One of the things I’ve always loved about adventure games is that they force you to think.
Novels are fun because you can imagine, movies are fun because you can experience, but I always loved Adventure games because they forced me to think my way out of a problem.
I first played Space Quest on a monochrome monitor, sitting by my father at the Apple //C, and trying to figure out how to escape a self-destructing ship. It was frustrating, and the text parser, when combined with my 11 year old vocabulary made it even harder- But that was the fun of it. The frustration and difficulty of thinking how to escape the ship made it all the more rewarding when we finally found all the steps which let Roger survive.
Playing adventure games felt like an accomplishment- You weren’t just getting to the next level; You were out thinking the puzzles, and figuring out a way to go forward. It was addicting, and being able to see more of the story made it even better.
My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Reilly, rewarded us for good behavior. She had a little box of prizes that we could choose from- Getting an A on a quiz might earn you a pencil topper, or perfect attendance for a month might earn you a snap bracelet. Each of her students could earn points for their work, and exchange them for something fun. I could see past the gilded trinkets, however, to the true prize in her magic box.
15 minutes of computer time, while everyone else was in class.
I coveted the computer time mercilessly. My favorite memory of her class was saving up my points and convincing her to let me buy two glorious hours of game-time at once. While the rest of the class was learning about cross multiplication, I was able to cross the chasms of Kerona, fighting the deadly Spider Droids.
A few years later, when I found Space Quest ]I[ in a bargain bin at KB Toys, I was amazed- “They made more of these?!”. I had never finished the original game- We had a pirated copy of the game, and it crashed near the end every time.. But finding another Space Quest game.. A new Space Quest game, meant that I could continue the adventures of Roger Wilco, and better still, have more of the dastardly puzzles to solve.
10 years later, long since having played and finished each of the Space Quest games, I started searching the internet for mentions of it, on a lark. I had real Troel’s FAQ a few years prior, and I was amazed to discover that there were entire websites set up about Space Quest, with people who had enjoyed the games just as much as I had.
I read that there was a Space Quest 7 under development, although it was still very early, and the team was still working on other projects. I was hooked. I checked the website every few days looking for any news or leaks about the new game. I even emailed Leslie one weekend, asking about some feature and if it might be in the game.
She was kind enough to reply, and I excitedly forwarded the result to Jess, owner of the premier Space Quest website of the day- About an hour later, I emailed Jess again, my better judgement taking over as I realized that Leslie probably hadn’t intended her comments to be public.
A few months later, Leslie posted the following open letter.
To the Friends and Fans of Space Quest:As you all know, the path to Space Quest 7 has been long and bumpy, and we were never sure what we would find at the end of the road. The decision has been made, after much soul-searching and agonizing, to put Space Quest 7 on hold indefinitely.The joy for the team has been in the journey. We’ve made many friends out there, and it has been quite heartening to know that Roger Wilco has so many fans. I look forward to continuing the friendships I’ve developed over the last year. But Sierra is in the process of many changes, and we had to take a hard look at whether a Space Quest 7 project made sense. Unfortunately for those of us who love Roger and his stupid antics, other projects just have more to offer both to the company and to our customers in general at this time.Please don’t worry about the team. We will all move to other projects at Sierra On-Line. Many of us will go over to the Babylon 5 space combat game, which will be coming out in Holiday 1998. Others will go over to the B5 adventure game, which will also come out in 1999. Both of these products will reflect Sierra’s commitment to excellence in space games, and I hope you’ll consider playing them if you have the opportunity.I am sending this email to those of you who have sent me mail lately. Please pass the information on to any Space Quest fans I inadvertently omitted.Finally, don’t be sad for Roger. Just think of him as weary from making us laugh for all these years, ready for a break from his adventures. He and la Wankmeister want to settle down, raise a family. And perhaps as we look up in the sky, a distant star will remind us that somewhere, in a distant galaxy, Roger Wilco is probably getting pantsed.Thanks again for all your support,The Space Quest Team-Leslie Balfour-Scott Murphy