labyrinth

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Matt Barton's picture

The Maniac in the Mansion (Book Excerpt)

There are few computer games that evoke such poignant nostalgia as the early adventure games from LucasArts--or, as it was known in the late 1980s, Lucasfilm Games. The Secret of Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max Hit the Road, and Grim Fandango are all masterworks that have stood the test of time. Their brilliant dialog, clever stories, zany puzzles, and unforgettable characters make them true classics: they are as enjoyable to play now as they were when they were first released. The internet is full of sites dedicated to preserving and celebrating their memory, and well-supported endeavors such as ScummVM ensure that today's gamers will continue to enjoy these revered games on modern platforms.

What is about these games that warrant such attention? The best of the Lucasfilm and LucasArts games embody the spirit and capture the magic of cult classic B-movies and popular 80s movies like Steven Spielburg's Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride (1987). They are laden with references and allusions to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror books and movies--some popular, some wonderfully obscure and often terrifically geeky. It is hard to play one of these games without coming to feel like an insider, a member of a select group who recognizes Chuck the Plant as an old friend. These games resonate with the so many people because they are so deeply rooted in 80s and 90s pop culture. They show us ourselves and make us feel good about who we are.

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