In the first episode, I talk about how Space Quest fans playing on an MS-DOS PC were jealous of those playing on an Amiga, because the Amiga people got to enjoy the game with digital sound effects.
Most famously, being able to actually hear Roger actually speak the words, “Where am I?” in the intro (even though the line is actually in a thought bubble, but never mind that).
Turns out that the MS-DOS version actually did ship with all the digital sound effects in the game code. They were in the game files when the game was released in 1989, and they are still in the game files if you buy the game on GOG or Steam today.
What it didn’t ship with was a working SoundBlaster driver.
UPDATE: Well, actually, it did … sort of.
Since writing this post, I’ve had a few people tweet me to tell me they did hear the digital sound effects when they played the game back in the day. That was quite surprising, as I was under the impression that the SoundBlaster driver for the game was just faulty regardless of circumstances.
Turns out, the SoundBlaster driver does work, but only on specific cards, and only with specific settings. Here’s one chap who got it working on an official Creative Labs brand SoundBlaster 8-bit card with IRQ 7:
Bit of old news at this point, I’m afraid, but it deserves archiving. Another one of Joe’s Hangouts took place earlier this month, covering a topic that I suggested. I really shouldn’t have, because I didn’t have any good stories to share on the subject, but it worked out well, anyway.
As usual, the whole thing took place on Hangouts, which means you can watch the participants on video talking about how they wrangled DOS memory managers, CD-ROM games that were impossible to get running, and other assorted tales of pre-Windows XP heroism.
Sadly, my connection was pretty choppy, so there’s a lot of stuttering and unplanned robotic voice filtering coming from my end. I blame Hangouts, though, because the very next day, I was streaming Life Is Strange in 60 fps on Twitch with no problems, so … fuck you, Google.
There’s also an audio version, which you can get from Joe’s website.
Matt Wales has written for Kotaku a piece entitled “Point and Click is Dead Again,” and that sound you just heard was the collective adventure gaming community all around the world sighing in exasperation. The article itself is either petulant whining or, worse, clickbait — perhaps both.
In it, Mr. Wales argues that the adventure gaming mechanics of yore are tired and clichéd; relics of an era gone by. “Haven’t we moved on by now?” he seems to ask between the lines, perhaps whilst alternating between stroking the perceived cleverness of his ego and his cock. He apparently arrived at this earth-shattering conclusion of said genre demise because Syberia 3 really sucked balls.
No, Mr. Wales, adventure games are not dead. Let us forego the immediate knee-jerk response by bringing up recent titles that are firmly rooted in classic genre tropes but still manage to stay fresh and vibrant, like Paradigm, Kathy Rain, Tesla Effect, Shardlight — a pass he attempts half-heartedly to head off in the opening paragraphs of his article. (Why he would put Thimbleweed Park in there is beyond me, though — if anything, THAT game, almost by its own admission, belongs in a museum.)
Let us instead focus on the absurdity of declaring a genre “dead.” I can only assume this was a calculated move on his part to dredge up a tired old cliché in an article that, ironically, focuses on tired old clichés.
They say, “Never work with children or animals.” And that was indeed the phrase that instantly popped into mind when my wife responded to my question, “What do you think I should do for this year’s AdventureJam?” with, “Why not make a game about our cats?”
I couldn’t help myself, though. It was such a hilarious idea. Cats and the internet are always a winning combination; talking cats even moreso. And it fit right into the mindset I’d had since the first time I participated in AdventureJam, when it was called Point & Click Jam, that I wasn’t so much in this to win approval as I just wanted to do something batshit crazy and hopefully freak the judges out.
So, without really knowing how I was going to get my two cats to actually appear in the game, I set out to create Kitty Quest — a story more or less born out of a five-minute brainstorm with my wife about how our indoor rescue cat, Pemberton Flæsk Mis Mis Brunata Odenkirk (yes, that’s his name), wanted to escape the confines of our house on a warm summer day. His companion would be our other cat, Carlin Spinoza Bøffelsovs (also real name), who is an energetic but dopey Maine Coon cat.
It wasn’t a fully fleshed out story by any means. In fact, the escape part turned out to just be the first act of a (very small) two-act game. Escaping our house would then send them on a small adventure where they faced the horrors that lurk outdoors, eventually causing them to change their minds and head back home.