DGC Ep 110: Interview with Mark Crowe

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are lucky this week to be able to interview Mark Crowe, one of the original "Guys from Andromeda" who were the creative force behind Space Quest, as well as working on many other Sierra titles. We talk about those old days, the flexibility of working with a parser, and all the constraints on game development in the early days. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: Mark's history, having a dream job, walking in the door, the hippie environment, local inspiration, first exposure to computers, size of company, meeting Scott and teaming up, developing a core idea and prototyping it, having the split-up environments in the first screens made, getting a picture on the box, taking a pseudonym in fear, dabbling in prosthetics, vacationing from Mars, learning on the job, doing everything at once, adding some humor, a cinematic approach, cinematic inspirations, cramming in references, pushing technology further, side-scrolling environments, not knowing what's possible vs "staying in your lane," the origin of Roger Wilco, stand-in for the player and trying to be in the player's head, the point-and-click innovation, parser as another layer of interaction, additional entertainment value, death and missing things and frustration, signature negative, making the games more player friendly, the needs of your existing audience vs the needs of a growing audience, playing the game pre-release, layoffs and the "cart debacle," throwing pencils at the ceiling, quick prototyping, primitive tools, time lapse rendering, Space Venture development.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sierra, Scott Murphy, Space Quest 1, Ken and Roberta Williams, Leisure Suit Larry, Police Quest, Dynamix, Star Siege, The Black Cauldron, Chris Pope, Greg Steffen, Wizard and the Princess, Softporn, Mission: Asteroid, Frogger, Sega, Ultima, Two Guys from Andromeda, King's Quest, Two Guys from Italy, Star Wars, Star Trek, Bernard Kliban, Lifeline, Space Venture.


Bernard Kliban's Original Roger Wilco

Space Quest III Timelapse

Guys from Andromeda

Guys from Andromeda YouTube Channel

Next time:
Next week we return to God of War to discuss everything up through the Challenges

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub