spaced Out Game Pack'' (includes Mrs. Astro Chicken and the Monolith Burger minigame from ''VideoGame/SpaceQuestIV'' and the sand skimmer chase from the ''VideoGame/SpaceQuestI'' remake)
** ''Leisure Suit Larry's Casino'' (includes the casino games from the remake of ''LSL 1'' and ''LSL 5'')
** ''Parlor Games with Laura Bow'' (includes Yahtzee and dominoes from ''Hoyle 3'')
** ''Robin Hood's Game of Skill and Chance'' (includes the archery minigame, Nine Men's Morris, and stick fighting from ''Conquests of the Longbow'')
* ''VideoGame/DrBrain''
* ''VideoGame/EcoQuest''
* ''[[VideoGame/FreddyPharkasFrontierPharmacist Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist]]''
* ''VideoGame/GabrielKnight''
* ''VideoGame/GeometryWars'' (rights bought from Creator/BizarreCreations)
* ''VideoGame/{{Gobliiins}}'' series (developed by Creator/CoktelVision, published in the US by Sierra)
* ''VideoGame/GoldRush''
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'' (developed by Creator/{{Valve|Software}})
* ''Heart of China''
* ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}''
* ''Hoyle's Official Book of Games'' series
* ''Hunter Hunted''
* ''VideoGame/TheIncredibleMachine''
* ''Impressions City Building Series'' (''VideoGame/{{Caesar}}'', ''VideoGame/{{Pharaoh}}'' and its [[ExpansionPack expansion pack]] ''Cleopatra'', and ''[[VideoGame/EmperorRiseOfTheMiddleKingdom Emperor]]''; developed by Creator/ImpressionsGames, published by Sierra)
* ''iStyle Personal Makeover''
** ''iStyle Personal Makeover Limited Edition''
* ''VideoGame/JonesInTheFastLane''
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' (the series that spawned other Quest games and launched Sierra into the mainstream)
* ''VideoGame/LauraBow''
* ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry''
* ''VideoGame/LighthouseTheDarkBeing'' (essentially Sierra's response to ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}'')
* ''VideoGame/LordsOfMagic''
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Manhunter}} Manhunter]]'' series (''Manhunter: New York'', ''Manhunter 2: San Fransisco'')
* ''VideoGame/MixedUpMotherGoose'' (a rather popular EdutainmentGame title, notably ironic since it came from a software house most famous for its NintendoHard games that are anything but for kids)
** ''Mixed Up Fairy Tales''
* ''Mystery House'' (the first game released by Sierra)
* ''NASCAR Racing'' (developed by PapyrusDesignGroup)
* ''[[VideoGame/PeppersAdventuresInTime Pepper's Adventures In Time]]''
* ''VideoGame/{{Phantasmagoria}}''
** ''VideoGame/PhantasmagoriaAPuzzleOfFlesh''
* ''VideoGame/PoliceQuest''
** Its ''{{VideoGame/SWAT}}'' spinoffs, including ''{{VideoGame/SWAT 3}}'' and ''{{VideoGame/SWAT 4}}''.
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory''
* ''VideoGame/{{VideoGame/Rama}}'': TheGameOfTheBook Literature/RendezvousWithRama (developed by Dynamix, published by Sierra)
* The ''VideoGame/RedBaron'' series (developed by Dynamix, published by Sierra)
* ''VideoGame/{{Shivers}}''
* ''VideoGame/SpaceQuest''
* ''Franchise/SpyroTheDragon'' (''VideoGame/TheLegendOfSpyro'' continuity only, inherited from Universal Interactive)
* ''VideoGame/StayTooned'' (developed by Funnybone Interactive)
* ''VideoGame/TorinsPassage''
* ''VideoGame/YouDontKnowJack'' (up until ''5th Dementia'', developed by Berkeley Systems and Jellyvision, published by Sierra)
!!Tropes associated with Sierra's work:

* ActionBar
* AdventureGame
* BrandNameTakeover: In Russia, point'n'click games are referred to as "Quests", due to popularity of Sierra games in Soviet Russia during the late 80's, and the term "Quest" ("Квест") being much more comfortable to use than "Adventure Game" ("Приключенческая Игра").
* CopyProtection
* TheCameo: Ken Williams made lot of cameos in the games he sold, mostly the ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry'' series. In an interview, he said he had no idea he was in them until he saw the finished products.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Before ''Videogame/KingsQuest'', the company made adventure games but also arcade games and office software.
* EasterEgg
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: We're not kidding, everything can and ''will'' '''kill you!'''
* FantasyKitchenSink
* GuideDangIt: Some fans have speculated that Sierra made some of their puzzles [[MoonLogicPuzzle deliberately obtuse]] to [[MoneyDearBoy sell more hint books]]. Even today, Sierra games are probably responsible for a lot of hits to Website/GameFAQs.
* HaveANiceDeath: Punny comment on your demise! Restore, Restart, Quit?
* HurricaneOfPuns
* IconicLogo
* KleptomaniacHero
* LastLousyPoint
* LemonyNarrator: Especially if its [[VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry Neil]] [[VideoGame/FreddyPharkasFrontierPharmacist Ross]] or [[WesternAnimation/SpaceGhost Gary]] [[VideoGame/SpaceQuest Owens]].
* TheMaze
* MultipleEndings: Featured in many of their later games.
* MurphysLaw: Some of the ways you can get game overs arise from the fact that some games actually ''allow'' for you to do the wrong thing (for example, the sequence in ''VideoGame/SpaceQuestV'' [[http://tmd.alienharmony.com/rw/sq5/page_7.htm where you have to place Bea in a cryochamber so she can be cured of her illness]]).
* NintendoHard: And then some!
* NoFourthWall
* UsefulNotes/PCVsConsole: Was very far on the "PC" side, and the company made some occasional digs at console games. Ken Williams did admit that his family owned and enjoyed console games, and ''VideoGame/KingsQuestMaskOfEternity'' was inspired by ''VideoGame/SuperMario64''. And then after the Cendant sale and acquisition by Vivendi, it switched to supporting consoles. Thankfully, we got ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfSpyro'' out of it.
* PermanentlyMissableContent
* PlotCoupon
* PointAndClickGame
* PressStartToGameOver: Sierra games loved to kill you on the first screen. And gloat about it.
* RealIsBrown: As the graphics capabilities of computers improved, Sierra's adventure games had increasingly subdued or washed-out graphics. For example, compare the vibrant 16-color graphics of ''King's Quest IV'' to the subdued 256-color graphics of ''King's Quest V''., The final ''Legend of Spyro'' game, ''Dawn of the Dragon'', also heavily abused this.
* SaveScumming: Sierra actually encouraged the practice in its game manuals.
* SchmuckBait
* SolveTheSoupCans
* TalkToEveryone
* TextParser
* TheManyDeathsOfYou
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: In some circles, this is actually known as ''"Curse You Sierra"'' or as WebVideo/SteamTrain put it, ''"Sierra: How the [[PrecisionFStrike fuck]] was I supposed to know that?"''
* {{Unwinnable}}: So bad that Sierra has its own section in ''both of the tropes'':
** [[UnwinnableByDesign/{{Sierra}} Unwinnable by Design]]
** [[UnwinnableByMistake/{{Sierra}} Unwinnable by Mistake]]
* WorldOfPun: Pretty much every adventure game they've made. The ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' series is probably better known for the puns in its death messages than anything.
* YouCantGetYeFlask: The other reason early Sierra games could be so infuriating. The downside of the company's focus on graphics meant less memory for parsers, contrasted with Creator/{{Infocom}}'s [[DevelopersForesight incredibly smart parsers]]. This is why Sierra ultimately abandoned text parsers altogether.