"If I have learned anything in my life, I have learned this: When in doubt, or in trouble, pick up anything that is not nailed down, and if it is, look for loose nails or boards. Check carefully into, under, above, below, and behind things. Read everything; you might learn something. Wear clean undergarments, brush after meals, and always remember: nothing is as it appears."
— Advice from King Graham's father Sir Hereward
King's Quest was the very first animated graphical adventure game on the PC. Featuring a stunning 16 colors and genuine animation, the game showed off the cutting-edge abilities of IBM's 1984 hardware release, the PCjr. It sold poorly until it was released for the Tandy 1000 almost a year later, when it established Sierra as the foremost developer of adventure games until the mid-1990s. The game used a Text Parser of the kind seen in earlier games, such as Zork.Today, the original King's Quest is regarded as a classic of the genre, having spawned seven official sequels, all improving in quality up until the eighth (although the sixth is generally considered the peak of the franchise). A ninth game, a Fan Sequel, was in the works until a cease-and-desist letter was issued in 2005... and then rescinded. And then Activision issued a new cease-and-desist letter in 2010. And then it was rescinded... again. The Silver Lining is currently being completed, with four of the five planned episodes already available at their website. Different teams, such as AGD Interactive and Infamous Adventures, have also created fan remakes of the first three games, getting their controls and graphics up to the level of the popular fifth and sixth games. Find them here and here.In February 2011, Telltale Games announced that it would be creating an episodic continuation of the King's Quest series, though since then little other concrete news has surfaced.The first game tells the story of Sir Graham, an adventurer who sets out to recover three legendary lost artifacts of the kingdom of Daventry in order to win the crown of the dying king. Gameplay involved typing commands to perform such tasks as GET CARROT and GET FOUR LEAF CLOVER, not to mention OPEN DOOR (or SWIM...). Latter games involve his quest to rescue a princess and the adventures of the family that inevitably results from this rescue. Games 5-7 move to a point and click interface, while 8 is a three-dimensional RPG. Roberta Williams was apparently forced, over her own objections, to include hack-and-slash arcade elements in KQ8—a demand which caused her to resign in disgust shortly after it was finished.Individual Pages: (Kindly add tropes exclusive to these works only to their pages)
Aborted Arc: The Black Cloak Society. At least three villains are identified as members of the group, and a fourth member is named, but nothing ever comes of it.
Arguably, all of the KQ villains could, theoretically have belonged to the society. Not that there's any evidence for that, though. Dahlia (in the first game) and Hagatha (in the second) shared their MO of The Dark Arts, but no mention is given in the game for their plans, if any. Lolotte and Malicia are more debatable. Williams stated she didn't intend to tie all the games together, that it was just a one-shot mention. Given how much sense it makes, though, the fans tend to run with it anyway.
Antiquated Linguistics: Mostly averted... except for in KQVI where Alexander utters quite a few old-fashioned curses (albeit relatively mild ones) for being otherwise a gentleman, and KQMOE, which goes in the complete opposite direction to Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe levels.
The official games have "Girl in the Tower" in King's Quest VI, and "Land Beyond Dreams" in King's Quest VII
The Fan Remakes then get in on the act with "When I Saw You" (AGD's KQ2+ ), "Coming Home" (AGD's KQ3 Redux), and "My Way Home" (Infamous Adventures' KQ3 VGA).
Badass Family: Not in the casual way of Badass, but every single member of Graham's family has gone on a daring adventure. Yes. Even Valanice.
Well, King Graham is built like a linebacker, that just doesn't usually do him much good against the powerful creatures he faces. Alexander, for his part, holds his own in a sword fight with a useless sword. Give him a book of magic, however, and he's a fairly competent sorcerer. Rosella manages to shoot an evil fairy in the heart with an arrow.
Cash Cow Franchise: At least until the bottom fell out of the adventure game market in the mid-late '90s, taking Sierra with it. It typically got first dibs on any new technology as a result, which could be either a blessing or a curse depending on the game.
Catchphrase: You'll typically hear some variation of, "Perhaps you can find a use for it," throughout the series as the royal family of Daventry collect items.
Chaos Architecture: Justified, explained, and averted. The game worlds have almost nothing in common with each other... but that's because they don't even take place in the same countries. Part of Daventry is only briefly explorable in III, but it looks similar to several areas in I and seen in the intros of the first two games (but the locations are mixed up).
Averted in Wizard & the Princess and King's Quest V explained that the Wizard Harlin did it (see manual for W&TP), that the wizard had created the geography seen in the W&TP, suggesting that things went back to normal sometime after his defeat. Averted in the King's Quest Companion by use of maps, and an explanation that the world is in 'magical flux' and geography changes sometimes daily, or in some cases lands are surrounded by 'magical law of "containment"' (to explain the Wrap Around in the earlier games).
Played straight in Mask of Eternity though. At least the Daventry portion of it. Most of the game takes place in a town in Daventry, which was referenced or alluded to in the early games and the King's Quest Companion but never shown. The town or towns of Daventry were more prominently used in two of the King's Quest novels. The land of the dead doesn't even look like it does in VI. (According to Word Of God, Conner is located in a completely different land known as the Dimension of Death.) And how many Lords of the Dead, Rivers of Death, and ferrymen are there, anyway? Alexander and Connor don't meet the same Lord of the Dead (Samhain and Azriel, respectively), Alexander takes water from the River of Death and uses it as a spell ingredient (and if it were the same river as in KQVIII, it should have dissolved his teacup and paintbrush), and Charon's boat can carry Alexander's physical form, whereas the boatman Connor meets has an incorporeal boat that can't take Connor's physical form. These are said to be based on the legends of Green Isles and in Daventry respectively. Other worlds of the afterlife are alluded are mentioned in other games in the series and the King's Quest Companion. Including "Hades", and "Hell/s", and the "underworld" of Welsh legends. In material associated with KQ7, Ooga Booga is also treated as a Land of the Dead, where the dead of Etheria move on to when they die (this is mentioned by several characters in the game), and was expected to get more inhabitants if the volcano erupted. KQ8 also includes an additional afterlife in reference to Chamber of Enlightenment in the Realm of Gnomes. It is referred to as the spirit-realm of ancient souls that contains the ancient spirits of the Crystal Mystics. It should also be noted that both the Dimension of Death and the Realm of the Dead are both described as kind of purgatory/limbo where spirits are judged before moving onto other 'stages' of the afterlife (spirits are held in jail cells in DoD, and in the Sea of Souls in the RotD before passing on to the next afterlife respectively).
Averted in The Silver Lining, wherein the Land of the Green Isles is almost completely identical to its incarnation in VI, but with some expansion.
Fairy Tale: The series' principal source of inspiration. Dozens of familiar fairy-tale characters and situations are used or referenced throughout the franchise.
Fan Remake: The first three games have been remade to give them updated interfaces and graphics (the third even getting two remakes by two different teams), the fourth may or may not be still in progress by yet another team, and the fifth was remade into a text adventure.
Legion of Doom: The Black Cloak Society wasn't designed as a way to link all of the series' villains together... but at least two antagonists (Shadrack and Alhazred) are explicitly stated to be members, and Mordack is associated to them (and Manannan is linked by being Mordack's brother), and it's entirely possible that all of the series' antagonists could have been members or allies. Note that this is based on a single throwaway line in the sixth game, that none of the antagonists other than these are ever stated to be related, and that Word Of God denies this. Still, it's a popular fan theory.
Magic A Is Magic A: The way genies behaved tended to depend on the specific genie in question in the earlier games. By the time of VI, where a genie was a major part of the ongoing plot, they finally sat down and made some rules. However, the Companion also points out there are different kinds of Djinn much as there is in Arabic mythology. While the rules set forth for one type of Djinn are not the rules for other types. E.G. there are Djinn that offer a finite number of wishes (or decide your wish for you as the case may be) and there are Djinn who offer infinite wishes. Then there is just the chaotic demonic incontrollable types.
Magic Mirror: The most prominent is the one in Castle Daventry that sometimes gives glimpses of future events and other helpful information, but a number of more minor examples crop up here and there in the games and novels as well.
Mercy Rewarded: A cornerstone of the games. Be nice to everyone you meet that isn't trying to hurt you (and even a few of those), as it will help you later.
Modest Royalty: In all games but the first and the last, the protagonist(s) is (are) a member of royal family. However, they wear very modest clothing (e.g., Graham in KQII and V, Rosella in KQIV), have none of the haughtiness usually associated with royalty and never use it to solve problems or push around other people. Somewhat subverted in KQVII where both female protagonists wear fineries, and Rosella is partially portrayed as a 'petulant princess" in parts. See also See No Weevil where Rosella is haughty at times.
Mood Whiplash: While the games have never taken themselves too seriously, the cartoony King's Quest VII was a drastic change in style. And then it went right to the other extreme of grim and darker with Mask Of Eternity.
Numbered Sequel: All the games in the series—except for the eighth, which is officially titled "King's Quest: Mask of Eternity". Though it is known as King's Quest VIII/8 by Word Of God, the official website for the game, certain in-game files, and in a later re-release.
One Hit Point Wonder: In the first seven games, everything either kills you or doesn't. Played with in the fourth game, where Rosella can take some short falls (within the same screen) and only be incapacitated for a few seconds, but falling more than one screen is fatal. Same goes for Alexander in the sixth game.
Point of No Return: Many of the games take place in a relatively wide area which the player is free to explore at their leisure, but nonetheless include various sequences where once the player has entered an area, they can only proceed forwards or get killed trying. In King's Quest VI, for example, the final act takes place in the palace, and is a clear Point of No Return.
Rule of Three: A recurring theme in the series. In the first game, Graham must find the three lost treasures of Daventry. In the second, he must find the three golden keys that will unlock the magic door. In the fourth, Rosella must complete three tasks for Lolotte. In the sixth, Alexander have to bypass three traps to reach Beast.
Shout Out: The villain in King's Quest VI is named, of all things, Abdul Alhazred. The King's Quest Companion even points out that Abdul wrote the Necronomicon.
Spiritual Successor: A Tale Of Two Kingdoms, which started off as "King's Quest 2.5", but after considering the threat of a cease-and-desist order, rewrote its plot to remove the KQ characters. The atmosphere of fairy tales is still intact, though.
Justified in some cases: One of the spells Alexander can craft, in III, gives him the ability to understand animals, and allows him to listen in on their conversations. In V, Cedric is explicitly magical, and all other cases are covered by the piece of magic whitesnake that Graham eats at the start of the game. This still doesn't explain how all these animals know that they can talk to this human in particular.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Even when dealing with monsters, a peaceful solution gives you more points, although most of the games have at least one enemy that you HAVE to kill. Of course, this goes right out of the window in King's Quest: Mask of Eternity.
KQI, Graham shoves the witch into her own cauldron to escape her house. This is not actually necessary, though, except for full points.
KQII, Graham kills Dracula, which is not necessary either, except for full points. (in the Fan Remake, this gets a twist : the vampire turns out to be an ally. It's the werewolves at the church you have to worry about! And by "ally" we mean he will kill you if you don't fetch such-and-such item for him.)
KQIII, Gwydion/Alexander kills Medusa and the dragon, the latter of which is necessary, and the former for full points (technically the former is very difficult to do without killing her, as looking in her direction will cause the character to die, and she does chase after the character very quickly, and there are things in the desert that the player must pick up, to get to them the player would have to 'face' her). (The AGD Fan Remake offers an peaceful solution to the former. If you can prove to Medusa that you are a good man with a pure heart, her look will not turn you into stone, but rather lift the thousand year old curse that was put upon her, and revert her to her human form.)
KQIV, Rosella kills Big Bad Lolotte. And a worm and a fish, in case it matters.
Unwinnable: Too many parts to count, though King's Quest V has the highest amount in the series; the developers seem to have actively enjoyed creating scenarios that lead to unwinnable files. This was averted by the seventh game or so.
King's Quest VI did cut down on them a bit. King's Quest VII went further, and had no way to be rendered unwinnable. Even if you forgot to get the flower in an early chapter that's needed at the end, an identical one is up for grabs at the end.
The AGD remake of the first game has an option that prevents you taking any action that would render the game unwinnable.
Early versions of the first game allows you to drop items with no way of getting them back. That includes the three treasures you're supposed to collect. Since the 'drop' command has no purpose in the game, it was disabled in later builds of the AGI version. Funnily enough, dropping (losing) the treasures after you enter the castle for the second time but before you speak to the king does still trigger the endgame.
Video Game Remake: In addition to the Fan Remakes listed above, Sierra gave the first game an official remake of its own. Although, unlike Sierra's later "Quest 1" remakes, KQ1 was only upgraded to slightly-better-but-still-EGA graphics and an improved interpreter/text parser, not to full VGA and point-and-click.
Wrap Around: The first four games (the first one in two directions, even).
Zip Mode: You can adjust the game speed, and at maximum the protagonist is uncontrollably fast on modern computers.