Matt Chat 8: The Secret of Monkey Island!

Matt Barton's picture

It took literally all day and all night to get it done, but here it is: Matt Chat 8: The Secret of Monkey Island. This one should be available in HD soon, but it's my understanding that it can take awhile for YouTube to post the option. This is the first time I've attempted to do a HD video, so bear with me. Hopefully, the options will appear after the video has finished processing.

Enjoy the video and please let me know what you think!

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Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
Um.... that was awesome!

Had a late night on the town, thought I'd pop in AA and check up on some messages, and this new Matt Chat episode was here. "Hmm, maybe I'll wait until tomorrow to watch it.... I need to get to bed" I thought to myself. So, of course, I clicked play on the video anyway, and was BLOWN AWAY! Whoa!

Just when I thought you had achieved an expected level of competency and consistency with your format, you make a "monkey" out of your previous self by taking it to a new level! The new opening is super cool and professional! The commentary was great as usual, nay, it was probably your best yet! And the ending was quite a laugh. :-)

As for "Secret of Monkey Island," it is indeed my favorite adventure game of all time (not that I've played a lot of them). In fact, it's probably the last adventure game I really ever played. I loved the sword-fighting sequences! What version of the game was this? I seem to recall that the Amiga version looked better than this version, but I could be mistaken.

Arrr, that was very, VERY well done, Matey!

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Chris Kennedy
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My favorite game of all time

Hey Matt -

I've reached the point where I get in on Friday night after whatever Friday's activities have been and find myself asking, "Where is Matt Chat?" It's now a fun, guilty pleasure. It's nostalgia on video. I responded to last week's Matt Chat by saying that most all of the games you have covered so far are ones I have not played. Oh! But have I ever played The Secret of Monkey Island.

I should do a full write-up someday about how I came to play SOMI. The short story is that I acquired it as part of a Creative Labs Edutainment pack. The pack contained the brand new Sound Blaster 16, a caddy-based 1x CD-ROM drive, and a slew of games and educational software on CD. One of said games was The Secret of Monkey Island. How ironic that one of my (if not the one and only) favorite games of all time would be a pack-in title for which I would ask the question, "What is this game?"

So my SOMI experience was the PC CD, 256 color VGA, redbook audio based version of the game. I loved it. Anyone that hasn't played this game in any form, I highly recommend giving it a spin. The interface, the comedy, the hilariously random events that take place after the player solves a puzzle all come together to create a great game and maintain a fun energy level. I had trouble saving this one and walking away when I played it in 1993. I would almost immediately want to come back. You know the feeling you get when you like a movie so much that you want to see it again in the theater? What about when you watch a TV show and feel like you are going to die from anticipation before next week's episode finally continues the story? Maybe you like to read books and have read some that you just can't put down. For me, this was a video game that functioned like a magnet. The music, the characters, the writing, the comedy - it was a package deal.

My opinion is quite biased. I am not the best person to sit down and critique this game because my feelings for it are almost completely based on nostalgia alone.

Matt - The opening of the video is great. It gets the energy level up and does a good job of setting the table. (Theme music is good, too!) I also have to say that you are looking more and more comfortable in front of the camera. I've always felt that this is something that comes with time. Here you are on Matt Chat number 8 already. Things are clicking right along.

A few production notes - You'll notice there is a jump cut around about the 2:47 mark. I don't know if you cut some video or decided to reorder something, but you may want to cut away before splicing in video of yourself speaking immediately after video of you... already speaking. (I love writing after 2 A.M. Makes for great grammar). You could cut to the images of the books, splice in some more music and footage, etc. A segue could come in the form of a simple transition like a wipe or something, but I personally don't like those much.

There were also a few times when the audio dipped a bit. No big deal - just pointing it out.

How do you keep your software collection at your place? Do you use bookcases? Do you have hard copies of the games in Matt Chat? You know what might add a real earthy feel to things? If you made some changes to the intro and spliced yourself walking to a bookcase and retrieving the box of the game of the week and then cut to you sitting down and putting the disk in the drive of the PC/Amiga/Commodore/etc... all while the music is playing. I realize you may not have all of the hard copies of that stuff, but I love collecting complete copies of games. It adds to the experience and immersion to see that sort of thing. Just a thought. I think it would give it even more of an "Armchair" feel. It's like when you are at a friends house and he pulls a book off the shelf and asks, "Have you read this?" Same thing here except it is you asking, "Have you played this?"

HD video was available just before 2:00 A.M. Central Time, by the way.

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Rob Daviau
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Joined: 05/19/2006
Getting better and better

Getting better and better the HD is awesome! Congrats Matt on a continuously awesome show!

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Oldschool games, some people just don't "get it"...

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Calibrator
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Joined: 10/25/2006
Arrr!

Like I've said before your vids get more and more professional with each release! The title music being a great addition (you should gently fade it out, though) puts on another layer of polish, while the "role playing" in the end reminded me of the playful exploits of UltraNeko's game videos.
Your videos being more serious from a historians perspective it was completely surprising - and I wonder what you'd do if you do a presentation of ArtWorx's pioneering card game of the time...

As for Monkey Island - what could one really say except his or her personal opinion? It's probably *the* most acclaimed graphical adventure game of all time (better known than King's Quest, it seems) and I can't even remember one person saying something bad about it.
Except for the screen resolution it also is a timeless game - in fact lots of modern games do copy the premise of easy going, clean fun in combination with a more or less involuntarily hero. Pirate characters simply seem to promise freedom and unrestriced adventures - in part based on pure fantasy - while on the other hand enough similarities to a consistent, albeit clichéd, world to "feel at home".

I would've liked to see a comparision between the (very well done) EGA- and the later VGA-version, though, as the latter looks really stunning.

take care,
Calibrator

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Whoa! I was blown away

Whoa! I was blown away myself when I woke up this morning and saw all these great comments!

As for "Secret of Monkey Island," it is indeed my favorite adventure game of all time (not that I've played a lot of them). In fact, it's probably the last adventure game I really ever played. I loved the sword-fighting sequences! What version of the game was this? I seem to recall that the Amiga version looked better than this version, but I could be mistaken.

I played the DOS EGA version, which Ron Gilbert himself told me was the original. My habit is to try to get the original, but of course the later versions looked better. Bill was saying something about a Sega CD version, but I think the VGA and Amiga versions hold up very well.

A few production notes - You'll notice there is a jump cut around about the 2:47 mark.

Yes, this irritated the fire out of me, too. I had a gap between the two sets of footage and just gave up trying to make it look natural. I tried various kinds of wipes, fades, and transitions, but it seemed even more distracting! I generally like to record in segments, but the only thing that holds up is a continuous shot--which is difficult to pull off without a lot of scripting. If I ever get a replacement laptop, I plan to use it as a teleprompter to help me out. It's my understanding that pros shoot with multiple cameras or switch perspectives a lot to make the cutting process flow more naturally. I have no assistance, so some stuff is just beyond my capability at the moment.

If you made some changes to the intro and spliced yourself walking to a bookcase and retrieving the box of the game of the week and then cut to you sitting down and putting the disk in the drive of the PC/Amiga/Commodore/etc... all while the music is playing.

Hehe, that'd be more a Bil than a Matt thang. :) I don't have any retro computers, and the only consoles I own are my DS, a DC, and a PS1. I have tons of PC games, but mostly newer ones. Still, I love the idea. I could easily see Bill doing something like that, going into his archive and saying, "Hmm...Today I think I'll look at Phantasie!" hehe.

Pirate characters simply seem to promise freedom and unrestriced adventures - in part based on pure fantasy - while on the other hand enough similarities to a consistent, albeit clichéd, world to "feel at home".

That's a good point. I read somewhere that Ron was asked, "Why pirates?" and said something about elves and dwarves being too overdone. Pirates are a whole new realm of fantasy, if you will, and it's amazing how popular they've gotten in the wake of the PoTC movies. Everyone seems to love those movies (including people from all generations). For instance, my father-in-law would never watch The Lord of the Rings, but he loves the PoTC.

Anyway, like fantasy, westerns, mystery, romance, etc., there are enough recognized conventions that people do indeed feel at home. As soon as you see the opening of something like High Plains Drifter, you already know a lot of the content. It's just a matter of what the director is going to do with those conventions that matters. It also matters how well they're done. You can have wall-to-wall conventions, with little innovation or originality, but if it's handled to perfection it will still be a masterpiece. After all, those conventions got to be conventions for a reason!

Someone had pointed out earlier that Sci-fi really lacks a coherent set of conventions. Indeed, it seems to be all over the place, and most would-be conventions seem more like comedy or spoofs than actual conventions. It also hurts (and I think badly, badly hurts) that things that could become conventions are trademarked and forbidden to anyone but one company. There aren't generic things to draw on like elves and dragons. I could easily imagine, for instance, a sci-fi world featuring wookies and vulcans alongside the borg, alien, Jabba, predator, etc. However, of course that'd be impossible in anything but a spoof given the laws, which I detest because they stifle creativity. On the other hand, you can have fantasy or pirate movies with all sorts of conventions, like elves, dwarves, ghost ships, etc.

I see a lot of this like little kids playing with their toys. They don't mixing up all sorts of things, so you might have them mixing Star Wars and Star Trek along with Power Rangers and dinosaurs and God knows what all. However, I think that's the root of creativity there--just playing around and having a good time, not worrying about whether it makes legal or financial sense.

Still, I think something similar could be done for sci-fi, but it'd have to be done by someone willing to dispense with copyrights and trademarks and the like and let other people be creative with "their property." Of course, it'd be hard to make money with something like that, so it'd have to be a grassroots type of deal, and I just don't know how that could happen.

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yakumo9275
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Joined: 12/26/2006
That was some great stuff

That was some great stuff Matt, I liked MI but not as much as I loved Zak. Certainly Zak suffered from some of the things Gilbert ranted on about (getting into un winnable situations).

-- Stu --

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Catatonic
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Joined: 05/20/2006
Good video. The LucasArts

Good video. The LucasArts games stick out in my memory more than other games. They are something special.

It's a bit startling to go from your HD video to blocky in-game footage. It looked nice in the old days on a 13-inch monitor. (They called them 14-inch, but in the old days of CRT monitors it was basically a lie.)

Calibrator
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Joined: 10/25/2006
HD version is up now

Next time I wait with the watching until it's done as it looks much, much better.

take care,
Calibrator

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
You ARE very professional in these videos!

Congrats Matt, hope you keep on doing these EXCELLENT videos. The HD version is amazing.
So did you get the hang of that new Video Authoring Software that came with your new HD camera?

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Vegas
Mark Vergeer wrote:

Congrats Matt, hope you keep on doing these EXCELLENT videos. The HD version is amazing.
So did you get the hang of that new Video Authoring Software that came with your new HD camera?

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

Hi, Dr. Mark! The stuff that came with the camera is virtually useless. Apparently, it is incompatible with some of the codecs in k-lite, so I just had to give it up. However, it's not really needed. I can just go into my camera like a thumb drive and pull out the video files that way.

I'm using Sony Vegas Pro Platinum, which is a very exciting program (and you get a whole month free trial with no strings attached!). However, the rendering process is flaky. Rendering just the 10 minutes took 40+ minutes, and the program crashed about 3/4 of the time. Once it crashed after 39 minutes of rendering, and I had to start all over again. It was an agonizing process to say the least. I'm not sure why it's taking so long. My computer is supposed to be blazing fast. I wouldn't even mind the 40 minutes rendering time if the damn thing didn't crash so much.

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