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SQ1 VGA: Stop the Hate


Definitive SQ1 poll  

15 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you prefer the fantastic VGA version of SQ1, or the other one?

    • VGA
    • EGA

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I love the art in both games, though I prefer the style of the original just slightly.


Also, I don't think the remake is actually that different in style as people like to make out,

a lot of it is just a pretty general update, with only a few stylistic liberties taken.


If I was to replay one of them now, I'd probably go for the VGA just to be kind to myself and have

an easier time, though the original is obviously the definitive, classic version.

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What's interesting to me about complaints of the VGA being farmed out to Koreans is that the core of the remake is still the Two Guys. It's almost entirely just a cosmetic reinterpretation. To adapt Troels's metaphor and put it in more normal terms, it's like a cover of a Beatles song. I'm reminded of Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt," which is often considered superior to the NIN original (arguably even by Trent Reznor). Now, the VGA remake of Space Quest is definitely not that good, but it's still a cover.


I've always enjoyed this sort of re-interpretation. Jazz has a whole sub-genre of "standards": classic songs from Tin Pan Alley or older (even medieval in the case of something like Greensleeves) that are then taken up and reinterpreted through another's lens.


Even if the case here is a cash grab using anonymous contractors, the contractors' perspective was honestly an interesting one.

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Christ on a bike...


Nobody said that the only reason they didn't like SQ1 was because of Scott and Mark not being involved. It was just the one point they made in the thread before moving on.


So you're not "just sayin'" about there needing to be more valid criticism (because nobody claimed or denied that). You're just shit stirring.


But, hey. You're edgy. You speak your mind. You're not going to kowtow to what "the man" says you're supposed to behave like. Manners are for squares. For mealy mouthed sheeple. You talk. You bring the truth. You say what needs to be said, because it needs to be said. You are: Fronzel Neekburm.



Old-school DrSlash snark, how I've missed thee.

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the VGA being farmed out to Koreans 


I find it funny when it's mentioned about the Koreans... it's always implied that

that means it's obviously bad quality and that they don't know what they're doing,

I guess because they're Koreans and live in Korea...


Kinda like, "well everyone knows Koreans produce substandard adventure game remake art

and will impose their incorrect sci-fi aesthetic on it..."


I wonder if the art was made in the USA if people would think about it differently.

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Oh come on. Don't start that. It has nothing to do with them being Korean. Their artwork is quite fantastic, actually. It has everything to do with them not being Sierra in-house staff and not matching the vibe of the rest of the series. Actually, the fault really lies with Ken Williams and the art director(s) who signed off on it. It's not because "they're Korean". It just shows how lazy Sierra was in developing the game.

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Using contractors is lazy? I dunno, I don't buy that at all... "Some random Koreans" certainly sounds like mockery to a native English speaker's ears.


The idea that the series has any sort of real artistic consistency also isn't something I would ever agree to.


Anyway, I'm glad we can all agree that it's beautiful. 

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Yes, it's lazy. And no it's not mockery. "Random" implies somebody or some people not invested in the project without any emotional attachment to the product just doing something for money. He/she/they don't really care beyond their paycheck. "Koreans" implies just how far removed from Sierra these people are. They're not just not a part of the same company or the same city, they're in another country altogether! Maybe they don't even do artwork exclusively for video games. So yes, "random Koreans" applies without being racist.


I just don't agree that the style isn't consistent. I'm pretty sure, and somebody correct me if I'm wrong, Mark Crowe was involved with the art direction in every Space Quest game if not doing the art himself, except for maybe SQ6. But VGA's direction sticks out the most of all of them. SQ6 is a lot closer than VGA's to the rest of the series.


When it all comes down, the Two Guys didn't sign off on anything. Would Mark sign off on that artwork for the remake or would he go in a different direction? Maybe we should ask him.

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Well, I wrote it, so at least hear me out here - confused non-native English speaker asshole or not. Brandon pretty much nailed most of what I meant, so I won't repeat that. But outsourcing it was no doubt also going to make it cheaper. As far as I remember, the KQ1 remake sold poorly and was criticised by people who favoured the original. As good as certain aspects of the Space Quest remake are, it was a money grab that purported to be designed by the Two Guys. And by that, I am referring to the redesigned game and not the original design.


And if I must provide more "valid" criticism (I know we've been there, but seriously - we spent weeks reading bitching and moaning about every little bit of SpaceVenture criticism being valid) than that to be able to not love the game, I will say that while I don't the VGA graphics are bad, they don't match the look of the rest of the classic games in the series. It's all a bit overly colourful and garish to me, even if the 1950's B-movie angle was indeed interesting. The copy protection and CPU timer issues are also annoying, but granted, they are not problems exclusive to this game. But the look and feel is just "off" to me, with the exception of the awesome music.


tl;dr You'll probably still think I'm a racist and Fronzel will probably "overlook" that I praised a couple of aspects of the game above and will have to write that I'm being silly again.

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What else could you be implying with words like "mockery" and phrases like "obviously bad quality" because "they're Koreans living in Korea"?


Well, I don't run the site per se. I mean I do (with others), but I don't own it.


This isn't really a road I enjoy going down, but it's not "racism" per se. You're also confusing me with JimmyTwoBucks. Anyway, it's about prejudice -- i.e., an artistic project contracted out to faraway non-English-speaking foreigners is akin to American Eagle making its American goods in Chinese sweatshops. But it's not racism, because the issue isn't about the race of the people involved.


I don't like bringing up such heavy-duty real world concepts in such a trivial context. 


Frede: nobody thinks you're racist.  :wub:  I personally think you're snarky and hypersensitive, but that's ok -- I've got a Super Nice Guy veneer on anyway because I'm trying to believe that this community is as pure and friendly as Troels is and portrays it as. I want that community to exist <3

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The thing is it's not "racial" prejudice at all -- it's "here" (wherever) versus "elsewhere," and the prejudicial idea that "elsewhere" makes stuff on the cheap and without passion, due to assumptions about the relationship between art and the mechanisms of global capitalism. In other words, the idea that outsourced, "factory" art is inferior to "real," homegrown art.

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It's a fact that outsourced artists don't know much about the source material. Just enough to go on to produce what the client wants. There's nothing prejudice about that. It's just true. They're not on the game design team working together to create something magical, they're not privy to the game design philosophies of Sierra, and they have a million other projects to worry about too. That's the nature of outsourcing contract work.


Actually, if that's prejudice then it also applies to the remake "team" because, as Frede said, it was a cash grab. It wasn't a game that the Two Guys wanted to make like the rest were (save SQ6) I doubt much love went into its design. Short of Allen's score and Mandel's writing.

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So my point is that all the 30 assumptions you made in that post are prejudicial in nature, whether they' re "just true" or not ;) 

("Team" in scare quotes is a perfect example of the kind of thinking I'm talking about.)


Moreover, I don't think it's hard to know all the source material -- it's more a question of whether you personally believe they had a right to riff on Space Quest or not, and apparently you don't. Fair enough.

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Well, if you want to look at it that way you're also prejudice against the EGA version simply by the fact that you prefer the VGA version. Personal bias and opinion count as prejudice in that light. Scott and Mark are also prejudice against VGA in the same way.


They're not assumptions. There's a difference between being contracted to be on a development team and being outsourced for a bit of art work or sound work etc (note the etymology: OUTsourced, as in "outside the team"). If they were a part of the team their names would be in the credits. That's something you don't get when people outsource to you. Especially if you're not independent.


Of course I'd prefer a version made by the two Guys as opposed to what we got. If that's prejudice then so be it. But it's just personal taste. I prefer the art direction of the EGA version simply because I think it's more faithful to the series (being the first game, obviously). I've already given valid reasons why I believe the series has a cohesive style, despite slight differences due to using multiple artists.


I don't hate the VGA version. It's a nice rendition. I don't consider it official, rather something more like a fan effort. Yes, it was made by Sierra (though, not entirely), but it wasn't made by Mark or Scott and they've gone on record to say that had they done a remake they would have done it differently.


Not all cases do I think that way, though. I've already admitted that the outsourced work is nice, just not what I'd want to see in a Space Quest game. The Monkey Island 2 special edition, for instance, has great artwork and it was entirely outsourced. In fact it's better than the in-house work done on the first special edition. But in that case the outsourced artwork just so happened to be more faithful to the series and the original game than the in-house work. Opinions. Not prejudice. However, I'd still argue that the work done on MI2's remake, despite being better, was done without emotional attachment and merely to get a paycheck. It speaks to their talents that it was exactly what was needed, but that doesn't mean they were invested in the project.

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Yes, there's a distinction between assuming the outsourcing affected the game and knowing that it did. We're in the latter camp.

Not all outsourced stuff is shit (as Brandon shows with Monkey Island) and not all of it is out of step with the original team. This just so happened to be.

Prejudice is where you assume something based on stereotype. In this case the accusation fits the reality. It could have all been done in house and been equally out of step with the rest of the series; or outsourced and captured Mark's style seamlessly.

But, anyway. I like the VGA version, but I also feel like it didn't feel like "proper" SQ. Someone here said it was like a fan game, and I'd go with that. Having discovered the series via SQ2 (which my dad bought based on playing SQ1), I prefer the parser and keyboard interface, as well as the overall feel of the original.

Didn't realise it was drawn in Korea. Ultimately, I think it's a but of a diversion. It's simply another example of how it was a) not Scott and Mark and b) done to maximise profit. Which I think was The Two Danes from Danedromeda's original issue that started the bun fight.

Nowt wrong with any of what Sierra did, by the way. Just makes me think a little less of it (personally) as an overall package.

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I didn't mean to imply that anyone here is racist, or pick on anyone's specific mention of it being Korean in this thread,

it was more of just a general observation about something that I find interesting and something I thought/did as well...


I find it genuinely amusing/interesting that without any conscious collusion it has been pretty much automatically established as a

shorthand for "cheap and outsourced to people who don't know what they're doing" in the same way that "made in China"

is often used as shorthand for "this product is cheaply mass produced and of low quality" by a lot of people.


I found it funny because it's something that I did as well, instinctively, the first time it was brought up, even though it's

so random and specific, like, "oh yes, Korea... that's true it, must be cheap." As if everyone on some level just knows that

if you want cheap computer game remake art work, you obviously go to Koreans for it!

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If you mean cheap as in financially, yes it is. If you mean cheap as in low quality, I've already refuted that with the MI2 example. Again, I don't believe Koreans make crap artwork. Their artwork is fine. I simply mean that it was outsourced and therefore by definition not part of the team. They got some quick artwork (that is more than competent in quality) to fish out a quick cash grab. They could have outsourced to China, Russia, New Zealand, or New Jersey. My reaction would be the same, unless the artwork had somehow randomly lived up to the style of the other games.


Really it's not their fault at all, though. Like I said before, the art director for the project signed off on everything. It's really his fault.

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Yeah, there's this flippant idea that outsourcing causes a loss of artistic legitimacy. Maybe it's hard to suss out in explicit terms from individual people, but it's obviously there.


I suppose I also disagree (as a separate issue) with the premises that it matters what the Two Guys wanted, that it matters what "the original team" (?) would have done with a VGA version that had far more staff than just 2, or that it matters what the "consistent style" of the series is, which again I would argue has never existed. Space Quest 4 and Space Quest 5 feel like night and day stylistically -- probably, and crucially to this discussion, due to the change in teams for each game since Space Quest stopped being a two-man show. Taking Space Quest 4 as the VGA standard of the series, you're left having to explain why everything about Space Quest 5 was a parody of Star Trek TOS, why it was so cute and bouncy, why it suddenly adopted this comic book (and cutscene-heavy) style, etc. The answer is pretty obviously: Dynamix. Interface aside, Space Quest 5's art style has a lot more in common with Willy Beamish than it does with SQ4.


One point that probably sets me apart from others on this forum is that I don't especially respect the artistic will of Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe. I'm really not a Guys from Andromeda fan, per se; I'm a fan of Space Quest in all its incarnations, including fan games, remakes, riffs, etc. In my opinion, some of the fan games are better than some of the canon titles.

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