Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter
This is the original Space Quest game, Space Quest, Chapter 1: The Sarien Encounter, which introduced the reluctant hero, Roger Wilco, a sub-ordinary man in extraordinary situations. The game was released in October 1986 and quickly became a hit, selling in excess of 100,000 copies. Maybe way more, but who really knows? That was a big number then considering how many people then had home computers. It was later remade and re-released with VGA painted and scanned graphics and a point-and-click interface in 1991 as “Space Quest I: Roger Wilco in the Sarien Encounter”. The authors prefer the original parser version of the game but those are hard to find, not to mention tough to play as they were on 5 1/4″ floppy disks.
(Note: An internet savvy individual might be able to find the original parser version available for download somewhere out there which they can run through a freeware program called DOSbox. I should mention that the DOSbox people wouldn’t mind a donation to support their efforts as you can play many games that were not designed for the operating systems of today.)
As a player of the Space Quest 1 original parser version release, your first task is to enter the name you want to use, but there is a default name, “Roger Wilco”. (A little known fact, the game was originally conceived with the idea that the character could be either male or female depending on the player and their choice. Unfortunately, in those early days there was a lot of technical understanding not in abundance with the authors. They quickly learned the limits, like the size of the storage medium for example as mentioned above, and the fact that every singe cell of animation for the main player would have had to be available for two genders. Keep in mind that CD’s and hard drives were just being designed for regular consumer use.)
Roger Wilco is the Sanitation Engineer (actually, a crappy janitor) aboard the scientific spaceshipÂ Arcada, which holds a powerful experimental device called the “Star Generator”. Roger emerges from an on-duty nap in a broom closet to find that the ship has been boarded, ransacked, all other members of the Arcada crew have been killed and the powerful Star Generator is missing. In the process, the self-destruct sequence built in to the Arcada has been activated.
From here, the player begins their role and does what adventurers do, trying to discern what has happened, what they should and shouldn’t do next and most importantly, how NOT to die. There are dead bodies to check, various locations to inspect and, eventually, other places to visit, like the small desert planet of Kerona for example. You will also encounter odd beings who find your body to be a playground, but not for you. Save your game position early and often. In the worlds of Space Quest, death can often be a source of amusement – and you will die at some point. Enjoy it! You are Roger Wilco, after all.
Okay, now get on out there and save a world or something. Enough with the reading already¦