Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
Space Quest IV is really, really funny. No, I’m not wrong about this!
If you were to go back to most early 90s Sierra adventures, you’d certainly struggle. The Police Quest games, which I adored, are far, far too fiddly, bogged down with paperwork that somehow can lead to a game over if gotten wrong, the King’s Quest games were saccharine shit, the Larry games weren’t half as funny as your pre-teen self thought they were. And the early Space Quest games are god-awful beyond belief. But Space Quest IV is something different. It’s actually laugh-out-loud funny.
I proved this to myself back in 2009, which I’m horrified to realise is a long time ago already, but at least while still in my 30s.
Space Quest IV is a game with the volume of gags that people misremember the LucasArts games having. This is a game where every single detail on every single screen has had about five jokes written for it, depending upon what cursor icon you click on it. And each voiced by the mellifluous tones of the late Gary Owens. His grandiose delivery of the nonsense made it even funnier than the text alone.
The game’s dreadful in so many ways, not least the daft numbers of ways you can die. But it still features that amazing joke where you go back in time and the game is rendered in EGA graphics, and for that it shall always live on in greatness.