Players of the original game are never told the hero's name, but are instead asked to enter their own. The default name of "Roger Wilco" — a reference to the radio communication, "Roger, Will Comply" — became the de facto name of the hero in the later games of the series.
Roger's name was fitting in that, in keeping with his portrayal as an "everyman" schlub, he took his name from incorrect radio usage. When someone says "Wilco," or "will comply," "Roger" (or "received") is assumed. There is no need to say "Roger, wilco," and this is seen in aviation circles as the mark of an amateur.
Roger is a member of the cleaning crew on board the scientific spaceship Arcada, which holds a powerful experimental device called the "Star Generator" (a thinly-veiled reference to the Genesis Device from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). Roger emerges from an on-duty nap in a broom closet to find that the ship has been boarded and seized by the sinister Sariens. Using a keycard that he found from the body of a dead crew member, he finds his way to an escape pod and escapes the Arcada.
After crash-landing, he finds himself in the dry and barren wasteland of the planet Kerona. After making his way through the desert and a system of underground caves, he is tasked by an insectoid alien with killing a monstrous creature called Orat. After succeeding in this task, he returns to the alien with proof of his success in the form of a piece of Orat's flesh. As a reward, the alien lets him into an underground complex inhabited by more aliens, and provides Roger with a skimmer, a small flying vehicle which cruises a few feet over the sandy ground (similar to the landspeeders in Star Wars).
The alien tells Roger there is a town that he may travel to in order to find a way off the planet. After navigating a rocky section of the planet, Roger reaches the town of Ulence Flats and goes to the local bar. By playing a video slot machine, Roger wins enough money to buy a spaceship and a navigation droid.
He overhears from a bar customer the location of the Sariens' spaceship, the Deltaur, and flies to its coordinates. He then infiltrates the ship by, but not limited to, utilizing his jetpack, dodging a droid, climbing inside an air vent, locking himself in a trunk, getting put inside a washing machine, disguising himself as a Sarien by wearing one of the Sarien uniforms, and other tactful, creative methods. He then finds his way to the Star Generator and programs it to self-destruct, escaping the ship just before it explodes.
At the end of the game, Roger's efforts are rewarded when he receives the Golden Mop as a token of eternal gratitude from the people of Xenon.