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Colossal Cave Adventure remake from Ken & Roberta Williams

AndyS

Augur
Joined
Sep 11, 2013
Messages
449
Considering that Ken sounds like a classic workaholic, I'm actually surprised he managed to retire for any length of time at all.
 

SerratedBiz

Arcane
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Messages
4,143
Should've thrown his employees a pizza party and then call it a night, that's what my company does.
 

Rincewind

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France has started revolutions for less bullshit than I've just read from this book's extracts. Holy shit.
It beats me why Americans tolerate being abused by their employers... kind of a national tradition there, it seems. 10 days of annual leave by default, are you joking...
 

Maxie

Wholesome Chungus
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Unions must exist exactly to prevent people like him from exploiting his employees for *his* own profit, at *their* expense.
How he dealt with the unions:
KenUn.jpg
stupid fucker would hire Pinkertons to shoot up the place were he born a few decades earlier
 

Fictive Cunt

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After Sierra closed down, some dumpster diver from Oakhurst was selling background paintings (from the Vga games) on ebay around 1998 $10 a pop. I got a couple from Quest for Glory 1 remake. If Ken had a mindset to be more conscientious with the employees, he would have never sold out. It's just history at this point.
 

Rincewind

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It's pretty clear he was (is) a greedy guy, like all businessmen. Sure, we got nice things out of it as gamers, but he could've been nicer to his employees that's for sure. I mean, c'mon, who got a yacht at the end... Not devaluing his contribution, but it's always disproportionate with the owner vs employees unless they have fair profit sharing.
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
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It's pretty clear he was (is) a greedy guy, like all businessmen. Sure, we got nice things out of it as gamers, but he could've been nicer to his employees that's for sure. I mean, c'mon, who got a yacht at the end... Not devaluing his contribution, but it's always disproportionate with the owner vs employees unless they have fair profit sharing.
I know a shitton of game developers who have yatches and never produced a single good game, so spare me the hypocrisy.
 

Parsifarka

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Dec 31, 2014
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Potato field
It's pretty clear he was (is) a greedy guy, like all businessmen. [...] I mean, c'mon, who got a yacht at the end...
I don't know much about the personal details of the Williams, but from the materials shared in this thread that doesn't sound like the correct understanding at all: he sounds like having a secularized puritan worldview where profession means a religious commitment to the success of the trade, not for money but because it's the fulfilment of all moral obligations itself. It might resemble greediness only superficially, it's rather an overwhelming ethical devotion to professional success —in other words, he's been raised in 100% OG Northern American ideology.
He genuinely wasn't asking the employees anything he wouldn't do himself, and that's not so much to his discharge but rather as to point out that the reasons why he was a terrible boss are the same as the reasons why he was, and according to Blackthorne 's accounts here, still is an extraordinarily hard working man: not greed, but sheer conviction and turboautism, pure belief. We've all read the extracts from his book thanks to Dexter here, and it's clear his religion literally is self-help understood as the permanent commitment to increase his own productivity and efficiency asymptotically reaching the perfect purity of holy entrepreneurship: he is his work.
So, as for the yacht, it all points out to Roberta being the one that convinced him into buying it, I bet without her he wouldn't even know what to do with all that money but to reinvest it into the company ever seeking infinite growth out of secular zeal. Every interview they are in, every confession of Ken I read leads to thinking it's her who has kept him alive in human form all these years, keeping him from turning into a man-machine sacrificing everything for The Company and The Stakeholders that would have self-detonated with the eventual failure of Sierra.
 

Dexter

Arcane
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
Messages
15,655
Only thing I personally ultimately really care about is the end result that will usually speak for itself. A company can even engage in child labor for all I care (I believe Ken did hire some school kids early in his life in the 70s to sell Newspaper subscriptions and then to help with Distribution at early SIERRA). If you only work 2 days a week for 2 hours or whatever with ice cream and bubble gum machines sprinkled along the floors of your corporate headquarter, and what you produce are Forspokens or Saint's Row Reboot then you can fuck off though. Overtime, bonus pay etc. is between employees and employers. It's a Free market and they can work anywhere they like or open their own companies if they think they can do better. This isn't a customer's problem.

While Ken doesn't come off as the most sympathetic character even in his own book at times. Since he grew a family-owned "garage" company he founded with his wife into a huge Multinational games publisher that produced top games and industry-defining ones for over 20 years instead of crap that was forgotten about the next month, which he ultimately sold off for $1 billion. Yes I do believe he hired some of the right people and did a lot of things right during his tenure.

His last big moves out the door before the Sale were creating "The Realm" (which came out alongside Meridian 59 as one of the first MMORPGs to ever exist), pushing out the best-selling SIERRA game going on to sell over a million copies as a SIERRA first at the time with Roberta-designed "Phantasmagoria" and signing on Valve while acquiring the Half Life IP.

If you can hold anything against him, it's probably that he didn't trust his and Roberta's instincts enough, but instead tried to "provide value for the Shareholders" too much or above all else (which comes up in the book a lot, he even refers to them as his "employers" and talks about his "fiduciary duty" several times) once SIERRA went public, including during the Sale. According to the book the Sale mainly happened because of two reasons, one is that he wasn't really "having fun" as CEO anymore and was basically on planes almost 24/7 trying to manage things with his role being nothing like it once was and he was often depicted as the villain for canning products or trying to get them out under budget and in time for release:
In reality, I was dreaming of someday selling Sierra. There are lots of people who will tell you that building videogames is fun, and for them it is. It certainly was for me in the early days, but as Sierra had grown I was farther and farther from the action. Sierra was approaching one thousand employees who were scattered across the globe. We had offices in Seattle, Eugene OR, Bellevue WA, San Francisco CA, Oakhurst CA, Boston MA, Salt Lake City UT, London, Tokyo, Versailles France and more!
The second that it was good for the Shareholders (selling $27 stock at $38 a share). But at the point it came to the Sale it wasn't really up to the Williamses anymore and would have likely happened at some point anyway (possibly after being voted out and replaced by the Board), although he could have likely blown up this specific deal if he thought it's a really bad idea and ultimately wanted to as CEO: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/1996/feb/21/cuc-to-acquire-sierra-on-line-in-deal-worth-at/
Sierra’s founders, Ken and Roberta Williams (he is chairman and chief executive, she is principal software developer) own 1.7 million Sierra shares, about 9 percent of the company. At Tuesday’s CUC price, the deal would make their holdings worth $64.8 million.
 
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Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
97,726
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth


We've been busy over the past year upgrading our Colossal Cave game. Before Roberta and I move on to whatever game comes next we want to know that Colossal Cave is as good as it possibly can be. Over the last nine months since the game was originally released, Roberta and I have worked every day to make it even better. This video is a YouTube influencer who we gave some footage from our 1.0 release, and our 2.0 release. See for yourself the difference, and as good as it is, you should know we are hard at work on a 2.1 release!

Ken Williams
 

RobotSquirrel

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
1,980
Location
Adelaide
HIDDEN GEMS
I love that he worked for Sierra and they call him some random influencer ahahaha.

I'm wondering if their next game won't use Unity.
 

Neuromancer

Augur
Joined
Jun 10, 2018
Messages
1,238
To be fair, he was just a low level employee at a time the company got really, really big.

His biggest moment in Sierra was that he was used in a photo shot for the fake rock band in Shivers 2.
 

Blackthorne

Infamous Quests
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981
Location
Syracuse NY
Codex 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2
I actually ran into Metal Jesus the other weekend; he was here in Syracuse for RetroGameCon. I was there with my kids, and I introduced myself, told him I worked on the project - he looked at my sideways, like I was lying for a second, but we talked a bit. I can imagine some rando coming out of the crowd in Syracuse would be like "Sure, bro..." but I am indeed legit, haha.
 

Morpheus Kitami

Liturgist
Joined
May 14, 2020
Messages
2,586
I actually ran into Metal Jesus the other weekend; he was here in Syracuse for RetroGameCon. I was there with my kids, and I introduced myself, told him I worked on the project - he looked at my sideways, like I was lying for a second, but we talked a bit. I can imagine some rando coming out of the crowd in Syracuse would be like "Sure, bro..." but I am indeed legit, haha.
You should have started talking to him about hidden gems, then once he was hooked in, start talking about how you worked on the game. :smug:
 

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