Sunday, 28 July 2013

Game 33: Space Quest III - Hasta la Vista, Baby

Roger Wilco Journal Entry 2: "Can't I just have a simple life? I finally escaped that junk freighter by repairing a cool little spaceship and blowing my way out, but of course that wasn't the end of my dramas. I chose the most sensible option, being to land on the nearest planet and see if I could get some resources, only to find there was a murderous robot after me for not paying a few measly buckazoids. Lucky his brain didn't match his brawn, and I was able to destroy him before he could complete his mission. As if that little confrontation wasn't weird enough, now I've got a couple of guys held captive on Pestulon contacting me through a damn video game. Can't a guy just get some escape in without having to be a hero all the time? Sigh...I guess no-one else is gonna do it!"


This thing's like the Tardis! There's much more room inside than appears possible from the outside!

Well, my fears around the challenge offered by Space Quest III were unfounded, as would come as no surprise to all of you that ripped through this game in the last few days. I haven’t quite finished yet, but that’s only because I wanted to get this post out while the experience was still fresh. My last post finished with me finally gaining entrance to the space ship submerged in junk upon the garbage freighter. As soon as I did that I was given an over the shoulder view of the ship’s internal setup. There were only three things I could do inside, being exit, look at the ships status monitor, or hop into the cockpit. Looking at the monitor revealed the power was critically low as the auxiliary reactor was not on-line. I of course had a reactor in my possession, so I typed “use reactor” (5 points). “You drop the reactor into the hole. In attempting to reconnect the cables, you find that one is much too short.” I had some wire too, so I typed “use wire” (5 points). This was all that was needed to get the ship’s power unit back online, and I was given a view of all the ship’s sections along with a message telling me they were all “nominal”.


As it just so happens, one of the two items I picked up on this entire junk freighter is the exact reactor that fits this ship!


Landing gear nominal? Well, that's one less typical space genre drama to deal with!

With that all sorted, I hopped into the cockpit and looked at the computer screen. There I found eight menu options, which were 1. Engines, 2. Navigation System, 3. Takeoff, 4. Cruise, 5. Light Speed, 6. Attack Speed, 7. Radar and 8. Weapons System. I pressed 1 to turn the engines on, and heard a whirring sound as the ship prepared for launch. I turned the radar on and tried to use the navigation system, only to be told that it was “inoperable while not in flight”. I received the same message when I tried to view the weapons system, so I simply tried to takeoff instead. “The ship rises several meters, then stops abruptly. An alarm from the computer attracts your attention.” Looking at my monitor revealed that my ascent was halted due to an obstruction. I was a bit confused by what that obstruction might be until I realised it was the room’s ceiling! My memory told me that using my weapons system was the solution, and while I wasn’t yet very trusting of my memory, I gave it a shot anyway. I brought up the weapons system screen, where I could turn my front or back shields on or simply fire away. I pressed fire, and was given a view of the outside of the freighter as my weapons blew a hole through the side of it!


Can Roger withstand the temptation to push the red button?! The beautiful, shiny button! The jolly, candy-like button!


Apparently not!

The smile of victory on my face was quickly eradicated, when a message popped up saying: “Unfortunately, your inadequately protected ship is struck and subsequently destroyed in the bottle neck of metallic objects striving to pass through the same relatively small opening.” The solution of course was obvious, so I restored and went through the same process, this time putting my front shield on first. This worked, and I was free! I brought up my navigation system and ran a scan. A cursor passed across my surrounding space sectors, revealing locations of interest as it did so. I could visit Planet Ortega in sector 82, Planet Phleebhut in sector 39, or Monolith Burger Fast Food Dive in sector 62. I vaguely remembered each of them, but not enough to make a judgement on where I should go first. I therefore selected the first one (Ortega), and set my ship to light speed. I watched as my ship took off at light speed, but was then surprised to find another ship gradually appearing (it must have been using some sort of cloaking device) close to where mine had been! The close-up of a robot face appeared on the screen, and computer generated messages began appearing in the reflection of his shades. “Identity confirmed... Roger Wilco... Case OU812... Wilco wanted for vending machine fraud... Plaintiff: Gippazoid Novelty Co.... Judgement: TERMINATE”


Hmmm...unknown habitants...volcanic crater-strewn surface...seems safe to me!


A nice Van Halen reference within a Terminator reference

The Terminator’s ship took off at light speed in pursuit of my own, which didn’t bode well. I wasn’t particularly stressed though, as I clearly recalled how I took him out when I first played the game. I knew what to do when the time came, so I focussed on the task at hand. After a short trip, a message popped up on my screen, telling me that I was in orbit above the planet Ortega. I chose to land on the planet’s surface, and watched as my ship spiralled down towards the volcanic planet. Exiting the Aluminium Mallard, I soon realised that I’d made a very poor decision in coming to Ortega first! “My, my, this is one hot planet! Hopefully you’ll last more than a few minutes.” I didn’t, and watched as I fell to the ground and simply melted into nothingness! “You sizzle into oblivion. This planet wouldn’t be so bad if you could keep cool somehow.” Well at least now I knew that I needed some form of heat protection before coming back to Ortega! I restored my game, and this time chose to visit planet Phleebhut. After the same cut scene with the terminator setting off in pursuit, I quickly found myself departing my ship onto a purple landscape with green rock formations. There appeared to be a storm brewing, but thankfully I didn’t seem to have any issue with the environmental conditions.


This image reminded me of something. Project X on the Amiga?!


Now that's hot!

Another cut-scene interjected, with the terminator’s ship also landing down on the planet Phleebhut. I was given a close-up of the Arnold Schwarzenegger lookalike robot exiting his craft, then pressing a button on his belt that caused him to disappear. Footprints forming on the sand leading away from the ship clearly referred to the fact my pursuant was damn well invisible! I set out from my own craft, exploring the alien landscape and trying to avoid the various deadly creatures that inhabit the planet. While I was methodically mapping out the area, I was killed by a venomous scorpazoid, some pulsating pods that dropped down from a cave roof and ingested me, and some sort of huge serpent that ate me whole! It appeared for a moment that I was also going to be confronted by a Godzilla-like monster, as I could see one chomping away in the distance! As I got closer though, I realised it was merely the World o’ Wonders souvenir shop, built into the base of a huge Godzilla replica named Mog. My memory told me that there was a second entrance to the building around the left side, so I went to check before entering the shop proper. It was there, just as I remembered, but since I knew the time for its purpose had not yet arrived, went back and entered the front door.


Probably not as cut as Arnie


Alien hillbillies! Now that's scary!

Fester Blatz awaited me inside the World o’ Wonders, hoping to sell me a wide range of junk, collected from all over the planet. Blatz began making suggestions to me, uch as an Orat on a stick, an official Astro Chicken flight hat, and a nice pair of thermoweave underwear that will “keep your internal environment pleasant on even the sweatiest worlds.” The last of those items was exactly what I needed to survive the heat on Ortego, so I tried to buy them. “Everything here costs 25 buckazoids, and you don’t have that much!” I couldn’t remember doing it when I first played the game, but I thought I would try selling him my used up glowing gem. It seemed likely to work, since he had others like it sitting in the cabinet in front of him, and it was the only thing in my inventory at this point. Blatz was very pleased with the rock, and offered me 350 buckazoids! (2 points) That was more than I needed, so I purchased the Orat, the hat, and the underwear for 75 buckazoids (15 points). There seemed nothing else to do in the shop, so I left with my new goodies, ready for what I knew would be coming when I got outside.


Perhaps I could purchase one of your chins. You seem to have a few spare at the moment!


Blatz's poker face sucked!

The terminator appeared out of nowhere and grabbed hold of me before I had any chance to react. Disappointed with how easy I was to track down, he revealed the purpose of his mission: “Seems you forgot to pay for that Labionian terror beast mating call whistle. Now let’s see... with interest that comes to 400,000 buckazoids. I don’t think you’ve got that kind of cash on you hmm? No... I didn’t think so.” In typical villain style though, the terminator offered me a chance at escape, albeit an unlikely one. “I will count to ten real slow then I track you down. If you make it to your ship I forget I see you. But if I catch you again... I dust you like bundt cake.” I knew from past experience that trying to reach my ship would mean certain death, so I headed straight for the side entrance of World o’ Wonders instead. I guess it’s a sign of how memorable this scene was, since I recalled exactly when it would happen and how to deal with it. After ascending one of Mog’s legs in an elevator, I found myself in a machine room of sorts. There were some gears spinning round and a couple of heavy chains hanging from the ceiling.


Our hero will certainly require a new pair of pants after this confrontation


I think I'll just keep the elevator doors open on the top level. Problem solved!

The terminator came up the elevator after me and began his slow walk towards my position on the top floor. I waited until he was a few steps away from me, then typed “get chain”. Roger pushed one of the heavy chains into the robot, causing him to fall into the spinning gears, breaking him into many parts (35 points). Investigating the remains revealed that “the terminator’s invisibility belt has survived relatively intact”, so I picked it up (35 points). Blatz arrived on the scene, at first quite cranky that I’d ignored the signs telling people this section was closed for repairs. His mood lightened when he saw what I’d done though: “Oh! I see you’ve gotten rid of that grease swilling android. Never did like that terminator series.” I could see no further reason to stay on Phleebhut, so decided to take my leave. Once I was back on my ship, I put my new underwear on in preparation for visiting Ortega once again (10 points). However, once I accessed the monitor, I realised the closest joint to my current location was the Monolith Burger fast food dive. I set a course for it, dreading the fact that I would soon be required to play the horrible arcade game that is Astro Chicken!


It was almost too easy! Well, actually, it was too easy.


Ever wondered what the Trekkers ate between episodes? Now you know!

On arrival, I had a giggle at yet another Star Trek reference found in an adventure game, with the Starship Enterprise taking off from one of five entrances to Monolith (clearly a reference itself to McDonalds). My own ship docked, and I was soon walking amongst the numerous strange aliens lining up for greasy food and sugary drinks. I approached the counter and typed in “order food”. I had no recollection of what I should purchase from the menu, or indeed whether I should purchase anything, but the Monolith Fun Meal seemed an obvious choice. With any luck it would come with a surprise item that might be useful (10 points)! The geeky looking employee asked me whether I would like something to drink to go with my meal, and rather hilariously both options available to me were “Yes”! The same joke was applied to whether I wanted Space Spuds and Blattfruit Pie, and eventually I was able to hand over my seven buckazoids and sit down to eat. “OWWW!!! Hey, what’s this in my burger? Oh, it must be my Fun Meal prize! Hey, it’s a swell decoder ring!” (10 points) Awesome! To be honest, I don’t think I found the decoder ring when I first played the game, and had to resort to a walkthrough to decode the message when I came upon it.


Ha! I only just realised now that it's in the shape of a "monolith" burger


I didn't need audible voice to know what this little twerp would have sounded like

It was time to work my reflexes, so I walked up to the Astro Chicken arcade game and reacquainted myself with the controls. If you’ve played the game, you’ll know how frustrating this section is! The idea is a simple one though. All you have to do is continually land the chicken on the landing pad which is surrounded by mines. If the chicken lands with too much speed though, it will bounce onto the mines and explode! The player needs to press the up arrow to make the chicken flap its wings and therefore slow its descent, while also directing it left and right to make sure it lands on the pad. If it sounds easy, then that’s because I haven’t told you how unresponsive the controls are, and how stupendously difficult it is once the chicken is dropped from either of the screen’s top corners. Each time I successfully landed the chicken I received a few points, with the total maxing out at fifty (50 points). At some point the game decided that I’d landed enough chickens to be rewarded with a huge amount of encoded text on the screen. It was just as well, as my finger was cramping up from the exertion!


Astro Chicken? How can that be bad?!


Indeed!

I used my decoder ring, and a cipher was displayed at the bottom of the screen, setting me the task of decoding the message manually (although a lot of it can be figured out just by looking at it) (70 points). “Help us! We are being held captive by Scumsoft on the small moon of Pestulon. An inpenetrable force field surrounds the moon. It must first be deactivated. It’s origin is unknown to us. Scumsoft security is armed with jello pistols. We’re counting on you whoever you are.” The message was signed off by “Two Guys in Trouble”. So now I have a new motivation! Before I would consider visiting Pestulon though, it was now time to revisit Ortega. In case anyone is wondering, at this point my inventory contained an Orat on a Stick, some ThermoWeave Underwear, an Astro Chicken Flight Hat, a Monolith Decoder Ring, some Buckazoids, and an Invisibility Belt. If I didn’t know better, I’d figure the game was really about to take off (excuse the pun), but as plenty of readers have already stated, Space Quest III is a very short game. I’ve already got more than half the points on offer, and it’s very possible to next post title could end in Won! Well, I’m about to kick the Aluminium Mallard back into light speed mode. I hope to see you all at the destination!


A blatant attempt to add a few minutes onto a stupidly short game


It's interesting that travelling at light speed always has a light effect. Kinda silly when you think about it.

Session Time: 1 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

81 comments:

  1. I decided to use two screenshots for every paragraph for this post for two reasons. 1. This will be over very quickly, so I might as well show you what it looks like, and 2. They're pretty!

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    1. They managed to make each place very distinctive, which is no easy task with those low resolutions and 16 colours!

      Phleebhut is my favourite though, partly for the terminator plot/puzzle, partly for Fester and his Wonders, and also for the great music.

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    2. Yeah, the Fester's World 'O Wonders music is great, specially the MT-32 version :-D

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    3. Really, I was just thinking how UGLY the whole game is, with it throwing colour at everything with no rhyme or reason.

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    4. One stupid thing I noticed about the colour was that on the very first screen of the game, they made the background the exact same colour as my jumpsuit.

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    5. It's amazing how some old adventure games made in 1986 can look so much better... Like "The King of Chicago":
      http://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/50-the-king-of-chicago-dos-screenshot-angering-bens.gif
      And that's from CGA DOS versions. Don't even get me started on the Amiga screenshots, which is mindblowing.

      Also, from the same year:
      http://www.old-games.com/screenshot/1563-2-scoop-the.jpg
      http://www.old-games.com/screenshot/1563-5-scoop-the.jpg
      http://www.old-games.com/screenshot/1563-3-scoop-the.jpg

      I mean, how quaint is that? XD Sorry if I seem hellbent on this game.

      Trickster, how about this, you don't even have to write about The Scoop or even play it to completion. I'd willingly trade my 20 caps for 20 minutes of your time to try it out. If you're not entertained by the end of that, well, no harm done, right?

      But if you do recognize it as a gem, it'd still be up to you to decide what you wish to do about it. Maybe just comment about it, shrug it off, make a full-blown posting on it, reward everyone with CAPs, I dunno.

      Just thought that it was just a game with too many great ideas that should be, but not, replicated in most games nowadays. And yet, those ideas that are, makes those modern games shine and that all adventure gamers should try it out at least once.

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    6. As much as I'm tempted to take you up on this Kenny, I think I should stick to the list. If I say yes to one then I'll have to say to all (and I've already said no quite a few times). All I can hope is that enough readers are involved going forward to make sure I don't miss any hidden gems. Just remember that CAPs are power!

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  2. So, even though you have passed these sections, I'll ROT13 them anyway.
    1: Nygreangr jnl gb xvyy gur naqebvq vf gb yher uvz haqre gur navznyf gung fhpx lbh hc vagb gurz naq rng lbh. Gura gurl'yy fcvg uvz bhg naq lbh hfr gur Beng ba n Fgvpx gb trg gur vaivfvovyvgl oryg. Fb lbh qba'g arrq gur Beng abj. V guvax guvf trgf zber cbvagf nf jryy,
    2: Lbh pna unttyr gb trg n orggre cevpr sbe lbhe tybjvat ebpx, V guvax hc gb 450 ohpxnmbvqf. Trgf lbh zber cbvagf nf jryy.

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  3. Does anyone know if Astro Chicken is required at all?

    I did it, and got the message, but I did it before getting the decoder ring.

    When I did get the ring, I knew what it was used for, but I didn't feel like playing through Astro Chicken again so I played on, figuring I'd come back if required.

    I never needed to decode the message in the end, but finished anyway.

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    1. Nope, you can completely skip Monolith Burger all together.

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    2. So what's the trigger that makes Pestulon available from the navigation system? Or did I just not see it when I first ran a scan? I thought the trigger must be finding out about the "two guys in trouble".

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    3. You'll probably find out in your next play session.

      Lbh qrfgebl n pybnxvat fuvryq guvatl ba gur arkg cynarg juvpu nyybjf lbh gb svaq vgf zbba

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    4. Trivia: Monolith Burger appears in "Jones in the Fast Lane" board game released by Sierra.

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  4. Astro Chicken is easier than it seems, once you realize that you don't have to keep the "up" key pressed, it just toggles the flapping on/off. Maybe you already knew that, but it took me a while to find out and I know others who fell for that, too.

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    1. I hate the controls, and even though I know you don't need to keep the up key pressed, it still is an amazingly awkward control system.

      But I guess that's exactly what ScumSoft want, so it eats up plenty of buckazoids from people like Roger!

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    2. Luckily slowing the game down by bashing the minus sign makes it much easier... ;-)

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    3. I didn't even consider trying that! *facepalm*

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    4. To be fair, that is kinda cheating, unless your emulator is running much faster then a computer of that era.

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    5. I wouldn't call it cheating. It's not an emulator feature, it's one of the game options, right next to sound volume.

      I adjusted the speed a lot myself. I kept it on maximum for most of the game so my guy moved quickly from place to place, and slowed it to minimum for some sequences (Including Astro Chicken)

      Which reminds me of something I was wondering about. Does anybody know what the hell Vaporcalc is?

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    6. I kinda liked Astro Chicken, but then as a young kid I put considerable time in Lunar Lander -the game AC is aping- and the VCS2600's Sky Diver. I guess bad controls & frustrating gameplay are part of the "fun".

      Also, Astro Chicken is supposed to be horrible - that's actually the setup for one nice joke later on in the game.

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    7. TBD: Oh, ok, that is fair then.

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    8. Holy shit, they've invented Flappy Bird!

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  5. Astro Chicken totally looks like Joe Galaxy, the main character from the eponymous Italian comic from the '70s! Here: http://bit.ly/17N9BwM

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  6. Hah, I didn't even notice the Van Halen reference, nice catch!

    And regarding light speed visuals, here's what it would really look like: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2013/january/star-wars-what-would-hyperspace-travel-really-look-like?searchterm=star%20wars

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    1. Those are actually space gnats hitting your ship's windshield.

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  7. Monolith Burger is probably also a reference to 2001 and its black monolith.

    Has anyone tried to wear the chicken hat? Or bought the most expensive meal in the MB?

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    1. I tried wearing the hat. I was hoping the terminator might not recognise me. Roger refused to wear it because it would look too silly though.

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    2. It's only the most expensive because you get to have it twice

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    3. You can wear the hat before you leave the shop, and you have it on when you walk out. It doesn't last long

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  8. Hi, I'm not sure if anyone's posted this previously, but I think it is well worth mentioning, as the artist, Mark Crowe is an absolute legend.....

    In the video I link to below, you can see a timelapse of several screens in Space Quest 3 drawing, to get an idea of how he put together the screens at the time (i.e. it was painstaking and laborious) - and the results he managed to get out of such a primitive product were mindblowing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QPVfGq19f8

    The way the screen is drawn on that video, is how he originally drew it in the vector editing system in SCI - to draw screens in the finished game it basically replayed all the actions that the artist took - this saved a lot of memory compared to storing information about every pixel on the screen to disk.

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    1. What I don't get, is why does he do such great shading (for the time) and then pick such HORRID colours.

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    2. To be fair, with the EGA palette he didn't have much to work with. With the limit of only 16 colors at the same time on screen (black and white being two of them), and only 64 colors total on the entire palette, I think he made a really good job.
      Here, you go find prettier colors on this thing: :p
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_Graphics_Adapter

      It is supposed to be alien landscapes after all.

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    3. I remember being annoyed as an Amiga player when games looked exactly the same as their DOS version (Sierra being one of the biggest culprits) and not taking advantage of the Amiga's 4096 colours and Stereo sound!

      Lucasarts expended significant effort to take advantage of the different systems. See Zak McKracken from a year earlier...

      http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/zak-mckracken-and-the-alien-mindbenders/screenshots/gameShotId,8124/

      http://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/zak-mckracken-and-the-alien-mindbenders/screenshots/gameShotId,267740/

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    4. Why on earth are people using EGA in 1989? I thought VGA was quite common by then! Next, you are right, most of those are horrible, though I'd pick some of the darker purples and such, intestate of the hot ones. Which raises the question of what on earth the EGA designers were thinking. Ditto the CGA ones. If you only have a few colours why PURPLE?

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    5. VGA was first introduced in 1987, so it only had a two year slack period before SQ3 came out. This means VGA wasn't something you could rely on if you wanted to hit the biggest audience in 1989. It's been about the same amount of time since the first 4K TV was released, and I don't think anybody would attempt releasing 4K-only programming at this stage.

      As for color choices, it's not like they sat down and picked from a color chart. EGA has a 6-bit color addressing field, which means two bits for each color on each pixel (red, blue and green). When black is 000000, white is 111111, the other 62 colors end up being spaced equally in between. Thus you end up with the color palette you have on EGA. Imagine if you printed out a long image of the entire color spectrum from black to white and put 64 equally spaced out dots on it, that's what you would get. It's not a matter of choice, but of technical limitations.

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    6. Its all a matter of perspective people. I personally find the colours and shading used in Space Quest 3, stunning.

      However, my perspective is that I grew up with a 4 colour CGA PC, and played Space Quest 1,2,3, Police Quest 1,2, and Kings Quest 1,2,3,4 on that, where you had black, white, red and cyan as your four colours.

      Moving from that to EGA was such a massive step (I actually saved up from my afterschool work and bought a VGA 286, and skipped EGA). The countless hours I spent drooling at EGA shots in magazines and catalogues was massive, and then going back to CGA bought it all back down with a thud.

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    8. I had a PCJr with it's 16 colors in the days of CGA. I couldn't, at my age, understand why I couldn't get EGA for all games. I didn't realize that the PCJr was special and that Sierra leveraged it. All the SSI/Dragonlance games were 4 colors for me :(

      As a game developer now, I can appreciate cross-platform and porting issues. Also leveraging the AGI interpreter for as long as possible while the SCI interpreter was written saves $$ and ensures ship schedules.

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  9. Holy cow, you guys put up a lot of comments rather quickly.

    One thing I'm noticing as I slowly glace through Saturday Crapshoot, is how many bad adventure games were made by the people who did Tex Murphy. You are going to play Noctropolis and co, right? :D

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    1. Noctropolis is actually a really fun, mostly well put together game. The issue with it is really down to a few illogical puzzles at key times that ruin the immersion - and the fact that they're paying homage to a set of comics with slightly nonsensical plots. I'll not ruin anything further, though.

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    2. I still have a massive stoft spot for Countdown - that was one of their better adventures IMO, and something completely different to the LucasArts/Sierra stuff.

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    3. I really enjoyed Noctropolis back whenever it was. Haven't played or looked at it since, so hopefully it's not nostalgia making me look forward to it.

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    4. According to Mobygames, Noctropolis wasn't from the same company as the Tex Murphy games, but they did share a designer, Brent Erickson, who seemed to work for quite a few good companies.

      But looking at Access Software's history on Mobygames I was more surprised that some games I really enjoyed on the Commodore 64 were from them (Raid Over Moscow, Beach Head and Beach Head II)

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    5. Raid Over Moscow and the Beach Head games are taking me back. I used to love those. I think I Had Beach Head on tape so I would have to sit there for 15-20 minutes waiting for the tape to play and load up. Can you imagine kids today having that kind of patience in these days of instant gratification.
      Damn I sound like an old Yorkshireman

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    6. What about Dreamweb, another one from Saturday Crapshoot. Is it any good, or will we laugh when Trickster suffers through it?

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    7. Oh, there's so many bad, bad adventure games dropped into our gaming goodness like so many elephant turds in a circus parade, it's not even funny.

      Looking at the list of what we're going to go through, I'm groaning inside.

      From Access software though, I'm only seeing Mean Streets and Crime Wave on the Saturday Crapshoot list. Of those, we've already played through Mean Streets (which is still in Top10), and Crime Wave isn't an adventure.

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    8. Yeah, and Noctropolis was by Brent Erickson. It is probably just that I hit all of those in short succession, and misremebered Crime Wave as being an adventure game.

      Also: Name a genre that isn't 90% bad games.

      Isn't it Sturgons law that says "90% of everything is crap"? And a lot of people think he is an optimist?

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    9. You'd never know how good good is if it weren't for the bad to rate it against. ;)

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    10. First person shooters. I reckon that's at least 98-99.6% bad games.

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    11. 'God' games. Small number of them, and I reckon they're about 50-50 hit and miss. The majority of them aren't 'bad', they're just too finicky to get into. I can enjoy a game and still say I'm no good at it / it's not my cup of tea.

      Your go, Sturg(e)on!

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    12. *puts on monocle* Actually that would be Sturgeon's Revelation. Sturgeon's Law, as originally stated, was something along the lines of "Nothing is absolute", which I admit sounds much less interesting.

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    13. Dreamweb: It's at least dark and cyberpunk, so you'll probably love it Canageek ;) It has good background music, but that's about it. Plotwise it is almost nonsense: you just go shooting people, because you've had weird dreams of men in robes.

      Access Software: Their Amazon:Guardians of Eden had pretty horrible actors, B-movie plot and some really irritating puzzles.

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    14. Aside from its titillation value, I found Noctropolis to be a painfully average entry. A big letdown considering the potential afforded by the theme...

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    15. Draconius: Which is odd, as it is the easiest genre to make a half-decent game in. I mean, it is the default FOSS game to make, and most of them are pretty fun (Urban Terror, Nexuiz/Xotic, Cube2: Sauerbraten being the ones I've played).

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    16. Canageek: It's really a personal preference thing. I'm not a fan of FPS and have really only found a handful that I enjoy. It probably stems from the earlier ones on PC gave me motion sickness.

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    17. Right, but I don't see that as being a reason to maintain there is a greater number of 'bad' FPS vs 'good' FPS then say, 'bad' RPGs vs 'good' RPGs or adventure games, puzzle games, etc.

      I do think you might be right, as FPS are probably the most profitable genre around, and thus a lot of companies try and make FPS for a quick buck, leading to an abundance of mediocre, churned out games. I mean, you don't need a plot, you don't need puzzles, so it seems easier. Look at how many FOSS FPS there are (lots) vs RPGs (That I can name? About 3, and none of those are pure RPGs.) However, you need careful balance of weapons, gear, and good level design, leading to a lot of games copying more popular games (ie Quake) making some very bland experiences.

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  10. I haven't played this game since I was a teenager. I'm not sure I knew about the method you used to get rid of the terminator. It doesn't ring any bells. I always used an alternate method.

    And Astro Chicken is awesome! Love the absurdity of the game and the legendary "BACOCK!" upon success.

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  11. Did anyone get my red button reference? It came straight from my teenage years and I had a good belly laugh watching videos of it on YouTube yesterday. :)

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    1. How could people not get references to Ren and Stimpy, Mr. Trick? :)

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    2. I never watched Ren and Stimpy...

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    3. You guys don't know what you're missing. Go and watch Space Madness right now! Check out Stimpy's Invention or Son of Stimpy while you're at it. Oh and there's always The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen!

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    4. Here's a helping hand...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZCiZpph9jo

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    5. Just watched Space Madness. Honestly, I'd take any episode of Darkwing Duck on repeat over that. :p

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  12. Kickstarter roundup:
    Once again, Trickster's goal, set during the initial flush of KS enthusiasm, means I don't get CAPs for this, as everyone is scared to ask for that much money now.

    Adventurezator: When Pigs Fly: $9,457 pledged of $20,000 goal. 11 days to go. Currently going to fall short. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/petrucio/adventurezator-when-pigs-fly

    SOS: Ship of Sacrifice - Online Co-op Adventure Game: $2,941 pledged of $40,000 goal: Interesting idea, though I don't see it working. Not going to make it anyway. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/waterbottle/sos-ship-of-sacrifice-online-co-op-adventure-game

    This one actually looks pretty, and like what you guys would want to see: Alum - A Sierra/LucasArts-style Point&Click Adventure http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11227813/alum-a-sierra-lucasarts-style-pointandclick-advent-0 $4,467 pledged of 10,000 goal, 21 days to go. Kicktracker projects it falling short, but close at 91%, so yeah, it could use some help.

    Tales of Terrene: $2,218 pledged of $10,000 goal 10 days to go, projected: 32%. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kortexstudios/tales-of-terrene
    Man, things are not going well for KS adventure games as of late.

    Ghost Encounters: Deadwood - Collector's Edition: $1,168 pledged of $250 goal. 7 days to go. Projected to get over 5x what is asked for. Screenshots look VERY pretty. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/313725596/ghost-encounters-deadwood-collectors-edition

    Zammis Adventure video game comes to life on your smartphone: $7,579 pledged of $30,000 goal, 21 days to go, 66% projected. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theudda/zammis-adventure-video-game-comes-to-life-on-your

    Thoughts? Opinions? Disappointment I didn't put in one of my trademark stealth links?



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    1. Oooh, thanks for the summary!
      I ended up backing Ghost Encounters: Deadwood, looks really nice.
      Tales of Terrene seems to be an RPG, and Zammis Adventure is a platformer, but both look very good.

      Adventurezator mixes game and game builder too much for me. I see the point, but since I'd never bother to make my own I lose some interest.

      SOS could be interesting, but won't make it.

      Alum didn't grip me. Could be really good though.

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    2. I think someone said a while back that the majority of KS ventures that aren't asking for over 50k are looking at a very hopeful budget, unless they're looking to refine a pre-existing product. If you think about it, that does make sense. If we're to be VERY generous, let's come away with the following business model:

      $25,000 per year = salary of one person. A very, very low salary that would be leaving people with VERY bare bones in a typical budget.
      2 people (one programmer, one artist, both co-writers) - $50,000. Publisher is covered by KS and possible common interest...

      So essentially, unless we're paying for a sub-par product, or one that takes massive shortcuts (even a few that I've backed have looked to use a pre-existing engine to cut back on programming issues, ala the Tierra/AGDI/Himalaya one which is under AGS) but that does limit the authors somewhat. This isn't to say that the game WILL suck, but in essence.. I live on a salary that would dwarf the amount that these guys are going to make, and my job is relatively easy. Programming is hard. Getting good music is hard. Looking at these sorta games makes me think 'well, they're either going to bankrupt themselves going for the best game possible, or the game isn't quite going to be what I'd hope for'.

      Is anyone else with me, here?

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    3. I do understand what you're saying. In some cases though there are other reasons for low budgets.

      They might have a game mostly finished, just needing polish for completion. Maybe they have the game all set, but need to pay somebody to create music fot it. Or they live on savings and own funds, and just need the little bit extra to get it out.

      Kickstarter is just to get the game finished. Afterwards it usually goes on general sale, where the profits will come into play.

      But I agree, usually a low budget means low quality. Not always though.

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    4. First point: $25K/year is luxury pay. I make $20/year, then have to pay back $5k of it in tuition. Now, because I'm paid so little, and can count the tuition against it, plus a monthly amount, I don't have to pay taxes, so the amount I'm paid is the amount I get to keep. But still, $25k/year is not living in squalor if you don't have kids and have fairly cheap hobbies. I want to punch people when they complain about only making $30 an hour doing drone work at an auto plant, or filling out paperwork somewhere.

      Secondly: It also depends on the size of your game. If you are using an existing engine, and making a smaller game, then it may only take a few months, or you are doing it as a side project on evenings/weekends and thus don't need to give yourself a salary, but need money to buy art or pay fees to get it on steam/xbox live/whereever.

      I agree, most tiny games with small budgets are going to suck, but I don't think it is always going to be the case: What is the budget on the Submachine series, for example?

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    5. What we do have to consider is that $25K isn't $25K everywhere. It might suit you fine in Canada, but here in Norway the OECD poverty line is set at about $35K due to increased living costs. That means a Kickstarter based in Norway, let's say Dreamfall Chapters, will get considerably less work hours for each dollar than a project based in India for instance.

      That does not mean Dreamfall Chapters will suck, but it may mean that they have to get additional sources of funding from somewhere else. For them, the Norwegian Film Institue has put up ~$420K in funding to promote Norwegian artists, which comes on top of the Kickstarter funds.

      As I said, it's all relative, and we can't predict the quality and scope of a game just based on its Kickstarter funding goals.

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    6. Fair point, though I am in Vancouver, one of the more expensive places in North America. Now, I've only been living this way for two months, and one month I'm a tiny bit over budget, so it isn't super easy, but at the same time, I'm living on my own, going out to dinner once in a while, and buying lunch a couple times a week, so I could certainly live on less if I had a room mate and was paying $300 less in rent each month.

      Of course, when your hobbies are sitting at home with your laptop, and playing GURPS/D&D a few times a week (which is free, once you have the books or if you borrow them), it leaves a lot open in your budget.

      Really though the things which my friends seem to waste most of their money on are: Travel (eats money!) and alcohol (eats MORE money!). Sometimes showing off for a date can be involved, but if you wind up living with them that saves money. Don't go out drinking, and stay in the same place, and you'd be amazed how much money is suddenly available.

      (Yes, this is a rant I've had with a lot of people complaining how poor they are, even when they have better paying jobs then me. Pretentious 'life isn't worth living if you can't see the world' people.)

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    7. I'm not at all saying that I'm poor. But here in Australia, the national minimum wage for a full time adult employee is 32 or so a year. (600 a week.) We're only 90c to the American dollar, and we were beating them by the same amount this time last year. Particularly given that you're working off of a budget that may not make you the product you're working on.. (I consider 'most of the way complete' or 'remaster under the same engine' games really more about bandwagon jumping. If you were going to release it anyway, I'd say kickstarter isn't the way to go. And a lot of these guys are presenting a most of the way done product and just hoping to have some financial stress taken off of them. Asking for $250 through kickstarter actually makes me think 'if you believe in your product, why didn't you take a no interest bank loan?')

      Still. It's the ideology of it for me. The new Sierra games would not be happening were it not for Kickstarter. A lot of these games you've just listed are going to be released regardless.. assuredly that's a noteworthy difference?

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    8. Yeah, I just think there is a difference between a professionally done game like Project Eternity, which has a full team working on it, and say, Submachine, which has one guy, and yet I think both are potentially excellent games. Submachine isn't kickstarted, but suppose the maker wanted to buy some sound, art, etc. Is there anything wrong with him kickstarting that, if he is going to make the game anyway, but wouldn't be able to afford the sound/art?

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    9. I backed Adventurezator. Seeing that there will be some community-made projects after its (possible) release, thus increasing its longevity.

      Sorta like the Adventure Creation Set... which still hosts a rather active fanbase.

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    10. I suppose that for me, were I the one in the hypothetical Submachine scenario, I'd contact indie freebies (Deviant art alone would cover much if this), and offer them royalties on game sales. A lot of recent kickstarter offers have failed largely because they were more grabs for additional funding than attempts for people to vote with their wallet. I feel that kickstarter only works when the crowd actually feels involved - there's little value to them in 'Get a commercially viable game for slightly cheaper than you would if you tried us a year from now! And. Um. Some wallpapers!'

      ANYWAYS. Sorry to derail the fun of SQ3 for this little debate. I just find it interesting to read people's opinions on the matter, really.

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  13. New game in the Secret Files series is announced:
    https://www.facebook.com/secretfilesgames
    New protagonist in a spin-off, Secret Files: Sam Peters.

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  14. Still Life and Still Life 2 on 75% sale on Steam, both singles and bundled.

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/46480

    Still Life is Accepted in 2005, Still Life 2 Borderline 2009.

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    1. Damn, I thought I'd posted those this morning. I must not have filled out the Catchpa or something.

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  15. Nice blog. Did you know that there are 2 ways of killing the Terminator? You can lead him underneath the rock dwelling creature that then spits his belt out.

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    1. Hi, and welcome to the blog!

      An early encoded comment by Draconius also mentioned this. You can decode these comments at rot13.com or other places.

      It's always good to hear about alternate puzzle solutions, so thank you.

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