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Video Game / King's Quest

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Logo of the 2015 reboot.

"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 ("Quoted" in the King's Quest Companion)

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). Although some fans are quite vocal against the eighth game, at the time it got mostly decent reviews (and sold more than the previous one).

The new reimagined King's Quest reboot (aka King's Quest: Adventures of Graham) was developed by The Odd Gentlemen, the creators of The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom.

The series has also inspired many fan sequels and remake/reimaginings, see FanWorks.Kings Quest.

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 maintains a point and click interface, it is a three-dimensional adventure (with RPG elements)

Individual Pages: (Kindly add tropes exclusive to these works only to their pages)

Has a work-in-progress Original Series Character Sheet, New Series Character Sheet.

Tropes include:

  • Aborted Arc: The Society of the Black Cloak, a brotherhood. At least three villains are identified as members of the group, and a possible fourth member is named, but nothing ever comes of it.
    • Arguably, most (only male it is said to be a "brotherhood" canonically after all) of the KQ villains could, theoretically, have belonged to the society. Not that there's any evidence for that, though. Williams stated she didn't intend to tie all the games together, that it was just a one-shot mention.
    • The King's Quest Companion makes reference to alternative groups, such as the Family of Evil, which includes Manannan, Mordack, and Hagatha as evil siblings, and sort of the Yin to Royal Family of Daventry's Yang, the "Family of Good". It also introduces the Magician's Guild, to which Manannan and the Sorcerer and Enchanter in KQ1 and KQ2 belonged (although the latter two may be the same individual).
  • And I Must Scream:
    • King's Quest V:
      • The Witch's defeat, by being trapped inside a genie's bottle forever.
      • A princess was turned into a sentient willow tree; she could see and talk, but was completely immobile.
    • The Lord of the Dead in KQ6 was once a mortal who pissed off the Gods; in turn, he is forced to sit immobile in a throne made of his own flesh, never moving for the rest of eternity, while he can do nothing but watch people suffer.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Mostly averted... in KQ1, many of the characters (Godmother, Elf, etc) speak in old style English, even Graham takes part if you attempt to exit the game "Dost thou truly wish to cease our adventuring?"; in KQ6, 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 (mostly from Connor and other characters he encounters). Graham only has three short lines and he speaks it in an Hollywood-style English accent but the words are modern enough (Ahh, I see we are running a surplus in grain this year. Excellent! We must begin construction immediately on a new silo. Tell me what does it reveal? (his minister on the other hand uses "Aye", "Tis", "Sire", "Egad", "woe betide", "tidings" which have literary or archaic feel to them. Both Graham and Rosella speak in antiquated English in Hoyle Games I, and Graham partially in Hoyle 4. The narrator for the live-action commercial for King's Quest 4 is voiced by in faux-English accent. Occasionally the narrator in KQ4 uses older terms or style such as when the troll catches and kills Rosella: Oh no! Caught by the vicious troll! Fate be what it may, you are dragged off to meet it." and of course Shakespeare.
  • Artifact Title: Only three games in the series involve a king going on a quest, and the first game isn't even one of them (although you are given the quest by the king, so it is still the King's Quest). However, most of the games involve someone saving the king or kingdom, and sometimes becoming king in the process (1st and 6th).
  • Award-Bait Song:
    • The official games have "This Heart of Mine" (The Weeping Willow Song) (and to a lesser extent "We're the Ants") in King's Quest V, "Girl in the Tower" in King's Quest VI, and "Land Beyond Dreams" in King's Quest VII.
  • A Wizard Did It: Literal explanation as to why Serenia looks the way it does in Wizard and the Princess vs. its geography in King's Quest V. Also, to a lesser degree, one of the lesser explanations as to why kingdoms 'come and go' in the world, and why geography is always changing. Including a Sorcerer King who destroyed one kingdom, and another sorcerer who turned a region into a cursed desert.
  • 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.
    • You've also got to be a certain level of badass just to marry into the family, it seems. Cassima more than earns her stripes when she finally stands up. Edgar spends a lot of time under More than Mind Control, but still comes through when needed. Valanice managed to level up to the task when she perceived a threat to Rosella.
  • Big Bad: At least one per game, often of the Evil Sorcerer variety, although the Big Bad of King's Quest 7 is female.
  • Black Cloak: The Society of the Black Cloak, natch.
  • 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. See also "Adventurer's Cap". Alexander and Connor both use "Zounds" note  for anything they find astonishing.
  • Canon: The series has essentially two 'canons'. The original series and its expanded universe material from the 1980-1990s (though with perhaps different levels of 'accuracy'). The second is the new canon for the alternate reimagined King's Quest universe by The Odd Gentlemen.
  • Cats Are Mean: Cats were almost never portrayed positively in the series.
    • Averted in KQ7. You save a cat's life and she gives you one of her nine lives as a reward.
  • 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, which explained that the Wizard Harlin did it (see manual for W&TP) and that the wizard had created the geography seen in 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).
    • KQ3 shows a world map, this was more or less adapted by the first edition of King's Quest Companion. But KQ5 changed certain details by adding Serenia, so maps in later Companions were altered to fit its inclusion. An adaptation of later map from Companion's third edition is included in King's Questions showing Daventry/Serenia continent across from Green Isles. The backstory about Harlin's influence on Serenia in Wizard and the Princess seems to explain why Serenia was largely missing during events of KQ3, as seen on the world maps.
    • Justified and averted in Mask of Eternity (at least according to the some of the information the world has been hit by a 'cataclysm' which has changed things, and according to the Ice Queen, what you see on the map, is apparently literally the 'edge of the world' at this time), 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. KQ8 like previous games takes place mostly in new lands never seen in previous games.
    • Justified and averted in both KQ6 manual, KQ8 has a second Land of the Dead. According to the "Guidebook to the Land of the Green Isles" (KQ6 Manual) there maybe as many Lands of the Dead as there are legends in the world to various cultures and people.
    • Justified Trope in Kings Quest (2015) because of the narrative fashion of the game. Graham is retelling his past adventures to his grandchild Gwendolyn, so not everything might be accurate. Then again external material (see website and press releases) claims that these stories are the 'true stories' whereas the original series are just 'legends' in the new series' own 'canon'. The present and chapter 6: Epilogue at least confirm some architecture of the castle (from flashbacks), and the general geography of the Daventry (while introducing yet a new location in Daventry). The developers claim that the reboot takes place in a separate universe (and that original games are only 'fairy tales' in that universe, rather than the 'truth'). The world itself is very different than in past games with Llewdor lying to the 'far north', the land of Tanalore and Avalon lying to the south (rather than Tanalore being a continent to the west, and Avalon being an island), and Kolyma/Enchanted Isles completely reimagined. Eldritch lies to the north of Daventry, rather than in an Alternate Universe.
  • Changing of the Guard: Many, many times. Most prominent in the end of KQ3/start of KQ4.
  • Continuity Nod: Sierra seems to like the idea of Edgar being transformed, as he has been for the majority of all of his appearances, to the point where one can even say that he isn't truly Edgar unless he's under a transformation spell.
  • Copy Protection: Most noticeable in KQ3 and KQ6, where it was turned into full-on integral aspects of puzzles (spellcasting in the former and climbing the Cliffs of Logic in the latter).
    • Especially bad in KQ4 where you need to insert a password by searching through the manual every time you want to start the darn game. Luckily, later manuals avert this by having a small section solely for the passwords, as opposed to looking up "3rd page, last letter of fourth paragraph".
  • Covers Always Lie: Usually the series was pretty good at avoiding this, but there were some cases like this or this that make the series look like some kind of generic sword-swinging RPG, instead of putting its emphasis on puzzle-solving and preferring non-violent solutions when possible.
  • Damsel in Distress: Princess Cassima and Princess Valanice.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first three games were relatively bright, cheery, and full of in-jokes and humor. But this didn't stop later games from being accused of becoming darker, edgier, or more 'evil'.
    • Roberta noted around the time of KQ8's release: "First of all, I have to say that King's Quest comes from ME and each one is different and has its own flavor. Some have a darker tone, and others have a lighter tone. Some touch upon violence, and some don't. King's Quest reflects the mood that I am in when I go to tackle another one."
    • The "Two Guys from Andromeda" (who worked on KQ1 and KQ2) viewed King's Quest and most other sierra games at the time as dark and serious, being more somber and medieval, and they wanted to design a series they considered 'silly', which became Space Quest. They began development around the time of the development of KQ3 (with both games being released around the same time).
    • KQ1 artwork is fairly bright, but the game and its manuals (especially the second version of the manual) touches on a couple of mature themes including the fall of a kingdom, and its ailing monarch. The manual discusses how the king's queen was possibly poisoned and murdered, three times Edward tricked and betrayed by people he thought he could trust. The manuals also discuss how the kingdom has been destroyed by war, famine, plague and pestilence; whoever hasn't been killed by invaders is starving; the countryside has become a lawless wilderness taken over by invaders, and monsters, and the kingdom is about to fall. Even Graham's mission is thought to be foolish or impossible by some. While Graham's quest is ultimately successful, he returns to the death of the old king, and steps over his liege's body to crown himself the new monarch.
    • Though KQ2 can be seen as largely a continuation of KQ1 in style of puzzles and design, it's often noted that the world it takes place in is a darker and lonelier land, ruled by vampires, ghouls, ghosts, and a witch. The princess of the land was kidnapped by the Witch and locked away in a tower. Even the name Kolyma is a reference to a bleak region of Siberia. Kolyma is best described as a land of contrasts, in that it's a sunny place during the day and turns into a very dark place at night (this is represented by the third key sequence to confront Dracula in his castle, though there is not really any day and night mechanic in the game). Graham even begins the story with a prophecy by the ghost of the former king, stating that if he doesn't find a queen soon, he too will end up cursed (shades of Hamlet, without the murder) to die without an heir and the kingdom to fall into ruin once more. The Companion noted this addition of darker and more isolated feelings and ideas, and expanded upon the role of the monks as the only protectors in the land, trying to keep evil at bay.
    • KQ3 was accused of being satanic due to an evil wizard and use of magic spells. Some fans considered the concept of kidnapping children and slavery to be darker and edgier than previous games. However, KQ3 still maintains the high level of humorous narrative commentary of the previous two games, and almost all the punishments are done in a tongue-in-cheek manner, and often accompanied with a 'bad pun' (such as Alexander subjugated to 1980's aerobics, down to the 1980's pop music). According to Roberta Williams (in comparing KQ3 to KQ8): "KQ3 was very dark, and it utilized lots of magic and magic spells with the basic idea of finding ingredients for "black magic" spells and then casting those spells. (Certain religious groups were upset with me over that one!)"-Roberta Williams, 1997
    • KQ4 changed the artwork to something more realistic and less cartoony (mostly; the AGI version looks pretty much like the earlier AGI games, but the new EGA gave it more of a 'story book' look, and the game is still largely sunny and bright, at least during the day). The back of the box states: "Embark upon a perilous journey into the darkest corners of the King's Quest terror in your heart...complicated tale of faith and mistrust...roam the grounds at night and discover areas which remain hidden during daylight hours. Travel swiftly as time is of the essence, and each moment brings the royal family closer to ruin." One anecdote mentioned that fans, upon seeing the intro, left the theatre crying. Some consider the game to be darker than previous games because of its topic of 'death and dying' of a major character ("...can a computer game make players cry?" ad-campaign), and some of the creepy regions that Rosella has to pass through to save her father and Genesta. The King's Quest Companion pointed out this 'change in tone' (as it saw it), and even tried to tie Tamir into the H.P. Lovecraft Mythos (with ideas of zombies, mummies, dholes, fishmen, Innsmouth, and night gaunts/goons). A fishman (right out of Creature from the Black Lagoon, and likely inspiring the Innsmouth fishmen references in the Companion) actually can be encountered in the swamp. When day turns to night, the land becomes a lot more dark and sinister, especially around the old manor house and graveyards (where ghosts and zombies roam) and tomb. The game was given a very dark and bleak live action advertisement in which actress playing Rosella is exploring a troll cave, and is captured and dragged off into the cave by a fear -inducing troll (Jump Scare). This and a couple of other sequences gives the game somewhat of an early Survival Horror feel.
    • The SCI remake of KQ1 changed the artwork from the bright cheery appearance of the original to a more diseased and decaying Daventry, with darker regions and a more mature script. Even the topic of Edward's death is taken more seriously. It's no surprise that many fans consider this the darker version of the game.
    • KQ5 saw yet another change to the art style. The concept of family being kidnapped and Graham witnessing his son being tortured, made this game's plot the darkest yet, and the darker regions explored (and some cases downright demonic imagery) gave the series a darker and more realistic feel.
    • Some reviewers of KQ6 saw it as a huge departure from previous games. According to Donald Trivette, in the Official Book of King's Quest, 3rd Edition. "KQ6 can be seen as a sharp departure from the previous quests, in large part because it was the first quest in which creator/designer Roberta Williams had a collaborator. There is a darkness to the scenes not found in earlier quests. Overall the sixth has an ominous tone." (The Official Book of King's Quest, 3rd Edition, pg 10). In an interview in the book: Trivette comments; "This quest seems to have a darker, more ominous tone than the other King’s Quests; it is also more wordy. Is there a reason?", to which Roberta Williams replied: "I was thinking that same thing the other day, but I don’t believe we made it intentionally ominous. It just turned out that way." The Land of the Dead sequence and the Catacombs come to mind in particular.
    • KQ7, King's Quest VII doesn't feel like a very dark game, particularly after events of =KQ6= (and its 'live actor' video capture look), and going back to traditional animation. However it does have a few 'dark moments', such as the ghost in the desert who was essentially murdered by Malicia when she closed off his escape from the Desert. Ooga Booga land has been compared 'dark' styling of a Tim Burton films (such as Beetlejuice). Boogeyman can randomly appear anywhere in the land and at any time as random Jump Scare. There are other Jump Scare moments related to the timed comings and goings of the Ghoul Kids in their house. The land has plenty of other scary moments and Jump Scares, with only the Coroner's house being a safe place to hideout. The Swamp and Wer-Woods have their moments too. The nightmares look like a literal Eldritch Horror. Mab is found frozen in terror, and her reveal is a close-up Jump Scare, showing abject terror in her frozen face.
    • In some ways, it might be seen that KQ8, after the atmosphere of KQ7, returned to a darker, more realistic style. This game took the series in a direction that embarrassed some of Sierra's designers. Among them were Jane Jensen, who wrote: "Me and my poor befuddled brain, trying to fathom a Sierra where... the most recent King's Quest involves killing things? Whatever happened to saving the cute little bee queen? HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD?" (Ironically, Jane Jensen's own King's Quest 6 was also noted for being darker and more ominous itself.) However some might argue it went past Darker and Edgier reaching shades of Bloodier and Gorier in its portrayal of some character and enemy deaths (though there is actually very little blood (possibly less blood than the Dragon or Goat let out in KQ1 AGI)).
    • Roberta noted: "When we say that the story is very dark, that's really not true; it's just that the story is more profound and seriously looks at the struggle between good and evil. Rather than taking a bubbly, Disney view of good and evil, I chose to look at the struggle between good and evil from a more serious, traditional, almost spiritual, viewpoint. If you look at the traditional stories of the Grail and even in past Christian legend, you find that it is not light-hearted, gooey, and bubbly. Those stories are filled with conflict, peril, finding ones own morality, proving oneself a hero by overcoming evil creatures of Chaos, but yet proving oneself virtuous and good with all things good. That is the theme with this game."
    • "I think the ambiance, I think the game has a wonderful mood to it, it's kinda of dark and mysterious and look of the screen and the music and the sound effects just make for a wonderful experience. I don't think it would have gotten the same experience from cartoon animation." -Mark Seibert, Talkspot Part 2.
      • Note: KQ8 actually does have 'cute' bee-like wisps, among its more zany characters. Quite a few of the characters are nods back to similar characters in previous games (including ice queens, crystal dragons, evil dwarves, etc). The 'encounters' can be seen as a nod back to the "Bad Guys" 'encounters' in the earliest King's Quest games, such as KQ1, that were included as a kind of 'arcade' moment to hinder, block, or annoy the player, and add something to do in largely desolate and unused screens, but at the time could not be 'fought' due to limitations in the game mechanics.
  • Death by Gluttony: Manannan's two downfalls were caused by food. The first, he eats the tainted porridge, which turns him into a cat; the second, Graham uses a burlap sack to catch him while he is eating a dead fish, which Graham ties up, and hopefully that blasted wizard suffocates/starves to death. The Companion suggests, though, that he may have escaped off with Hagatha.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Whereas the franchise name becomes a Protagonist Title in the second and fifth installments, and veers into an Artifact Title in others,note  the first installment is named as such because King Edward is the one that issues the quest to Sir Graham. This is also the quest to prove Graham's worthiness of becoming the King of Daventry.
  • The Epic: The series as a whole takes place across several nations, in the perspective of the entire Daventry family. The setting is a compilation of every story written, which the protagonists interact with as they reach their ultimate goals.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Several... They appear in KQ1, KQ2, KQ3, KQ5, and KQ6. Also see The Society of the Black Cloak.
  • Expanded Universe: Three Tie-In Novels and Novelizations of the games in the Player's Guide.
  • Fairy Tale Free-for-All: The series' principal source of inspiration. Dozens of familiar fairy-tale characters and situations are used or referenced throughout the franchise.
  • Fan Remake: Several updating their graphics, and sometimes reimagining or enhancing them with new puzzles and story line details, see FanWorks.Kings Quest.
  • Fan Sequel: Several, of varying quality see FanWorks.Kings Quest.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The series mixes creatures, plots, and stories from Classical Mythology, Arabian Nights, traditional fairy tales, High Fantasy, and whatnot. Take King's Quest VI, for instance: it's got Druids, Grecian Winged Humanoids, Lewis Carroll-esque whatizits, genies, and many others inhabiting the same chain of islands. Justified by the creators: the supplementary material implies that Daventry is at the crossroads of reality and imagination, and all fairy tales are true there.
  • Father's Quest: KQ5 sees King Graham's castle, along with his entire family, magically kidnapped by the wizard Mordack who wanted revenge for his brother having been turned into a cat in an earlier game. King Graham has to set off on the quest to rescue his family- not just his two kids, but his wife as well.
  • Genie in a Bottle: Several, though KQ6 is the one that uses the trope most prominently.
  • Ghibli Hills: Wilderness, in each game.
  • Girl in the Tower: Trope Namer, with two examples — Valanice and Cassima.
  • Grave Humor: Shows up in KQ7.
  • Guide Dang It!: It's a Sierra series. That's really all you need to know.
  • Guile Hero: The heroes of the series rely on cunning and trickery to solve problems. There are, in fact, four direct battles in the first six games. In the first game, Sir Graham can kill several enemies with his bare hands, or by merely by "using" weapons on them (pushing the witch into the oven/stew pot, dragon with the dagger, killing the goat with the dagger, and the giant with the sling, and using a goat to "kill" a bridge troll). Technically the use of the 'items/weapons/pushing' is the puzzle, and awards more or less points depending on the importance of the character to the story (sometimes less violent approach offers more points, but may not be the 'primary' solution). The third instance is a magical battle (which is still presented as a puzzle), and the fourth instance is a traditional sword fight that proceeds without input from the player. Even KQ8, Connor solves puzzles through cunning and trickery, but the game includes many 'battles' in the areas in between (requiring the character to fight with weapons in real time).
  • Happily Married: Graham and Valanice, Alexander and Cassima.
  • Have a Nice Death: Every game has a few places where the character is liable to die.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: All of them. In KQ5, Graham pulls out a sled that he's been carrying around. Just in case. In KQ6, the Rotten Tomato makes fun of how much stuff Alexander is carrying around. Lampshaded in Kings Quest (2015) when Graham says his cloak is lined with many pockets. He still manages to conceal both a pumpkin and a pie larger than himself, and a live badger, and even an entire person.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Manannan eats all his food very fast and slovenly, he even (apparently) eats the bone along with the rest of the meat, also he doesn't use a spoon, but instead seems to just scoop the porridge into his mouth with his hand. And, when finishing any meal, besides the tainted porridge, he belches loudly and leaves without so much as a "thank you."
  • King on His Deathbed:
    • Happens in the first game, which is what sends Sir Graham on his quests and turns him into the King Graham we know and love to begin with.
    • Happens to Graham in King's Quest IV if you beat the game without getting the fruit.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: With a notable subversion in the first game, where you refuse to steal the last possession of the impoverished woodsman. (You can however, trade for it)
  • 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, and 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 are the chaotic demonic uncontrollable types.
  • Magic Mirror: The most prominent is the one in Castle Daventry that sometimes gives glimpses of future events and other helpful information, effectively a Plot Device that launches the events of not a few games in the series. Also a number of more minor examples crop up here and there in the games and novels as well.
  • The Maze: Several, always infuriating.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Thief: In one of the games, Alexander visits the Green Isles, which have become isolated due to each population suspecting another island's population has stolen from them. The real culprit was an evil character named Abdul Alhazred, who took them to sow discord and become king.
  • 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 KQ2 and V, Rosella in KQ4), have none of the haughtiness usually associated with royalty, and never use it to solve problems or push around other people. Somewhat subverted in KQ7 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.
    • Alternatively (but somewhat supporting), Graham's clothing is actually the uniform of the Rangers, the more rustic knights of the realm of Daventry (he continues to wear his old uniform because it's 'comfortable', as suggested in "King's Quest: Kingdom of Sorrow".) Strangely, Alexander wears a variation of the Ranger uniform in KQ5, and Connor, a peasant knight of Daventry, starts out in a variation of the uniform in KQ8 (albeit they do not wear the hat with their clothing).
    • Somewhat subverted by manuals and KQ8 (and to a lesser degree in the novels) in which Graham is shown to wear fineries while in the castle (especially on state business), but saves his uniform largely for his adventuring which he is often on.
  • Mood Whiplash: The games never took themselves too seriously until KQ6, which was said to have a more sophisticated, Darker and Edgier plot. Then it went to the other extreme of grim with the cartoony King's Quest VII, and then back to darker with Mask Of Eternity.
  • Musical Spoiler: It doesn't happen in all games, but some musical pieces warns you that you're in danger.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Several throughout the series.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Several.
    • Every single game has ways of dying, captured, transforming, often many different ways.
    • In KQ1, in the AGI version Graham will get tossed into a cage in the witch's house with implication he'll become her dinner in the not so distant future. The leprechauns can capture Graham and arrest him for the rest of his life. Both of these lead to standard game over screens though (with the remake adding puns to the game-over screen).
    • In KQ2 you can be turned into a frog or return home without Valanice, although this leads to a standard game over screen like every other 'death', but you do at least get an extra scene if you leave without Valanice of him returning to his castle.
    • In KQ3, making a mistake while spell-casting has some humorous results (some deadly, some transformations), getting stuck in Llewdor by missing the boat, or taken away from Daventry to be enslaved by the pirates. Each of these ultimately end in a standard game over screen however (after the initial description).
    • In KQ4, returning without the fruit.
    • In KQ5 ignoring obvious instantaneous deaths, Graham can be trapped in the desert temple, turned into a frog, captured by the thieves in the inn, or thrown into a dank prison cell with no escape. But each of these lead to standard game over screens (with a related pun). In the NES version, Icebella can lock Graham up in her dungeons if he doesn't please her with the Harp (censoring a more blatant death in the PC versions).
    • In KQ6 Alexander can be turned into a monster by beast's curse, or thrown into a castle jell cell. Neither of these get the standard "ghost Alexander in underworld" scene but get their own unique artworks instead, however otherwise it leads to a standard 'death ending' pun message with restore/restart choices.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Staircases in this series are very unsafe. You can easily fall to your death because of the absence of guard rails.
  • Notice This: In the fifth game, the silver and gold coins twinkle to reduce Pixel Hunt.
  • Numbered Sequels: 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.
  • Planet England: an interesting example. The author of the reference materials written in-universe has a magic computer (and thus a magical Internet connection to our world). He says that he will continue to refer to the entire realm as Daventry for the reader's benefit, even though Daventry is technically only one kingdom.
  • 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.
  • Alternate Universe: This is what the land of Eldritch and Etheria are said to be according to Word of God, and also discussed during the game as well. Other ads and game blurbs suggest Enchanted Isles in KQ2, Tamir in KQ4, and Daventry in KQ1, the Land of the Dead in KQ6 are in different dimensions of a multiverse. The King's Quest Companion plays with this idea, but generally treats Earth, Daventry and Eldritch (as well as the endless void where the fates reside, and Dreamland) as different universes (other worlds) in the multiverse.
  • Press Start to Game Over: Crossing the bridge on the first screen of the first game is a deadly challenge.
  • Public Domain Character: The series features many fairy-tale characters (The Snow Queen, Beauty and the Beast, Rumpelstiltskin...) and even freaking Dracula in the second game.
  • Pungeon Master: The narratives in many of the games in particular the death screens.
    "The old witch caught you toadally off guard."
    "Dying for a drink, Graham?"
    "Well, well, well! Water you going to do now?"
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Manannan and Mordack. Manannan (Blue Oni) is craftier, and prefers to keep to himselfnote . Mordack (Red Oni) is more brash and impulsive, and wishes for a wife. But this trope comes even further into play when you compare their homes. Manannan lives in a humble, practically cozy, normal house and sleeps in a pink canopy bed; the only garish thing about it is its location on the peak of a forbidding mountain. Mordack, on the other hand, lives in a massive gothic Castle on a creepy island with statues that vaporize anyone who tries to enter, a lava waterfall in the background, more creepy Gothic architecture inside, many faces and eyeballs in the walls that follow you, and Eldritch Abominations as guards.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Goes back to back with Modest Royalty.
  • 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 has to bypass three traps to reach Beast.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Standard Hero Reward: Played completely straight in the second and sixth games. But when it comes to Rosella in the fourth and seventh, this goes to Zig-Zagging Trope.
  • Spiritual Successor: Several, even.
    • The Mixed-Up series was basically the young children's version of King's Quest series with the treasure hunt mechanics of the earliest King's Quests, and the mix of fairy tales/nursery rhyme characters from all stories put together in a world to explore. The automatic magic map even appears in the games taken from King's Quest III.
    • The Legend of Kyrandia series was so much inspired by King's Quest (and received comparisons of such) that the developers put a warning on the box that they were not connected to King's Quest in any way.
    • The Adventures of Maddog Williams in The Dungeons of Duridian was an extreme case: the game's art looked like it would fit somewhere between KQ4 and KQ5, and it had a few nods to Sierra games in general (with a character that was sort of a mix of Graham, Gwydion, and even Roger Wilco (say what?)).
    • Peasant's Quest, a satirical spoof on King's Quest in the kingdom of Peasantry made by the creators of Homestar Runner.
    • 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.
    • Some view The Longest Journey and the Dreamfall series to be spiritual successors to King's Quest as well.
    • See also the Quest for Glory series.
    • See also the Conquests series by Sierra.
    • See also Torin's Passage and Troll's Tale by Al Lowe.
    • See also The Black Cauldron video game.
    • Any other Sierra "Quest" game is somewhat derivative of the original Sierra Quest series, "King's Quest".
    • One could also count Simon the Sorcerer, as it takes place in a fantasy setting with references to fairy tales and fantasy novels, but while Simon the Sorcerer is close to King's Quest in setting, its humour gives an atmosphere much closer to LucasArts Monkey Island series.
  • Swallowed Whole: Rosella, by a monstrous whale.
  • Talking Animal: All over the place.
    • 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.
    • Manannan can still talk in cat form, but this maybe only because Graham has the 'white snake' to understand the cat's speech. Manannan is silent during the gypsy cutscene, Mordack does all the talking. He does not talk in KQ3, and the narrator notes "Manannan seems unusually quiet, don't you think!"
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Even when dealing with monsters, killing is usually the most obvious solution (and given as the primary solution in the Word of God Official Hintbooks), but a peaceful solution (a secondary solution, or 'things to try') 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.
    • KQ1: Graham shoves the witch into her own cauldron/oven to escape her house. This is not actually necessary, though, except for full points. Graham uses a goat to knock the troll into the deadly Raging River to get across a bridge. Not necessarily except for full points (he can trade a treasure and lose points). He can kill the goat with the dagger (non necessary action), He can kill the dragon with the dagger (alternate solution, less points, or loses points depending on the game). He can kill the giant with a sling and pebbles (alternate solution, less points).
    • KQ2, Graham kills the lion. Not necessary alternate solution, leads to less points. Graham kills the snake/Pegasus. Not necessary alternate solution, and will lead to less points (but many players fell for this solution, as the solution to the better option is 'obscure'). Graham can kill the fish, and can do it over and over again. Not necessary, and serves no purpose (no point loss/gain). Graham kills Dracula, which is not necessary either, except for full points.
      • If you try to kill the monk, you get an instant game over with this message: "Anyone who would kill a man of the cloth doesn't deserve to play this game. Therefore, we will end it."
    • KQ3, 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).
    • KQ4, Rosella kills Big Bad Lolotte. And a worm and a fish, in case it matters.
    • KQ5, Graham kills Big Bad Mordack. And a yeti. And a witch, more or less. He also stuffs Cat Manannan in a sack and ties it up. It never shows him die, but it's implied he suffocated to death sooner or later (but he probably escaped according to the King's Quest Companion).
    • KQ6, Alexander kills the Minotaur. And possibly a genie.
  • Tie-In Novel: Three of them, but they aren't very well known, even among fans.
  • Troperrific: Just about every fairy tale trope was played straight, subverted, inverted, deconstructed, reconstructed, and then some throughout the series.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Alexander and Rosella.
  • 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 II has a number of unwinnable situations by design. Al Lowe (one of the game's main developers) in the official hintbook even goes as far to lead players into unwinnable situations (by only giving half a solution inside one of the hint questions), and then in a later hint question, going as far to mock the player for following him there (teaches a person right for 'cheating') or getting into the unwinnable predicament on their own (then telling the player they better have had a save from an earlier point in the game, before finally explaining what to do differently).
    • 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, an identical one is up for grabs at the end.
    • Early versions of the first game allow 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.
    • Later builds of the AGD remakes of King's Quests 1 through 3 have optional "No Dead Ends" modes, removing any and all instances that would render the games unwinnable.
  • Video Game Long-Runners: Eight official games from 1983 to 1998, plus the came back officially in 2015, running into 2016.
  • Video Game Remake: 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. There are also other remakes/ports of KQ1 and KQ5. KQ1 to Sega Master System, and KQ5 to the NES... KQ6 port for the Amiga was a complete remake of the game using a new engine.
  • World of Chaos: The Isle of Wonder in King's Quest VI, and the Town of Falderal and the land of dreams in King's Quest VII
  • 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.