lucasarts

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Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat 152: Grim Fandango--the killer adventure game that killed off adventure games

Well, it had to happen sooner or later! This week, it's back the late 90s for the game many people consider the Greatest Game that ever killed a genre. That's exaggeration, of course, but it does make for a good headline. The story goes that although the game did reasonably well--it was NOT a commercial failure, despite the pundits--it wasn't exactly the cash bonanza that LucasArts was expecting. End result--they pulled the plug on their adventure game development. Now you had a situation where the two greats--LucasArts and Sierra--were not making adventure games anymore. Of course, Cyan was still around, but nobody but me seems to count them.

Or, download the mp4.

Matt Barton's picture

Free Sam & Max Game during Halloween Weekend

I just saw that Telltale Games is offering a download of Sam & Max Night of the Raving Dead absolutely free over Halloween weekend. Absolutely zero reason not to grab it while the grabbing is good.

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.

Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat on LucasArts' The Dig

This week's episode looks at one of my favorite science fiction adventure games, LucasArts' 1995 masterpiece The Dig. Widely poo-poohed by critics and dismissed even by some fans of Lucasfilm/Lucasarts adventures, The Dig is nevertheless a must-play game with a brilliant story and very memorable characters. I love it! I tried not to include any spoilers, but as always with an adventure game review, you should consider playing it before watching the video.

P.S. Special thanks to Bill Loguidice for the t-shirt! What a great way to celebrate turning 33!

Matt Barton's picture

The Making of Maniac Mansion

Edge Magazine has just posted The Making Of: Maniac Mansion. The three-page article features comments from Ron Gilbert, David Fox (author of Rescue on Fractalus) and Gary Winnick.

Chris Kennedy's picture

Monkey Island 2 LeChuck's Revenge Special Edition to Feature Audio Commentary

The Secret of Monkey Island is my favorite game of all time for any platform. It is a bold statement, but it is true. We've seen a lot of news and product in the world of Monkey Island over this past year, and this latest bit of news concerning MI2:SI is exciting.

When SOMI was remade and released last year, the artwork and music were updated. In addition to this, the voice actors from the later games in the series were brought in to dub the original game. What put the word "special" in "Special Edition" was the fact that you could toggle between the old graphics and the new graphics to balance a need for updated art with that of nostalgia. That said, I believe that the original artwork to SOMI and MI2 still looks great.

The second entry in the franchise is getting a remake, and this time it has in-game audio commentary from the creators. Yes. That's right. In. Game. Commentary. Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer, and Dave Grossman have provided commentary for an update to a classic adventure game, and it will be included in this summer's MI2 release on PC, X-box 360, Playstation 3, Mac, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Commentary? For an adventure game? What took so long? Why hasn't this been done before?

Matt Barton's picture

Loom, The Dig, Star Wars, Indiana Jones - Now on Steam!

Good news for adventure game fans--LucasArts is releasing several of its best graphical adventure games on Steam. Of particular note here is The Dig, which is one of my very favorite adventures and a seriously underrated title in my opinion.

Matt Barton's picture

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

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!

Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat 8: The Secret of Monkey Island!

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!

Matt Barton's picture

Matt's Review of Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts

When I first about Rob Smith's new book Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts, I knew almost instantly that it'd be a valuable book for those of us concerned with videogame history. LucasArts (known earlier as LucasFilm Games) is one of the most important and influential of all videogame developers. While many, many people fell in love with classic graphic adventures like The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max, Full Throttle, and my personal favorite, The Dig, earlier aficionados will remember the equally revolutionary Koronis Rift and Ballblazer. The task Rob Smith set for himself with Rogue Leaders was to give us an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how all these games got made--and, without question, the man succeeded brilliantly. The only way you could immerse yourself more deeply in this topic would be to jump in a time machine and get a job at LucasArts Games yourself!

"When you want to publish the first announcement of a new LucasArts game, you pull out all the stops," writes the author in his introduction. One might very well apply that to "the first book about LucasArts." Smith has pulled out all the stops to create one of the best books I've seen yet on my favorite topic: videogames!

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