We were first alerted of Sarien.net's existence back in October. After a brief preview a bit later, Space Quest went live. In a nutshell, Sarien.net was an amazing homage to classic Sierra adventure games. When it was still online, it allowed you to stream picture-perfect ports right within Safari on iOS devices, with most games totally tweaked to be touch friendly. Some even had basic multiplayer support to see other players in-game.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and even though the whole project was a labor of love for developer Martin Kool, Activision finally sent the somewhat inevitable cease and desist letter-- Resulting in an immediate halt to the whole project. Hopefully this means that Activation is planning on bringing these same games to the iOS platform with the same care Kool gave them, but I somehow doubt it.

The up side of all this (if there is one), is that quite a few people took notice in the sheer HTML wizardry taking place behind the scenes in these ports, resulting in a surge of business to Martin's web design studio. He's told us to keep an eye out for apps and games (both native, and web-based like the Sierra games) in the future.

  • FreeGames

    That sucks,

    Can you find us a few other sites where we can get pirated games for our devices?

  • DotComCTO

    My bet is that Activision will do zero with their old titles. This is just Activision protecting their IP and making sure nobody thinks their games are public domain. It's a bummer, but totally expected. Nevertheless...I say, "BOOOOOO"!

    • Adams Immersive

      They may have to protect their IP, but what they should do is re-open the same old games WITH their blessing, pay the developer for his work, and throw some ads on to pay for it all. (Not a huge ad fan, but it IS the main way to pay for a web site!)

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        In my initial emails with the developer, I asked about all this and he seemed open to absolutely anything Activision wanted to do in order to get their "blessing" of these games. I understand they need to defend their IP, but sending a template C&D letter seems to be about the laziest way to do that... Especially since Martin was so open.

      • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

        I totally agree. Feels like someone was told: "can you go ahead and send the generic threat to these guys when you have a minute yessss?."

      • DotComCTO

        I agree with you. I'm not at all a fan of Activision's approach here.

      • Philly

        Pay the developer for their work? Labor of love it may be, but it's also clear-cut piracy. No way is an IP holder going to reward people for this type of thing. Martin should be glad they only send a cease and desist letter, and didn't sue him for damages.

      • Adams Immersive

        Pay him IF and only if they use his hard work. I think it could have value to them.

      • Philipp Lenssen

        What damages, though? Such hobby projects may increase the interest in the brand and show Activision more venues for revenues, no?

    • Jim

      All titles mentioned in the C&D are actively being sold.

  • Poontang

    I wonder how many times they want us to pay for these old relics?

    *Adds Activision to ever increasing boycott list!

  • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

    Yep. The usual. 1 million dollars that Activision will just sit on these games like an old dragon on a mountain of gold. Doing nothing. The usual.

    • Adams Immersive

      Now you’re making me mad at dragons >:( Sitting on billions of dollars in gold like its a friggin’ giant jingly sofa cushion, while peasants are starving and their kids can’t afford medicine!

  • http://twitter.com/ScottColbert Scott Colbert

    Not surprising since all of these games have become available on gog.com in the past few months. You can blame Activision for being greedy, but I bet the people who made the games and get royalties from them would disagree. But yeah, always easier to blame the big guy than look at reality.

    • DotComCTO

      Spare me. There are nearly zero royalties being paid to the Sierra dev team or Ken & Roberta Williams. I believe that Activision bought Sierra lock, stock and barrel. Those old games may be on gog.com, but I highly doubt they're generating tons of sales.

      • Jim

        Their partnership with GOG.com is generating more than $0 in sales which is more than they can say about Sarien.net.

      • DotComCTO

        OK. I'll agree with that; however, this is extremely low hanging fruit for Activision, and any income that is being generated is likely to be nominal. Honestly, if their old titles were a significant source of revenue, don't you think Activision would likely build a new series based on that old IP?

      • Jim

        Have you considered the possibility that Activision may be contractually obligated to defend their IPs that are currently being distributed? That is a very real possibility.

        And as for modern sequels, check out King's Quest 9: The Silver Lining. It is fan made and approved for distribution by Activision (even though it's not making any money.)

        Yes, Sarien.net was no doubt a labour of love and it has been shut down. But Activision still might want to make use of the work in the form of mobile ports or some such. They have shown that they can be reasonable on occasion. I'm hoping for the best.

      • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnu8YzLhnTOS_PCkVn2zpwOMKEwMmn0sHk Thom Denick

        Activision didn't buy Sierra, Vivendi Universal was formed out of Sierra's corpse and their parent company *bought* Activision. Activision has all but entirely pulled out of the iOS market, so unless they license the IPs to a third party, you are never going to see these in any legitmate form on the device.

    • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

      I've worked for most of the big guys for years. Believe me I know the reality. And it's ugly.

  • Uberarcade

    Moral of the story. If you find some cool web site that has illegal versions of games you like don't bring attention to it.

  • Justin

    Not surprising at all, but it nevertheless puts a bad taste in my mouth for all of these big publishers since Activision and LucasArts (to some extent) are sitting on top of so many fantastic classic games and are doing absolutely jack s**t with them. At least the old president of LA was encouraging looking at their back catalog of awesomeness where we got the great redux versions of Monkey Island 1 & 2, but to not offer even the base, original versions of all their other classic and same with the Sierra classics seems completely idiotic. These would sell like mad if only someone would release them on iOS devices. They are on Steam, so what exactly is the holdup???

    • http://twitter.com/Flowermilk Flowermilk

      The holdup is usually just a bunch on incompetent idiots who don't even know these games and are too lazy to market them.

      • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnu8YzLhnTOS_PCkVn2zpwOMKEwMmn0sHk Thom Denick

        The problems is they simply don't make enough money for Activision to care. Even if iOS remakes sold a million copies (which they wouldn't). It's not nearly enough money for Activision to care.

    • Philipp Lenssen

      Actually some of Lucasart's creations are still being developer in the hands of TellTaleGames (even for iOS)...

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cat-Astrophy/100000838113704 Cat Astrophy

    Companies shouldn't be able to defend IPs they don't even use against people making no money off of them.

    • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnu8YzLhnTOS_PCkVn2zpwOMKEwMmn0sHk Thom Denick

      That would take a fundamental uprooting of Copyright law. Corporations are bound by law to defend their IPs. If they don't, their stockholders can sue them.