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This domain took its name from the codewheel included with which game?

David Fox has shared more information on the development of the original Rescue on Fractalus and its aborted sequel on his Twitter account.

Here's some fo what he had to say:

When #RescueOnFractalus launched in 1984, we held a big press conference at the Lucasfilm Ltd C Building Screening Room. We wanted to present only direct footage from the games, so produced this video which starts with 1:20 of VO and SFX only.

We did the same for Ballblazer, with 1:40 of VO/SFX.

Some reporters didn't believe this was actually playing on an Atari 800 at 60fps and peeked under the table, expecting to find a laserdisc player (there wasn't one). David Levine had it screaming fast.

The production didn't always go smoothly, but that made for a slicker final product:

So many delays meant more time to polish. We were ready to release our first games at January 1984 CES. Atari wanted to wait until June. Then in July Atari was sold to Tramiel. Deals changed, found new publisher, had to create disk versions.

Fox then goes into details on the sequel, sharing mock-up videos used to give an idea of how the final experience would have looked, as well as images from presentation and concept artwork. (All of which can't be easily linked to.).

Unfortunately, in the end it was the familiar story...

So, what happened to the game? Our team had multiple meetings at LucasArts with their president Darrell Rodriguez (@drod1000) (who was a huge fan of our old games), Craig Derrick (@craigderrick) (who produced Tales of Monkey Island series and MI special editions), and several other people... And then, as had happened many times before, there was a change of direction/focus dictated from the top. No more reboots of the old games. Focus on Star Wars. Darrell left, and the project died. We were all pretty devastated.

For the full story, read Fox's full Twitter thread. Thanks for sharing, David!

After I posted about the Craig Derrick tweet earlier, it was brought to my attention that he's also commented on the often-scuttled efforts of the LucasArts Heritage team. Since those efforts remain largely mysterious to us - all I'm aware of is that Handsome Halibut title that never got announced and an internal Day of the Tentacle special edition - it merits the notice of the front page when new tidbits emerge.

Which brings me to this Twitter thread in which David Fox mentions this:

We were deep in talks with Darrell Rodriguez to create an iPhone version of Rescue on Fractalus with the original team. And then LucasArts was ordered to change direction and focus on Star Wars and he was replaced. Sad.

It brings a warm feeling to know that there were folks at LEC at the time who even considered such a tribute to the studio's very first game. And based on Craig Derrick's reply, it wasn't the only cool project to get the axe when Darrell Rodriguez stepped down:

Many amazing projects, partnerships, and plans left when he did. I’m glad the remasters found a home after 2013, but there was some cool stuff coming — including the original 1313.

This is intriguing stuff. Not intriguing enough for me to actually start reading Twitter (so do keep referring such findings to us as you spot them) but it certainly sheds some light on what a lot of us assumed about the Rodriguez years: that a slate of projects acknowledging the studio's legacy was attempted, before the powers that be did what they do best. Sort of the Simon Jeffery era in turbo? Maybe what Derrick is up to these days represents an attempt to get this type of agenda cooking again. We send only the best voodoo his way if so.

Comments: 10 / Source: Twitter

Craig Derrick is undoubtedly the most vocal - if not the only - Monkey Island enthusiast still on Lucasfilm payroll. Around 2008-2011, he was part of a small group at LucasArts (the-so-called "Heritage" team) who were pushing to get legacy revivals and small, original games off the ground. All they managed to convince Scrooge to greenlight in the end were the (highly outsourced) Monkey Island special editions and Lucidity.

This team no doubt intended to keep going, but inevitably the higher-ups got wind that somebody was being paid to think about something other than Star Wars and consequently ordered all of these developers shot [citation needed]. A bullet-ridden Craig managed to crawl out of the mass grave and even more impressively survive the shuttering of LucasArts by the Disney acquisition; today he serves some nebulous executive role at Lucasfilm.

What Craig does over there is anybody's guess, but every now and then he'll say something on Twitter that seems designed to titillate fans of the company's adventure game properties, which he is clearly a champion of. We're grateful he exists, and hopefully our sometimes moody expression of that gratitude can be forgiven when LucasArts' history with this sort of thing is accounted for. The latest:

Considering that Limited Run Games plans to release their Monkey Island boxed set in October, I have a hard time believing this doesn't relate to that. Perhaps Craig is one of the main Lucasfilm folks interfacing with Limited Run Games on this effort, and there are some exciting details (like extras?) forthcoming. We'll just have to wait and see. Might I respectfully suggest the authentic inclusion of the original versions of the first two games, which the special editions nobly fell short of?

Comments: 5 / Source: Twitter

We previously reported on Bill Tiller's involvement in a crowdfunded board game called The Shivers, which has seen unreasonable success.

Well, the folks behind the project have just added three new members to their team, and guess what two of them have in common?

  • Larry Ahern Larry is a former LucasArts adventure game designer/writer/artist currently working in the California theme park industry. He is part of the creative vision behind such beloved titles as Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and The Curse of Monkey Island. For The Shivers, he'll be writing some of the episodes included in the Core game, bringing his unique blend of cleverness and humor to our pop-up adventure!
  • Jared Sorensen Considered to be one of the founding fathers of indie roleplaying, Jared started publishing tabletop RPGs back in the '90s (he's also another LucasArts alumni) . In 2003, he created Action Castle, the first-ever Parsely game that brings the intrigue of '80s-style text based adventures onto tabletops around the world. For The Shivers, Jared will be overseeing and editing all of our 16 initial episodes to ensure they flow logically and intuitively with minimal continuity problems.

It's only a matter of time before Tim Schafer closes up shop and follows everyone else to this pot of gold.

Info for the new Sam & Max VR game keeps streaming forth, and samandmax.co.uk has been keeping on top of it. While Mojo falters in timeliness, it makes up for it by excelling at leeching off others.

First, some clarification on the game's team team. The studio publishing the game, HappyGiant, is the one founded by LucasArts veteran Mike Levine, who you may know from his work with Larry Ahern on Insecticide, while Sam & Max Hit the Road is among the many credits from his LucasArts days. Also integrally involved is Mike Stemmle, whose Sam & Max bonafides hardly need to be listed. Peter Chan is another of the apparently numerous Hit the Road alum involved, and Steve Purcell is naturally consulting.

Since the initial announcement, an extended trailer was released by IGN, some screenshots and story details came to light, and gameplay footage narrated by Levine and Stemmle appeared during something called a "Gamescon" Twitch stream yesterday.

For your convenience, we've got the screenshots safely stolen in our own galleries. Note the appearance of Sam and Max's office landing as a location, which we haven't seen since Hit the Road, but which we would have seen in Freelance Police.

In fact, what I'm finding most interesting about this game so far is how its depiction of the office/street is a balanced tribute to both the LucasArts and Telltale incarnations. The street environment seems extremely indebted to the Freelance Police version, while the hoodless DeSoto, the voice actors and certain specifics in the office (like the television) are straight out of the Telltale games.

Anywho, keep tabs on Mojo as we keep tabs on samandmax.co.uk's ongoing coverage of Sam & Max: This Time It's Virtual!.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard concrete rumblings about any new Sam & Max games, so this one came as a bit of a surprise…

Good to see them again! Particularly if you own a VR headset. At least five people from the previous Sam & Max titles are back working on this over at HappyGiant. We’ll keep you posted in a timely-ish manner.

And the forums are figuratively hopping with chatter about these news, so go discuss!

As someone whose experience playing Maniac Mansion on the NES (30th anniversary, incidentally!) was a formative one, that game means a lot to me. Consequently I’ve had a lot of inchoate and way-too-personal thoughts over the years about the game’s atmosphere, how promotional imagery managed to capture it, and how Day of the Tentacle opted to recast it. I also find myself struck by the attractively open-ended future this fairly unexamined series has, should anyone care to give it one.

Regrettably, I didn’t bother to actually pull those thoughts together before publishing them in an article, but hopefully the pretty pictures will distract from that. Don’t be a tuna-head; read it, and preferably not on a phone! MojoEx isn't up to it.

If you were a person of good taste, you'd already know this from reading our forums, but if for whatever reason you're not...

Terrible Toybox are looking for an art director, and as you will see in the description, the studio is working on an "unannounced 2D pixel art adventure game." That's pretty much it. But Ronzo and Winnick and new adventure game are words you want to hear together.

Excited? Go to the forums and giddy your heart out there!

We reported on a Firewatch movie back in 2016, and now it seems things are gaining traction.

Snoot Entertainment and Campo Santo are joining forces this time around to produce a movie, nay, piece of cinema, centered around the 2.5-million-copies-sold game. Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman – no introductions needed – will receive production credits.

Meanwhile, the rest of Mojo staff is still doing Mojo, because we’re not sell-outs and not at all questioning certain life choices.

Remember video game magazines, which you could have and hold? Me neither. But they apparently still exist, and the October 2020 issue of Edge, available now, contains a lovely spread about Psychonauts 2, printed upon tactile pages:

Psychonauts 2 features on the cover of Edge this month, and strangely enough, its premise couldn’t feel more of the moment. We were the very first media to go hands-on with a psychedelic new level, and we’re bringing you all the exclusive details on how Raz’s next adventure is coming along.

We’ve also gone inside the minds of the team at Double Fine – including art director Lisette Titre-Montgomery and Double Fine co-founder Tim Schafer – to figure out what makes a good Psychonauts level tick. A very large Google Doc, set up by Schafer 15 years ago, is one part of it. But elsewhere there’s talk of multiple script passes, algebra, prog-rock jam sessions – even a little bit of Uncharted. And, of course, novelty. The inside of everybody’s head is different, after all.

Naturally, then, we had to bring you something unusual for our Psychonauts 2 cover. The result is a very special glow-in-the-dark treatment that’s positively mesmerising to behold. Draw the curtains, turn off the lights, and take a look for yourself.

You heard them -- take a look:

Over on their Youtube channel, PC Gamer is running a video series called “Reinstall”, which seems to consist of capsule retrospectives for selected games. LucasArts’ two 1995 graphic adventure releases, Full Throttle and The Dig, made the cut; enjoy their episodes below.

We’re really bringing out the big guns today!

Twelve years ago, Jason bought a poster -- a Maniac Mansion one specifically. Fast-forward to 2020, and he finally got it framed, a momentous occasion. And who are we to deny you from reading such a tale of excitement and intrigue? We give to you: Jason Frames His Maniac Mansion Poster: A Gripping Account .

Conversely, taking twelve years to frame a poster seems indicative of how we procrastinate about anything and everything around here, but either way... Read!

Oh, and want to show off your framed LEC posters to the world? There's a forum thread for that.

The "top-down" shoot-em-up Zombies Ate My Neighbors was a favorite of the 16-bit era and not even the sole classic to come out of LucasArts in 1993. It is also, seemingly, among the most sequelizable games ever made.

Despite this, its potential as a series has been weirdly explored. It did get one official sequel, Ghoul Patrol, but that apparently began as an unrelated game only to be redecorated as a Zombies follow-up at the eleventh hour. A spiritual successor, Herc's Adventures was made by key members of the Zombies team but is technically not part of the brand, even if the branding is all that's missing.

Two obscure successors always seemed to be a rather limp legacy for a game that is still so fondly remembered, and apparently there are some developers that agree. Enter Demons Ate My Neighbors! by Tuned-Out Games and HumaNature Studios. Says Nintendo Enthusiast:

The premise of the game is a cursed VHS tape has turned Fairweather Valley into “a den of horrors,” ruining April and Joey’s relaxing summer. Now it’s up to them to use squirt guns filled with holy water to save everyone, while also battling creatures inspired by classic horror films.

If the title and premise don't convince you that this title is explicitly intended as an unambiguous tribute to Zombies Ate My Neighbors, the screenshot in the full write-up will. Look for Demons Ate My Neighbors! on Nintendo Switch and PC sometime in 2021, preferably with a Player 2 on hand.

You begged, you bartered, and as Mojo loves you, Mojo has provided the Mojo Forums. That’s right, party like it’s 2001 with good, old-fashioned posting boards.

So what do we got? Well, these are a continuation of the old LucasForums, so if you had an account there, you’re good to go here. Otherwise click the "Sign Up" button (it’s under the hamburger menu if you’re using your phone) to get rocking. All the old forums can be viewed in read-only mode; for new stuff we have a brand new board.

So why are you reading this when you could be posting your heart out? Be part of the Mojo Community – we are sure it will be very, very active!

And remember, these kind of updates would not be possible without the help of you, our dear Patreon contributors. If you still haven't had the chance to love Mojo back, why not do so now, with a healthy contribution to the Mojo Fund!

Looking for some Psychonauts 2 gameplay footage? Who better to show it to you than Jack Black himself?

Tim even calls in!

While renowned illustrator and one-time Autumn Moon CEO Bill Tiller continues his slow, NDA-shrouded efforts to get A Vampyre Story 2 financed, his drawing hand hasn't just been sitting around idle. He's been recruited as the artist of a crowdfunded board game.

It's called The Shivers, which describes itself as a "mystery pop-up Role-Playing Game for 2-5 players, exploring a spooky mansion filled with hidden secrets!" With 28 hours to go at the time of this writing, the Kickstarter has raised $490,000. Its goal: $40,000. Well, good for them, but when I think about how Bill's AVS prequel Kickstarter seven years back couldn't come close to its $200,000 goal, well, the contrast is saddening.

Check out the project for The Shivers to get a sense of its Tilleresque beauty, and do excuse me while I come up with some-assed board game concept. Apparently that's where the money is.

This one was irresistible. It turns out that The Orlando Sentinel does a pretty admirable job of digitizing its archives, as this online version of an editorial from August 16th, 1991 proves.

Here's how it opens:

We're getting letter after letter from readers wanting to know more about the Nintendo Entertainment System's Maniac Mansion ($54.95). To answer everybody's questions about this great (not to mention funny) strategy game, we'll take you on a run-through from the beginning. Remember, this is just one of dozens of possible scenarios. Try it out and use the same kind of strategy to solve the game with other characters.

You'll have to read the article if you want to see their useful hints for yourself. Tough break for the LucasFilm Games hint line.

Anyway, this is awesome. And a reminder that video games were always appallingly expensive. I would point out that the Nintendo version of Maniac Mansion was released in September 1990, so if they were getting "letter after letter" eleven months later, the game must have been big in central Florida -- and particularly so relative to the rest of the country, as the cartridge did not sell well enough to earn a second North American printing.

Because it is apparently compulsive for LucasArts legends to subject themselves to 90-minute interviews over Zoom, David Fox strapped himself into a headset and took his turn for a grilling over broadband. He and the interviewer cover a lot of ground about halcyon LEC, so do check it out when you're done with the Tim one, and just hope that someone will give enough of a damn about you when you are David Fox's age to put you through this:

Fox is apparently the darling of YouTube, as he's sat for quite a number of these over the years, and I doubt we've caught them all. If you find yourself craving more, Youtube is your friend.

First, so we don’t bury the lede: If you want to play the talkie-edition prototype of Monkey Island 2, we are here to provide: Download it right here.

Of course, when I say “we”, the credit belongs to Nicolas Deneschau, the gentleman author of the French Monkey Island tome, "Les mysteres de Monkey Island: à l'abordage des pirates!" Not only did he provide the file, he also conducted interviews with Aric Wilmunder (the man behind the voiced prototype, and also the voice of Rapp Scallion) and Khris Brown (LEC’s famed casting director). Make sure to read all the way to the bottom for instruction on how to get the prototype to run under DOSBox. Check it out now.

And Mojo wouldn’t be Mojo without without Benzo hacking his way into the prototype. If you’re the type of person who find deepdives into resource files interesting — and seeing you are reading this, you probably do — go read it, too.

In summation: A playable prototype; interviews; hacking tutorials. Mojo has it all for you. Go read, and expect more from this, because we’re going to milk this for what it’s worth.

And if you enjoy this kind of fine, quality content, why not contribute a donation to our Patreon campaign? Only you can ensure the continued excellence of Mojo and its vast ocean of exclusive features!

Way back in 2002, LucasArts.com, which was a site that once existed (ask your grandparents), underwent a revamp as the studio was celebrating its then 20th anniversary. In an effort that arguably represented the only substantial content the official site ever laid claim to, a 20th anniversary section was launched with all sorts of multimedia goodies. Aside from the immediately looted concept art gallery, most of that stuff has been lost to time, presuming you can't be motivated to board The Wayback Machine.

Among the offerings were three nice features -- one a four-part history of the studio, one a collection of employee memories, and one a series of profiles of five veteran developers: Jon Knoles, Sean Clark, Eric Johnston, Mike Stemmle, and Larry Holland. Thinking that these pieces deserved better than being lost to the ages, we went ahead and ported them to Mojo for posterity:

As you might expect, not all media survived the Wayback Machine crawls, and LOL on trying to match the LucasArts.com layouts in MojoEx to any pleasant effect. But whatever, at least they're essentially intact, and can now be enjoyed for centuries to come. Or until Zaarin misses a payment next Tuesday.

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