My brother and I played a lot of Sierra games between the ages of 8 and 16. I remember slogging through King’s Quest III on my dad’s AT that had a green monochrome monitor. “Slogging” is the wrong word, maybe; we completely stalled out after we couldn’t figure how to turn Manannan into a cat.
But for us the series to beat was Space Quest. The first one we played was Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon. There was something almost zen about wandering around the alien junkyard, trying to get the Aluminum Mallard working again. I remember how cool it was to have your own little ship, a play experience I would not see again until Origin’s Wing Commander: Privateer.
Of the Space Quest series though, the pinnacle was Space Quest IV. Look at all the nourishment it contained for a growing Kris! A plot making heavy use of time travel! Over-the-top meta humor I had never encountered before that! Roger Wilco knows where he is by looking up at the status bar, for Chrissakes. And the smell and taste interface itself was a goof on Sierra’s new UI. The design of the time pod was reminiscent of the Workbee from Star Trek! How I pored over those technical manuals as a child! (You can see the same side vents in some of Starslip’s scuttlepods.)
Via a mutual friend, I actually got in touch with the Two Guys from Andromeda, Mark and Scott, a few days ago. We talked about their Kickstarter (which I just did some art for) and just riffed for an hour.
All I could think was that 13-year-old Kris would have wanted to live to see this day. It’s too bad he died at age 20, after a long battle with youth.
I was very excited to learn that the Two Guys were back in the saddle and I hope it works out for them. I hadn’t really thought about what an impact those games had on me until I heard about the potential for another one.
Anyway, I thought it was worth sharing with you here in the big wrap-up of Starslip. Lately I have been thinking about how a lot of these ideas you see in my strip come directly from my childhood (for example, I made up Deep Time in high school; it actually predates all of Starslip, which is kind of poetic in a way). These old sci-fi ideas have all finally found a home here; I’ll have to come up with some new ones for my next effort.
Have a great weekend.