Original Space Quest IV Box Art

Today we’ve got an auction for a piece of video game history! I’m always happily suprised when items such as this pop up because they can be easily lost or damaged over time if not cared for properly. This piece of the past has been kept safe however and is now available to the highest bidder. On auction right now is the original box art for Space Quest IV…

Space Quest IV Original Box Art
This is more than a simple auction where someone is selling off something of value that they no longer want though. The money that comes from this auction will actually be put towards the Kickstarter campaign set up by the creators of Space Quest (Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy) for a brand new Space adventure title! The donation will be made in the buyer’s name as well which would entitle them to a ton of extras for being such a high contributor. You can find all the details about that at their Kickerstarter page.

This is a fantastic piece for fansof Space Quest and the money will be put to good use as well. The bids have been really stacking up so check your wallets guys…

Original Space Quest IV Box Art

Just for reference, please find the complete auction description below:

This is the actual production painting used to create the box for Sierra On-Line’s classic adventure game Space Quest IV.  It’s in amazing condition — especially considering that the date next to the artist’s signature indicates the painting is now officially old enough to drink — and it’s huge.  Check the picture; that’s a 12-inch ruler looking all tiny on the left-hand side.

Essentially, this is a piece of computer gaming history.  It’s unique.  It’s… um… vividly… colored, it’s a total chick magnet (for the right kind of chick, and would you really want any other kind?), and it’s a wonderful reminder of the days when humor and story still roamed the gaming landscape in mighty herds.

Ahhh, Space Quest.  The charming misadventures of a bumbling janitor in outer space, as envisioned by Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy of Sierra On-Line.  Old-school gamers remember this as one of the best adventure series ever made: it was equal parts space opera and geeky humor, challenging but not frustrating, and above all, just plain fun.  But all good things come to an end, and Roger Wilco was retired from active duty after his sixth interstellar mission.

Roger’s creators, though, are not retired, and they might just have a grand new quest in store for us.  The “Two Guys from Andromeda” believe adventure gaming is not actually dead, just resting, or maybe pining for the fjords.  Last month, they launched the SpaceVenture Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a brand-new adventure title, brimming over with the sort of story-based, snort-laugh-inducing goodness that made their previous series so memorable and fabulous.  As a fan of their work, I’d love to see the campaign succeed!

But right now, things aren’t looking good.  With only four days left on the clock, the pledge total for this project is still many thousands of dollars short.  Kickstarter being Kickstarter and the Internet being the Internet, that doesn’t mean hope is lost.  But it does inspire a bit of frantic creativity.  As it happens, I also worked at Sierra On-Line back in the day, and one of my most prized souvenirs of that time is the original box art for Space Quest IV.  Happy as I would be to keep it forever and love it and squeeze it and call it George, I’d be even happier to play a new game from two of my favorite designers.

So here we are: me with a huge piece of illustration board covered in plunger/alien mayhem, and you with money in your pocket that could help the Two Guys reach their stardust-encrusted goal.

Which brings me to…

Payment MUST be made by PayPal, within 24 hours of the auction’s end.  If you cannot be online to make payment within that time, please do not bid!  The Kickstarter clock is counting down, and a project is only funded if its goal is reached in time.

Once I have received payment, I will pledge 91% of it to the SpaceVenture project, in YOUR name, so that you will receive any applicable pledge gifts.  (The remaining 9% will be eaten by eBay’s ever-hungry maw, since that’s what they’re apparently charging as a fee these days.  Ouch.)

In the case that SpaceVenture‘s funding goal is not met, and the pledges are cancelled, I will resort to my backup plan, which is to say pledging it again to another adventure-game revival project on Kickstarter, Tex Murphy – Project Fedora.  Again, the pledge will be made in your name.

Finally, if that one also fails… well, I officially give up, and the money will be donated to Child’s Play, a nonprofit charity providing free videogames to hospitalized children.  Because that’s just cool.

Either way, your new precious will be packaged extremely well — like, Monk-OCD-level well — and shipped either USPS Priority Mail or UPS 2nd Day within two days of receiving your payment.

In search of more info about this painting, I emailed the original artist, Terry Robinson, who was happy to fill in the details… along with a few fascinating tidbits about the whole process:

“The painting is acrylic mostly done with an air-brush. The original rough pencil idea was thought up by the other Creative Services artist of Sierra On-Line at the time, John Gamache. The foot on the face was part of John’s original sketch idea which I wanted to change perspective on but that was what they liked so I did my best to try and pull it off. There might be a bit of Prisma color pencil on this as well as paint, as that was the technique I was using quite a lot when Sierra originally hired me.”

“I’m told the three box illustrations of Roger that I did resemble me at that time. It wasn’t a concious effort it just often happens when artists create faces without photo reference. We subconciously recall the nuances we so often see in the mirror. I’m not a blond though.”

“I was pretty proud of [this piece] back in the day. I think John was a bit miffed that they gave his idea to me to paint. We had a bit of a small competition between us always trying to outdo the other guy. He was a great painter and this really should have been his to paint. Some of the game artists wanted a shot at doing the box covers too, which made for heavy critique on our work.  We worked hard to prove ourselves on each cover.  It was important to us to do justice to all the work the teams put into the games.  Game designer Mark Crowe designed the box with them standing in green slime but that was also given to me to paint and fine tune the drawing. I also did the VGA redo Space Quest 1 cover the Roger drinking between two aliens. A fun series!

Good times that were sad to see come to an end. I count myself lucky to have been there during it’s heyday.

Good luck to all you folks trying to bring back adventure games.”

Thanks so much to Terry, both for the insight and for creating such a wonderful piece in the first place!

On Jun-07-12 at 16:55:54 PDT, seller added the following information:(Edited ~5:00pm, June 7)
CORRECTION: D’oh!!  Although the artist’s name is listed correctly as Terry Robinson in the text here, I spazzed and put the name of an old school friend Terry Johnston in the details.  Terry Robinson painted this piece.  Terry Johnston did not.  Herp derp derp…

On Jun-07-12 at 18:59:29 PDT, seller added the following information:(Edited ~7:00pm, June 7)
CORRECTION: GAH!!  And now I see that something weird happened to my link.  It’s just been that kind of day.  So let’s try that again…
SpaceVenture campaign on Kickstarter = where the buckazoids from this auction will go

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Comments 2

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  1. Holy shit Akira! Your best find ever! This would have totally slipped passed me but I was halted when I found out, after I clicked the link, that the bid was already at $2000 dollars :(. It’s still a nice auction to follow and I can’t believe old Sierra art like this can still pop up on eBay. It’s funny, his description is in the same format as old Sierra hintbooks LOL. Collectors can be funny sometimes but this is a kickass auction. Way to go on the find.

    Hmmm…. credit line maybe?

  2. You’re counting your buckazoids and waiting for the auction’s close aren’t you… lol

    Seriously an interesting moment for Space Quest though. Only about 24 hours left on the auction as I write this and less than a few days left on the Kickstarter campaign. They’re soooo close too.

Original Space Quest IV Box Art

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