Difference between revisions of "Sierra AGI Demos"

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[[Category: Software]]
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[[Category: Video Game Demos]]
[[Category: Video Game Demos]]
[[Category: Software Distribution Model - Adware]]

Revision as of 13:54, 15 October 2019

Title screen of most demos.

Sierra AGI Demos refer to five different non-playable demonstration programs created by Sierra On-Line and released from 1987-1988 to advertise their games. Each demo is made using Sierra's Adventure Game Interpreter, however, not all of the games showcased actually use AGI in their full release.

Sierra did not give unique titles to their demos, but I did my best to recreate the order in which Sierra released the demos. I used a combination of the date stamp of the files in the archives, which games are included in the demos, and the quality of the demo engine, but I may have some in the wrong order.

In the late 1980s, I was still far more interested in video game consoles than computers. I became interested in computers because of my brother's friend's Atari XE and my cousin's CoCo and Tandy 1000, but I still didn't really go into computer stores until after my family got our computer in 1991. Because of that, I never saw any of these game demos on display when they were being distributed. I never even knew these programs existed until around 2018 when I found them while doing research on the AGI. At the time, I probably would have been impressed by them because I was so awed by computers, but, reviewing them now, I find non-playable demos to be particularly dull. I'm also a bit shocked that Sierra would make AGI demos for games that don't use the AGI engine.


Screenshot Games Notes
Demo 1 (1987-05-20)

Sierra AGI Demo 1 - Screenshot - Menu.png

This demo has the oldest date stamp, includes the earliest Sierra games, and uses the most primitive menu, so I'm pretty confident it was the very first AGI demo. However, it is often labels online as demo number 5, I'm presuming because it was the fifth demo to be cataloged.
Demo 2 (1988-01-25)

Sierra AGI Demo 2 - Screenshot - Title.png

This demo is often labels as number 3, but its date stamp places it at number four. However, I believe this was actually the second AGI demo to be released. In addition to not showcasing any games from 1988, it also has what appears to be an early version of the title screen. This is the only demo with this title screen that doesn't feature the message "Press any key." I doubt that the designers would remove the message for the fourth demo only to add it back for the fifth demo. It seems far more likely that some users didn't know how to start the demo in the first version, so the designers added the message for all subsequent versions. My hypothesis to explain the later date stamp is that the archive I have had been recompiled to fix a bug and some of the files got a new date stamp.
Demo 3 (1987-11-24)

Sierra AGI Demo 3 - Screenshot - Title.png

This demo, and the one I have numbered 4, both have the same date stamp. One possible explanation for this is that both were released at the same time, but this one was released to fit on a single 360 KB floppy disk, so three games had to be cut. Another possible explanation is this demo was released first, but had to be rebuilt for a bug fix or something similar, and it now features a later date stamp. After all, it seems unlikely that Sierra would remove games from a later demo. This demo is often numbered 1 by other sites.
Demo 4 (1987-11-24)

Sierra AGI Demo 4 - Screenshot - Menu.png

This demo has the same date stamp as the one I have numbered 3. It has the same games as demo 3, plus three additional games. It may be that these two demos were released at the same time, but this demo included more games to take advantage of higher density diskettes. Another explanation is that the demo I have listed as number 3 was actually released earlier, but needed to be rebuilt for a bug fix, and thus got a later time stamp. This demo is labeled number 2 by other sites.
Demo 5 (1988-09-13)

Sierra AGI Demo 5 - Screenshot - Menu.png

This demo has the latest date stamp and features two games known to have been released in 1988, so I think it's fair to say it was the last of the AGI demos. It is listed as demo 4 on other sites.

Non-AGI Games

Two of the games included in some of these demos are displayed using the Adventure Game Interpreter engine, but the games themselves do not actually use it. Here are side-by-side comparison screenshots of the AGI demo and the actual game.

AGI Demo Real Game
Sierra AGI Demo 3 - Screenshot - 3D Helicopter Simulator.png 3D Helicopter Simulator - DOS - Screenshot - Start.png

3D Helicopter Simulator

Sierra AGI Demo 3 - Screenshot - Thexder.png Thexder - DOS - Screenshot - Level 1.png



All five demo progams are included in this archive.