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About The International House of Mojo
“ How can you work at LucasArts and not be a regular reader of Mixnmojo? . . . It's our homepage! ”
— Tom Sarris, LucasArts PR Manager, 2003 (before they hated us)
The International House of Mojo is a LucasArts fan-site, with a special love for the classic LucasArts adventure games of the 90's, such as Monkey Island and Grim Fandango.
This site also covers the work of LucasArts alumni, many of whom work at Telltale Games and Double Fine, as they continue to make games focusing on story, characters, and imaginative worlds.
People Who Do Stuff on the Site
Jason has played all 142 LucasArts games, starting with Ballblazer in 1984. He is the current world champion Maniac Mansion player, having completed the game in a record seven seconds.
Jennifer completed a grueling internship at Mojo, and was subsequently hired because Jason
couldn't be bothered to update the news section. Through hard work, Jennifer
now makes twice as much as the rest of staff, which oddly is the same amount as the rest of us.
jp-30 lives in New Zealand with his wife and twelve children. He is a pioneer of The Dunedin Sound and latter dabbled with the film industry, with some notable success. His favourite LucasArts game is Big Sky Trooper.
Remi ate his first hamburger in 1972, and from that moment on he was addicted to two things: food, and the USA. He moved there from Norway in 1983 and is now the proud owner of a car and two food blogs.
Zaarin coded Mojo X in a single weekend, whilst on holiday in Spain. His first LucasArts game was Monkey Island 2, which he played in the arcades of Flekkefjord, flicking away the kronestykker until the solnedgang.
ATMachine, Kroms, elTee, ThunderPeel, SurplusGamer, and Gabez. Mojo X was designed by Queztone in 2010.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is this place?
The International House of Mojo (often abbreviated as Mixnmojo, The House of Mojo, or simply Mojo) is a fan site that was started by seventeen-year-old Brighton student James Spafford in 1997. In its heyday, Mojo primarily served as a news site for the then-prolific San Francisco based game studio LucasArts Entertainment Company (often abbreviated as LEC, and originally known as Lucasfilm Games), the video game division of Lucasfilm, Ltd.
A flagship of the now defunct LucasArts Fan Network, Mojo was born amidst a fertile crush of Monkey Island fan sites like The SCUMM Bar back when fan sites weren’t even hip yet. Within a year, Mojo had evolved into an all-purpose hub for LucasArts fandom, albeit with an emphasis on the non-Star Wars titles (since there was no shortage of sites devoted to those) and especially the graphic adventures. Although the site has undergone a widening of scope and a narrowing of activity over the years, that underlying purpose has remained consistent.
Where does the name come from, anyway?
"The International House of Mojo" is the place of business of the enigmatic Voodoo Lady in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. Our domain name "Mixnmojo" originates from the copy-protection code wheel that came packaged with Monkey Island 2 – it was labeled "The Mix 'N' Mojo Voodoo Ingredient Proportion Dial. "
So what games do you cover, exactly?
There’s nothing exact about it, but this list of studios mostly sums it up:
LucasArts – Natch. Though the studio itself is defunct, its treasured library of immortal graphic adventure games remains the heart and soul of this site. As it happens, that library has been owned by Disney since the conglomerate acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, and while it seems unlikely that The Mouse has any plans to revitalize cult properties when they’ve got Star Wars to monetize, much of the LucasArts back catalog has thankfully been made available through such online portals as GOG and Steam. If you’ve somehow found your way to Mojo without having played these games, then you may want to rectify that in short order. You’ll find little here to relate to otherwise.
Double Fine Productions – This studio was founded by acclaimed ex-LucasArts designer Tim Schafer in 2000. Its debut title was the near-legendary Psychonauts, a platformer with more than a little LucasArts graphic adventure DNA in its makeup. Other noteworthy Double Fine releases include the heavy metal themed Brütal Legend, the crowdfunded adventure game Broken Age, and remastered editions of the LucasArts adventures on which Schafer had originally served as project leader. One of the most celebrated independent developers in the industry, Double Fine is still going strong, and is currently hard at work on the hotly anticipated Psychonauts 2.
Autumn Moon Entertainment – This studio was founded by Bill Tiller in 2002. Bill was an artist during the LucasArts golden era, and his most recognized work is The Curse of Monkey Island, on which he was the lead background artist. Bill launched Autumn Moon with the intention of making rigidly traditional adventure games in the vein of Curse, though due to limited success securing financing, the studio has only been able to release two games to date – A Vampyre Story and Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island. Under the label “Venture Moon Industries,” Bill and two longtime Autumn Moon developers also produced a bite-sized Ghost Pirates spinoff called Duke Grabowski: Mighty Swashbuckler!, which we consider an Autumn Moon production in all but name. Though things have been quiet on the Autumn Moon front for some time, we know in our hearts that Bill has more adventure projects up his sleeve.
Ron Gilbert – While Ron is not a studio, his post-LucasArts games have been published by so many different entities over the years that it is more convenient to treat him as his own category. Upon leaving LucasArts in 1992, the creator of Monkey Island along with LucasArts producer Shelley Day founded Humongous Entertainment, later its sister company Cavedog Entertainment, and after the dot-com collapse the short-lived Hulabee Entertainment. When he got sick of running companies, Ron started making his own games again, though often through one-time partnerships with other studios: he created DeathSpank with Hothead Entertainment in 2010 and The Cave with Double Fine in 2013. His most recent project was the crowd-funded Thimbleweed Park, a throwback adventure game in the style of Maniac Mansion that reunited him with fellow LEC old-timers Gary Winnick and David Fox.
Telltale Games – Formed in 2004 by LucasArts defectors, many of whom were team members of the cancelled Sam & Max: Freelance Police, Telltale launched with the ambition of being the first studio to do episodic gaming correctly. Styling themselves as the video game equivalent of a television studio, Telltale’s aim was to release episodic “seasons” of story-driven games based on popular licenses. In the early days, these licenses were cult properties that included Sam & Max (for which they produced three seasons) and Monkey Island (for which they produced a fifth installment). Over time, the studio’s success grew and it became exclusively focused on larger licenses while it slowly but surely lost many of the LucasArts vets it was once awash with. As with LucasArts itself, we find ourselves much more interested in the company’s back catalog than what they’ve been up to since being seduced by high profile IP, but who knows what the future might bring?
Campo Santo – Founded by Telltale defectors Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman in 2013, Campo Santo is one of the more intriguing independent developers on the scene. In 2016, they debuted their first game Firewatch to critical acclaim and commercial success, with a film adaptation reportedly in development. Although Jake was once on the Mojo staff, we feel that we can’t take all of the credit for the studio’s achievements. Only most of it.
Infinite Machine – Founded by LucasArts defector Justin Chin in 1998, this promising studio regrettably only released a single title, New Legends, in 2002. The studio closed that same year while it was in development on Sam & Max action/adventure title called Sam & Max Plunge Through Space. On the team of that game was Chuck Jordan, a former LucasArts designer who went on to work on the Telltale Sam & Max games.
Crackpot Entertainment – Founded by LucasArts vets Larry Ahern and Mike Levine, Crackpot developed the cartoon detective game Insecticide, released for Nintendo DS in 2008 by Gamecock Entertainment. Made with the help of other ex-LucasArts talent, the game boasts the spirit of that studio’s classic adventures. Unfortunately, a publisher buyout resulted in the Crackpot’s funding being cut off while they were working on the PC version of Insecticide, and we’ve heard nothing from them since. But perhaps someday…
Where can I buy the LucasArts graphic adventure games?
This is a much more pleasant question to answer these days than it used to be, as for the most part the games have become legally available via digital distribution after a long period of frankly unforgivable dormancy. Here is the present availability status of the fourteen LucasArts adventure games:
Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders (1988) – Available from GOG.
Loom (1990) – Available from GOG and Steam. Note that this is the later “VGA Talkie” version of the game rather than the initial EGA version. It lacks the original release’s character close-ups, and the dialogue was rewritten to fit all of the recorded lines on one CD. We would also like to point out that Loom originally shipped with a thirty-minute audio drama that serves as a prologue to the story. You can listen to it on Youtube.
The Secret of Monkey Island (1990) - Available from GOG and Steam. Note that this is the “special edition” version of the game with revamped artwork and voice acting that LucasArts produced in 2009. However, the VGA version is available via the game’s Classic Mode toggle feature.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991) - Available from GOG and Steam. Note that this is the “special edition” version of the game with revamped artwork and voice acting that LucasArts produced in 2010. However, the VGA version is available via the game’s Classic Mode toggle feature, albeit with some controversial discrepancies when compared with the original release.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992) - Available from GOG and Steam. The game was also included as an unlockable bonus feature in the Wii version of Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, if you happen to own that.
Day of the Tentacle (1993) - Available from GOG and Steam. Note that this is the “remastered” version that Double Fine produced in 2015. Unlike the Monkey Island special editions, the makeover was extremely conservative and tasteful, largely consisting of smoothing out the graphics and offering higher quality voice samples. Nevertheless, the original version is available via the Classic Mode toggle feature. Also note that Maniac Mansion is included as a game-within-a-game.
Sam & Max Hit the Road (1993) – Available from GOG.
Full Throttle (1995) - Available from GOG and Steam. Note that this is the “remastered” version that Double Fine produced in 2017. Unlike the Monkey Island special editions, the makeover was extremely conservative and tasteful, largely consisting of smoothing out the graphics and offering higher quality voice samples. Nevertheless, the original version is available via the Classic Mode toggle feature.
Grim Fandango (1998) - Available from GOG and Steam. Note that this is the “remastered” version that Double Fine produced in 2014. Unlike the Monkey Island special editions, the makeover was extremely conservative and tasteful, largely consisting of smoothing out the graphics and offering higher quality voice samples. Nevertheless, the original version is available via the Classic Mode toggle feature.
Escape from Monkey Island (2000) – Ironically, the last adventure game LucasArts produced is the only one that isn’t officially offered for purchase. Perhaps it will turn up eventually, but if you don’t care to wait it out, the game appears to be easily obtainable from second-hand venues for reasonable prices. If you buy such a copy and have trouble running it on a modern PC, we recommend trying the special launcher and setup programs developed by our own Benny. For the Mac, you'll need ResidualVM -- make sure it's the nightly build.
What about the non-adventure LucasArts games?
A lot of those are available, too!Check out the complete collection of LucasArts PC oldies offered by GOG and Steam. As far as console games, a number of classics have tuned up on Nintendo’s Virtual Console, including Super NES games like Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures.
I already own those adventure games from back in the day but can’t get them to run on my PC.
Never fear. You need only download, free of charge, the godsend known as ScummVM, an open source emulator that was invented specifically for this purpose. Simply copy the game files to your hard drive, point ScummVM to them and you are good to go. This fan-made software is so esteemed, Disney has bundled it with their official digital re-releases rather than exerting any effort to write a new interpreter themselves. You’ll also find a number of helpful tools over at Benny’s Quick & Easy Software.
No offense, but isn’t Mojo kind of obsolete this days?
A fair question. We are not naïve about the reality that as a news source, Mojo has lost a degree of vitality due to our focus being on older games and because, in the age of social media, relevant news about even niche subject matter like what we cover is liable to have been Retweeted eight hundred times before out unmotivated butts have gotten around to writing a redundant news post about it. If your Mom wants to know what Tim Schafer’s up to, she can just @ him.
In addition, our site struggled with a bit of an identity crisis after it became necessary to expand beyond the LucasArts catalogue in the wake of that studio’s creative collapse and then many years later its formal shuttering. Though there are always a few upcoming games we’re keen on following, there’s decidedly less pressing business to talk about than there once was. And we’ll be the first to admit that with all of the original staff gone, this is not the same site that it was twenty years ago.
So yes, we are conscious of being long in the tooth and somewhere due south of the height of our relevance. But we stubbornly believe there is a purpose and a future for Mojo, and that is as an archive. Our ambition is to be the definitive resource for background information, media, trivia, historical artifacts, and collected fan works related to these classic games. Having been deeply involved in that world for over two decades, we feel that Mojo has the potential to collate the driftnet of occasionally obscure material that has accumulated over the years and serve as the ultimate custodians of what remains the Mount Rushmore of interactive story titles. Or at least custodians of the flotsam related to it.
Obviously, we’re a long way from that goal. But in the near future we intend to relaunch Games Database with an agenda to work toward it. And we will be relying on your help to do so. Stay tuned!
Did Mojo ever have any kind of legitimacy as a member of the gaming media?
Legitimacy in the gaming media is overrated, as it leads to the expectations of things like integrity and regular content. Oh sure, there was a time in the distant past when Mojo had a relatively cozy relationship with LucasArts and did quasi-authentic journalism things like attend expos, visit studios, write previews, and get an occasional pull-quote onto a piece of advertising, but for the most part Mojo has simply been the messy expression of a few highly opinionated strangers with no tangible credentials, and who obtained staff logins through means that remain murky .
Perhaps our biggest claim to fame was an April Fool’s Day stunt pulled back in 2002, when Mojo managed to stage a fake Monkey Island 5 announcement. Going as far as to get permission from LucasArts for the gag, Mojo staffers had Guybrush Threepwood’s voice actor Dominic Armato record some lines for the fabricated game which, along with fake box art and music cues, completed the cruel illusion. Here’s the original news post in which Jake Rodkin came clean about the whole affair in the immediate aftermath.
Ironically, two of the staffers instrumental in the prank, Andrew ‘telarium’ Langley and Jake, both eventually wound up at Telltale Games years later in time to work on the actual fifth Monkey Island game, Tales of Monkey Island, and managed to sneak in some of their once-fake lines into the published title, bringing the whole heist full circle.
Can I write an article for Mojo? Oh, and I’ve got this nifty fan art I’d like to share…
We’re always open to content submissions. Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org for the opportunity to be promptly ignored.
Are there any other web sites I should check out?
Mojo has historically had a relationship with Adventure Gamers that has only occasionally gotten violent. They probably are doing good work over there, although we can only speculate since we correspond exclusively by snail mail through a network of high-priced attorneys these days.
There’s also Idle Thumbs, a gaming-webzine-turned-podcast-network that was started back in 2004 by some folks involved in and around Mojo. A good deal of the original community migrated to the Idle Thumbs forums, if you care to say hi.