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Olzen,

 

Granted that I'm always accused by others even in my non-internet life of being a 'realist' or a "very detail-oriented person," I'll admit that it's likely the majority would not take issue with it the same as I would. But for whatever it's worth, I find that fan-fiction is much more enjoyable when the player is able to cross-reference it with the officials in the series as much as possible without experiencing any discrepancies.

 

You say that's the benefit of fan-fiction. I'll agree that fan-fiction is fun and good for extending and padding, and even for solving problems posed in the officials when they themselves are discovered to contain plot inconsistencies. Nonetheless, I believe the freedom is only successfully exercised to this point. When you make a change that seems openly to contradict the officials, it takes away from the positive experience.

 

For example: Some people may interpret that Kerona is closer to Xenon than Magmetheus. It is not clear whether or not it is, from the officials, so deciding whatever you want doesn't challenge the officials. However, with something more obviously inferred or openly stated in the officials, that freedom is not exercised without upsetting people who take the officials for canon.

 

I'll give you a more specific example regarding my own plot. Bodge is a character I got from the RW comics, I use him to flesh out the prequel because there's no official prequel to contradict. However, comic #3 depicts him taking the golden mop and Roger being recognized as his mere sidekick. The official game depicts Roger being the only hero and the one to receive the mop. My direction from there is easy. Bump off Bodge before my prequel ends, so that the official is not challenged.

 

Now, my prequel will of course contradict the very comics from where I pulled the new character, but then, the comics contradict the officials themselves in a few notable ways already. My aim to to make the experience fit in with the actual games. Short of that, of course I concur that creative freedom is quite freely accepted.

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Oh Samson. What hast thou donest?

Yo, guys. You know that semi-regular schedule I vaguely committed to in the Guys From Andromeda podcast? Well, here's some video fun to help explain what I meant.   Google+ link: https://plus.googl

Maybe 'Vohaul' is like 'Smith' on Xenon? :P

In summary:

The author of the Space Quest Companion is bonkers and nothing in it has any effect on established SQ Canon, and

It doesn't really matter what color Vohaul is.

That sounds pretty good to me. ;)

 

A not wholly unimportant side note is that the SQ games themselves weren't exactly big on consistency. We hardly need to mention the Gippazoid whistle at this point, right?

 

I was actually waiting for someone to point that out. The gamebox is such a vital marketing tool, and I'd doubt the two guys wouldn't have had enough say over it before it was distributed.

You'd think so, but Scott himself professed he didn't know about the "outstanding solo job" blurb on the back of the SQ6 box until he got his packaged copy of the game. And there's the wonderfully quaint story of the first Sarien Encounter boxes where the picture of the Two Guys somehow got reversed (and had its colors screwed up) for the first batch.

 

In short, we can't expect the box art, the comic book art or any of the other artwork that wasn't directly related to the games themselves to have met with actual creator approval.

 

I'll agree he didn't specifically mentioned his blue skin tone as a result of his experimentation, but I find that it is clearly implied. The blue skin would make sense going along with whatever oxygenation issues he's having relating to his cardiovascular system (heart pump, varicose veins, etc...)

Now that makes good sense, and, as was also pointed out elsewhere:

 

That's true. As far as I remember, that line specifically says that he points at his life support apparatus.

He's not referring to his skin tone at all. So we can argue all about consistency, but fact is, no one in the game ever actually makes a point about his skin color.

 

If I may be so bold, allow me to summarize the many good points that have been made about this topic in the way I think makes the most sense: If we have the "ta-daa" screen as our starting point, then Vohaul's skin color is a result of low lighting in his control room, the fact that he's a diseased blob of dying/dead flesh, and the fact that SQ2 had a grand whopping total of 16 colors to party with. As the graphics in SQ2 were drawn exclusively by Mark Crowe, it's safe to assume that only Mark really knows if Vohaul was intended to have a constant blue tint, or if he was just being clever, perhaps too clever, with the artistic lighting. As a result, other artists have taken this screen more literally, rendering Vohaul in future illustrations in a loving blue tone. Somewhere along the way, everyone sort of agreed that's a pretty good look for him, and it's stuck ever since.

 

Summa summarum: Vohaul's not "blue." He's a diseased blob that, in any other light, would just look like a human turd with wires sticking out of it.

 

In that sense, VSB's choice to make Robot Vohaul blue could easily be taken to mean that his body was, at this stage, in a much more advanced stage of decay, to the point where his skin was basically dead and his internal organs are kept alive purely with cybertronics. Skin goes grayish blue when it's dead and diseased; just look at our old pals, the Borg. Er, the Bjorn, I mean. And the fact that Vohaul's parents are blue in his mind's eye could just be a really intricate meta-joke.

 

Oh, and while we're talking about VSB... did you know that we had planned the entire "Roger goes into Vohaul's mind and alters his personality"-sequence around 2003? Years before "Inception" (which is, of course, a kickass film) would pretty much go down the same route. Blew my mind when I realised it :)

Please approach the counter for your complimentary biscuit.

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Gotta love it when a Facebook status delivers me a Space Quest forum to lay witness to the madness.

 

Vohaul's skin: I just assumed he was always blue. We see him full-size as blue in SQ2, he's blu-ish on the SQ4 cover, and he's a blue hologram. I just thought it was safe to presume he's a blue alien. Now there's all this info about him being diseased and surgeried and Quirk's dad and stuff?

 

I think I'll stick with the VSB canon here. Vohaul's blue, his brother is Dennis the Menace, and his parents are Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Somehow, that just seems more feasible to me.

 

Please approach the counter for your complimentary biscuit.

*takes a biscuit and eats it smugly*

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Vohaul's skin: I just assumed he was always blue. We see him full-size as blue in SQ2, he's blu-ish on the SQ4 cover, and he's a blue hologram. I just thought it was safe to presume he's a blue alien. Now there's all this info about him being diseased and surgeried and Quirk's dad and stuff?

Er, well, Vohaul talks about the sissy-pant scientist community on Xenon that ocstracized him for being an evilminded douchebag. And the SQ2 narrator describes him as "being human at one point." So, yeah, he's an alien in the same sense that Roger's an alien, because they're both from the planet Xenon. But they're the same species, so to speak.

 

Presumably with the same skin tone as well, but if we're going to go into Xenonian genealogy about how they might have evolved a race of blue-skinned people due to atmospheric radiation or some shit, I'm out of this conversation. ;)

 

The whole Quirk's dad thing: I thought we agreed the Companion story could go blow itself out of an airlock. :)

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Oh dear, what have I done...

 

Interestingly, he is blue in the SQ2 manual comic.

Well, I'd say that pretty much blew my theory out of the water. Maybe Vohaul just had an unfortunate tanning booth accident while Roger was exploring Labion (either that or he was experimenting with chameleon DNA). (And Mad_C33 pretty much said exactly what I was going to say about Vohaul projecting whatever physical depiction pf himself he wanted while he controlling the supercomputer.)

 

And true, none of these details really matter...but they're still fun to discuss (especially after several years of inactivity on the SQ front). And I'd definitely take the "Vohaul was always blue" idea over the "Sludge is a clone of Slash, Elmo Pug is a clone of Sludge, Quirk is Sludge's nephew and Sharpei is possibly Sludge's sister" plot pretzel that the SQC comes up with.

 

Oh, and while we're talking about VSB... did you know that we had planned the entire "Roger goes into Vohaul's mind and alters his personality"-sequence around 2003? Years before "Inception" (which is, of course, a kickass film) would pretty much go down the same route. Blew my mind when I realised it :)

Wow -- very cool!

 

(Not to be a complete buzzkill, but I couldn't help but be reminded of this article on Cracked.com I read a few months ago. Seems like a case of great minds thinking alike to me. ;) )

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Presumably with the same skin tone as well, but if we're going to go into Xenonian genealogy about how they might have evolved a race of blue-skinned people due to atmospheric radiation or some shit, I'm out of this conversation. ;)

I'd just say some Xenonians are blue and leave it at that. Or maybe Sludge's family came from off-planet? Or maybe there's atmospheric radiation and -BLAUGH!

 

Science-fiction loses its fun when we pry too much into the why. I like the Star Wars approach where science = magic.

 

Oh, and while we're talking about VSB... did you know that we had planned the entire "Roger goes into Vohaul's mind and alters his personality"-sequence around 2003? Years before "Inception"

Don't forget we also inadvertedly knocked off James Cameron with the whole "reluctant space hero saves indigenous blue furries from simian alien oppressors." :)

 

*demands more biscuits*

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Whoa, this discussion escalated quickly. While a very small part of me feels we're wasting our time on a non-issue, the larger part of me is quite excited. We're actually having a long-winded discussion about "Space Quest" again! ;) Okay, let's see if I can get up to speed here...

 

Granted that I'm always accused by others even in my non-internet life of being a 'realist' or a "very detail-oriented person," I'll admit that it's likely the majority would not take issue with it the same as I would. But for whatever it's worth, I find that fan-fiction is much more enjoyable when the player is able to cross-reference it with the officials in the series as much as possible without experiencing any discrepancies.

I normally am as well. I like when a series connects well. So I do get your point. But again, you're free to look at Vohaul's mental projections as just that - vague memories that may be incorrect. If you explore the environment a bit, it's pretty clear that he mainly remembers the people from his past as overplayed stereotypes. So he may just be blue because that's how he's come to know himself. I could also make a bad pun here, involving his mood, but I won't :wink:

 

I also see the points you're bringing up in the rest of your post. And I'm looking even more forward to your game now; with VSB, we were probably a lot more concerned with creating a new world for Roger to explore, rather than elaborating on a previously known one. And that probably made us take some decisions that may be considered controversial. But, as Troels mentions, the SQ series was never that big on continuity in the first place. Certainly, young Vohaul and his family being depicted as blue isn't as major a plot element as the aforementioned Gippazoid mail fraud. Your dedication to create something that fits within - and builds upon - this mess is commendable! ;)

 

*takes a biscuit and eats it smugly*

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! :cry:

 

Presumably with the same skin tone as well, but if we're going to go into Xenonian genealogy about how they might have evolved a race of blue-skinned people due to atmospheric radiation or some shit, I'm out of this conversation. :wink:

Great. That's 15 pages of notes down the drain.

 

(Not to be a complete buzzkill, but I couldn't help but be reminded of this article on Cracked.com I read a few months ago. Seems like a case of great minds thinking alike to me. :wink:)

Heh, yeah, I've read that article. Truth be told, the concept probably isn't very original. It's just that "Inception" did it so well that it seemed all fresh again.

 

I'd just say some Xenonians are blue and leave it at that. Or maybe Sludge's family came from off-planet? Or maybe there's atmospheric radiation and -BLAUGH!

It's a shame Mary is blue-ish as well (she is, isn't she?). Otherwise, again, my alternate explanation would be young Wilby's chemistry set.

 

Don't forget we also inadvertedly knocked off James Cameron with the whole "reluctant space hero saves indigenous blue furries from simian alien oppressors." :)

Hmm... nah; we didn't really nail the part where it sucked.

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I can't accept that Vohaul is naturally blue. I've never seen any other blue Xenonians. I really don't believe that he's a clone of Slash and a relative of Quirk's or anything else the Companion has spewed out, but I think it's easiest to assume from the facts of the games themselves that he's a "victim of his own experimentation" and hooked to a life support system, he was "human at one point," he was enraged at his "fellow sissy scientists" from Xenon, he destroyed his home planet of Xenon and took over complete control in SQXII, and he was blue in the hologram because that was his last known appearance before he died and (from a game design standpoint) had to be familiar for people to know exactly who he was. Changing things and assuming facts by turning Vohaul and his family into all-blue aliens just doesn't make sense in my view of the series' canon. It's also a bit like altering things and assuming things kind of like how Curse of Monkey Island completely altered Monkey Island into this Saturday morning cartoon with a juvenile and childish nemesis instead of the fearful and truly evil nemesis LeChuck was in the first two games. Guybrush marries Elaine when Ron never ever saw their relationship as anything but platonic or brother/sister-like. I suppose VSB's standpoint is just as valid as CMI's, however, because much like the MI series there is truly nothing in the SQ games themselves to outright contradict VSB's assumptions and there's certainly enough material to draw valid conclusions from. It's just one of those things we'll probably never really know the answer to as the Two Guys probably never gave it a second thought and if they had continued to develop SQ games they probably would have thrown in some game facts that might have explained Vohaul's origin in some way (albeit intuitively so). So we'll never know.

 

Interestingly, I'm noticing a lot more how VSB's approach to Space Quest is very similar to CMI's approach to Monkey Island.

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I can't accept that Vohaul is naturally blue. I've never seen any other blue Xenonians. I really don't believe that he's a clone of Slash and a relative of Quirk's or anything else the Companion has spewed out, but I think it's easiest to assume from the facts of the games themselves that he's a "victim of his own experimentation" and hooked to a life support system, he was "human at one point," he was enraged at his "fellow sissy scientists" from Xenon, he destroyed his home planet of Xenon and took over complete control in SQXII, and he was blue in the hologram because that was his last known appearance before he died and (from a game design standpoint) had to be familiar for people to know exactly who he was. Changing things and assuming facts by turning Vohaul and his family into all-blue aliens just doesn't make sense in my view of the series' canon. It's also a bit like altering things and assuming things kind of like how Curse of Monkey Island completely altered Monkey Island into this Saturday morning cartoon with a juvenile and childish nemesis instead of the fearful and truly evil nemesis LeChuck was in the first two games. Guybrush marries Elaine when Ron never ever saw their relationship as anything but platonic or brother/sister-like. I suppose VSB's standpoint is just as valid as CMI's, however, because much like the MI series there is truly nothing in the SQ games themselves to outright contradict VSB's assumptions and there's certainly enough material to draw valid conclusions from. It's just one of those things we'll probably never really know the answer to as the Two Guys probably never gave it a second thought and if they had continued to develop SQ games they probably would have thrown in some game facts that might have explained Vohaul's origin in some way (albeit intuitively so). So we'll never know.

 

Interestingly, I'm noticing a lot more how VSB's approach to Space Quest is very similar to CMI's approach to Monkey Island.

(Y) Johnathon likes this...

 

...minus the statement:

It's just one of those things we'll probably never really know the answer to...

...because, to him, the following fact:

...he was "human at one point,"...

...makes the truth of the author's intent clear.

 

Vohaul did begin with human flesh tone. Wether or not he was intended to STILL have that tone by SQ2 is unclear due to the differing sprites in the game and the Space Piston documentation. Even if we want to assume that by the time SQ4 rolls around he is supposed to be blue in tone (having faith in the game box), there's no reason - not by deduction nor induction - that VSB should have assumed his family to be blue as well. It clearly challenges the canon.

 

That said, great job on the game otherwise. (Y)

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Vohaul's color only really scratches the surface of the underlying issue here. We know for a fact that the Space Quest series has no respect for its own canon - Gippazoid Novelty Company, Roger's decommissioning in SQ6 (though that could be intentional), freaking time travel between games - and the Two Guys have repeatedly shrugged their shoulders to issues of plot inconsistencies, saying "Oh well, we screwed up." The series is almost notorious for its plot inconsistencies. And then we were left with one hell of a cliffhanger at SQ6 that seemed to outright contradict Roger's evident future at the end of SQ4 (of which even Roger Jr. was extraordinarily vague when talking about it). It's getting to the point where the presence of alternate/parallel universes in the Space Quest series is becoming almost necessary due to the massive amount of fanon building up for it, as well as the fact that of course there will be no more official iterations.

 

When you think about it, interpretations like this are to be expected.

 

I still contest the official word that Vohaul's disk is still at the bottom of the SuperComputer at the end of SQ12. No reasonable scientist, certainly not Professor Lloyd, would have allowed a backup of Vohaul to exist.

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Whoa, this discussion escalated quickly. While a very small part of me feels we're wasting our time on a non-issue, the larger part of me is quite excited. We're actually having a long-winded discussion about "Space Quest" again! :D

I know exactly what you mean. :)

 

I just want to break character for a moment and thank you guys. It's like I never left. I suddenly remember why hanging around the Broomcloset back in the day was so much damn fun, even though we were technically wasting our lives on complete non-issues. But that's what being a huge nerd is all about. So thank you!

 

Interestingly, I'm noticing a lot more how VSB's approach to Space Quest is very similar to CMI's approach to Monkey Island.

I am going to very gently echo this sentiment. And not just because I gave the VSB team a bit of friendly flak for having too many Monkey Island-references in their beta. ;) I mean the general vibe of the game is much more "light-hearted" (look, there we go again) than, say, Incinerations. Even though they're both undeniably Space Quest-y and I think they both did a wonderful job carrying on the spirit.

 

Vohaul's color only really scratches the surface of the underlying issue here. We know for a fact that the Space Quest series has no respect for its own canon - Gippazoid Novelty Company, Roger's decommissioning in SQ6 (though that could be intentional), freaking time travel between games - and the Two Guys have repeatedly shrugged their shoulders to issues of plot inconsistencies, saying "Oh well, we screwed up."

This is an not entirely unimportant point to make, and I want to highlight it because it beautifully mirrors my sentiment about my favorite SQ games, as explicated in painful detail here. Meaning that the meta-humor of Space Quest has somehow gotten a bit lost since the heyday of SQ3/SQ4 -- the point was never really to satirize other games, but to satirize gaming in general, particularly the dusty Sierra conventions that The Two Guys were covertly rebelling against.

 

My own view of Space Quest -- and I realize this will differ vastly from other's view of the series -- is that, at its best, it's a rebellious, almost punk-ish middle finger to the very bosom from which it grew. Things like "plot" and "consistency" only seemed to matter as an afterthought. Later, however, once we got to SQ5 and particularly SQ6, suddenly things like "characters", "plot" and the externalization of satire became much more important.

 

That's another thing, too. Space Quest had the guts to take the mickey, first and foremost, out of itself. I mean, the narrator (in SQ2-4, at least) really, truly hates Roger. Even the friggin' narrator of the game doesn't expect the hero to make it. He delights in Roger's failures and misfortunes, and that's all the more funny when the abuse comes from Gary Owens' voice. Later games externalized the satire and started poking fun at other games. The original spirit of Space Quest, at least how I remember it, was to mess with the holy sanctums of established adventure game royalty.

 

King's Quest wanted us to go on a fairy fantasy ride to a magic kingdom where our pitiful everyday lives didn't matter. Space Quest wanted to tear the throne off the floor and piss on it.

 

Again, this is purely subjective. I think I'm really just talking out loud on some demented voyage of self discovery about what I ever saw in these games in the first place. ;)

 

I still contest the official word that Vohaul's disk is still at the bottom of the SuperComputer at the end of SQ12. No reasonable scientist, certainly not Professor Lloyd, would have allowed a backup of Vohaul to exist.

No argument here. The only reason why we're still talking about this is because Scott accidentally dropped that nugget in an interview once. When you think about it, that's just not what happens during that final showdown.

 

I fell for it, too. So I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone who ever listened to me trying futilely to make that "Vohaul's still alive on the floor of the Super Computer"-thing stick.

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Just want to say great posts everyone and great conversation! This is the most action these forums have seen in absolute ages. And it's even with a lot of old-time SQ community members! That's something. Just goes to show all we needed were some more games to keep talking. And we got three great ones all around the same time to jabber about now!

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I love you guys.

 

King's Quest wanted us to go on a fairy fantasy ride to a magic kingdom where our pitiful everyday lives didn't matter. Space Quest wanted to tear the throne off the floor and piss on it.

In a way, this almost reminds me of Jeffrey Katzenberg. As the story goes, after he resigned from Disney studios on a sour note, he carried his grudge over to Dreamworks Animation and pretty much vented all his frustrations about the House of Mouse through "Shrek". While the Two Guys likely had a better relationship with Sierra Online, it was easy to see that they (or maybe just one of them) were equally venting their frustrations as well.

 

Although Al Lowe also had a penchant for satirizing his own employers as well. Just look at how often Ken Williams appears in the Larry games as a ruling tyrant or running gag.

 

I think this is what I really love about Sierra above all others. In a way, you can see the developers' relationships through their games. It really feels like they had a family back then. It's hard to say that about any other game company - especially today. A lot of modern game developers seem to turn invisible under the weight of their own games.

 

Interestingly, I'm noticing a lot more how VSB's approach to Space Quest is very similar to CMI's approach to Monkey Island.

It's not too surprising. CMI is one of Olzen's favorite adventures and there have always been a lot of parallels drawn between Space Quest and Monkey Island. A lot of people like to think VSB is full of parodies and references, but I prefer to think of them as Freudian slips. ;)

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Although Al Lowe also had a penchant for satirizing his own employers as well. Just look at how often Ken Williams appears in the Larry games as a ruling tyrant or running gag.

Hell, Ken Williams is basically one of the major villains (and nemesis) of Freddy Pharkas.

 

Posted Image

 

And in the CD version, he has a comedic, whiny, high-pitched voice.

 

It's not too surprising. CMI is one of Olzen's favorite adventures and there have always been a lot of parallels drawn between Space Quest and Monkey Island. A lot of people like to think VSB is full of parodies and references, but I prefer to think of them as Freudian slips. ;)

I haven't played the game yet, but I can tell you that during the pre-production process, we were basically coming up with ways to insert as many references into the game as possible...
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That's very true. We were cramming a lot of references and in-jokes in there. Even the basic story itself was heavily inspired by the "Terminator" films. Fortunately, we killed off all of the KISS-related jokes ;)

 

Actually, for a lot of the rooms, Marty would just add all these references to his backgrounds. I mean, check out the number of click events in the beach resort shop. Virtually none of those items were conceptualised before the room was drawn.

 

Again, there probably is somewhat of a pattern to this, cause as far as I remember, Marty is a huge CMI-fan as well.

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Actually, for a lot of the rooms, Marty would just add all these references to his backgrounds. I mean, check out the number of click events in the beach resort shop. Virtually none of those items were conceptualised before the room was drawn.

I think this is the best way to design room descriptions and click events. ;) Space Quest 4 had fun with this, as I recall.

 

"You are understandably curious as to the purpose of the large red sphere. I'm sorry, I just don't know myself."

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Yeah, we also had a lot of fun with that back then, didn't we? Even though lots of scripts inevitably changed, working out jokes for the various areas was still a great way to spend your time.

 

Man, I'm digging this thread. It's like being 14 again, except I actually know English this time around.

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Just speaking the truth, my friend.

 

Back to Mad_C33 (and ya'll in general), can you guys tell me why so many seem to see the Gippazoid Novelty event(s) as a plot inconsistency...?

 

I was always under the impression the "sense" of contradiction on Gippazoid's part and randomness in coming after Roger was nothing more than a great joke in reference of mail spam, telephone harassment, and similar laughable things that exist in the real world. Kind of like how when you sign up for a car insurance quote via an online site promising never to give away your personal information, and you suddenly get a crapload of correspondence from other companies who want your business, or like the fine print on your credit card agreement.

 

I mean think about it, the Two Guys made fun of insurance salesmen after all, joking of how they "WON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!" and Mark Crowe continued the mail fraud joke as far as SQ5. Would they make the same mistake twice? I really believe it's meant to be taken as humor in light of the fact that Roger didn't really commit mail fraud but is being hunted for it. That's the whole joke. It's a hit on how conveniently companies can lose or mix records, or gouge based upon the wording of a contract. Reminds me of the time I received a delinquency notice from a treasurers's office in a county I'd move away from 3 years prior (and they knew I had moved out and I even had records of the correspondence proving I'd owed them nothing! ;) )

 

If you deal with a shady company, they'll always try to stick you, and it will be difficult to fight them if you're unorganized and don't keep a file cabinet, or frozen in cyrosleep for an undetermined amount of time.

 

Also, in my opinion, misinterpreted, was the idea that the sequel police men sequence on the super computer tower was buggy because they shoot Roger after telling him to halt, even though he does halt. I always took it as mocking trigger happy police members. Almost every hollywood film with police in it mocks the trigger happy members. The closest example that springs to mind for me is actually the bear in hoodwinked that just can't wait to cuff ANYBODY and take them in, so long as it's ANYBODY.

 

What more indication do we need that it's meant to be taken sarcastically, than the sequel police man's own words, spoken in the most smartassed tone, "SOME people just DON'T follow instructions! ;) )

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Also, in my opinion, misinterpreted, was the idea that the sequel police men sequence on the super computer tower was buggy because they shoot Roger after telling him to halt, even though he does halt. I always took it as mocking trigger happy police members. Almost every hollywood film with police in it mocks the trigger happy members.

 

What more indication do we need that it's meant to be taken sarcastically, than the sequel police man's own words, spoken in the most smartassed tone, "SOME people just DON'T follow instructions! ;) )

Absolutely! I don't really understand how anyone could have thought otherwise. It's plain as day. And SQ excels in sarcastic humour.

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