Space Quest 1: The Sarien Encounter

Space Quest 1 Fun Facts This page contains everything you wanted to know about Space Quest 1 and then some!

Space Quest 1 Funfacts EGA version

Scott and Mark first met eachother during work on the Black Cauldron game. The two got together and decided to do a game of their own, in their favorite genre - science fiction. The Two Guys were determined and in their spare time programmed what later became the first four rooms the Sarien Encounter. Ken loved the demo and gave them green light to proceed. Mark did the graphics, key puzzles and the basic storyline while Scott programmed and provided the sardonic humor and dialog. The rest, is history.

Mark Crowe:

The idea of having alter designer egos did not occur until late in development. We were winding down and had to start thinking about things like credits. I thought it would be a hoot to be these two alien dudes and have our picture on the back of the box. It just went with the whole wacky space thing. I think the point back then was to make fun of the other designers of the day who had this rock star mentality and had to have thier mugs all over the product. Scott concurred and I picked up these funky red mohawk bald head things for us to wear. We did not have time to throw together space costumes so Scott came up with the idea to wear touristy hawaiian shirts and go have our picture taken in Yosemite like we were on vacation. The "Two guys" thing we borrowed from a east coast pizza chain Two Guys from Italy. I thought: Yeah! Scott and me--we're just two guys makin' software! Thus, the Two Guys were born.

Jerry - one of Roger's former crew matesKick one of your dead crew mates in Space Quest 1 EGA and you'll lose one point! But who would do such a thing?

Type holy shit when playing with the slot machine. Beating the machine will be an easy one! This works only in game version 2.2.

The title theme song is composed by Mark Crowe.

The Apple IIgs version of Space Quest 1 replaced the purple sky of Kerona with a dull orange sky.a dull orange sky.

When you sell the land skimmer upon your arrival in Ulence Flats you can only type look skimmer in versions 1.1a and 2.2; getting one of two messages You watch as the skimmer is driven away by it's new owner., or The skimmer is attempting to leave. Get out of the way, you geek!. In version 1.0x you can't look at the skimmer or it's owner as it flies away.

There's a weird bug that can occur when loading your navigational droid into the cruiser. If you stand in front of the ladder and enter (warm up your typing skills) climb ladder and then press button really quickly. The idea is to hit enter on press button before Roger is finished climbing the ladder. The droid will not load straight up into the ship but at a diagonal - up and to the left. Is this the prescence of an earlier, different loading animation intended for a different type ship? This bug is only present in game versions 1.0x and 1.1a and NOT in version 2.2. Additionally, in any version of Space Quest I EGA you can keep the droid loading continually by hitting F3 and enter over and over again. In case of this bug, the droid dances diagonally across the screen.

Okay, here's a weird one. A telephone number Sierra used back in 1988 was (209) 683-6858. The last four numbers are "6858" is the code used to disable the Star Generator.

The song played by ZZ Top is called Sharp Dressed Man from their 1983 album Eliminator. The Blues Brothers are playing Can't Turn You Loose, which is included on the soundtrack Blues Brothers 2000.

When starting Space Quest 1, you are asked to enter your name. If you don't enter a name your name will automatically be "Roger Wilco". Many people think this name was introduced in Space Quest 3, but as you can see here, that's not true.

Included in the box of the original release of Space Quest 1 EGA are two coupons. One for the Droids-B-Us store and the other one for the Oasis Bar. The fun is you can actually use these coupons in the game. When buying your droid at Droids-B-Us, Roger will give one of the coupons automatically, but in the bar you have to type give the coupon.

For your trouble, you'll receive 5 bucks and a Keronian Ale from the bartender. These coupons aren't included in most collections and budget releases.

Oasis Bar coupon Droids-B-Us coupon Droids-R-Us coupon

As shown in the pictures above, there are actually two versions of the Droid-B-Us coupons out there. It's obvious that the lawsuit had something to do with it. It seems that Sierra was forced to change the the "R" from earlier game versions into the "B". My guess is Toys-R-Us were pleased enough with this change and left Sierra alone after this change was made. Click on the coupons for a close up.

Mirrored Two Guys photoSome of the first Space Quest 1 boxes have the picture of The Two Guys mirrored by mistake (see picture on the left). According to Scott Murphy some doofus doing the final layout for that box put the film in backwards. There are only a few thousand of these out there. The Sierra Newsletter Vol 1 #2 announces this little mistake.

Interesting differences between versions

The first version of Space Quest 1 EGA was released in 1986 and the game kept coming out in newer versions until the end of 1987. There are a few pretty interesting differences between the oldest and newest version which are listed below. One of the version numbers out there are: 1.0X, 1.1A, 2.2 and possibly many others.

  • Version 1.0X didn't use the menu version 2.2 used (which you bring up with the escape button). Instead, pressing escape will bring up the PAUZE feature. Speed control is much much better in version 2.2. If you run "fast mode" in 1.0X the game is almost unplayable. This is because later versions included the latest AGI interpreters engine available.
  • After entering a new screen, your character will stop. In version 2.2 he'll continue walking.
  • Ken Williams - 16 colour styleIn version 1.0X you could type Ken (referring to Ken Williams, the big boss of Sierra in those days) in the first screen of the Arcada. Ken would walk into the screen and complain that the game was behind schedule. This does NOT work with version 2.2. My guess is that Ken made the Two Guys remove that gag in later releases.
  • Some changes were made concerning the parser. The most notable difference is that you can type insert cartridge in slot in the underground settlement of the Keronians to read about Slash Vohaul. This is actually the ONLY command which works with versions 1.0X. Later versions also allowed the command: put card in slot. While inserting something into a slot makes a lot of sense, I think many non-native speakers got stuck there. Imagine you can't use the command take or grab but only get. Can get quite a challenge that way.
  • Model DX Retrieval UnitOn the right is a picture of the Model DX Retrieval Unit from the data archive room, right? WRONG! In 1.0X of the Sarien Encounter this unit is described as a D12 model. The DX Model also has a longer claw.
  • Then, of course, we have the famous Droids'R'Us scene, which was later changed on into Droids'B'us. Interesting detail is that also the coupon supplied with the game package was changed. Needless to say, the Droids'R'us coupon is a collectors item (read about the law suit in the VGA section of the funfacts).
  • The slot machine "holy shit" gag / debug doesn't work in version 1.0X. Also, the slot machine is a little bit harder to beat in 1.0X, but that might just as well be my terrible luck.

Orat's cave puzzle

Orat's CaveThe biggest difference is actually the Orat puzzle. Let's start with version 2.2.

Orat is in his cave waiting for you to walk in. If the spider droid falls down from the sky, returning to the cave will reveal an empty one. Guess Orat decided to go hunting for Grell. If you want to make Orat collide with the spider droid, you'll have to successfully visit the holographic image.

In version 1.0X the Orat puzzle is a little bit more refined. You see, Orat isn't there at all unless you've spoken with the Keronian leader. Who, of course, sends you out to capture the Orat. Now you can capture that savage beast using either your dehydrated water or with help from the spider droid. When the droid is on the scene, get your butt to Orat's cave and hide behind the rocks - as seen on the left bottom side of the screen. Orat will appear from the hollows you see in the top right position of the screen. He walks very slowly this time, way different if you were alone with the guy. The spider will enter momentarily and both guys will head straight for each other until physical contact has been established. Unless you're in the way. The message that comes with the explosion is pretty funny: "The cave interior now features a lovely new jagges Metal / Liberated Entrails motive. The stench? Whew! Not even an all-text adventure would attempt that description." 

But that certainly isn't the end of story. Do you remember that natural land bridge which cracks beneath your feet if you walk on it? With version 2.2 it's possible to cross the bridge only once: from east to west en-route to the underground. With version 1.0X you might have a serious problem. I'll explain. As I told you, Orat isn't there when you first enter the cave. You must first meet the Keronian leader in the underground. This means you'll have to cross the bridge one time. After you've spoken to the guy, he'll kick you back onto the surface. That's the second time you'll need to cross the bridge. That is, if you want to meet Orat. And of course, when you've completed your assignment you need to get back underground, thus crossing the bridge one last time. This leaves little room for error. The bridge will cave-in after 5 crossings. This means if you did everything according to the book there is no return. Yes, you can cross it again but walking back is not an option anymore. To me, this entire scene is much more challenging than in version 2.2. And much more fun too.

Getting more than 202 points

As you can see in the menu bar of Space Quest 1 EGA, you can get a maximum of 202 points. But if you know some tricks, you can actually get 205 and even 207 points! Here are some tips:

  • When you've entered the Deltaur through the airlock, get inside the trunk as usual. When you've reached the laundry room, exit the trunk and close it. Climb on the trunk and use your army knife to open the vent. Climb in the vent and return to the laundry room again. This will award you with some extra points.
  • You'll also get an extra point if you kiss a Sarien guard. Scott Murphy adds: Kissing the Sarien was all Ken Williams' doing. We let him do some programming and just because he runs the company he thinks he can do whatever he wants. Go figure.
  • Try talking to a Sarien guard. When he asks you if you've played King's Quest II, respond by typing yes.
  • Get the second grenade in the weapon room after you've dropped the first to kill the Star Generator guard. Simply give the droid your ID-card again and quickly take the other grenade.

This will earn you 205 points! Game version 1.0X is slightly different, though. The One point score in the vents on the Deltaur has been re-allocated in later versions. In version 1.1a and 2.2 you get one point for exiting the vent back into the laundry room. In version 1.0x that point is found by entering the vent, going left to the ladder, down one screen and right until you crush your nose on another vent. Type kick vent for the extra point. Here is the breakdown:

Version 1.1a and 2.2: 

  • Ride trunk to laundry room (3 points)
  • Enter vent (2 points)
  • Kick other vent, one screen down (0 points)
  • Exit vent back to laundry room (1 point)

Version 1.0x:

  • Ride trunk to laundry room (3 points)
  • Enter vent (2 points)
  • Kick other vent, one screen down (1 point)
  • Exit vent back to laundry room (0 points)

BUT WAIT, there's more! In version 1.0x you can get 207 of 202 points! When the escape pod crash lands on Kerona, type get kit, then look kit, then get kit again and you'll take the Xenon Survival Kit twice. There will only be one in your inventory but you'll get an extra 2 points - 207 of 202 (of course, you must do the other extra's described above)!

When you shoot a Sarien, you'll earn a couple of points. However, if you shoot another one, you'll start losing points (you're blowing your cover!). Now, the interesting part is that there's a bug in the point system. Continue shooting Sariens until you've got no points left. When you shoot another Sarien, you'll get 254 points all of the sudden! For gun food, just walk out of a room, and return over and over again. Sariens appear at random.