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The classic graphic adventure game, The Space Bar, was released 25 years ago this week. And now the title is getting a second life on ZOOM Platform.
The game from Phoenix, Arizona-based ZOOM comes courtesy of the Jordan Freeman Group (JFG), a digital game distribution company.
Directed by Steve Meretzky and the team at Boffo Games, the game originally debuted on Windows in 1997. It was reminiscent of the cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope. Segasoft and Rocket Science Games published the title, and the new game is dedicated in part to the late Bernie Stolar, former head of Sega of America, among other roles in a long video game career.
It takes place in the star system Alpha Piscis Austrini, 24.8 light years from Earth. That is where Ni’Dopal, a shapeshifting criminal mastermind of The Space Bar, got his start as a cutthroat industrial spy, infiltrating
the corporate headquarters of ZOOM, an interstellar mining conglomerate.
Boffo Intergalactic Games, the owners of The Space Bar, cut a deal with Jordan Freeman, founder of the Jordan Freeman Group, to update their title for modern PCs. JFG previously re-published titles such as: Funbox Media’s Hardwar, Aliens Vs. Predator: Gold Edition, Killing Time, Incoming Trilogy, Kao the Kangaroo: The Complete Kaollection, Off-Road/Off-Road: Redneck Racing, Plane Crazy, and Zone Raiders.
The Space Bar features the voice acting talents of Alan Rickman, John DiMaggio, Ivy Austin,
Guy Paul and more. The game was created by Steve Meretzky, of Infocom fame, best known for
collaborating with Douglas Adams on the computer game version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to
Many characters in The Space Bar were co-designed by the late Ron Cobb, famous for the original Star Wars aliens from the beloved Mos Eisley cantina scene. This 2022 digital re-release is dedicated to the memories Bernard “Bernie” Stolar, Linda Rich, and Ron Cobb.
As the player, you are Alias Node, a human detective working on the aptly-named planet, Armpit IV.
Your assignment? Catch the shape-shifting criminal, wanted for grand theft and murder, before it can escape justice by boarding the next shuttle off Armpit IV.
Clues to the killer’s whereabouts point to a seedy spaceport bar, The Thirsty Tentacle. Picking out a murderer from the bar’s motley assortment of alien creatures is no easy task. Since the target is a shapeshifter, everyone in the bar is a suspect. But interviewing these suspects and using your “empathy telepathy” to literally jump into their memories is the only way to catch the murderer.
“It’s so awesome that The Space Bar is going to be available to players again,” said Meretzky, lead designer of the game and co-founder of Boffo Intergalactic Games, in a statement. “Between the team we assembled at Boffo back in the 90’s, Ron Cobb and the others at Rocket Science Games, and our partners at Dub Media, Ledge Multimedia, and Kinetic Arts, this is easily the most talented team I ever worked with to bring a game to market.”
Freeman said in a statement, “It is with sheer joy we digitally present the previously unreleased DVD edition of Boffo Intergalactic Games’ The Space Bar, with higher resolution cinematics and improved audio. Working with Mike Dornbrook, Leo DaCosta, and Steve Mertetzky has been both an honor and a pleasure.”
As a graphic adventure titles, The Space Bar combined maximum interactivity and open-ended storytelling with top-tier voice talent and artistic direction. The Space Bar set the stage for future classics including 1998’s Grim Fandango. Tracking this title down was of paramount importance. In many ways, it’s a throwback to 1980’s text-adventure classics, while simultaneously one of the final games in graphic adventure’s golden era.
As ZOOM Platform begins to expand its online presence with its own Steam Publisher storefront, the firm remains focused on preserving PC and video game history “as it was meant to be… DRM-Free,” Freeman said.
The Space Bar: Super Digital Deluxe Edition comes bundled with concept artwork, lossless theme music, magazine ads, signed poster scan, and more, for $15.
Boffo Intergalactic Games (BIG) is the successor to Boffo Games, the multimedia game company founded on Groundhog Day in 1994, by Steve Meretzky, Mike Dornbrook, and Leo DaCosta.
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