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Sir Procestuous

Roger Wilco as an idiot

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Hmm, I dunno, I think he has a bit of heroism in him. Essentially, every time you get a ship you have the freedom then to NOT do the right thing but Wilco doesn't. Most obvious example being that he didn't need to rescue the Two Guys from ScummSoft.

 

Maybe that's why Vohaul is popular with fans? Because he's obsessed with killing Roger it gives the character a clear motivation to actually fight back, as in that case it's simple self-preservation to take him down.

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He struck me as someone who is thrust into a situation he has no business being in, and has no real interest in, either -- except for his desire to somehow get out the other end unscathed and get back to whatever it was he was doing (in this case, sleeping in a closet).

Hmm, I dunno, I think he has a bit of heroism in him. Essentially, every time you get a ship you have the freedom then to NOT do the right thing but Wilco doesn't. Most obvious example being that he didn't need to rescue the Two Guys from ScummSoft.

Both of these views are true. :) Roger is definitely an accidental hero by nature - with a downright uncanny knack for finding himself knee-deep in danger time and again - but at the same time, there have been numerous occasions when he *had* the opportunity to escape, but chose not to. To wit:

 

SQ1: Roger escapes from Kerona with the current coordinates of the Deltaur in hand. Logically, most people would probably have made straight for the nearest Starcon facility and called in the authorities. Roger, however, in an unusual burst of insight, realizes that the Sariens could move at any time and that taking the time to find help might let them get away. Instead, he goes after them himself. This instance is particularly notable in that it's A> the first time Roger ever actually takes heroic action of his own accord, and B> his lack of hero experience at this early stage makes this more or less a suicide mission.

 

SQ3: Roger confronts a bunch of dangerous software pirates to rescue a pair of software designers he's never even met, and has no real reason to care about. Possibly justified in that there doen't seem to be any authorities in the backwater corner of the galaxy he's currently puttering around in, but still, he's risking his neck for a couple of strangers.

 

SQ5: Roger enrolls in Starcon Academy with the express purpose of becoming a starship captain. This says a lot about how his disposition towards heroism has advanced over the years; he's now actively seeking out the chance to make the step up from "shmuck" to "hero" (though admittedly, he's probably doing it more for the career upgrade and the respect than a desire to get himself into danger).

 

SQ6: Roger once again sticks his neck out to save someone, this time a close personal friend. :) This one in particular really hits home with me, because it shows how far he's willing to go to help someone he genuinely cares about, as opposed to just "the galaxy" or random programmer weirdos.

 

Incinerations: I won't go into details on this one just in case some of you haven't finished the game yet (hmm, this board needs a 'spoiler' tag to black out text), but those of you who have know exactly what moment I'm talking about. The moment, near the end of the game, where after years of being something of a cowardly lion, a personal crisis and a pep talk from a friend give Roger the epiphany that finally pushes him from semi-reluctant protagonist to Big Damn Hero. Cue the single most awesome endgame chapter in adventure game history, where our hero shows us the sheer amount of ass he can kick when properly motivated. :D

 

Point being, Roger is (or was) definitely not 'into' the hero business at first - but I think the games do a good job of showing that the spark of heroism was there to begin with, and over time it evolved him into something more than just Joe Blow in the wrong place at the wrong time. ;)

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It's like a really difficult section in any good adventure game: You trudge through it just looking for a way—any way—out. And when you finally do figure it out, you do a little dance. You're the master of the universe! Of course anyone who might happen to see you in celebration mode just thinks you're a doofus. They probably did already but your #epicfail attempts to Bust a Move™ have now confirmed it. You don't care though, because it felt good. (Okay, maybe you care a little.) All that feverish struggling is lost from memory and now that section seems easy. In fact, bring on the next challenge! Well, maybe after a quick nap.

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How did this topic suddenly escape my attention? Just when it was starting to get interesting. ;)

 

Because when Daniel Stacey and Fred Olsen visited me this summer, we had a long and somewhat tipsy discussion on whether or not Roger is actually a hero. And it turns out that this character trait of Roger Wilco has never been properly defined. I've had some chats with Scott Murphy about what kind of guy Roger is, and we're really in agreement that Roger wasn't supposed to be the "oh, I'll go save the galaxy, then" type of guy. He just wanted to crawl back into his broomcloset and get back to that nap he was having. In fact, you could argue that Roger has an anti-heroic stance throughout the entire series, we found out, but only IF ... (cue dramatic timpani roll)

 

SQ1: Roger escapes from Kerona with the current coordinates of the Deltaur in hand. Logically, most people would probably have made straight for the nearest Starcon facility and called in the authorities. Roger, however, in an unusual burst of insight, realizes that the Sariens could move at any time and that taking the time to find help might let them get away. Instead, he goes after them himself. This instance is particularly notable in that it's A> the first time Roger ever actually takes heroic action of his own accord, and B> his lack of hero experience at this early stage makes this more or less a suicide mission.

 

... ONLY IF the above isn't true. You could argue that Roger blasts off in a fit of sudden heroism to defeat the Sariens before they can destroy the Earnon sun. You could also argue, however, that Roger has no choice than to go because he literally has no choice. It's do or die. Those are the only coordinates he has.

 

It actually all hinges on one question: is Kerona anywhere near Xenon? If Roger's "in the neighborhood," so to speak, he'd probably have gone straight to Xenon, called the authorities, then gone to bed. But he seems completely and utterly lost, so he's only got that one set of coordinates.

 

Also, once you get to the Deltaur, the game actually asks you if you really want to proceed. If you say no, you die, because the Sariens managed to destroy the galaxy before you could get back to alert the authorities. Meaning going back to Xenon, even if it was in the vicinity, wasn't an option. Because you are literally the only thing between the Sariens and your own death.

 

When Roger gets back, he's suddenly hailed as a hero, even to his own surprise. Following a whirlwind of celebrity stardom that he doesn't appear fit to handle (see the SQ2 comic), he's assigned to Xenon Orbital Station IV and forgotten about. From then on, he's kidnapped and never heard from again until SQ5 begins.

 

So every Space Quest up until SQ5 could be viewed as Roger's egotistical journey to just get the hell back home and finish that nap he was having, and all these saving-the-galaxy gigs just keep getting in his way. At least, that's how I like it. ;)

 

And that's why SQ5 and SQ6 feel so disjointed to me, because Roger actually exhibits real heroic behavior in these, and in my personal preference that's out of character for him.

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I think I have an idiot moment for you guys, and this is one that's on a tangent you wouldn't think about. (Before we proceed, I should tell you I found a copy of SQ3 on Steam, however, I think I will be buying this collection from gog.com because I like GOG about 10 million times more than I like Steam except for Audiosurf.)

 

Alright, here's the moment: In Space Quest 3, Roger goes into a closet and grabs his janitor uniform to pass as a janitor for Scumsoft. He then LEAVES ALL HIS MONEY in the other suit! 300-plus buckazoids all left in a closet at Scumsoft. He literally leaves the money there and finishes the game without a dime to his name.

 

I don't carry a large amount of cash, but if I had a wallet with say $380 in cash, don't you think I and any other rational human being on the planet would TAKE HIS WALLET OUT and put it in the janitor uniform? It's not like the nerds in Accounting are going to ask for his ID.

 

Biggest clod moment ever. No wonder he can't get women. He can't even manage his finances.

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Alright, here's the moment: In Space Quest 3, Roger goes into a closet and grabs his janitor uniform to pass as a janitor for Scumsoft. He then LEAVES ALL HIS MONEY in the other suit! 300-plus buckazoids all left in a closet at Scumsoft. He literally leaves the money there and finishes the game without a dime to his name.

Well, he is under a lot of pressure to, uh, not get killed. ;) I've forgotten more important things than money in more stupid places than the broomcloset of an evil software conglomerate. So, I'm thinking, pressure.

 

In SQ4, when you buy a new uniform at the Big & Tall store, the narrator says, "You change your clothes, not forgetting the items in your pocket. You never know when you'll need 'em." So at least Roger's learned from his mistakes. ;)

 

Biggest clod moment ever. No wonder he can't get women. He can't even manage his finances.

Wait, what? Dude's a chick magnet. For reasons I can't fathom, sure, but the evidence is all there: Beatrice will stick with him through thick and thin, and he still somehow ends up partying with a latex-clad babe from Estros somewhere down the line.

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