Josh Mandel (born October 9, 1958) is a computer programmer and writer best known for his work at Sierra Online, including such games as Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist and Space Quest VI. He's also known by many as the original voice of King Graham.
Originally a comedian, he began writing articles and reviews for computer magazines as sort of a "day job", which led to working as a beta tester for both Sierra and Infocom before getting hired by Sierra. One of his first jobs was producing the DOS port of Zeliard (you can also thank him for fixing the infamous Rumpelstiltskin puzzle).
Most of the games he worked on, especially those he was credited as a writer for, were known for their witty humor and pun-filled dialogue, and usually tends to reward players for examining everything.
After working with Sierra for roughly six years, Mandel left Sierra in 1996, citing a contract dispute with the new management who "had no prior experience in the gaming industry at all, no particular love of games, [and] no respect for the history of the company."
In his post-Sierra career, he's worked for various companies including Legend Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive, and even SEGA. He has also lent his voice to various King's Quest fangames and remakes, usually reprising his role as King Graham.
Body of work
- Zeliard (1990) - producer
- King's Quest I: Quest For The Crown SCI remake (1990) - producer
- Mixed-Up Mother Goose SCI remake (1990) - writer
- King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! (1990) - voice
- Jones in the Fast Lane (1990) - actor
- EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus (1991) - voice
- Police Quest III: The Kindred (1991) - actor
- Space Quest IV (1991) - voice
- Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work (1991) - writer
- King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (1992) - voice
- The Dagger of Amon Ra: A Laura Bow Mystery (1992) - voice
- Pepper's Adventures in Time (1993) - designer
- Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist (1993) - designer, writer
- Phantasmagoria (1995) - actor
- Space Quest VI (1995) - designer, writer
- Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (1997) - designer, writer, voice
- Kings Quest I: Quest for the Crown - AGDI (2001) - voice
- King's Quest II: Romancing The Stones (2002) - voice
- Insecticide (2008) - writer
- Kings Quest III Redux (2011) - voice
- Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards Reloaded (2013) - designer, writer, voice
- Hero-U (2018) - writer
His works provide examples of the following:
- Creator Thumbprint: Puns. He loves his puns. Especially prominent in Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, where many characters spew puns without batting an eye.
- Executive Meddling: His ultimate reason for leaving Sierra. During Sierra's change in location, he decided to go from employee to contract designer, and move to Seattle along with all the other designers. The contract stated he would be working on a game with fellow employee Mark Hood, but the new management broke the contract a few days later and reassigned Hood elsewhere. When Mandel spoke to them about it, they simply shrugged him off, stating "That's business." He turned in his resignation form the very next day.
- Old Shame
- Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), he wasn't very fond of his first time playing King Graham, citing it as one of his worst voice acting roles. He was surprised when AGD Interactive asked him to voice Graham as he did in King's Quest V and not VI, after he gained more experience.
- He was also unhappy with the puzzles he designed for Space Quest VI, claiming he could've tweaked them a bit had he not left Sierra during the game's development.
- Worthy Opponent: Considered LucasArts to be one to Sierra, seeing them as a fellow game company who "had more money backing them".