In what is largely a passionate tirade directed at the careless mishandling of classic titles when re-released on modern platforms, the A.V. Club spares some room toward the end to rail against the complete failure of certain treasured games to be made available at all:

Game preservation’s worst-kept secret is that piracy has done the best job of keeping classic games available and relevant. Since the mid-’90s, the Internet’s vast and varied emulation scene has made the history of video games available to anyone willing to skirt the law. And unfortunately, playing some of the best games ever made requires a disregard for copyright. Take Maniac Mansion. An icon of the LucasArts studio’s golden age, it’s one of the most important adventure games ever made, and it’s still entertaining today. If you want to play in 2014, though, you’ll need to download it illegally and run it through an emulator, since it hasn’t been in print for close to 20 years.

Disney, which now owns the rights to the LucasArts library, may never acknowledge the studio’s legacy, but that would just maintain the status quo. Most of the developer’s best titles have never been made available to any digital marketplace. If you’re just learning about LucasArts and want to play games like Sam & Max Hit The Road, Day Of The Tentacle, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango, you’re on your own. Disney would rather hot-glue lightsabers to the hands of Mickey and Donald dolls than offer players the chance to buy games that Disney executives might not even realize they own.

I feel like he may be painting with too broad of a brush by indicting hot glue in this, but his point stands firm.

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While the rest of us were distracted by the insidious influence of loved ones, reader Threepwood4life spent his Christmas noticing that former LEC animator/artist Anson Jew, already known for his LEC animation reel that includes a rare Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix clip, has put together a new compilation comprised exclusively of discarded material. It's basically What Mojo Exists To Report On: The Movie.

Check out his blog post for a rundown of all the clips included.

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Disney / LucasArts has surprised everyone by announcing a new Space Combat game. While it doesn't have the much loved single-player campaigns that made the X-Wing series so popular, it's a welcome return to the cockpit for Star Wars fans. Here's what we know;

Star Wars: Attack Squadrons isa free-to-play space combat game for PC, being developed by Area 52 Games, in conjunction with Disney Interactive and LucasArts. It allows players to customise and tune "popular Star Wars ships" like X-Wings and TIE fighters and will support dogfights of up to 16 players.


Signup for the Beta at the official website here.

So, lets hope this is a first, tentative step back into the Space Combat genre, and Larry Holland's number has been passed on to the Mouseketeers at Disney...
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Develop has run a two part (1, 2) interview with industry and LucasArts veteran Noah Falstein. The designer discusses the old days, including how he dressed up as a fallen cosmonaut for the Rescue on Fractalus! manual, how he wishes his initial version of The Dig had gotten made, and how you owe him for the hiring of Ron Gilbert.

But I think I had more impact by hiring people into LucasArts than I did from my own work. Ron Gilbert, Lawrence Holland who did the X-Wing and Tie Fighter games, Brian Moriarty who did Loom – all of them are people that I either found or that came in to work on a project of mine. And once Ron came in, we hired Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer, who are now the creative director at Telltale Games and the head of Double Fine respectively.

So perhaps our biggest impact on the gaming community was being a nursery or proving ground for people who would go on to become much more significant contributors within the games industry.

Falstein’s anecdotes are great, although I guess if you know your Lucasfilm history this interview largely treads old ground. Still, it’s hard to ever get enough stories of the formative years of George Lucas' wonderful, expensive experiment that resulted in not only the SCUMM games, but Pixar Animation Studios and Avid’s nonlinear editing tools as well. More importantly, Thrillville.
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For our UK readers only, here's Charlie Brooker's How Video Games Changed the World on Youtube. There's supposedly a Monkey Island section approx 35:27 minutes in with Ronzo "Ron" Gilbert and Tim Schafer.

Thanks to reader Artisa for telling us about it! Since I'm not in the UK I can't watch it so don't blame me if the link is wrong!

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Those who were waiting for Star Wars: Tiny Death Star to come out somewhere other than Australia don't have to wait any longer. As of November 8th, the game is available worldwide.

The freemium Star Wars themed Tiny Tower game is available now for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. It will also be coming to the Amazon App store soon.

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Update: Earlier I incorrectly stated that the game was released for iOS in New Zealand. It's only available in Australia for iOS for now, as pointed out by jp-30 in the comments.

After getting released on Android in Australia and New Zealand earlier this month, iOS gets a similar treatment, as Tiny Death Star was released exclusively on iTunes in Australia on the 15th of October.

This Star Wars themed Tiny Tower game will be released worldwide on Android and iOS soon.

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You've always been the caretaker

18 Oct, 2013, 13:47 | Posted by: Jason | Source: CineFix | Comments: 7

Have you ever found yourself wondering, "Say, what if someone re-interpreted Stanley Kubrick's The Shining as a machinima primarily assembled using art assets from the NES version of Maniac Mansion?"

Well, the winsomely disturbed artisans of the "CineFix" Youtube channel are here to put this issue to bed, though good luck getting any decent shut-eye yourself after a viewing of what they've wrought.

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Update: Thanks to Shmargin for pointing out that it's not available for Android everywhere yet. It's currently an exclusive release in Australia and New Zealand.

Tiny Death Star, the Star Wars themed Tiny Tower game (complete with the series' signature 8-bit graphical style), is available now on Google Play for Android phones and tablets. It was developed by Disney Mobile (as was expected with casual Star Wars games after the Disney merger) and Tiny Tower developer Nimblebit.

Interestingly, LucasArts is listed as the publisher, so it would appear that the remodeled LucasArts has retained it's function as a publisher as well as a licensor.

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Disney Interactive has revealed it is about to launch a new Star Wars game for mobile devices, made in collaboration with Nimblebit.

Disney-Interactive

The Empire needs your help! In collaboration with LucasArts and Tiny Tower creators NimbleBit, Disney Mobile introduces Star Wars™: Tiny Death Star™, a new game for mobile devices. Live life on the dark side and join Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader on a mission to attract Galactic bitizens, run intergalactic businesses, and build an all-new Death Star. Construct unique Star Wars themed locations to attract iconic characters and species to your space station in this 8-bit style game. Star Wars: Tiny Death Star will soon be available worldwide.


8-bit style cute Star Warsey fun. Sure, why not...
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It always kind of amazed me that the game studio that wrote the book on crass movie tie-ins saw unfit to take advantage of Indy's long awaited return to the silver screen in 2008 with an opportunistic video game adaptation.

It kinda makes sense when you consider that Staff of Kings was already committed to (well, until it wasn't) by the time Crystal Skull got greenlit, and at the time the company didn't seem particularly capable of devoting itself to more than one or two internal projects - indeed, the rumor was that "choosing" The Force Unleashed to rally resources behind is what starved out the original Staff of Kings SKUs.

Still, it would seem impossible that a Crystal Skull tie-in was never conceived, and a comment left by a former developer on Kotaku's "How LucasArts Fell Apart" article confirms it:

'AlricPhoenix'

I worked at an outsourcing company for a LucasArts game on the DS. It was Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings. Originally it was based off the Crystal Skull movie. Through 6 months on the game, it was clear there was a weird managerial tone going on. Almost any company wants feedback and people to present some creativity in dealing with issues and finding any problems with the games they make. Not them. there was to be ZERO DEVEIATION. Even if we were able to see a bug in the game, IGNORE IT. We were reprimanded when we did. The team became dejected quickly. They tried to submit the game and it failed (obviously). It was at this point the DS game went back into development and was no longer based on the movie and ended up being Staff of Kings because it was too late after the movie came out to be related.

The developer in question would have been Amaze, the company behind the DS version of Staff of Kings. That version was indeed a completely different beast than the others, but that isn't completely unheard of when it comes to handheld spinoffs of console titles. Guess there was more to the story after all.
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Day of the Tentacle HD?

27 Sep, 2013, 13:01 | Posted by: Zaarin | Comments: 26

Just another in an apparently long run of cancelled projects that LucasArts went through in its final years. Jason Schreier at Kotaku has written an extensive feature covering How LucasArts Fell Apart, covering what went on at the sinking ship.

It's well worth a read!

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It seems that the Star Wars 1313 project won't be going completely to waste. If you'll remember, the project was a joint effort between LucasArts, Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound, and Lucas Animation. This joint effort between the subsidiaries apparently harkened back to the early days of Lucasfilm Games, when the charter of the studio was to make experimental, innovative, and technologically advanced video games. We'll likely never get to see the full result of this collaboration, but some of their innovation is going to be used in Hollywood films in the future.

The advanced real-time motion-capture capabilities pioneered for Star Wars 1313 enables the "production company to film an actor and then immediately capture and funnel those actions into a computer-generated character. The result is an instantaneous, photo-realistic computer-generated film that cuts down on production time".

See the technology in action in the video below:

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Disney's LucasArts licensing house plods on, with their first release post-restructuring. Angry Birds Star Wars II was released yesterday for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

This sequel actually is based on the Star Wars prequels, changing the titular birds into Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Jar Jar Binks. This time you can also turn to the dark side in the pork side mode and play as a Tie Fighter pilot, Zam Wesell, and Emporer Palpatine. The Hasbro Telepod toys can also be scanned in to unlock characters, but they're not required to play.

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It seems there's more reason than a simple cash grab behind the fact that LucasArts is continuing to license Star Wars to outside casual game developers instead of having Disney Interactive develop them as the early press releases about Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm would suggest.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Disney Interactive has pulled back production in other areas in order to pour its resources into Disney Infinity, Disney's version of Activision's Skylanders (the game where you purchase toys that are then detected by the game, making the character available for play).

Disney is putting so much into this project that Disney Interactive stopped production on the Iron Man game they had in development and passed on the opportunity to make any Star Wars games. Strangely, Angry Birds Star Wars II will feature the debut of Hasbro's Telepods, which seem to be a direct competitor of both Skylanders and Disney Infinity. However, since the Telepods have a simple QR scan rather than saving the data in the toy like Skylanders, Disney must feel there is room for both products.

At the very least, at least this means the LucasArts licensing house still has a use, since it previously seemed kind of redundant after the announcement of the exclusive licensing deal with EA. Now we'll just have to wait to see if they realize that they have other intellectual property besides Star Wars that they can license out.
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More Angry Birds Star Wars On The Way

02 Aug, 2013, 17:41 | Posted by: Jennifer | Source: NBC News | Comments: 8
Remember Angry Birds Star Wars? It was basically Angry Birds Space with force powers, lightsabers, and blasters, but it turned out to actually be pretty fun. Since it was a critical and financial success, it only makes sense that fans would be seeing more. And you will be. You... will... be.

In October, a revamped version of the original Angry Birds Star Wars will be coming out on pretty much every current console, from the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U, to the handheld 3DS and PSP Vita, and even the original Wii. These versions will feature cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes and 20 new levels.

On top of that, this September, Rovio will be releasing Angry Birds Star Wars II, which will feature new levels and new characters with powers inspired by the Star Wars prequel films. And yes, there will be toys released that tie-in to Angry Birds Star Wars II as well. This is Disney we're talking about after all.
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Well I've got one for ya: The SCUMM Bar has been updated. What a world we live in.

Following a quiet and thankful revert to their old design back in February, they have now made some sizable content updates. This mainly includes a much more corpulent Tales section, a more comprehensive collection of known info about the cancelled animated film, and a revamped MP3 section that now covers Tales.

I don't mind telling you, I needed those MP3s. Go visit The SCUMM Bar! Your children may be the age you are now before its next update, after all.

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Gamasutra recently got in touch with Aric Wilmunder and he regaled them with stories of SCUMM over e-mail. They compiled it all into one long feature which you can read over here.

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Earlier this month, Paypal's TechXploration hosted a panel called The Story of LucasArts moderated by Douglas Crockford. The developers in attendance were Noah Falstein, Randy Farmer, David Fox, Ron Gilbert, Chip Morningstar, Aric Wilmunder, and Gary Winnick. For those of you who couldn't make it, Paypal made the entire thing available on Youtube in eight parts:








Thanks to reader salty-horse for the heads-up!

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Night Dive Studios, the company that managed to untie the legal mess surrounding System Shock 2 to negotiate the digital re-release of that game, is apparently negotiating to digitally re-release more games that are currently unavailable.

In this case, it seems they are trying to free the LucasArts adventure games from the Disney Vault, since they posted a teaser on their Facebook page that they are "Heading to Corley Motors!" (complete with a shot of Ben Throttle on his Corley motorcycle). After posting shout-outs to more LucasArts adventure games, such as Sam & Max Hit the Road on their twitter page, they were asked by twitter user BJ Wanlund to clarify the meaning of their LucasArts teases. Night Dive Studios responded by saying "We're hoping for it as much as everyone else, that's all we can say at the moment!"

So it seems like more classic LucasArts adventure games might come out on digital distribution sites some day after all. Or, they might not. We'll just have to wait and see how this situation develops.
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