Articles

About The International House of Mojo

Tom Sarris, LucasArts PR Manager, 2003 (before they hated us):

How can you work at LucasArts and not be a regular reader of Mixnmojo? ...It's our homepage!

The International House of Mojo is a LucasArts fan-site, with a special love for the classic LucasArts adventure games of the 80's and 90's, such as Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Sam & Max and Grim Fandango. We also cover the work of LucasArts alumni that continue to make games focusing on story, characters, and imaginative worlds.

People Who Do Stuff on the Site

News and Opinions

Other Contributors

Benny, Kroms, ThunderPeel, and SurplusGamer.

Former staff, whose spirits were devoured by Mojo

Anne Invisibelle Mercatfat Tabacco
Dan Jake Metallus Tabias
DJG James Narrative Telarium
Emma Jamesh Rixen The Tingler
Huz Lemonhead Spaff (founder) Gabez
ATMachine

Want to help? Get in touch!

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 (LFN), 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 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:

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:

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 turned up on Nintendo’s Virtual Console, including Super NES games like Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures. The situation with those titles seems a bit more fluid than that of the SCUMM games, so you may need to do a little investigating of your own to determine individual availability until we devise that ambitious tracking system we've blue sky'd over the years.

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. If you're willing to put in a little more work, you might also try DOSBox for the pre-Monkey 3 games for a more authentic experience. 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 catalog 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.

I was browsing the articles and there seems to be a lot of legacy content. Are there any particular highlights I should be aware of?

There’s a ton of disavowed nonsense among the archive that we only keep around for our own shame, but if we may say so ourselves, a lot of the interviews we’ve conducted over the years – some going as far back at the late 90’s – remain valuable sources of information.

The photo-laden E3 coverage from 2001-2003 is still pretty memorable, and a decent snapshot of Mojo’s heyday in terms of relevance and of getting a sense of the voice of its original staff.

From January 2008 through February 2010, we published monthly retrospective spectaculars for each of the LucasArts classic adventures that received some polite notices. Known as the “Secret History” series (a way-too oblique slam directed at the president of LucasArts at the time, Jim Ward, who made an eminently mockable comment about shelving the studio’s legacy IP for an arbitrary seven-year period), these features begin with a review of the honored game and proceed with a variety of other, Criterion-grade supplements, often including developer interviews. Made in part as acts of rebellion, we think they’re still pretty ridiculous and cool. Or maybe they suck except for the excellent header art. Look for them under Features.

We also point you to an enormous piece we published in 2020 called The Unabridged History of Sam & Max 2: A Mixnmojo Memoir. As its unwieldy name suggests, it’s meant as both the ultimate post-mortem on LucasArts’ infamously cancelled sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road as well as something of a history of Mixnmojo itself, due to the rather dramatic entanglement the site had with the fate of that game -- and the last project from LEC that there was any consensus excitement about around these parts. It’s for the hardcore reader only, but we’re certain all nine of you will find it rewarding.

But perhaps our best biggest claim to fame remains 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 webmonkey@mixnmojo.com for the opportunity to be promptly ignored.

Are there any other web sites I should check out?

Several of the aforementioned game studios maintain official sites with development blogs and/or community sections that you may want to check out. Outside his company Terrible Toybox, Ron Gilbert keeps the blog grumpygamer.com.

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, though the community seems to be a bit dead these days.

What about all the hosted sites from back in the day?

While the LFN is dead and hosted sites are mostly no longer a thing, a few of our kin have remained standing throughout the tempestuous decades. Legendary Monkey Island fan site The SCUMM Bar is still serving mugs of corrosive grog to its grizzled patrons, though perhaps out of stubbornness more than anything, while The Legend of Monkey Island has sprung back like somebody sprinkled Ash-2-Life on it.

While The Grim Fandango Network has been placed under glass and left to serve as an archive, it’s a pretty impressive archive indeed.

On the Sam & Max fansite front, samandmax.co.uk appears to be ably carrying the torch these days, though stubborn rumors of a comeback from The Unofficial Sam & Max Website also persist.

And who knows? If Zaarin misbehaves badly enough, we may have to punish him with the task of resuscitating some of the more seminal hosted sites from his warez-laden backups.

You mentioned “the community” earlier…is there one, still?

Against our better judgment, we cut the check to restore the forums. What remains of the community within the halls of Mojo can likely be found there.

Outside of them, we’re told that you can still find pockets of Mojo readership and other likeminded enthusiasts to interact with on various social media and chat platforms, but we're far beyond keeping track of all that stuff now that we've reached our dotage years. Be safe out there.