The Perils of Rosella

If someone told me I could have all the hours back I spent trying to beat King’s Quest IV as a child, I would say “No, thank you.” My sisters and I devoted so much time to this game. We didn’t know there were cheat books. Sometimes we’d be stuck on a puzzle for months at a time. That’s when we’d see what else Rosella could do.

Sigh. I'm stuck. I don't know what to do next."

"I know! Make Rosella say a swear word!"

"Chrissy. Rosella is a princess. Princesses don't swear."

"Fine, then I'll do it!"



"Now tell her to pee in the river!"

Roberta Williams, the creator of the King’s Quest games, was and is someone I admire. I read that she once said, “Back when I got started, which sounds like ancient history, back then the demographics of people who were into computer games, was totally different, in my opinion, than they are today. Back then, computers were more expensive, which made them more exclusive to people who were maybe at a certain income level, or education level. So the people that played computer games 15 years ago were that type of person. They probably didn’t watch television as much, and the instant gratification era hadn’t quite grown the way it has lately. I think in the last 5 or 6 years, the demographics have really changed, now this is my opinion, because computers are less expensive so more people can afford them. More “average” people now feel they should own one.”

I hope she won’t be too disappointed when she finds out the truth.

31 thoughts on “The Perils of Rosella

  1. Ha! I never played King’s Quest, but I did spend (not waste!) many summers playing Earthbound and the Zelda games. Kids these days don’t know how lucky they have it – when we got stuck on a puzzle we couldn’t look up the answer on the Internet, you just had to sit there for days until you figured it out.

      1. Let me just say that I liked your FP post (House Rule No. 1).

        However, it was after reading this post, and your subsequent comments, that I decided I had to follow your blog.

        You rock! :D (Did you ever beat it? I was obsessed with this game and Quest for Glory)

  2. This post is amazing. Kudos to you and your sisters for playing while not knowing about the red cheat books. Man… all of those games (and the Space Quest ones) are mind-numbing in so many spots because you just don’t know what else you can possibly touch or interact with on the map. And then you do something and it was completely arbitrary to anything else, haha. They’re very much games that don’t have a “destiny” or “fate” kind of aspect to them because of how non-linear they are. It’s like… you either make the character perform or you yourself grow old and die without having done anything. Amazing.

    Just as amazing, too, is how no one will ever sit down to play games like this again, as Roberta points out. “Instant gratification” just is not a factor in those masterpieces in the least. That being said, I hope she reads your post, heh heh.

  3. I spent an entire summer one year struggling through The Adventures of Willie Beamish…now that was a good adventure game.

    For what it’s worth, Telltale Games is still actively producing adventure games, albeit not exactly in the old Sierra style, but they’re worth taking a look at. The recent Back to the Future series drew high praise, and a 4-episode Jurassic Park game is going to be released on November 15th. You can bet I’ll be all over that sucker! The deluxe edition includes a “Welcome to Jurassic Park” letter from John Hammond HIMSELF :-o

  4. I LOVED kings Quest. I had the one with the Prince. we never got to the end :(
    I can’t find it on the interweb for mac anymore.

    (I did manage to find a Mac version of the old game Monkey Island though – which is kind of the same game play and animation. Except I cheated most of my way through it now. )

      1. Oh yeah! I found them last night right after reading your post. Started playing KQ1 already. I’m not doing so good.

        I really want KQ 6 though – and the one you talk about. I never had those.
        I can’t find one thats mac compatible yet. (you can buy 4, 5&6 for £10 but only for PC)

  5. I just found this great post — and now I’m devastated to have missed out on Kings Quest and the ability to make pixely people swear. We used to play endless hours of Frogger and Space Invaders in green boxy graphics on our Apple computer. Then it moved on to more sophisticated games like Super Mario Brothers, Zelda and Castlevania. I also wrote a post a while back on Super Mario Brothers, mainly because I couldn’t imagine my childhood without it. Great work. Still trying to figure out how you got that blinking cursor on the screen.

    1. The Perils of Rosella might be my favorite game of all time… I replay it every few years just for nostalgia’s sake. You can’t actually make her swear, though. The game developers had a sense of humor, though, so the response to such prompts was very amusing to us :)

      I was crazy about Frogger and Zelda. Such great games!

      The blinking cursor is just a gif :D I learned how to make gifs and now I am working on video editing! I’ve been doing a lot of cut-paper animations
      lately for a music video for a song my husband and I wrote. We’re trying to have it out by Christmas, so hopefully I can show it off soon! It’s a lot of work, but I think it’s worth the effort.

      1. Cool (music video/song)! I’m intrigued by what it would say if you tried to type in a swear word…actually, now this game is sounding vaguely familiar.

  6. Oh my god! I loved this game so much. I spent YEARS trying to win this (not very good at computer games). I didn’t know you could make them swear either. I do know that if I had been older at the time, I probably would have sworn every stupid time I went up the stupid whale’s tongue. Ughghghgh. Side note, did you know that you can download something on your computer that mimics MS-DOS and play King’s Quest now too? I just did that a few months ago, so fun. That whale’s tongue still pisses me off though.

    1. Yes, I did know! I have this actual game with the DOS box and I have downloaded fan remakes of the other ones, which are phenomenal. I’m a member of two King’s Quest message boards, haha. That whale’s tongue was impossible.

  7. This is so classic, I’m so happy I found it. Haha. The Perils of Rosella was my first computer game ever, and it taught me how to spell words like “Diamond”, “Bridle”, and “Chasm”. (That damn chasm in that damn cave scared me every time.) It also taught me patience (Whale’s tongue) and to save early and save often. Ahhh memories.

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