June 10, 2012

The Two Guys from Andromeda Kickstarter

I'm writing this blog-post up against a time limit. Also, I'm suffering from being sleepy and having a cold (not MAN-FLU but still REALLY annoying).

Why is there a time limit? Because the The Two Guys from Andromeda Kickstarter is ending on June 12th at 13:27 EDT (which is 18:27 in GMT or 'proper' time :P) and, at time of writing, still needs $51,000 to succeed. Why is that important? Well, that would be the content for this blog post wouldn't it?

Unlike my previous post, I'm going to split this one up into headings to try and organise my thoughts. Let's see how it works shall we?

Who are the Two Guys From Andromeda?

The Two Guys From Andromeda are, in real life, Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe. They have been in and out of the computer-games industry for over 25 years so they know a thing or two.

Ok, so it's Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe, so what?

So what?!!? SO WHAT?!?!?!? Just follow me my friend. Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe used to work for a small developer called Sierra On-Line (Wikipedia link). Sierra earned their place in the computer gaming hall of fame by creating series after series of computer adventure games. Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe, the Two Guys From Andrmeda, created the legendary Space Quest series of computer adventure games.

Space Quest?

Yes, Space Quest. Released in 1986 and using Sierra's AGI computer game engine, Space Quest took you on a piss-take tour of space, playing the character of a janitor who in Space Quest could be called anything you like but in later sequels (of which there have been 5) would be known as Roger Wilco. As the Wikipedia link shows, your character in the game wakes up in a broom cupboard to find your spaceship has been taken over by the Sariens (bad people). You then bumble through an adventure that sees you giving the Sariens a good (if comic) sorting out.

Obviously, if you look at the game now, the graphics don't look that good, but trust me, back in the mid 1980s they were great. The faux-3D engine in the game allowed you to move behind and around things. Not overly exciting except when you realise that other computer games (not console games) were still using plan-text for a long time after.

Not only were the graphics good for the time but the jokes in the game were good too. Space Quest was, throughout its whole run, a comedy, sci-fi space adventure series. Space Quest 2's plot revolves around the bad guy (Sludge Vohaul) releasing millions of cloned insurance salesmen upon the galaxy for crying out loud! One of the features that fans remember fondly is the sheer variety of death sequences and how the game would mock you if you died stupidly (i.e. walking off the edge of a cliff etc.) Don't believe me? Check it out on the AWESOME Many Deaths of Roger Wilco site. These were amazingly funny at the time, and, having refreshed my memory of some of them, I'd say they still are! The only time you'd get annoyed is when you realised that your last save-game was from AGES ago! Doh!

In a clever twist the duo inserted themselves into Space Quest lore by making themselves characters in SQ3 who had to be helped by Roger Wilco. I'm not going to mention anymore to avoid spoiling the plot more than I already have but it's a funny twist and worth exploring. You can buy the originals from Gog.com links here: SQ 1->3 and SQ 4-->6.

Speaking on a personal level, The Space Quest series taught me to type and encouraged me to read more. Because the games were text-heavy you couldn't avoid it if you wanted to know what was going on. They also encouraged me to think things through logically. What had I missed? Why couldn't I progress? How could I get through this puzzle? Now whilst some of the puzzles were 'out-there', I still maintain that the majority of the puzzles in the game followed an element of logic more than the trial-and-error that I've experienced in adventures since then. The Space Quest series were also a bonding experience for me as I played them alongside my father (distracting him from running his own business but he didn't seem to mind too much).

Alright, so these guys created a series of games many years ago. So what's the fuss now?

Well, the duo created the Space Quest series which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies of each game all around the world. They worked together on Space Quest 1 to 4 then split up. Now, in 2012, thanks to Kickstarter, they're able to work together again. After a break of 20 years or so this is very big news and should be celebrated by computer game fans the world over.

From the look of their Kickstarter, their new game is going to bring all the humour of their previous games to a whole new generation of players. The link is on the right-side of the page there with all the latest info and you can donate from $1 but obviously, if you donate more you recieve rewards for doing so. Whilst their new game is not a Space Quest game that does not detract from the level of awesomeness it will have by defautl. So go ahead, go, donate and be part of computer gaming history by helping to bring space-adventure-comedy to a new generation of people! Go on...Go now!