From Watson's Disease in the original Wing Commander (named after David Watson, a friend of Origin founder Richard Garriott) to a variety of fan appearances in 'classifieds' scan of Wing Commander Arena's Star*Soldier, Wing Commander's designers have a long history of tuckerizing friends and fans. Another prominent example appears in the "Survival Tips" article of the original Privateer's Playguide:
When I recently attended a convention on Oxford, I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of a young pilot working at the fighter base. Mark Thornton’s boundless enthusiasm for his job impressed me so much that I decided to interview him for publication here. What I have compiled is condensation of our conversations about his training at the TCSN Academy. Here are the high points of his advice for rookie pilots.Who was Mark Thornton? Imagine my surprise when he e-mailed us - apparently our spam-blocking software had accidentally banned him from the forums! That sorted out, he was nice enough to explain to me how he wound up in the Privateer manual:
I wrote Origin a letter a long time ago regarding opening my own custom software store, and asked them for any assistance about purchasing software, business licensing, etc... and they sent a HUGE mailer back to me with a bunch of stickers, promotion pages of upcoming games, and a nice letter wishing me good luck. Over the years though they were all thrown away, grrrrrrr. But I do still have all of their games! :) (thank you DosBox! :))How cool - and what a complement, being referenced like that! He also sent in three pictures, so we could see what Mark Thornton looks like. The story gets even better for those familiar with the Wing Commander novels - he actually served aboard the USS Tarawa!
Anyway, Wing Commander Privateer came out soon afterwards and when I saw my name in the Flight Training portion of the manual, I FREAKED! It's great to be a permanent part of Origin's history!
As a little background, I've been in the United States Marine Corps for 21 years, I am a Gunnery Sergeant and work as an Parachute Rigger/Life Support shop head for all Marine Corps aircraft systems, and will retire in February 2008.
#1 - That's our boat, the USS Tarawa (LHA-1) in Pearl Harbor, on our way to Iraq in July 2005.
#2 - This is the deck of the USS Bowfin in Pearl Harbor. A must visit!
#3 - Here I am in my "spacious" Flight Equipment shop aboard the Tarawa. To my right is my Maintenance Chief in for a visit, and on my left is one of my Flight Equipment guys. My squadron patch is Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (HMM-163) out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA. (I'm now finishing my career at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona with Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1)).
As part of the EATrax program, the soundtrack to Boom Boom Rocket is now available on iTunes! This may mean good things for us - Boom Boom Rocket was EA's first Xbox Live Arcade title... it will be followed in the very near future by Wing Commander Arena. Although BBR is obviously a music-focused game, Wing Commander titles have always featured extremely good musical scores... and Arena looks to be no exception. We can only hope EA will remember us and make its soundtrack available for sale online. All ten BBR tracks are available for 99 cents each (the full album is $9.99). You can check them out at the iTunes store here.