Warp Drive

Showing posts with label Sierra On-Line. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sierra On-Line. Show all posts

Friday, February 13, 2015

Gary Owens Signing Off

I had feared Gary Owens may not have much time left. I will always remember him best for his narration duty on Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers and Space Quest VI: The Spinal Frontier, but if only because that was where I first heard him. He had such a long list of TV and radio credits! And with a legendary voice like his, it is no wonder. He was reported to be the narrator of ‪‎SpaceVenture‬, but offhand, I do not recall if any recording took place (aside from an interview with Chris Pope). Those are mighty big shoes to fill! Rest in peace, Mr. Owens!

Gary Owens, Space Quest IV: "The powerful quad-quark drives rev to life. Time and space bend under the fibrillations of the time-rip transfluxers. Your adrenaline (and stomach) reel with the hyperbolic hyperbole. And finally, finally..." I hope something amazing happens!

Source: Variety.com

Friday, February 1, 2013

Interview with Ken Allen

Ken Allen composed computer game music for Sierra On-Line in the early 1990s, and later, for Parallax Software in the mid-1990s. During this period of his career, he is perhaps best known for his Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers (1991) soundtrack. He also composed music for The Colonel's Bequest (1989), King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! (1990), Space Quest I: Roger Wilco in The Sarien Encounter (1990) and Descent (1994), among others. Later, he would become employed at Atari, where he took on the role of Senior Producer for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (2004). Finally, in January of 2013, he returned to his music composer roots with the launch of his Under The Half Dome album on Kickstarter. Ken happened to read a few of my articles about Space Quest and SpaceVenture, and asked if I would conduct an interview with him. My answer was a resounding "YES!" What follows, after the Space Quest IV soundtrack, is that interview. I recommend listening to it while reading.

Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers Soundtrack (MT-32)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

SpaceVenture 1: The Fan-tastic Encounter

Space Quest. Two words that cause reflection on the past with a certain degree of reverence. Especially when used together.

"Do You Remember Space Quest?" (by Stacy Davidson)

I have written every which way about the Space Quest series. I shared some of my personal memories in The Treasure of the Sierra On-Line (SQ), explored my sarcastic side in Space Quest 7: Buckazoids from Andromeda, came to my senses in Space Quest: A Greatly Exaggerated Tale of Adventure, and chose the spiritual successor to Space Quest, SpaceVenture, as my number one game of 2013 in The Year of the Adventure Game. You might think that, by this point, I would have nothing else to write about it. Call me a real pantload for punishment, I guess.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Year of the Adventure Game

Something miraculous happened last year. Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions asked for $400,000 on crowd funding site, Kickstarter, to make an old school point and click adventure game, and the world gave him $3.3 million. In doing so, he and his company bypassed the usual publisher route needed to secure funding for a game, and maintained full creative control of their project. People just about everywhere took notice. Among them, a number of past and present game developers from such origins as Access Software, LucasArts, Revolution Software and Sierra On-Line. They all wanted a chance to take another stab at the adventure game genre, which until then, had been regarded by publishers as a genre that did not typically generate a significant amount of revenue. Translation: It did not make as much money as Call of Duty. Could lightning possibly strike twice? Not only did it strike twice. It struck again and again and again. It was a bit like the end of It's a Wonderful Life, with an angry CEO at Activision, Electronic Arts or some other such place playing the part of Mr. Potter. And as a teacher once said, every time a bell rings, an adventure game developer gets his paycheck.

With that said, Happy New Year! This year is going to be very special because all those adventure games that we Kickstarted last year are going to be released this year. To celebrate, I decided to put together a list of adventure games being released in 2013, including a few that were funded beyond Kickstarter.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Space Quest 7: Buckazoids from Andromeda

I originally posted this article on May 28th, 2012 in an effort to boost awareness of Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy's Kickstarter campaign for their up-and-coming game, SpaceVenture. Just like their earlier Space Quest games, I went heavy on the sarcasm. I shared this article with Scott via Facebook, and was a bit shocked when he said that I caught him by surprise. I assumed that he meant something was off with the article itself. Perhaps the things I wrote about him in particular. It was just a misunderstanding, though. Scott was surprised merely by the way that I notified him on Facebook. Not knowing this at the time, I quickly put the article under wraps, and within a day, I had written a new one with a more serious tone (Space Quest: A Greatly Exaggerated Tale of Adventure). With SpaceVenture fast approaching, I thought that I would re-share this article, and encourage everyone to check out guysfromandromeda.com for updates. Also, if you happen to have one of those iDoodads, be sure to check out their Cluck Y'Egger app. The original Space Quest 7: Buckazoids from Andromeda article begins below.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Two Guys SpaceVenture (by the creators of Space Quest)

Alright, guys and gals, this is your final chance to pledge for Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy's SpaceVenture. What is SpaceVenture, you ask? Well, I have written a few blogs on that very subject. Check them out here: Space Quest: A Greatly Exaggerated Tale of Adventure, Two Guys SpaceVenture Kickstarter, and The Treasure of the Sierra On-Line (SQ). This is a project that I truly believe in, and time is running out to see it funded. 24 hours to be precise.

Link: http://www.tgakick.com

That link again is TGAKICK.COM!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Space Quest: A Greatly Exaggerated Tale of Adventure

If you, like me, were a child of the 1980s and/or 1990s, you may have heard of Sierra On-Line. A software development studio that released such classics as King's Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and Quest for Glory. In 1986, they released the first of a six chapter saga known as Space Quest. It was led by Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy. They wanted to design a funny science fiction adventure game. One that would lampoon popular film and television series of the time. Think Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, and Star Wars. They would go on to develop three sequels together. Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge, Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon, and Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers. Following the release of Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers, Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy went their seperate ways. Mark took a job at Dynamix, and was given the green light to design Space Quest V: The Next Mutation from there. For Space Quest VI: The Spinal Frontier, the design duties were handed off to Josh Mandel. When Josh left Sierra, Scott was asked to step in and finish development.

Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Two Guys SpaceVenture Kickstarter

In the immortal words of Gary Owens: The powerful quad-quark drives rev to life. Time and space bend under the fibrillations of the time-rip transfluxers. Your adrenaline (and stomach) reel with the hyperbolic hyperbole. And finally, finally...

Two Guys SpaceVenture Kickstarter

Yes, time jockeys, the "Two Guys from Andromeda" have launched their Kickstarter, and are well on their way to funding their next big space adventure! I will have more to say on this at a later time (I nearly spit out my coffee this morning when I read that it had been launched), but for now, be sure to read my post about Space Quest, especially if you are unfamiliar with this duo of computer game developers.

EDIT: Apparently, I am so excited that I forgot to format this post in HTML! Fixed.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Treasure of the Sierra On-Line (KQ)

Inspired by Al Lowe and Jane Jensen's recent Kickstarters, I have decided to write a blog about Sierra On-Line memories. Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe have also returned!

King's Quest I SCI Demo

Not too very long after discovering Space Quest Collection: Roger Wilco Unclogged at Best Buy, I also discovered King's Quest Collection. It featured King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown, King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne, King's Quest III: To Heir is Human, King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella, King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder, and King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow. If King's Quest was filled with the same sense of charm, wittiness, and wonderment as Space Quest, I knew that I would enjoy the series. Indeed, to that end, it was. King's Quest is a lovingly crafted tale of adventure, filled with exciting characters, enchanting lands, and a brilliant soundtrack. It begins in a magnificent land known as Daventry. King Edward the Benevolent is gravely ill, and with no heir to the throne, he must find a suitable replacement. He calls on Sir Graham, the bravest of his knights, to find three missing treasures. If he is successful in this quest, he will rule Daventry upon the death of King Edward. Sir Graham returns with the three treasures just in the nick of time. With the king's dying words, Sir Graham becomes King Graham of Daventry.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Treasure of the Sierra On-Line (LSL) *ADULT THEMES*

Inspired by Al Lowe and Jane Jensen's recent Kickstarters, I have decided to write a blog about Sierra On-Line memories. Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe have also returned!

Warning, if you are easily offended, you may prefer to read something else, like Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat or Martin Handford's Where's Waldo. Now, before we begin, I just have to put something on. It will only take a moment.

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards

Always practice safe blogging! My experience with Sierra On-Line continues in late 1997 when, for the first time, I logged onto the World Wide Web, or the Internet as it is more commonly referred to today. My parents signed us up with America Online. I quickly became amazed by the amount of information available at my fingertips. It was not long before I also discovered that the Internet was full of filth, and that is where Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards comes in. The FBI is going to bust down my door for saying this, but I downloaded it from one of those illegal warez sharing sites. Sorry, Al! Hilariously, the tricky part was not in downloading the game itself, but in getting past that silly age verification screen. Who the hell is Pia Zadora, anyway? I eventually managed to pass the test, and for anyone looking to play the game now, you can simply press Ctrl-Alt-X to bypass it altogether! Leisure Suit Larry has a fairly simple premise. You are a 39 year old software salesman. You are also a virgin. You have one night to get laid. If this sounds familiar, you may have seen 2005's The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The game uses a text parser interface for inputting commands (as depicted in the image above). I thought that it was great because I could be as vulgar as I wanted with my commands. e.g. fu**, sh**, eat-out. Wait, that last one is not vulgar... or is it? After the initial excitement of the text parser interface wore off, I began to explore Lost Wages. Think Las Vegas, but somehow sleazier. Larry's travels would take him to a seedy bar, a liquor store, a disco, a casino, and a 24-hour wedding chapel, all in pursuit of love! Surprisingly, I did not have a whole lot of trouble finishing the game. Perhaps my mind was filthy to begin with.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Treasure of the Sierra On-Line (SQ)

Inspired by Al Lowe and Jane Jensen's recent Kickstarters, I have decided to write a blog about Sierra On-Line memories. Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe have also returned!

Today, we venture into the hallowed halls of Sierra On-Line, or should I say, the hollowed halls of Sierra On-Line. Sierra has existed in name only for more than a decade. In the 1980s and 1990s, however, they were arguably the greatest developer of PC adventure games under the sun. Notice, if you will, how I said arguably. These days, fans of the adventure game genre usually stand behind the assertion that LucasArts was better, and there are some very good reasons for that. For one thing, LucasArts' adventure games were typically a lot less buggy. For another, LucasArts did not punish you for dying. In fact, most of their games lacked death altogether. Personally, I still love both companies' games equally, and yes, I know that I will get a lot of flack for saying that.

I believe that Sierra On-Line has just as much merit in gaming history as LucasArts. Sure, their games may have generally been buggier, and they may have punished you for not picking up key items, but in my book, that does not make them a sacrificial lamb (bonus points if you get the game reference). For me, it was all about the beautiful worlds that Sierra crafted, and the stories that they told within them. Oh, and let us not forget about the amazing musical scores. I still get them stuck in my head to this very day! Sure, they made a few mistakes along the way, but you have to remember that computer games were still a very new thing when Sierra first came onto the scene in the early 1980s. LucasArts came later, and that allowed them to have a less rocky start with a more refined system in place.

Sierra Logo

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Top 11: Video Games

This is my attempt to list my 11 favorite video games (of all time!).

1. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
I first played Chrono Trigger in 2000; one year after the "Year of Lavos." Technically, I first played it on PC, since I used an emulator (Snes9x). Before I played Chrono Trigger, I was not much of an RPG fan. I had a few friends that were very much into RPGs, though. They strongly suggested that I play a few. I was blown away by the depth of Chrono Trigger. I still don't own a legitimate copy, but plan to when I pick up the DSi.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
I first played "ALttP" in 1992. It was not the first Zelda game that I ever played, mind you. I played The Legend of Zelda (NES) a few years earlier, which was also a good game, but nowhere near as great as this one. Furthermore, I have not played a Zelda game since then that has matched it. Until I played Chrono Trigger, A Link to the Past was my favorite video game of all time.

3. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
I first played Super Mario Bros. 3 on Christmas Day 1990, as evidenced by these two YouTube videos. The addition of items, map screens, and warp whistles set it apart from Super Mario Bros. and Doki Doki Panic: Mario Edition...Okay, Super Mario Bros. 2U.

4. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (GEN)
I first played Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 1994. By itself, it was very much an underwhelming game, but when locked-on to Sonic & Knuckles, it transformed into something of beauty. Knuckles became a playable character, Super Emeralds could be collected (unlocking Hyper Sonic/Knuckles and Super Tails), and additional levels were available.

5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)
I first played Super Mario RPG in 2000. It was around the same time as Chrono Trigger, and also via Snes9x. You can save the rotten tomatoes, though. I recently purchased the game on the Wii Virtual Console.

6. Sam & Max Hit the Road (PC)
I first played Sam & Max Hit the Road in 2004; a few days after the cancellation of Sam & Max Freelance Police. The outcry made me wonder just how good the original game was, so I decided to play it for myself. Of course, I was sad afterward.

7. Psychonauts (PC)
I first played Pi...Pyc...Psyco...Psychonauts in 2005. I am not afraid to admit that I couldn't spell Psychonauts until I bought the game. The game itself is mind blowing (literally). You can't expect anything less than awesome from Tim Schafer. Who knows, maybe BrĂ¼tal Legend will make my list. That is, if a PC version is released.

8. Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers (PC)
I first played "SQ4" in 1996. I found it in a bargain bin at Price Club for five bucks, so I was not expecting much. It was better than I originally anticipated. Although, it did take several months to complete the Galaxy Galleria sequences due to timer issues. I still consider Space Quest IV my favorite in the series, seeing as it was the first one that I played. I later picked up Space Quest V and Space Quest VI individually, and the "prequel trilogy" (Space Quest I, Space Quest II, and Space Quest III) in the Roger Wilco Unclogged Collection.

9. GoldenEye 007 (N64)
I first played GoldenEye 007 in 1997. For me, it was the pinnacle of first person shooters. Perfect Dark would have made my list, but looking back, it was more of a retooling of what made GoldenEye 007 so good.

10. Star Fox 64 (N64)
I first played Star Fox 64 in 1997. I was never a very big fan of rail shooters, but this was one of the best. Of course, it does also contain a few free roaming stages.

11. Donkey Kong Country 2 - Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
I first played Donkey Kong Country 2 in 1995. I actually played this one before Donkey Kong Country. "DKC2" was the high point of the series for me. It fizzled a bit with Donkey Kong Country 3, and became mediocre with Donkey Kong 64.