the original Webmaster (written by the original site founder, Frans von Hofwegen)
everybody! Thanks for visiting my website; the last active Space
Quest fansites out there. Let me introduce myself. My name is Frans
van Hofwegen (22 years old). I live in the fine, but boring, town
of Nijmegen in the Netherlands close to the German borders. Let
me tell you how I bummed into Sierra and their great games.
dad bought our first computer (a 80286 with an ega card and colour
monitor) back in 1988. My three brothers and I spent many hours
on this machine, doing nothing more than staring at the screen and
pushing those buttons. We played games like Paratrooper, Alley Cat
and King's Quest 3. But I really liked one particular game that
came with the computer namely "Space Quest Chapter I: The Sarien
Encounter". Back then, I was five years old and didn't understand
much English. It was my two older brothers who helped Roger through
his first adventure and it took them months. But I was right there
with them when they played, watching their progress on the Arcada.
I didn't understood anything of the texts but the pictures sure
looked neat. It must have been that "X-factor" Sierra
games had at the time, but that game fascinated me somehow. I wanted
to play my own Space Quest, so whenever the computer was free (rare
occasion) I would enter the same words as my brothers did, with
a dictionary as my only help.
years later (1990 I guess) we got a copy of Space Quest 3, my favorite
Space Quest (I consider it to be the best computer game ever made).
Space Quest 3 was a great challenge for my brother Tijn and his
friends Guido and Daan. It was sure great to watch them play during
those rainy days, when playing outside was no option. I remember
the first time I saw my favorite character Fester Blatz and his
spiffy shop World O' Wonders. Once again, I was intrigued by the
great science fiction graphics. This SQ had a certain style - and
a certain "je ne sais quoi" - that got me hooked. Do I
need to mention Monolith Burger and the Arnold Schwarzenegger spoof?
To me at that age, these things were fantastic. In fact, I'm still
fascinated by certain screens of the game, even after playing SQ3
for a few thousand times (no bull!) So anyway, I continued to learn
more and more English. I just had to know why my brother and his
friends were laughing.
few years later (does this guy never shut up?), I got to see Space
Quest 5. Sadly, I didn't play that one myself because it was removed
from the computer after some nasty computer virus. Too bad! I did
have the chance to watch Tijn play on several occasions.
the years came and went, it became clear that my brothers lost interest
in Space Quest. It never had a special place in their hearts to
begin with. It was just another game to play. For me, obviously,
this was not the case. I couldn't forget how much fun I had watching
and playing it myself. I couldn't forget all those fun hours behind
the computer with family and friends. It might be a bit over-done
to say this now - after all, who plays computer games with family
and friends these days? Well, we did in the early days before cheap
Doom shooters. For days and nights on end! As I was saying, it might
be a bit over-done to say this now, but Space Quest and the memories
that came with it have become essentional key experiences of my
youth. It is this story that made me a SQ junkie for life. So, a
chapter of my SQ experience ended effectively when I got to high
school. But it turned out to be just the beginning.
must be somewhere around 1996 when I stumbled across Space Quest
2 on a computer at school. I had played it for a few times only
before the computer was removed. As I recall today, I didn't get
to play that game again until two years later. It was in the summer
of 1998 when my good old friend Menno and I played it for an entire
day on end, finally finishing it at the dead of night in a drunk
state. For me, those memories are what SQ is about. They will remain
with me until I die.
August 1997 or so, the buzz called "the internet" finally
hit the Netherlands. It hit good. My dad realized it was time for
a new computer (and that's saying something!). In those days, everybody
except my family had a CD-Rom player, a soundcard and a modem attached
to their computers. Even I couldn't impress my friends anymore with
our trusty old 80286. I was still playing Space Quest 1 over and
over again. I think I must have played it over a thousand times,
really! Anyway, our second computer was a fine Pentium 200 MMX.
And sweet mother of God, look at the size of that screen! It must
be at least 17"!
Dawn of SpaceQuest.Net
on to the summer of 1998, my oldest brother - Pieter - and I both
got into HTML together. We used Fortuncity (the ultimate free website
host for us back then) and he asked me the other day: "Waarom
maak je geen website over Space Quest?". For our non-Dutch
visitors (nobody's perfect): "Why don't you make a website
about Space Quest?" He hadn't forget my Space Quest passion
or so it seemed! This wasn't strange I recall now, since I used
to compare new games we got with the old SQ games. Anyway, I replied:
the next few months I was working day and night on my very own website.
I started "The Frans and Bart Homepage" along with Bart
Stadelmann (best friend and classmate at the time). I got myself
a nice easy to remember free redirect URL, namely http://beam.to/sq
(still works today actually!) and the first version appeared online
somewhere in the winter months of 1998 (probably late October).
I must say I can't remember exactly. There isn't any evidence, just
my flaky memory. I can say with a high probability that the website
was first launched around October 1998. Later on, the official date
was set to the 25th, so that I could start celebrating website anniversaries.
Anyway, I've started ranting here! Our
website featured two chapters: Space Quest and Gabriel Knight. Our
favorite Sierra games. The website was extremely crappy, made with
the cheap HTML-editor Frontpage2000. That site was screaming: "I'm
made by highschool students without HTML knowledge, I look crappy!"
What's worse, the website contained content copied directly from
the mother of all SQ sites, the Virtual Broomcloset (which I thought
was "the official SQ site", really). Yes, dear reader,
I didn't even knew how to make game screen shots. So I simply copied
information I found on existing SQ sites. How else could I find
information about SQ? In my defence, I had to start somewhere, hadn't
I? I was young, foolish and naive. I'm not proud of it now, but
that's how it all started. Possibly the only cool feature about
that design was a WAV file about Kielbasa, who said "Computer,
on screen" when you entered the website.
few days into February 1999, Pieter came home with.... * Drum
please * .... The Space Quest Collection! Aaah, I can still feel
the excitement. Today, by merely sniffing at that box I still
a strange twitch in my heart. It cost me 45 bucks to buy it from
him, but it was worth the money. I finally had all the Space
games in one cool box! I had never played SQ4 and SQ6 before, they
sure looked cool! And would you look over
here! The manual
stated Space Quest 7 was going to be released in... In 1998? Hey
but wait, that meant it was in stores right now! But where the
was SQ7? It was nowhere to be found in Nijmegen. Not on the internet
either. What the hell had happened? Did Sierra postpone the
to me (I found out a few weeks later) "Chainsaw Monday"
had hit. Named by Scott Murphy, February 22nd 1999 marked the end
of the Sierra facility located in Oakhurst California. Sierra's
HQ was located there since the beginning and it was in Oakhurst
where the entire SQ Series were made. Many good people, including
Scott Murphy, lost their jobs thanks to "corporate consolidation".
Just to give you some background information, you can image what
this news did with my motivation. I got into the world of SQ right
when it was going to the sharks. Unkowingly to me back then, many
webmasters had already called it a day when the SQ7 project was
cancelled the first time (December 1997)! Anyway, there I was,
to get booted up in the world of SQ. It was breaking down under
my noise. I had missed the bus! I got there after the gold rush!
Homes were deserted and people had left. Funny thing is, looking
back now, it was in June 2000 when I finally realized this in
Moving on with the story about my website, the site got hacked around
December 1998 by a computer nerd in our class. Yeah, we bullied
the socially-challenged guy and this was his revenge. Don't pin
me down on the exact date though. It was in my puberty and besides
the website there were interesting girls, boys, friendships and
booze to explore as well. Soon after the hack, we (meaning Bart
and me) went our seperate ways. To add salt to the wounds, every
single binary digit we made was lost. We didn't do no pussy back-ups
back then. I convinced Bart it made no sense to have a common website
about both SQ and GK so we restarted independently. His site died
out rather quickly (although still online to this date). He couldn't
push himself to re-create all that was lost. I almost stopped too,
but I got around re-doing a lot of work and I put together a new
version which was only slightly better than the crap I had before
pictures you see here are one of the first images I did for the
site (promotional banners, obviously), and the only two to survive
the hack. A funny note: The fanfiction about Monolith Burger was
one of the first pages I made. It's still online to this date. Ok,
so that one survived the hack too.
ahead to July 2000. I was in the middle of redesigning the website
using the Trellix webeditor for Fortunecities, when work came
to a sudden stop: putting a halt to 1.5 years of continuous hard
work on the site. The main reason why I stopped updating was
lack of visitors I was getting, the fact Space Quest 7 was cancelled
months earlier, the fact that the fan community was bleeding
death and most notably because I had overwritten a HUGE chunk of
work on my harddisk by accident. I just couldn't make myself
get work done.
a year later (in June 2001) I had this urge to revive the site (after
not having touched it for a whole year). I guess I just couldn't
let it go! I must admit, I did have huge amounts of free time back
then (summer holidays). I didn't knew what else to do. So I worked
the rest of the summer making a new design. Yeah, the picture you
see here on the left, obviously. The design was online from July
2001 to March 2002. Click on it for a close up. I decided Trellix
and Fortunecity weren't going to cut it anymore, so I used Dreamwaver
4 and a Geocities website instead. Some weeks later, college term
started, but I continued to invest huge amounts of time in the website.
All the hard work was not in vain, as the amount of visitors increased
tremendously from 105 per month by June 2001, to 699 per month by
July 2001! The site began to crossing the three gigabyte datalimit
from Geocities, causing the entire site to be shut down. Asthonished
by the fact my site was getting popular so quickly, I was thinking
about the possibility of having my own domainname. Geocities was
just starting to offer "professional packages" which included
a domainname, extra server space and more bandwidth. All for a very
reasonable price too. Another advantage was an ad-free site, and
it could be accessed using the geocities address AND the domainname.
It was just what I needed. The domainname
was bought on September 17, 2001. I decided to go for that particular
name because .com, .org and http://www.wiw.org/~jess/roger.php
were already taken. A funny note: I was owner of spacequest.nl for
a very short time, but I cancelled it because I thought the name
spacequest.net had more future. Additionally, I had serious plans
to do a Dutch-only fansite instead of an English fansite.
few months after that, even the "pro package" from Geocities
couldn't keep up with the growth of my website. Traffic increased
as I added manuals and complete soundtracks. So I start looking
for another server. I found out the hard way that most hosting companies
are thieves. Unknowingly, I signed a contract with a rogue webhost
called Featureprice. 140 dollars down the drain, nice feature price,
indeed. For the poor student I was back then, that was almost the
end of .
I persevered and managed to make some money to buy a server account
at a great company, called Eperfect.Net.
Getting Some Recognition
by a Harry Potter fansite, I released a new design on March 9, 2002
(the picture here on the left, obviously. Click on it for a close
up). The same date marked the name change from "Frans' Space
Quest Page" (or was it "Frans' Space Quest Site"?
- nobody knows) to "SpaceQuest.Net - Slippery When Wet!".
This design took the website to an even higher level. I was getting
over 5000 unique visitors a month at the end of its lifetime. Quite
an achievement, don't you agree? Who sais Space Quest is dead?
old Troels Pleimert, founder and maintainer of the famous SQFAQ
document and webmaster of the once popular fansite "Wilco's
Domain", left the community around this time period. I guess
it just was his time to pick up real life. Troels is considered
by many the biggest SQ fan of them all, and for good reason! His
legacy? He gave me total ownership and free reign of his FAQ. I
got to work right away to implement "the bible for SQ fans"
into the website.
over 40 major updates in one year, my website was without a doubt
the most updated Space Quest fansite on the internet. It even won
its first award! - True recognition, finally! I'm still very attached
to the simplicity of this design, but it had served for over 18
months. It was time to scrap it and look ahead. It must be noted
really established its name during this time period. It took me
long enough, don't you agree? :)
It Big: The 5th Anniversary
reached its 5th Anniversary - at October 25th, 2003 - a new design
was introduced (the picture here on the left, obviously. Click on
it for a close up). Fellow Space Quest fan Danny Bloks worked his
ass off during a four month period and got up with a terrific design.
Sq7.Org was THE
new buzz around the community, so we introduced a unique design
based upon that fanproject (which still wasn't released a full year
later, but they'll get there!). We also launched several truly unique
features. Think about the neat pop up windows containing online
QuickTime videos. But also content-wise, like the awesome design
sketches from the cancelled SQ7. We definitely made sure
was ready for the future. It turned out quite differently as the
design served for 7 months only. The menu was one of its coolest
features, but it was the be the main bottleneck too. If I wanted
to introduce a new article, it took me hours just to update the
menu. This couldn't go on so I decided to replace it prematurely.
Space Quest Hegemony
spanned over 1250 MB (!!!) of Space Quest material and was updated
around two or three times a month - Undoubtedly the most active
and largest Space Quest website on the internet! Managing and maintaining
it became more and more difficult. The decision to change design
- once again - was made literally overnight. While the previous
design took months to create, the new one (which you're looking
at now) was created during one long night. Mind, I don't want to
go back to that night EVER. But it was worth it. The website was
launched soon afterwards, after a thorough compatibility test. It
loads faster, is easier to navigate and allows complete SQFAQ integration
(which was only partially done up until now) and a better help system.
The new design might be a step back if you're into cool graphics
and animation thingies, but it's a HUGE step ahead in content management.
And high quality content is what this website is all about after
THE big thing of this design was the launch of a new feature.
can now actually download all the Space Quest games from the website!
A feature much criticized and feared by regular visitors (they
to turn into some trashy abandonware shed), and welcomed by many
newcomers. It turned out alright for both parties.
the coming of the year 2004, it became clear that the
Virtual Broomcloset (world's first Space Quest fansite) run
by Jess Morrissette, unofficially stopped updating.
A sad realization just crossed my mind: I'm running the last active
Space Quest fansite. Can you remember the days of 1997 and 1998?
There used to be tons of Space Quest fansites out there! News about
the Series and its creators with every week that passed! Okay, most
fansites were shite, but that's another story... I
set out to build a website using that free Fortunecities account
back in 1998 to become the largest and most visited Space Quest
fansite. But to be honest, I never had any hope of actually fulfilling
that goal. Nor could I have foreseen that it would be me running
the last active fansite. And thus, if you don't mind me saying,
being burdened with the task of keeping Space Quest alive. It's
a burden I happily take in, let me tell you. But it does remind
me that all good things come to an end. What about ,
you ask? The future shall answer that question and the future will
come soon enough.
you have it, dear reader. My life as a Space Quest nut and the
of my website. From Fortunecity to Xoom to Geocities to Featureprice
to Eperfect.net to Lavahost to AffordableHost to SQ7.Org's private
server and back again
to Eperfect.net. From hacks to Chainsaw Monday to the end
of the Space Quest fan community and even the end of Sierra itself.
has seen it all and outlived it all. In the process,
has been around longer than most websites out there. Some achievement!
Six years of answering e-mails, making many new friends, making
some enemies, having a lot of fun and not regretting one single
this website is such a big deal for me personally, I can safely
say the last updates aren't insight yet... But this is where
story ends... For now. Please keep the dream alive. Space Quest
will stay alive.
I'm getting sentimental now. Yo, Ali! Pass me the towel.
| To be continued | -