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Space Quest reference in Retro City Rampage

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Alright, here's one that you guys might find interesting.

 

I've been in e-mail communication for years now with an old friend of mine from the old era of the SQ fandom. He's requested that I not mention him by name, as he prefers to play the role of shadowy lurker in today's SQ community, but like me, he's both an avid SQ fan and a rabid gamer.

 

Recently, both he and I played a little game called Retro City Rampage. The game is basically what Grand Theft Auto would have been if it had been made back in the glory days of the original NES - gorgeous 8-bit graphics, addictive square wave tunes, the whole shebang. B) Perhaps more importantly, the game was made by a lifetime gamer like us, and is thus chock-full of video game references ranging from the old-school arcade era all the way up to modern gaming.

 

Anywho, as I was corresponding with my aforementioned friend, he pointed out to me a rather interesting object in the city junkyard:

 

post-823-0-65523200-1360639883_thumb.png

 

To the left, right next to the cartoon ACME rocket. Looks familiar, doesn't it? ;) Normally, I'd be tempted to write this off as a coincidence, but given the location (a junkyard) and that RCR is chock-full of other, more overt references to adventure gaming, I think it's pretty obvious that this one is intentional.

 

It's always a treat when an old-school fan manages to sneak stuff like this into a game. :lol:

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Well, seeing as this game was made by Brian Provinciano, yes the very same Brian who created SCI Studio, Locker Gnome Quest, and oogles of SCI and AGI tools for the community (along with AGI256), I'd say it's a pretty legitimate homage.

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I would agree, and also add: given that an ACME rocket reference was also present in SQ3, just one screen below the pod, the train-of-thought of the author during the time of design is quite prevalent in this case.

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I remember seeing a playthrough of part of this game a few months back, and I was blown away by how much stuff was crammed into it. Every now and then I had to pause the video to look at all the text on the screen to search for references. Most of them were LucasArts references (e.g., a paint store called Guy's Brush Paint, or something similar), but there might have been one or two Sierra references as well.

 

And not only is that object next to the rocket a dead ringer for the escape pod, but the protagonist (the little guy in the blue and white suit in the center of the screen, I'm guessing) seems to have a golden mop as a weapon -- look at the icon in the upper left corner.

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Well, seeing as this game was made by Brian Provinciano, yes the very same Brian who created SCI Studio

Ah-HAH! I *knew* the name sounded familiar, but I could never remember where I'd heard it from. Sheesh, I've been out of the adventure game community loop for too long.

 

Most of them were LucasArts references (e.g., a paint store called Guy's Brush Paint, or something similar), but there might have been one or two Sierra references as well.

Yeah, there's quite a few of them. There are many Monkey Island references, particularly in one brief quest chain that involves having to pass a test (given by a pirate, natch) by fighting off a bunch of pirate-themed enemies in melee combat.

 

One other Sierra reference I can think of off-hand is buried in one of the game's collectible items - payphones. Each payphone in the game has a (fictional) phone number written on it in graffiti, usually with a short blurb. From what I can tell, many of the numbers are references in some form or other. Here's one:

 

post-823-0-51388200-1361070814_thumb.png

 

The number is from Leisure Suit Larry 1 - it's the number for Ajax Liquor, a booze delivery service that Larry has to call to solve one particular puzzle. I remember this number well, because in LSL1, Larry learns it through a radio ad - an ad which, in the VGA version, features a catchy little musical jingle that is now FOREVER SEARED INTO MY BRAIN. :blink:

 

I can't wait to hear it in LSL Reloaded. :lol:

 

And not only is that object next to the rocket a dead ringer for the escape pod, but the protagonist (the little guy in the blue and white suit in the center of the screen, I'm guessing) seems to have a golden mop as a weapon -- look at the icon in the upper left corner.

Yep. :D There's a number of random, silly melee weapons in the game, with a mop being one of them. (Just a regular one, sadly - the 'gold' is just the limited color palette trying to approximate wood.) The pic above was taken by my aforementioned friend, who no doubt thought it would be a funny addition to the SQ-themed hilarity to have that particular weapon equipped for the screenshot. :P

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uh... not to nitpick, Cap'n, but... how do we know the limited palette is trying to approximate wood? Couldn't it just as well be trying to approximate gold? After all, up to this point we've been only theorizing as to the author's intent.

 

I know, I'm nitpicking. Lol.

 

I mean... after all... even the stringy... uh... squiggly string cloths.... uh... what would you call the cleaning part of the mop -> the parts attached to the handle: they are also gold, er... yellow, or wood, or whatever.

 

:D

So, maybe it is the Golden Mop?

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I mean... after all... even the stringy... uh... squiggly string cloths.... uh... what would you call the cleaning part of the mop -> the parts attached to the handle: they are also gold, er... yellow, or wood, or whatever.

It's an issue with limited color pallettes. Admittedly, as a modern game, RCR doesn't technically *have* a limited color pallette - but the effect is done anyway, on purpose, since RCR is trying to emulate NES games (which all had the same issue). With only a limited number of colors and/or memory space to work with, you have to make sacrifices.

 

Classic NES sprites, IIRC, can only have up to four or five colors apiece. Thus, certain parts of things that logically should be different colors, often aren't - in this case, both the mop handle and head are comprised of black and three different shades of yellow/orange. In the case of RCR, if I remember correctly, almost *all* weapons are that same yellowish color - even the guns. It's necessary to make them visually distinct from the player character, who in this case is mostly blacks and blues (which would drown out any dark-colored weapons). It's especially important in RCR, as you can change your character's appearance with different hairdos and outfit colors - I think he chose yellow because it stands out very well against almost anything that isn't itself yellow or green.

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