Space Quest

Space Quest

"Space Quest" is a series of six science fiction computer games that follow the adventures of a hapless janitor named Roger Wilco, as he campaigns through the galaxy for "truth, justice and really clean floors."

Initially created for Sierra On-Line by Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy (who called themselves the "Two Guys from Andromeda"), the games parodied both science fiction properties such as Star Wars and Star Trek, as well as pop-culture phenomena from McDonald's to Microsoft. The series featured a silly sense of humor heavily reliant on puns and wacky storylines. Roger Wilco, a perpetual loser, is often depicted as the underdog who repeatedly saves the universe (often by accident) - only to be either ignored or punished for violating minor regulations in the process.

Origin of the series

Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe, who had already worked together on the Sierra game "The Black Cauldron", wanted to create a funny science fiction adventure game. They also wanted it to star a janitor (a choice possibly inspired by the mop-wielding main character from Infocom's humorous sci-fi text adventure "Planetfall").

Scott Murphy comments that "Sierra was in a mindset where everything was medieval and it was all fairly serious. I wanted to do a game that was more fun. We even liked the idea of 'fun death'! I mean, if the player is gonna die or fail, they should at least get a laugh out of it. So we came up with the idea of making death amusing. Let's face it, most adventure games involve a good deal of frustration for the player. But we felt that if we made failure fun, to an extent, you might have players actually going back and looking for new ways to die, just to see what happens!"

Mark Crowe notes, "We wanted to do two things for the player. One, we wanted him to feel as if he were in a movie, where he could just sort of kick back and enjoy the scenery. We also wanted the player to feel as if he really was the character on the screen."

Although skeptical, Ken Williams gave the idea a shot. Scott and Mark created a short demo, which ended up becoming the first four rooms of "Space Quest I", at which point Ken gave the project a green-light.

Games

"Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter"

The original "Space Quest" game was released in October 1986 and quickly became a hit, selling in excess of 100,000 copies (sales are believed to be around 200,000 to date, not including the many compilations it has been included in). It was remade and re-released in 1991.

"Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge"

Roger, with his newfound status of Hero, is transferred to the Xenon Orbital Station 4 and promoted to head (and only) janitor. All is quiet until he is abducted by Sludge Vohaul, who was behind the original Sarien attack of the "Arcada". As Roger is being transported to the Labion labour mines as punishment for thwarting Sludge's original plan, the prison ship crash-lands in a nearby jungle upon the planet. Our hero manages to escape his pursuers and the dangers of the Labion jungle and soon reaches Sludge's asteroid base. Once again, it's up to Roger alone to stop Vohaul's evil plan: to eradicate sentient life from Xenon by launching millions of cloned insurance salesmen at the planet.

"Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon"

Roger's escape pod from the end of "SQII" is captured by an automated garbage freighter. He escapes the robot-controlled scow by repairing an old ship, the "Aluminum Mallard" (a play on Howard Hughes' "Spruce Goose" and Star Wars' Millennium Falcon). He eventually discovers the sinister activities of a video game company known as ScumSoft run by the "Pirates of Pestulon".

"Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers"

In this installment, Roger embarks on a wacky time-travel adventure through "Space Quest" games both past and future. A reborn Sludge Vohaul from "Space Quest XII" chases Roger through time in an attempt to finally kill him. Roger also visits "Space Quest X: Latex Babes of Estros" (whose title is a parody of Infocom's game "Leather Goddesses of Phobos") and "Space Quest I"; in the latter, the graphics and music revert to the style of the original game and Roger is threatened by a group of monochromatic bikers who consider Roger's 256 colors pretentious.

"Space Quest V: The Next Mutation"

In "Space Quest V", Roger is now a cadet in the StarCon academy. He graduates (or rather, cheats through the final exam) and is appointed captain of his own spacecraft (actually a space garbage scow). The main plot is to stop a mutagenic disease that is spreading through the galaxy by discovering its source, and fighting everyone that got infected. In the end, the disease infected the crew members of the "SCS Goliath", a powerful warship, whose commander, Raemes T. Quirk (a rather blatant spoof of Captain Kirk, as portrayed by William Shatner), subsequently attacks the "Eureka". In the end, Roger sacrifices his ship to get rid of the plague - and suddenly, if temporarily, becomes the commander of the fleet's flagship.

"Space Quest 6: The Spinal Frontier"

This game was the last to be released in the Space Quest series. Having defeated the diabolical pukoid mutants in "Space Quest V", Captain Roger Wilco triumphantly returns to StarCon headquarters - only to be court-martialed due to breaking StarCon regulations while saving the galaxy. He's busted down to Janitor Second Class, and assigned to the "SCS DeepShip 86" (a parody of ""), commanded by Commander Kielbasa, a Cowardly Lion look-alike whose name is taken from the polish sausage as well as being a play on the names of both the feline Kilrathi from the computer game series Wing Commander and of the character Mufasa from the animated motion picture The Lion King. His voice is a parody of Captain Jean-Luc Picard from . The main villain in the game is a wrinkly old lady named Sharpei, a pun on the dog Shar Pei, a wrinkly dog.

The game's subtitle comes from the final portion, in which Roger has to undergo miniaturization and enter the body of a shipmate and romantic interest. (This segment also provided the game's original subtitle, "Where in Corpsman Santiago is Roger Wilco?", which was not used due to legal threats from the makers of the "Carmen Sandiego" products.)

"Future" sequels

In "Space Quest IV", Roger travels into both the past and future of the game's timeline. Interestingly, even in-game characters are conscious of living in a computer game, and refer to eras with sequel numbers, not temporal units (such as years), even though specific years are named elsewhere in the Space Quest canon. Portions of the game took place in the time frames of the following "sequels":
* "Space Quest X: Latex Babes of Estros" (a reference to Infocom's Leather Goddesses of Phobos)
* "Space Quest XII: Vohaul's Revenge II"

These games were never actually created, and only exist within the plot of "Space Quest IV".

Planned games

"Space Quest VII: Return to Roman Numerals"

Sierra has tried on several occasions to revive the series for another episode, with a working subtitle of "the Return to Roman Numerals", since the previous game was titled "Space Quest 6", not "Space Quest VI". Sierra went as far as contracting developer Escape Factory to storyboard and begin coding before withdrawing funding.

Development of "Space Quest VII" was underway in 1996 when Sierra released "The Space Quest Collection", which consisted of "Space Quest I" through "6" and included a brief trailer of "Space Quest VII" (consisting of Roger strapping a giant rocket to his back and using it to push himself forward on roller skates). Little was released regarding story line, interface, et cetera, although there was speculation that the game would introduce a multiplayer aspect. Scott Murphy said during development that "Space Quest VII" would contain some 3D elements, but would not require the use of a 3D accelerator card. Due to poor sales of "Grim Fandango", a high-profile adventure game by LucasArts, there was a perception that humorous adventure games were no longer viable, so when Vivendi Games took over Sierra, "Space Quest VII" was canceled.

Another attempt at creating a new "Space Quest" was announced on February 7, 2002. Development proceeded for almost a year and a half before the project was cancelled. According to Space Quest 6 designer Josh Mandel, the SQVII designers were forbidden from using story elements from the original "Space Quest" games or from even playing the games. This is not indisputable, since other sources claimed the developers had played the games before. Website FYI.com, also claimed that this "gutted" "SQVII" would not have been an adventure game at all and would have been released only on game console platforms such as the Xbox rather than the PC. Since then the Vivendi's Product Manager Bruce Goodwill, has confirmed that the title was going to be released only on console platforms.

"Space Quest"

"Space Quest" was being developed by Escape Factory for the Microsoft Xbox video game console. The game was planned as a departure from the main Space Quest series, starring a new character named "Wilger". Though it would have maintained a comedic theme in space, no plan was made to connect it to the original series. It was cancelled around 2003.

"More information can be found at the [http://www.spacequest.net/sq7/ Space Quest 7] and [http://www.spacequest.net/sq7/escapefactory/index.shtml Escape Factory] articles on SpaceQuest.net"

Collections

* "The Space Quest Saga" (1993) – This collection contained games I (VGA remake), II, III and IV (floppy disk version).
* "The Space Quest Collection" (1994) – Released for Sierra's 15th anniversary, this contained games I-V plus a video featuring the Two Guys from Andromeda and a complete history of the game series.
* "Roger Wilco Unclogged" (1995) – All the above, plus Roger Wilco arcade games and a humorous "Inside Space Quest" video, but without the Two Guys video
* "Space Quest Collection Series" (1996) – All six games, plus a preview of episode VII.
* "Space Quest Collection" (Fall 2006) – Released by Vivendi Universal Games and contains all six games (only the VGA version of "SQ1").

Fall 2006 releases

Vivendi Universal has re-released the "Space Quest Collection" (originally named "Space Quest Compilation") that is compatible with Windows XP. The collection was released September 15, 2006. [More info can be found at [http://www.sierra.com/en/home/games/game_info.prod-L2NvbnRlbnQvc2llcnJhL2VuL3Byb2R1Y3RzL3NwYWNlX3F1ZXN0.platform-global.html Sierra's Space Quest Collection] ]

The "Space Quest" games were made compatible by the licensing of DOSBox, a free program that allows users to play old DOS games on Windows XP.

Comics

Adventure Comics (a division of Malibu Graphics Publishing Group) released three issues in 1992 of a comic based on "Space Quest I" under the name "The Adventures of Roger Wilco". The first was written by John Shaw and was in full colour. The other two were written by Paul O'Connor and were black and white. The print run was very small and the books are very hard to find now.

Fan-made games

The series has remained popular with Sierra fans, and several fan pages are still active and maintain a community dedicated to the games. There have been several attempts to create a Space Quest fan game, such as the SQ7.org project, and two fan games using era-specific graphics have been released.

Finished games

* [http://www.wiw.org/~jess/replicated.html "Space Quest 0: Replicated"] - A prequel to "Space Quest I".
* "Space Quest: The Lost Chapter" - An interquel set between the second and third games.

Unfinished games

* [http://www.infamous-adventures.com/index.php?page=sq2 "Space Quest 2 Remake: Vohaul's Revenge"] - A remake of "Space Quest 2" in the style of "Space Quest IV" is currently in the works by underground developers Infamous Adventures.
* [http://www.sq7.org "Space Quest 7"] - A work-in-progress sequel, including "Space Quest 6" designer Josh Mandel as a designer. The project was put on hold officially on 2007 after intervention from Vivendi. [cite web| url=http://www.wiw.org/~jess/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9767| title=Sq7.org on-hold| publisher=wiw.org| date=2007-10-19| accessdate=2008-10-08]
* [http://www.vohaulstrikesback.com "Space Quest: Vohaul Strikes Back"] - The "other" hi-res full-scale Space Quest fangame in progress, taking place after "Space Quest VII".
* [http://www.vohauls-mines.com/ "Space Quest 2X: Vohaul's Mines"] - An alternate version of "Space Quest II" where Roger is taken into the Orium mines (Canceled until further notice).

Games influenced by Space Quest

* [http://www.cosmos-quest.com "Cosmos Quest"] - Adventure game influenced by Space Quest.

ee also

*Police Quest
*King's Quest

References

*"The History of Space Quest", included with the "Space Quest Collection Series".
*"SpaceQuest.Net" by Frans van Hofwegen
*"The Official Space Quest FAQ" by Troels Pleimert.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.spacequest.net/ SpaceQuest.Net]
* [http://forum.spacequest.net/ The Janitorial Times]
* [http://omni.sq7.org/ Space Quest Omnipedia] - A wiki database, with everything related to Space Quest.
*moby game|id=-group/space-quest-series|name="Space Quest" series
* [http://wiw.org/~jess/roger.html The Virtual Broomcloset] - The first major Space Quest fansite that's still online.
* [http://wiw.org/~jess/forum The Subspace Channel] - The forum of The Virtual Broomcloset. Unlike the website, it's still quite active.
* [http://wssquid.sq7.org/ Who Says Space Quest Is Dead?] - A series of fanmade comics based on Space Quest.
* [http://tmd.alienharmony.com/rw/index.htm The Many Deaths of Roger Wilco] - A database of the death scenes in the SQ series.
* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/vdmsound/ VDM Sound] - A program that should make the sound work if you run Space Quest titles on Windows 2K or XP, though it is no longer updated.
* [http://freesci.linuxgames.com/ FreeSCI] - open-source interpreter for Space Quest files, also a [http://pocketinsanity.sourceforge.net/content/view/24/34/ version for Pocket PC]
* [http://www.wiw.org/~jess/SQFAQ20.txt The Official Space Quest FAQ] - An extensive document of trivia and background information. The author abandoned the document in its current unfinished state when the cancellation of "Space Quest 7" was announced
* [http://wiw.org/~jess/makingofsq.html The Making of Space Quest] - The following article originally appeared as Chapter Two of Jill Champion's The Official Guide to Roger Wilco Space Adventures.


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