Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter

Made by Sierra, released in 1986/1991

This isn't part of my job description

Current Zar note: I did this LP in 2007! I left my write-up mostly unchanged.

Anyway, we're heading into our next game, which by popular vote is going to be Space Quest. :D And it's very short, barely clocking in at 1000 screencaps, which may sound like a lot but that's for the whole game (and I was like looking at everything), and generally in each post for a screencap adventure I run about 300 screencaps or so. So, I'm seeing this probably ending up in three or four installments like King's Quest I.

I'm pretty excited to be doing Space Quest though, because like Star Control 2 and Day of the Tentacle, Space Quest is a series that means a lot to me, along with all the Sierra games, but Space Quest and Quest for Glory are probably the closest to me. I honestly cannot remember a period when I was not playing these games, or didn't know about them. They're an inextricable part of my life, how I think, how I approach games, how I look at puzzles, everything. I mean, each series has its own distinctive theme, and to me, those themes are so iconic and deeply embededded in my brain that they're on par with the Zelda, Mario, or Metroid themes. I'm pretty sure my paranoia about forgetting things is traced back to these games, along with my fear of leaving any area in a game without exploring every single inch of it because I may never be able to go back, having to talk to every single npc multiple times, pick up absolutely everything I can find, saving obsessively and compulsively, and assuming that with one wrong move, it's game over.

So being able to share something like this with you guys is neat for me, since this is running about as deep as these things get. I introduced you to the basic idea of Sierra games with King's Quest, since I thought that'd be the real way to start with these since that was the first game, but really, KQ is not as dear to me as SQ or QFG, and I definitely did not play those as much as I played these. While my favorite Space Quest game is probably 3 or 4, I still like 1, so this is pretty neat. Space Quest has this wonderful, biting, sarcastic sense of humor at points, which totally appeals to me and probably influenced my sense of humor today, actually. They're lots of fun to play, especially if you're a sci-fi fan.

And these games get overlooked so often by modern crowds, and even with all their faults and cruelties, they're still my childhood, and I still love them with all my heart. They're adventure games, and god help me, I love adventure games. That's part of why I love Phoenix Wright so's essentially an adventure game.

BLAH BLAH BLAH SIERRA GAMES BLAH BLAH. Anyway. I mentioned in the King's Quest I first installment that Sierra released remakes of those of their old flagship titles to ride the wave of the new VGA improved graphics and their icon interface. King's Quest, Space Quest, Quest for Glory, Police Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry are all games that got these remakes, and like I said in the KQ installment, they were generally not recieved very well.

But personally, me and Alex preferred the VGA versions. And again as I said in the KQ installment, we played and beat the AGI versions too (well except for Police Quest, we never liked that series so screw that), so don't start with me about being a puss or something for playing the VGA version (since generally, the VGA version of each game was much easier than the original). But we liked the VGA ones better. So for this screencap adventure, I'm doing the VGA version of Space Quest I, which clocks in at an impressive for the time 6.5 megs. No joke. In fact, here you go, you can download it here from my domain for now. I don't have the AGI version on me, since I don't typically play that version, but I bet you can find it pretty quick if you google for it. It runs perfectly fine in DOSbox, no special set up required. :D

So let's get this party started!

Although before you run it for the first time, you might want to run install or setup first, to set the sound drivers the way you like. Personally, I choose sound blaster since that was the sound card I had when I was younger and that's how I expect everything to sound, but the songs I'll be providing for you will have been recorded from the Roland MT-32 soundcard, which makes a BIG difference in how things sound. You'll see when I get to Droids 'R Us, cause I have two comparison tracks for that.

This logo makes me so happy. You have no idea. It would precede almost every Sierra game, and it had its own little fanfare. In the rare case of SQ1 though, it actually doesn't play and goes straight into the main theme.

Space Quest I VGA Main Theme. God, you have no idea how much this theme means to me guys. That little melody in there that reprises in every Space Quest game somehow. It just brings back every bit of love and devotion I have for these games. Argj I love them and this so much.



Roger Wilco is our reluctant semi-hero, as the game says in its own words. I love Roger so much. We'll see more of him in a bit.


The Sarien Encounter, if you can't read that. Like all Sierra games, this has a subtitle. :D Most of the time they're parodies of other more known titles.

Husband of Roberta Williams, and a frequent subject for cheap jokes. :D

Aha, there we go! Thats the Two Guys from Andromeda, as they call themselves, who came up with the original idea of Space Quest and programmed the first sequence of the game as a demo. They showed it to Ken Williams, who thought it was neat and gave them the go-ahead to make Space Quest. Good stuff. We'll be seeing more of them as we go further into the series, trust me.


that spaceship looks delicious


I would totally design my ship to look like some random object in the future. WHY NOT.

NOT GOOD FOR CHIK-FIL-SHIP HERE BOB I think Attack on the Arcada starts here.

Aha, there he is! Roger Wilco, our hero. The janitor. No seriously. Weirdly enough, for the first...four games (the AGI version of this one) if I remember right, Roger had brown hair. Then they abruptly made him blond in the 5th one. Haha random. Well he was kind of brownish blond in 4. Ah well.

Heh. And here kicks in the Arcada Corridors, where you can hear that robot go zipping by in the first few seconds. Hehe.

The text may seem a bit small, but this game plays at double this resolution in DOSbox, so it's not that hard to read when you're actually playing.

TIME LIMIT don't worry, that's generally more than enough time to get out of there in time. At least, in my experience. There's really not a lot of places you can go.

Also, random tidbit - these games run rather weirdly on modern computers if you're not running DOSbox, since they run much faster than they ever intended. This means that if you're playing without DOSbox, Roger will constantly be racheting his head back and forth like a sprinkler, since he was programmed to look around occasionally with slower computers. Also you move at the speed of light when you click anywhere, although thankfully since this game is mouse driven, there's no chance of accidentally running yourself off a cliff. Unless you click yourself off a cliff, and yes you can do that in some of these.

Haha, and here you have an example of the basic tone of all the Space Quest games. This kind of very dry, sarcastic humor. MY FAVORITE KIND.


What are you doing in there, Roger?

Anyway I thought there'd be something in the closet, but I was thinking of Space Quest II. Ah well. MOVING ON.

Right, here's the system that most of Sierra's VGA games used, although there were different variants on it depending on your game. Basically, you click an icon, then click on whatever you want to affect with it. Click the eye, click on what you want to look at. Click the hand, click on what you want to pick up. Click the walking icon where you want to go. Very straight-forward, and you can cycle through the different icons with your right mouse button. It's very intuitive but I've been playing these games like my whole life, so I dunno. :B

The nose and tongue aren't necessary to finish the game, but you can get some great messages if you mess with them. :D I tried to click on stuff when I could but I know I didn't get everything. ALL THE MORE REASON YOU SHOULD PLAY YOURSELF SOMETIME

Anyway, movin along.


Ah, here's a warning sign to immediately get off the screen or hide somewhere. I decided to play it wild and look at the other body because I thought I'd have enough time.


Yes, I died about two seconds into the game. AWESOME, EH? I didn't even have time to save. Haha it wasn't like I'd done anything anyway. I just restarted and went back on my way.

Even if you've played these games a billion times, like I have, you will probably die at least once. Probably more than that. All the more reason to SAVE SAVE SAVE. SAVE OFTEN.

I always search dead bodies for stuff as a general rule of thumb. I'm not sure where I picked that up. PROBABLY THESE GAMES.

Hmmm, this room looks important.

Hugh. >(

Pff what a ripoff.

Uh, yeah! Let's go with that!

Hahahaha, magnet.

This is...hmm. Well, it might not be EXACTLY necessary, but picking up this doodad will make this about 10x easier on you later on. This is unusual for Sierra since most of the time it's a PICK THIS UP OR DIE LATER scenario.

Heh, technodudes. Lower airlock, you say?

Aha! One important thing down.

Another important looking room. HMM.

This is also a good room to save in, if you're following along at home. You can see that for some of my playthroughs of the game I had seven different files. This time around I didn't need so many, but you can NEVER HAVE ENOUGH SAVE GAMES WHEN YOU ARE PLAYING A SIERRA GAME. I AM TOTALLY SERIOUS. Especially if you've never beaten it before. I know these games backwards and forwards and every solution to every puzzle, but I still always make sure to have a few save games as backups in case something goes wrong.

Cartridges, huh? I bet I'm gonna need one of these.

Hee hee, Abdo-Seal. That'd be a useful thing to have around the house. I think Arcada Themes kicks in around this point.

Talking icon, if you couldn't guess. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY DYING MAN

Hey, don't I know you from Planet of the Apes?

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. This is why you saved before he came in the room. He will only say this once, and you can click past it by accident if you're not paying attention. That thing he says there, "Van Allen Belts" for me this time, it changes everytime you play through. This is the Copy Protection, an early attempt by Sierra to stop people from pirating their games, since the answers came with the manual. Here's what you'll need.

This screwed me and Alex over a few times when we'd lose manuals or something and then get stuck. >( Very frustrating. Some games it's not entirely necessary, but in others you really can't get anywhere without it. SQ1 is one of them.

Anyway, dying scientist will give you a word, and you match it to those symbols there. Then...

Hahaha woops not paying attention

Hee hee hee.

Boop boop boop

Buh I must have put in something wrong.

Ah, there we go.

Kay, cartridge check, card key check, widget check. All I need from upstairs, time to scoot along before I get shot.

This one just in case I got the wrong catridge by mistake or something. YOU NEVER KNOW.

You can see Roger in the lower corner there. Basically just zipped around in a circle.


Nothin. Eh, doesn't hurt to check.


Wow that was cutting it extremely close. I'm still kind of surprised I made it. Ah well, anyway.

Arcada Lower Levels, just kind of ambient stuff.


Way to not take a screencap before covering it with a text box self

Mostly used for flying sims, but you could be creative.


Darn. Hmm.

Tee hee. Tee hee.

You'd be surprised sometimes how often this kind of thing works. If you can't see Roger, most of the time they can't either.

Anyway, moving along. I'd rather not smash into the bay doors, so let's fix that. If you leave them closed you die, by the way.

You are correct on that point, Rog.

By the way, I'm pretty sure if you get this far and you don't have the keycard, you can't go back for it because guards will appear that will instantly shoot you on the last screen. WOO SIERRA

Getting closer! Arcada Airlock

Logo for some company if I remember right, I can't remember which one now. No doubt bankrupt nowadays.

I apparently didn't take a cap of this cause I was an idiot, but there was a space suit in there.

Wow, that's impressive. GO ME but basically there's a thing in a drawer here.

If you don't pick this up now, about twenty minutes from now it will screw you over and you will be stuck forever. If you saved without it too bad, you have to restart because you need it to continue on. OH SIERRA, I LOVE YOU TOO.

That sounds good! If you walk out there without your space suit, you die. There are so many ways to die here. :D

In we go!

Gotta buckle your seatbelt, or you die. :D Just like in real life!


I then apparently didn't take a cap of what this button said because I'm an idiot, but it's Power.

Or this one, again because I'm an idiot, but this button said DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.


Arrrrgghj so picky

Grab that throttle baby

The chickenship explodes, but I didn't catch that. WOO. Pretty much goes without saying that if you stay on the ship until the countdown runs out, you die. It does play a little theme just for that death though.

Hurraaaay we escaped alive hurraaaay. Thrusting through Space has lots of bloopy little noises in it, heh. And is still vaguely sinister for some reason.


And then appropriately enough, the game locked up. wtf. I restored.

Then forgot to buckle up WOO GO ME


Oops! Wrong Button! haha a bad sign.

Hahahaha Sierra love slipping plugs in their games for other games. I also love the "thanks for playing and all that stuff." WE CARE SO MUCH, REALLY.

Okay, let's actually get going. Kerona, eh? Sounds refreshing!

The Autonav Button is just a simple little loop.


Don't worry Roger, it'll pass.


Seriously, if you're playing this yourself, click everything on everything. You get some of the best messages that way.

If you're not wearing your seatbelt when you land, you die!

Quite lovely really.

Important? You bet! You better pick this up.

Will I need a piece of broken glass? YOU BET. PICK IT UP.

Haha, loitering. YOU MOON, GET GOING.

Yeah that color does do that to me

Hee hee hee.

Let's get going!

Uh oh.


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