Influences and references
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The Star Control 1 manual mentions "Inspired by the Works of Fiction of: Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Andre Norton, David Brin, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Vance, Alan Dean Foster, Keith Laumer, A.E. Van Vogt, E.E. "Doc" Smith, Joe Haldeman, Dan Simmons, Fred Saberhagen and 100 worthy others."
The names of certain races introduced in Star Control II are taken from the so-called "Professor Zorg's Guide to Alien Etiquette" (the copy-protection of Star Control): Slylandro, Supox, Orz, Thraddash, Utwig.
The name Druuge is pronounced almost exactly like the ancient Persian word "druj" - a term of Zoroastrian religion that is very roughly translated as "daeva (demon) of lies". Since the Druuge are proven liars and resemble the daevas, which are described as "beings with combined human and animal characteristics," this may have been an influence.
The Ilwrath were named after a friend of the creators (XXX: both?) named McIlwraith.
The Mycon is taken from the Greek prefix "myc-" or "myco-", which means Fungus.
The Orz and the disappearance of the Androsynth were influenced by H. P. Lovecraft's writings. (XXX: need more exact references). The *fingers* may be inspired by the six "thumbs" of DV-5, the robot from Asimov's story "Catch that Rabbit". The collective nature of the Orz and the way they refer to themselves alternatively as "we" and "I" bears resemblances to the Borg Collective (Star Trek) and to the Borg Queen respectively.
The Shofixti are inspired by the historical Japanese culture. "Kyabetsu", the name of the former Shofixti homeworld, means "cabbage". The tiny main gun of their Scout ships is called the Mendokusai Energy Dart; "Mendoukusai" in Japanese means "irritating; bothersome."
Spathi is "Sword" in Greek. Maybe, the name is meant to be very ironical, because the Spathi are so cowardly. Also, the rumours of the Black Spathi Squadron are most likely a reference to the Black Sheep Squadron from World War 2.
Larry Niven influences
- The Dnyarri are very similar in description, powers, and history to the Thrintun race, "a long-extinct species which ruled the galaxy through telepathic mind control." Like the Grogs, the Talking Pets are devolved forms of a once-great race.
- The Precursors are also slightly similar to the Thrintun who likewise left behind relics to be used by the modern-day characters in Niven's novels and who were given a vague moniker, "Slavers", by later races since their real name was unknown.
- Though not physiologically, the Spathi resemble less advanced versions of the cowardly Pierson's Puppeteers.
- The Arilou, in their speculated capacity as genetic manipulators of humanity, are also similar to the Puppeteers.
- The Melnorme, like the Outsiders, are traveling merchants who trade in information and will answer any question for the right price.
- The Shofixti are similar in appearance and warlike tendencies to the kzin.
The default name of The Captain, Zelnick, may come from Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Crystal Dynamics at the time of the 3DO version of Star Control II was being made. The producer of the 3DO version of Star Control II was Crystal Dynamics.
The Melnorme line "This very morning, I was just saying to subordinate Ochre `Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum! I smell the feet of a Hu-Hu-Man!'" refers to the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk, where an ogre (a flesh-eating giant) speaks the line "Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.". The similarity between the subordiate's name "Ochre" and "ogre" is probably not a coincidence either.
The phrase "itchy pods" from the Melnorme line "I had itchy pods this morning, Captain, and here you are!" may have been influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by Dr. Seuss' book "On Beyond Zebra", which introduces the letter "ITCH" with the line "And 'way, 'way past Z is a letter called ITCH. And the ITCH is for Itch-a-pods, animals which [...]". More far-fetched, the book also introduces the letters "QUAN" (Perhaps an influence for the name Ur-Quan) and "SPAZZ" (for "Spazzim").
- Alternatively, this may come from the popular wives' tale of "itchy palms" that predicts wealth and good fortune.
The Captain's remark to the Pkunk "Hey! Bird-brains! Got any fruit loops? Har-har-har!" refers to a brand of breakfast cereal called Froot Loops, which features a toucan resembling the Pkunk as its mascot.
The Pkunk say that they insult their foes to keep from "wrapping around" to evil; this is a programmer's joke about the nature of integers under the C programming language (and many others.) If you increase a number past its maximum (for example, 128 in an 8 bit integer) it suddenly becomes negative (-127, in this example.)
Many Pkunk dialog is a play on Far East/New Age philosophies. The Pkunk's observation that everyone in their past lives were famous, rich or interesting, and that hence other people don't reincarnate makes fun of the readings of so-called psychic mediums, who generally try to inspire faith by telling people what they want to hear.
Tanaka's opening comments, "you killed my father, my mother, my many brothers, all six of my sisters - in fact, my entire race! Prepare to die," may pay homage to the movie The Princess Bride, in which the character Inigo Montoya has prepared a similar comment for when he confronts his father's murderer, Count Rugen.
When you choose the aggressive lines to speak towards the Slylandro Probes, the third time you get the response "ENACTING THIRD LAW." before combat is initiated. This refers to Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. The third law says "A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.". The Probe's version must not have the first clause as the first law says "A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.". (Alternatively, its First Law applies to solely to its creator race, which grant humans and other sentients no special protection.) Also the Slylandro will go "to seek out new life and new civilizations, to go where no catalog item 2418 Remote Self-replicating robot probe had gone before." when asked about the programming of the probes, a reference to Star Trek.
When the Spathi Safe Ones ask the player for the Secret Spathi Cypher, one of the incorrect options is "Wagh-nagl Fthagn", which spelled a little bit differently ("Wgah'nagl Fhtagn") comes from "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!", a liturgical phrase in H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos.
One of the other options for the Spathi Cypher, "Gort, merenga!" comes from the movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still".
When The Captain gets to choose the name for the new alliance, one of his options is "The United Federation of Worlds", a reference to the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek. Starbase Commander Hayes will reply to this choice by saying "we will make it so", another reference to Star Trek, where captain Jean-Luc Picard would frequently order to "make it so".
Commander Hayes mentions early on that the Ur-Quan annihilated Buenos Aires. This is most likely a reference to Robert Heinlein's novel Starship Troopers, where the alien race humanity is fighting against similarly destroy Argentina's capital.
Commander Hayes also mentions that when the Ur-Quan destroyed much of mankind's history, they also destroyed several places without any known value. These places likely correspond to locations in popular fiction and mythology. They are:
- "kilometer of land in central Iraq" - possibly the biblical Babel, The Nameless City from the works of H. P. Lovecraft, or Iram of the Pillars
- "several targets in the Amazon rain forest" - possibly El Dorado or simply just other undiscovered city centers in the Amazon jungle
- "something deep under the surface [of the Antarctic icecap]" - possibly a reference to the alien city discovered in H. P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness
- "broad swath of the ocean floor in the south-eastern Atlantic" - possibly Atlantis
When the Utwig are trying to tell you what to do with the Precursor Bomb, at one point they say that the "Bomb must be...Hugged?" This is likely a reference to the movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
One of the ways that the Utwig determined that the Ultron could have been saved was by cushioning the fall with a fuzzy wumpus. A Wumpus is a mysterious monster from the famous, early computer game Hunt the Wumpus.
When describing the Kohr-Ah, the Utwig say that their stated purpose is "to seek out new life and new civilizations...and then annihilate them," a clear play on the mission statement of the Starship Enterprise of Star Trek fame.
The Utwig parting phrase "May the Ultron be with you!" is very similar to the Star Wars phrase "May the Force be with you."
The description of the constellation that is described as "the snake-like creature who has swallowed the elephantine beast" in the DOS version ("the long, thin creature who has swallowed the huge beast." in the 3DO version and UQM) is a reference to the children's book Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which describes and shows an image of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant.
The coordinates "...ziggerfau-gerrrnuf, Ah-ah, Pahoy-hoy" of the Zoq-Fot-Pik homeworld given in their initial encounter refers to Hawaiian words for two types of lava flows, "Aa" and "Pahoehoe".
The Mosquito Mange is mentioned in the Androsynth computer records immediately prior to their disappearance. It is a reference to the term found in Roadside Picnic refering to graviconcentrates - areas of heightened and directed gravity.
The Roadside Picnic might also be the inspiration for the 'Empties'. In the novel they are one of the common alien artifacts found in the Zones. In the game they are a Precursor artifact that Commander Hayes mentions in relation to the Ultron.
The way the Androsynth made contact with an extradimensional entity via a computer terminal resembles The Planiverse.
Numerous ship captain names are actually references.
- 1040-EZ is a common tax return form in the United States.
- 976-KILL is probably meant as an American phone number. It may also refer to the movie 976-EVIL. The "976" prefix is reserved for pay services.
- AK-47 is the famous Avtomat Kalashnikova assault rifle
- BHS-79 (just a wild guess here- is this the initials of one of the high schools they attended, and their graduation date?)
- BIM-XT is an anagram for the IBM XT personal computer from the early 1980s
- BOOJI-1 is a possible reference to the character Booji Boy from the band Devo.
- CRC-16 is a 16 bits "Cyclic redundancy check (an error-detecting checksum).
- DORN-3 may be a reference to artist John Alfred Dorn III, who did several illustrations for the novels of Stanisław Lem. It could also be a reference Michael Dorn who played Lt. Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- DOS-1.0 is a reference to one or all of the various early disk operating systems (PC-DOS, MS-DOS, Apple DOS, etc).
- HAL-2001 is a reference to the HAL 9000 computer from Arthur C. Clarke's and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey
- JOR-15 might be a reference to Jor-El, superman's biological father in the DC comics universe.
- KORB-7B might refer to Lawrence Korb, a former US Secretary of Defense heavily involved in military security.
- ME-262 is a reference to the Messerschmitt Me-262, the first operational jet powered aircraft.
- NECRO-99 may be a reference to the robot NECRON-99 from the movie Wizards.
- SR-71 is a reference to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, an advanced reconnaissance aircraft.
- XR4-TI was a car model manufactured by the short-lived Merkur brand.
- Adama is the captain of the Battlestar Galactica in the television series by the same name.
- Belt is a reference to Henry Belt, captain of a solar sail vessel in Jack Vance's short story Sail 25.
- Buck refers to Buck Rogers, a character who appeared in popular sci-fi comic strips and serials in the late 30's, as well as a later television series.
- Decker is likely a reference to Willard Decker, captain of the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 in the movie Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- Ender is a reference to the main character of the Orson Scott Card novel Ender's Game.
- Graeme is a reference to Donal Graeme, a protagonist in the Childe Cycle novels by Gordon R. Dickson. (This may also be a reference to other characters in this series with this same lastname.)
- Halleck is a reference to Gurney Halleck of the Dune series.
- Kirk is a reference to James T. Kirk, captain of the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 in the original series of Star Trek.
- Pike is a reference to Christopher Pike, captain of the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 in the pilot episode of Star Trek.
- Pirx is a reference to a fictional test pilot in a series of stories by Stanisław Lem.
- Solo is a reference to Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars episode 4 through 6.
- Spiff is a reference to Spaceman Spiff, a fantasy identity of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes
- Trent is a reference to Jeff Trent, civilian airline pilot from Plan 9 from Outer Space
- Tuf is a reference to Haviland Tuf, the protagonist in Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin.
- VanRijn is a reference to the merchant prince Nicholas Van Rijn in Poul Anderson's stories.
- Wu is a reference to Louis Wu, the protagonist of Larry Niven's Ringworld series.
- Gorgon is a famous Greek mythological creature, of which Medusa was one.
- Kalgon might refer to Calgon, a cleansing product.
- Taragon likely refers to the spice tarragon
- All of their ship names appear to be Death followed by a prime number.
- Znuff could be a reference to the 1984 rock group Enuff Z'nuff.
- Spork is an eating utensil, a hybrid of a spoon and a fork.
- Crow may refer to Crow T. Robot from Mystery Science Theater 3000 as well as the obvious type of bird.
- Ernie is likely a reference to the British cartoon Ernie.
- Tweety is likely a reference to Tweety Bird.
- WudStok is Snoopy's friend Woodstock in the comic strip Peanuts.
- Bonsai! is actually the Japanese art of pruning trees, but is most likely a reference to the cry Banzai.
- Busu is a Japanese word for ugly
- Chimchim most likely refers to the pet chimpanzee in Speed Racer.
- Daikon is a giant, white radish popular in Japanese cooking.
- Gaijin is a disparaging Japanese term for foreigner.
- Genjiro is likely a reference to Genjiro Arato, a Japanese movie producer, actor, and director.
- Ginzu is probably the Ginsu knife.
- Hiyata is a reference to the title character of the Japanese show Ultraman, where it can also be spelled "Hayata".
- Ichiban is the Japanese word for the number 1, or first
- Kimba refers to the main character in the Japanese animation Kimba, the White Lion.
- Katana is a Japanese sword.
- Kudzu is an Asian plant that can be found in southern Japan.
- Naninani is Japanese for "such and such"
- Sushi is Japanese for seasoned rice, usually associated with raw fish.
- Tanaka is a fairly common Japanese surname.
- Tofu is bean curd, popular in Japanese cooking.
- Tora-3 refers to the radio call announcing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Tora! Tora! Tora!
- Wasabe is a Japanese condiment, usually spelled wasabi.
- Jinkeze is a reference to the catchphrase of Velma Dinkley, a main character in the Scooby-Doo cartoons, which she says when she is scared or surprised.
- Crinoid is a reference to the Krynoids, hostile sentient plants in the Doctor Who episode The Seeds of Doom.
- Trifid is a reference to the carnivorous, mobile (and possibly intelligent) plants in The Day of the Triffids.
- All of the other captain names are parts or types of plants.
- Aelita refers to the early Soviet sci-fi novel Aelita by Alexei Tolstoy or to a silent film Aelita:Queen of Mars based on it.
- Alia is a reference to St. Alia of the Knife, the sister of Paul Atreides in the Dune series.
- Alura is possibly a reference either to Princess Allura in the Voltron cartoon series or to the mother of Supergirl.
- Ardala is a reference to the Princess Ardala, nemesis of Buck Rogers.
- Be'lit is a possible reference to Belit, a pirate queen in the Conan the Barbarian stories.
- Brawne refers to Brawne Lamia, a character in Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos books.
- Dale is a reference to Dale Arden, the girlfriend of Flash Gordon.
- Danning is a reference to the actress Sybil Danning.
- Dejah may be a reference to Dejah Thoris Burroughs (Deety) in Robert A. Heinlein's The Number of the Beast, or to Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, in the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
- Maya refers to the attractive female Space: 1999 character gifted with shapeshifing abilties.
- Munro possibly refers to another genre actress, Caroline Munro.
- Penny possibly refers to the lead female character in the movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, or the character of Penny Robinson in the television show Lost in Space.
- Ripley is a reference to Lieutenant Ripley, as portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in the movie Alien.
- Sparta is a reference to the beautiful female protagonist with a mysterious past in the Venus Prime series by Arthur C. Clarke and Paul Preuss.
- Teela is a reference to Teela Brown, one of the heroines of the Larry Niven's Ringworld novels.
- Yarr may be a reference to Natasha Yar who appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Bob is possibly a reference to the creators themselves: Toys For Bob.
- Brewz'k is likely the slang word "brewski".
- Ei'Ei'o is probably referring to the refrain of the children's song Old MacDonald Had a Farm.
- While all captain's names are Lord followed by a number, Lord 666 is notable as a reference to the Number of the Beast. There is no known pattern to their numbers, unlike the Kohr-Ah.
- Endo might refer to a slang word for marijuana. In Japanese, this is also type of pea.
- Manny might refer to the main character in Robert A. Heinlein's book The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.
- Nestor might refer to the NS-2, a robot model in Asimov's "Little Lost Robot" that can, by inaction, allow a human to be harmed.
- Jujuby might be an alternate spelling of 'Jujube', which is the fruit of a certain tree, also known as the "Chinese Date".
- PIF is a file extension used in early versions of Microsoft Windows.
- VIP is an acronym meaning "very important person".
- YUK likely comes from the work "yuck" -- an appropriate name, given the VUX's appearance.
- ZIT likely comes from the skin blemish of the same name.
- Beep-eep could refer to the token sound made by the Road Runner in various Looney Tunes animations and products.
- All the rest of their captains' names simply change the first letter.
Zoq Fot Pik
- RinTin is likely named after the famous movie dog Rin Tin Tin.
- TikTak is likely a reference to the Tic Tac breath mints.
- The Arilou's Skiff vessel is reminiscent of the 'traditional' flying saucers or UFO's.
- The Earthling Cruiser seems to be inspired by the Federation Starships from Star Trek.
- The Ilwrath Avenger shares the same approximate configuration as both the the Klingon Bird-of-Prey and the Romulan Warbird from Star Trek.
- The Mmrnmhrm X-Form takes inspiration for both of its transformation forms from two popular Star Wars Rebellion fighters -- the X-Wing and the Y-Wing, respectively.
- The Syreen Penetrator is shaped after the V-2 rocket, and a dildo.
- The Ur-Quan Dreadnought bears more than a passing resemblence to the BattleStar command ships from BattleStar Galactica.
- The VUX Intruder shares a similar relationship with the D7 class Klingon starship.
According to the HyperSpace starmap, the names for the HyperSpace constellations were taken from "traditional astronomical designations." These are the in-game star and constellation names that don't directly correspond to real life astronomical designations. (Some, such as Lalande and Wolf, appear to be derived from astronomical designations).
- Almagest is a reference to the Almagest, an astronomical treatise written by Claudius Ptolemaius and describing his geocentric theory.
- Arianni may be a reference to Ariane rockets, which were the primary launch vehicle of the European Space Agency in the latter portion of the 20th century. An alternative origin may be the planet Ariannus from the original Star Trek.
- Brahe is a reference to Tycho Brahe, the famous Danish astronomer of the 16th century.
- Cerenkov is a reference to Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov, a Soviet physicist and Nobel laureate.
- Chandrasekhar is a reference to the Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, famous for his work on stellar evolution and black holes.
- Copernicus is a reference Nicolaus Copernicus, the polish astronomer who proposed the sun was the center of the solar system.
- Gorno is a possible reference to the Gorn, a race in Star Trek.
- Groombridge is a village on the border between Kent and East Sussex.
- Hyginus is a reference to the attributed author of Poeticon astronomicon.
- Hyperion is a reference to the main setting of Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos.
- Illuminati is a reference to a variety of conspiracy theories, especially those of the Bavarian Illuminati.
- Kepler is a reference to Johannes Kepler who discovered the three laws of planetary motion.
- Klystron is a reference to a kind of vacuum tube used in early radar systems.
- Lentilis is probably a reference to the Lentili from David Brin's short story Sshhh ....
- Maksutov is likely a reference to the Maksutov telescope invented by the Russian optician Dimtri Maksutov.
- Mersenne is a reference to Marin Mersenne a Minim friar who lived in France from 1588-1648 and was a major founder of number theory.
- Metis is a moon of Jupiter, and correspondingly a character in Roman mythology.
- Olber is likely a reference to Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers, a German astronomer.
- Organon is likely a reference to either Francis Bacon's book The New Organon or Aristotle's Organon, after which Bacon's book was named. Alternatively it could be a reference to Organia, an important location in Star Trek, or to the Organa family in the Star Wars universe.
- Ptolemae is a reference to Claudius Ptolemaius, an ancient astronomer whose Geocentric views Copernicus replaced.
- Raynet is possibly a misspelling of "Rayet", an existing astronomical designation. it could also be a reference to British amateur radio network RAYNET.
- Zeeman is possibly a reference to the physicist Pieter Zeeman for whom a crater on the moon is named.
- Leyland Gravity Whips are named after Robert Leyland, a Toys For Bob programmer.