Scott Murphy

Posted by Cris Skelton, Philip Jong.
First posted on 10 November 2006. Last updated on 02 August 2009.
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Scott Murphy is a man who needs no introduction. For 15 years, he stood on the forefront of the adventure gaming revolution at one of the biggest names in PC entertainment. It was deep inside the lair of Sierra On-Line that Murphy and his crony Mark Crowe—known to the world as the Two Guys from Andromeda—created Space Quest, an adventure game franchise that has proven itself to be among the most…

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late as i am, i just read this very enlightening (and sad) article. Thank you to all parties involved. Space Quest had a huge impact on me as a kid and sticks with me today. Every time i consider making a game, it is Space Quest that is my model. (note, i hate code and have learned to hate computers, so unless i find a cool team to work with, i'm unlikely to actually ever make a game - but any time the idea comes to mind, i owe Space Quest 100% of the credit).

i just replayed SQ1 and SQ2 on an Apple IIgs emulator (i played originally on Tandy 1000, so the sound effects and music were a nice change on the IIgs version). That's what brought me to the web, looking up info on Sierra folks. It's sad to hear how it all went down. i'm not sure how i feel about the Williams duo, after reading Ken Williams' Sierra Gamers blog. On one hand, he sounds honest and up front, but on the other hand, also a bit like people i've disliked in my own excursions through the corporate world. But i still owe them gratitude for creating the body of work in games that most affected, entertained and inspired me.

i can identify with Scott Murphy's statements of not being compatible with the business world. i'm also a self-taught person. On one hand, you get treated as if you're special, by those around you who find you useful to them. On the other hand, you get treated like an inferior tool once their insecurity kicks in (they think since they went to school, they should be better than you and when it's clear that you have skills they lack, they play games with politics to make you look less valuable). It's sad that self taught folks create [whatever; the product, the concept, the genre, etc] and then the business folks take over, market it and shut out the original people that started it all. And then kill it. i will never, ever abide by the money-grubbing, shareholder bullshit of corporate america.

Thanks for the great joy that Space Quest brought (despite the frustration of trying to figure out how to type "sling rock at guard with jock strap"), and thanks for this interview.

Canada By jace • On 01 April 2012 • From hell, corporate states of america


I never played Space Quest but my husband (forever the kid) and my son did. I really enjoyed the article....but Scott's pain shows through, which is somewhat sad.

United States By Penalope Cook • On 09 September 2011 • From Mt Pleasant, MI 48858

Very Good

OK, I've gone and done it! Being a longtime fan of Sierra's adventure games I finally wrote a blog about it and referenced this article!

Check out the blog entry at NERDTREK dot com!

Thanks for all your hard work Adventure Classic Gaming!

United States By Jonathan Nerdtrek • On 24 November 2010 • From Snoqualmie, WA


Wow, Scott seems like a totally likeable person.
And he hasn't lost his humor.

So interesting to read...

Austria By mckracken • On 25 June 2010 • From Somewhere

Very Good

Whoa, this brought back some good ol' memories. Me and my brother used to get such a kick out of playing all those old parser games that Sierra and Lucasart churned out back in the day. They were good for learning the english language, too. Space Quest -series was definitely one the greatest adventure games back then - and hilariously funny.

It was sad to learn what had happened to these guys, and the whole company. Seems like such a phucking waste. Can it be anything but criminal that this guy ain't getting a dime for his efforts as we speak? I can relate to what Scott is saying on so many levels...

I don't think this is merely a case of growing up (or just getting older? I'm a deadbeat 32-year-old now). Somehow the whole game industry truly and utterly changed. And for guys like me, who appreciate a good story and an unhurried dialogue over mindless shoot-em-ups and car chases, this era delivers us exactly squat.

No wonder they are porting some 20-year-old adventure games to state-of-the-art mobile phones: It's the content, dummy!

Last time I remember having enjoyed a computer game was when I shared a split-screen of Wacky Wheels with a friend - and that was back in high school! Sure, since then I've tried on a few occasions some video games at friends' and acquiantances' only to find that, for me, they only seem worth playing a couple of minutes when you are drunk. So, apart from an odd game of backgammon (because I don't have a real backgammon board - nor care to have one) with my girlfriend, I haven't really played computer games for close to 15 years.

And that, my friends, says a lot about gaming industry today. More of the same shite with no real alternatives. As for me, I predict that the next time when I'll be hooked on a computer game again, will be when virtual reality magick becomes a common household entertainment item.

Still, best of luck to you Scottie - may the force be with you! (But for your own well-being, you probably should sue those bastards - if only to make a relevant point.)

Finland By nevermind • On 27 January 2010 • From Finland


It's really quite refreshing to get a great scoop from a real guy from Andromeda. For quite a while I harbored hopes they (possibly sierra, but really anyone who'd take the lousy time!) would resurrect the series so that it could live on for another thousand days or so. But reading this article really puts me at rest on the subject. I'm quite content, and actually hopeful that they will leave the Space Quest saga in peace for the rest of time. However, that's not to say I wouldn't be glad to see a miracle return of Scott, Mark, Ken and Roberta and all of the original crew whip up something good to make me laugh hard enough to have to take five minutes to assume my normal breathing pattern again. But that's probably never going to happen.
So again, I'm glad I read this, it consoled my SQ tantrum, and it inspired me. Mr. Murphy's got a high five waiting for him if he ever cares for one from me.

Man, I loved all those games...
Good stuff.

United States By Chael • On 15 April 2009 • From Rexburg, USA


well done for tracking him dow. Indeed it makes one emotional. Scott is right, the parser takes the klick and flick stress out of the games, let alone in alows tem play in the way that you can sit together with a dictionary and some beer discussing potential response that the team might have not expected and get a good comment back. That is what creative gaming was about. It also does not make the gamers go aggressive - only happily drunk. So perhaps one day he will inspire another good game like that. With his experience he should get together with scott adams to make Dilbert world with this goo old technique. You could even get other players to try to add the funniest responses but I would want him at the controls to moderate. Woudn't that be a valid retirement plan

Great Britain (UK) By placebo overdose • On 14 March 2009 • From sharnbrook, UK


I grew up playing the Sierra games and recently started to look up the company and find out what happened to the company.

Yesterday a colleague and I were reminiscing about the text parser vs. the point and click interface. Scott is right, SQ always forced me to figure out what Roger needed to do to complete his mission, not just click on everything until it worked.

One thing I know for sure, my SQI and my old Tandy 1000 kept me more entertained when I was growing up than my computer does now.

Thank you Scott!!!

Canada By Kent • On 23 January 2009 • From Newmarket, Ontario, Canada


The last sentences about what's making games is really about made me weep. If everyone would be like this guy the world would be cool.
Text based parser > *
I remember typing in "kiss the guard".
The games helped me learn english, and everything. Thank you!

Germany By AlienMind • On 10 May 2008 • From Germany


Nice interview.... Really interesting. Big props to Scott for being so honest and open.

I cannot believe that you aren't getting any royalties. That's totally crazy! You should start a lawsuit right away!!

Mexico By eduardo • On 20 April 2008 • From Mexico
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