Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings, published in 2020, is the memoir written by Ken Williams. He and his wife, Roberta Williams, founded a computer games company in the late 70s that would eventually become Sierra Online, which was for many years one of the largest and best-renowned computer game companies in the world.
The book covers the early years of Ken’s life, including how he met and married Roberta and how she became interested (and some would even say slightly obsessed) with designing computer games. From their first game, Mystery House, that was designed by Roberta and programmed by Ken, to later establishing well-known game series like the King’s Quest, Space Quest, Quest for Glory, and Leisure Suit Larry games, the book provides an insightful and thoroughly entertaining telling of the journey, especially for someone like myself who grew up playing many of these games. The book also has many stories about these games’ now-iconic designers, like Al Lowe (Game designer of, amongst other things, the Leisure Suit Larry games) and Jane Jensen (the person behind the Gabriel Knight series).
Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings tells the story of Sierra Online from creation, through its rise to glory, to its eventual acquisition by CUC International, ultimately leading to its demise.
This book is a must-read for anyone who experienced and enjoyed Sierra games in the 80s and 90s. It is a fantastic read and provides a peek behind the curtain of a company that created games that left a lasting impression on so many. I highly recommended Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings.