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Sierra Founders Ken And Roberta Williams Donate Company Archive To Museum
Sierra Founders Ken And Roberta Williams Donate Company Archive To Museum
September 16, 2011 | By Kyle Orland, Frank Cifaldi

September 16, 2011 | By Kyle Orland, Frank Cifaldi
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More: Console/PC, Art

The International Center for the History of Electronic Games in Rochester has expanded its collection to include a major contribution from Sierra On-Line co-founders Ken and Roberta Williams.

The collection includes two decades of work comprising roughly 140 games, as well as design documents, artwork, newspaper articles, memorabilia, photographs, company newsletters, business records, press releases, catalogs, and annual reports, according to museum officials.

In a statement, Ken Williams said the collection, which will now be available to researchers and historians, includes many items the pair never intended for public consumption, including King's Quest design documents that have remained secret for decades.

"Giving them up was not an easy decision, but it seemed the right time, and I’m sure her fans will enjoy this ‘behind the scenes’ peek at her creativity," Ken Williams said. "I would encourage anyone who is curious about the history of gaming, the history of Sierra, or the creativity behind our games, to visit the museum."

The Williams' long career as game designers began in 1979 with the founding of On-Line Systems and the creation of Apple II adventure title Mystery House, based on Roberta's infatuation with Colossal Cave Adventure.

Their company renamed to Sierra On-Line in 1982 and eventually grew to encompass over 1,000 employees. Sierra is perhaps best remembered for popularizing graphical adventure games, creating franchises that include King's Quest, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight, Quest For Glory and Leisure Suit Larry.

The Williams left the company soon after selling it to CUC Interactive in 1996, leaving behind a legacy of IPs and back catalog still being actively sold today.

The collection joins several other important artifacts acquired by the museum in recent months, including the personal papers of home video game inventor Ralph Baer, online multiplayer pioneer and M.U.L.E. creator Dani Bunten Berry, and longstanding simulation game veteran Don Daglow and Sim City creator Will Wright.

The Center also recently accepted a unique collection from Microsoft encompassing its history in the video game industry, and recently received a $500k grant to further the study of the history of games.

The International Center for the History of Electronic Games currently claims a collection of over 35,000 items related to the history of electronic games, the largest collection of its kind in the United States. The Center is part of the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

Learn more at the Center's official website.

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