New Monkey Island Game and Other Stuff-- Ron Gilbert!!

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Matt Barton's picture

Ahoy there, fancy pants!: Go check out Ron Gilbert's blog today and see his great post on his classic game. It's lavishly illustrated with screenshots and gives you great insights into the original game. It's really, really great stuff!

Oh, and thanks to Bill and Catatonic for telling me about the new Monkey Island game by TellTale Games. The plan is to make it an episodic game like they did with the Sam & Max series. Check out the official website. I can't wait!

P.S., if you haven't seen it already, check out my Monkey Island Matt Chat!

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Chris Kennedy
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OH MY!

First off...The Secret of Monkey Island is my favorite game of all time.

Second...WHOAOAOAIHOAOAOAAOAOAAAAA!

This is incredible! I thought it would never be revisited, and here we have a new game AND a remake of the original? Let's let that sink in for a second - LucasArts thought it would be a good idea to spend the money and remake the original game. Now that...is awesome.

http://www.lucasarts.com/games/monkeyisland/

And you can SWITCH between the new graphics and the original graphics on the fly??? I must be dreaming.

No time to concentrate on proper use of spelling or grammar, this is just incredible. I seriously can't write anything else.

- Chris

P.S. Watch the video on Lucasarts page!

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Matt Barton
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Remakes Don't Necessarily Rock
Chris Kennedy wrote:

P.S. Watch the video on Lucasarts page!

Wow, thanks for posting that, Chris. This does look like it may be good. I am a bit hesitant because, call me crazy, I loved the look and sound of the original game very much. After thinking about it though, I'm wondering if I'll really enjoy this remake or not. Sure, they have the option to switch back and forth, but if you're really tempted to play it "old school," seems to defeat the purpose of the remake. Why not just hunt down the original? I was never particularly partial to the voice acting and "better" graphics of the later Monkey Islands anyway, so this isn't a big revelation to me or anything. I'm more appreciative of the refined interface and the built-in hint system.

I'm actually much more excited about the new game, since that will be exploring new material.

One thing that always gets my goat is when they make out like old game music sucks and that you need to record a bunch of "live" musicians to make it sound good. Don't get me wrong, I like recorded music as much as the next guy, but I think there was something very special about that old music, when game composers had to treat the computer itself as a musical instrument rather than a music player. I've only met a handful of people who share this view, though.

I often find myself feeling gloomy about game remakes. I felt the same way about George Lucas' remake of Star Wars. Yeah, I know people loved the added content and all the CGI stuff, but it just felt wrong to me and I've never been able to embrace it. I'd just rather see these folks doing something new rather than dredging up past masterpieces in order to "improve" them.

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Bill Loguidice
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Voice acting
Matt Barton wrote:
Chris Kennedy wrote:

P.S. Watch the video on Lucasarts page!

Wow, thanks for posting that, Chris. This does look like it may be good. I am a bit hesitant because, call me crazy, I loved the look and sound of the original game very much. After thinking about it though, I'm wondering if I'll really enjoy this remake or not. Sure, they have the option to switch back and forth, but if you're really tempted to play it "old school," seems to defeat the purpose of the remake. Why not just hunt down the original? I was never particularly partial to the voice acting and "better" graphics of the later Monkey Islands anyway, so this isn't a big revelation to me or anything. I'm more appreciative of the refined interface and the built-in hint system.

It's fascinating that they went with voice acting for the remake of the original. While it's obvious from an "appeal to modern gamers" standpoint, I remember very distinctly that when they were creating CD-ROM versions of Monkey Island, and specifically the Sega CD version of the game that was the one that I personally beat, they made a big deal about NOT having voice acting to keep the integrity of the text and the original vision. So much for that.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Chris Kennedy
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Thoughts

Hey Matt -

I definitely have a great deal of appreciation for originals. I will oftentimes lean towards an original even when given the option of a remake/re-imagining/etc. My first bit of scoffing came with the special editions of Star Wars. This was revisited later when the DVDs came out and the only option for the trilogy was a set of 1997 special editions. I to this day have not bought Star Wars on DVD (despite the "bonus" copies of the original cut of the films on DVD). I only own the original trilogy on Laserdisc. It may not look good, but it certainly looks right. (If that makes sense...)

I eventually adopted a different philosophy when it came to this sort of thing. I stand by the word "choice." So long as I am not forced into a remake, redo, etc, I can accept it. As I watched the video for the special edition of The Secret of Monkey Island, I felt the rush of nostalgia for my game once again. I still have the originals sitting almost within arms' reach, and I know it is extremely easy (thanks to ScummVM) to play it once again on my PC.

With that in mind, I greatly look forward to the remake of The Secret of Monkey Island. It is the closest I can ever get to experiencing it again for the first time. While I commented that I thought it was awesome to be able to switch back and forth between the new and classic graphics, I probably won't do that while playing the game unless I want to do an on-the-fly comparison of the screens. Even then, that original artwork is burned into my brain. I probably will not need to flip back and forth.

Dominic Armato's Guybrush voice is not the voice I heard in my head as I played through the first and second games. That said, I am interested to see old meet new (relatively speaking as it has been nearly a decade since the last game was released). I want to hear the voices say the lines that I laughed at loud at over 15 years ago. I want to experience it in a different way. I want to critique it and see how well it keeps with the memories I have of the original.

But nobody will take the original game away from me. Nobody.

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Matt Barton
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Voices
Chris Kennedy wrote:

Dominic Armato's Guybrush voice is not the voice I heard in my head as I played through the first and second games.

That's the funny thing. I don't recall anyone ever waxing nostalgically about the later games, though Rough Games claims that the second is the best of the series. I played all of them and enjoyed all of them, though I still think the first is the best overall. I definitely wouldn't be one of those guys who would recognize Armoto's voice or care that it was "that dude from the second game" or whatever. It's not that I don't like him or anything, just don't feel strongly about him either way. There are people who could do it better or do it worse. Maybe it'd be different if I had started with #2 and his voice. Now, they could have gone with a totally new cast and it wouldn't have made any difference to me.

Voice acting is definitely a hard thing to do with these games, and I was impressed that Armoto is such a big fan of the series. I am definitely willing to give him a chance and see how he does with the remake.

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Bill Loguidice
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Nostalgia

I agree about few waxing nostalgically about the later Monkey Island games, but that's true of most long running series I think, particularly as more and more time passes. Of all the "Nancy Drew" games you played, can you REALLY point to specific games being especially memorable for you, or do you refer more generically to "Nancy Drew games" when you think and talk about them? Sure, there are scenes here and there that you no doubt remember, but like Monkey Island, I would think it starts to become something of a blur after a while. I know I played all the games in the series and have trouble remembering specifically what was what from which game and which game was the cartoon animation one and which one was the 3D one, etc., without doing research to refresh my memory. In any case, it doesn't mean that all of the Monkey Island games weren't good - I think they were, but it's certainly convenient to refer to the first title and it's often the first title - the first great title - in a series that is truly memorable. Faded memories and convenience are powerful factors...

I think the above will become a particular issues as more and more of these games go episodic. While one or two episodes of a season may be memorable, will it really be all that easy to remember six games individually in a season and then distinguish each of the seasons after a few years have passed? I know I wouldn't be able to clearly.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Bill Loguidice
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A repeat of my comments on

A repeat of my comments on the SWCollect list when someone said they were skeptical about Ron Gilbert's lack of involvement:

The Lucas remake is pretty much a straight remake, so that's safe if you're into that sort of thing, and Telltale Games has a superb track record with humorous modern day adventure games, so they're as sure a bet as you can get without actually playing the game for yourself. They don't innovate in any way whatsoever (other than being one of episodic gaming's successful pioneers), but they have the "funny" and "quality" parts down, so I'd be surprised if the new series wasn't a continuation of that.

With all of the above in mind, it's great that adventure gaming has made a successful return to PC's, consoles and handhelds, with no sign of slowing down, but at some point I'd like to see a few attempts to evolve beyond the traditional design paradigms and start to innovate. One step at a time, though, and more of the same is good enough for now as long as it's highly entertaining.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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LarryLaffer (not verified)
why dont they remake sierra

why dont they remake sierra instead. much better games (in my personal opinion.) plus they have worst graphics and need it worse. They could start with lsl and be done with it.

Matt Barton
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LucasFilm vs. Sierra
LarryLaffer wrote:

why dont they remake sierra instead. much better games (in my personal opinion.) plus they have worst graphics and need it worse. They could start with lsl and be done with it.

No offence [sic], but I must disagree. The Lucasfilm games are deeper and more intelligent. :P

Sorry, couldn't resist.

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