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Coincidental References


Capn_Ascii
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Okay, so here's something to generate a bit more Space Quest talk. What things have you seen in various video games/TV shows/movies/etc. that weren't *actual* references to Space Quest...but that nontheless *reminded* you of Space Quest?

 

Note that I'm not talking about 'reverse references' - seeing something in, say, Star Trek that a SQ game made fun of and thusly being reminded of SQ. I'm talking about purely random things that, by coincidence, just happened to resemble something in SQ or made you think about something SQ-related.

 

I'll start off with a good example: I've been playing the hell out of Borderlands 2 recently. The game has a large number of collectible 'skins' that redecorate your character's outfit with different color schemes. Upon receiving one of these skins, I tried it on:

 

post-823-0-92308400-1353470735_thumb.jpg

 

Familiar color scheme, no? ;) Especially the way the pattern across the sleeves works out.

 

So, what other coincidental SQ references have you folks seen floating around out there?

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I'm not sure if this example counts, but the protagonist of Robert Sheckley's* short sci-fi story "The Minumum Man" at times seems remarkably similar to Roger in the earlier SQ games, though perhaps slightly more grounded in reality. The story sets Anton Perceveral (the protagonist) up as being one of the most unlucky, accident-prone men on Earth, yet just when he has hit the lowest point of his life, he gets chosen to go into space and help set up a colony on an alien world. The reasoning behind this decision is that in order for a planet to be deemed habitable for humans, a man with the most minimal chances of survival needs to live there for a certain amount of time, and if a man like him can survive life on that planet, then anyone can.

 

Amazingly, after some time, Perceveral starts to adapt to his new life (after several injuries, accidents and illnesses), and he has a robot to help him out with some of the tasks that he is incapable of doing on his own. However, he soon realizes that some of the survival gear he was supplied with is in poor shape or non-functional. He learns that this was actually intentional in order to keep his chances of survival as minimum as possible. Things get worse when the robot starts malfunctioning, disobeying his orders and breaking things -- in fact, the more capable Perceveral becomes, the more clumsy the robot becomes (again, part of the same plan to lower his chances of survival).

 

Anyway, one thing leads to another and the robot eventually goes on a rampage, apparently intent on killing Perceveral. Every trap Perceveral sets for it fails, and he ends up running for his life with the robot in hot pursuit. Then, just when all hope seems lost, suddenly it dawns on Perceveral that he has adapted so well to life on this planet that he has become the complete opposite of what he was before he arrived there -- an accident-proof man. He becomes so confident in his newly discovered invincibility that he scrambles up a sheer mountain face, avoids certain death numerous times despite all the odds stacked against him, and at the last second is able to trick the robot into tumbling down the mountain, where it gets buried beneath several hundred tons of rock. However, as he starts coming down from his heroic high, he almost has a nervous breakdown, then much later (when colonists start to arrive on the planet) confesses that he had no idea what came over him.

 

 

*I cannot recommend this guy's work enough (though I'll try to keep my gushing to a minimum). His short sci-fi stories not only are full of brilliant ideas, but many of them have a very dry, acerbic wit that I suppose is vaguely Space Quest-ish (though I'd probably need a second opinion about that). His AAA Ace Interplanetary Decontamination Service short stories usually focus around a pair of men who end up stranded on uninhabited planets, and have to find solutions to seemingly impossible situations -- and these solutions end up being surprisingly creative (perhaps not the sort of things that could easily be developed into adventure game puzzles, but still very interesting).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Darn it, you beat me to it, Datadog!

 

Anyway, back to the topic: I know the "surviving a room with a floor receding to reveal a pit of acid" plot element has been used numerous times in fiction, but when this plot element appeared in an episode of MacGyver called "The Human Factor" (which takes place inside a computer-controlled underground base with a lot of sci-fi elements), it reminded me a lot of the acid trap scene in SQ2, mostly because the scene was actually played out in a humorous way. Not only that, but MacGyver's solution to surviving the trap -- I'm not making this up -- involves taking his pants off. While there's a woman trapped in the room with him. (This episode also first aired in 1986, which makes me suspect that this might not be a coincidence, especially since the early SQ games have several MacGyver-esque puzzles. At least they don't feel nearly as shoehorned-in as the ones in Lost in Time.)

 

Another coincidence is a personal experience of mine: Earlier this year, I decided to listen to a few episodes of an old radio series called Quiet Please, a program with many episodes running the gamut from comedy to drama to horror to sci-fi, which would sometimes break the fourth wall in surprisingly original ways. Anyway, I decided to start off with the first episode, a sci-fi/horror story called "Nothing Behind the Door", which centers around three men who visit an observatory in southern California. At one point, the narrator (one of the three men) is describing the night sky, and at one point the Andromeda galaxy is mentioned, the name of which he repeatedly pronounces "An-dro-MEE-da" instead of "An-DRAW-me-da." I smiled a little at this, wondering how the producer could have let such a silly pronunciation mistake like that slip by. Then again, this episode was made back in the 1940s, so I decided to cut the narrator a little slack.

 

The day that I was re-listening to this episode was -- again, not I'm making this up -- April 14th, 2012. Later that day, I discovered that this had just happened. Then I listened to this video, which was just the icing on this coincidence cake.

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I heard some people were giving Akril a hard time here. I'm here to join in on that. ;)

 

No, I'm sorry. I'm just here to spout nonsense. In my book, pronounciation is an odd beast. Words like "laboratory" and "controversy" are examples of words that have two wildly varying pronounciations, depending on which part of the world you're in. I didn't know "Andromeda" fell into that category as well, but hey.

 

I always pronounce "Andromeda" the way Barry T. Smith does it in Current Inside Copy. That way, I'm sure I'm at least somewhat on track.

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The reasoning behind this decision is that in order for a planet to be deemed habitable for humans, a man with the most minimal chances of survival needs to live there for a certain amount of time, and if a man like him can survive life on that planet, then anyone can.

I approve of this direction of thinking. :D

 

Not only that, but MacGyver's solution to surviving the trap -- I'm not making this up -- involves taking his pants off. While there's a woman trapped in the room with him.

And also of this one. :lol:

 

This episode also first aired in 1986, which makes me suspect that this might not be a coincidence, especially since the early SQ games have several MacGyver-esque puzzles.

Combining random items into workable solutions to problems was *the* fad of the 1980s. Even moreso than pastel colors, parachute pants, and buddy cop TV shows.

 

Little known fact: Space Quest was originally pitched as a TV series, with Roger as a handsome space rogue who solved problems with MacGyver-esque ingenuity, lady-killing charm, and a dazzling smile.

 

Words like "laboratory"

I have to admit, "Welcome to Dexter's LAB-rat-or-y!" doesn't sound nearly as awesome as "la-BOR-a-tor-y".

 

 

Back to the subject at hand...I watch a lot of Boomerang (the classic cartoon channel), and every time Hong-Kong Phooey comes on, I can't help but grin. The titular character is a kung-fu "master" who "solves" crimes by bumbling through them with a flair matched only by Max Smart and Inspector Gadget, winning the day mostly through dumb luck. His secret identity/day job? Janitor at the police station. ;) Much like Roger, he gets actively disrespected while in his janitor guise, although in this case it's intentional - his 'lowly' role lets him eavesdrop on incoming police calls so he knows where his superhero self is needed.

 

Another one that reminds me of SQ is the Dead Space series of games. Much like Roger, protagonist Issac Clarke is an Everyman (in this case, an engineer) who ends up trapped in a hostile, space-based situation with enemies out for his blood and no real combat experience. He also MacGyver's solutions to his problems - though in his case, this mostly means using his engineering skills to turn mining tools into weapons for shooting his way through them. B)

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