Jenn Sandercock, who produced Return to Monkey Island, not to mention Thimbleweed Park before that, will be attending this year's Game Developers Conference in March to give a talk about the production processes that led to the game being recognized among Mixnmojo's most preferred of September 2022:
It's unclear if the presumptive recording to come out of this is something GDC is going to share with the public free of charge - there's a bit of inconsistency in the way they handle that - but it costs nothing to hope.
Why should we generate content when you do it for us?
Over at the forums, Gins’ is doing god’s work by kicking off the “Mojo Book Club” with the Monkey Island-adjacent On Stranger Tides. If you haven’t read it, this is a great—and community-centric—time to do so. And if you have already finished it, why not revisit it? It’s an entertaining read.
The book club kicks off this Thursday, with a new chapter studied and reviewed every week. Make sure you check out this simple outline for more details. Now you, too, can be an intellectual on Thrik’s level.
(Oh, and if you think you can cheat by watching the movie, don’t. The two are barely related.)
The fearless correspondents at Pixel Refresh decided the time had come at last to puncture the veil of the sordid, rock’n roll world of LucasArts poster restorations by chatting it up with Jan Hofmeister (the unlikely handle of your friend Laserschwert), who requires no introduction here. Put aside an hour you don’t have and listen to what goes into his masterpieces of masterpiece-conservation:
Next up is the ongoing “Conversation with Curtis” series hosted by Daniel Albu, who previously brought you interviews with such luminaries as Brad Taylor and Aaron Giles. This time his subject is ScummVM’s project leader Eugene Sandulenko (again, you better know him by the name on his birth certificate: sev), and they dive deep into the twenty-year history and ever-expanding future of a project that some of us would still call miraculous. You can even hear the official ScummVM perspective on DREAMM if you scrub over to 1:16:28.
Incidentally, Remi decided to climb off the tanning bed long enough to do something useful, and the forum now has a catch-all thread for these increasingly frequent hour-plus long interviews.
An interesting phenomenon of big franchise movies with their attendant merchandising tie-ins is that the toys sometime scoop the marketing machine. The logistical need for this stuff to be manufactured well ahead of time by the licensed partners, and the wacky calendar vagaries that can result, has historically led to reveals coming from unexpected places. I seem to vaguely recall that product descriptions for LEGO sets and the like back in 2007-2008 exposed otherwise shrouded story and character elements from Crystal Skull way in advance of the movie, for example.
Anyway, the tradition continues with Indy 5 -- Hasbro’s putting out a whole bunch of future landfill fodder for all the Indy movies, including something called a “Worlds of Adventure” line aimed at younger children. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character from the upcoming movie made the cut, and the packaging for her ends up unveiling her surname and presumably her vehicle of choice. Meet Helena Shaw:
Once your heart rate settles back down, there’s also the similarly detailed figure below for Mads Mikkelsen’s villainous Jürgen Voller, helpfully stripped of his Nazi iconography. I wanna say this character’s full name may have already been revealed elsewhere, but hey, now you know he might be piloting that aircraft in the movie, so there’s really no reason to go to the cinema at this point:
You can ensure the continued celibacy of your day by checking out Hasbro’s full line-up at Lucasfilm.com.
No need to get fancy with this one; I’ll just reprint what Aaron posted over on the forums:
It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally ready to open up broader testing of DREAMM 2.0.
Grab the latest beta here: https://aarongiles.com/dreamm/beta/
This release supports both Windows and MacOS (Catalina+), and both x86 and ARM64 architectures.
Compared to 1.0, this release adds:
- Support for GRiME games (Grim Fandango, Escape from Monkey Island)
- Support for Afterlife and several mid-90s Star Wars games: Dark Forces, Rebel Assault I/II, X-Wing, and TIE Fighter
- Support for Windows releases of SCUMM games (including my own ports plus DIG95)
- A new frontend and in-game UI (accessible via Alt+M)
- Better support for GOG releases and special installers
- Faster x86 emulation core
- Improved VGA emulation, including SVGA
- Basic joystick support
Feel free to report issues in this thread, or directly to me at email@example.com
I mean, you heard him. Get to work, and do your part to ensure that Hugo the perfume salesman will forever spritz his way across the computer monitors of future generations.
In his coverage for Limited Run’s upcoming Return to Monkey Island physical release(s), Remi noted the unusual offering of an “upgrade kit,” in which you get an expanded and corrected version of the Anthology box (with the game logos in the correct order, in addition to appending ReMI’s position) along with a smattering of additional trinkets.
Well, Limited Run is workshopping an altogether new comedy sketch with the so-called “Gold Key Bundle.” See, the other quirk of these releases that you may remember was that each of the four individual editions (one per platform), plus the upgrade kit, would respectively include replicas of each of the five keys Guybrush collects in the game’s second half, in a predatory play for the OCD fan who's gotta catch 'em all. A visual reminder of how all that shakes out (note the bottom left of each picture):
For those who have lost their goddamned minds and would actually pursue that, the distributor is helpfully offering a comprehensive bundle of all the above for an even $419.99.
What kind of diseased mind even conceives of this stuff? Anyhoodle: buy away. Bankruptcy ain’t nothing but a number.
Look, we know this isn’t much of an issue anymore: The code-wheel-protected Monkey Island 2 isn’t available for purchase, and even if it was, DREAMM hacks straight through it. Like butter. Furthermore, there are virtual code wheels out there that emulate the tactile feeling of flimsy nineties cardboard.
Which is to say, why not try yet another tool to hack through LeChuck’s Revenge? Introducing The Monkey Island 2 Code Grid. Does it work? Who knows! It was something I developed for the Amiga version of the game a good while ago, and it has gotten me past the copy-protection screen on multiple occasions. (Using those virtual wheels is a true pain.) Maybe it’ll work for you, too? Or maybe it won’t. Either way, give it a shot if you so like.
As if you don’t have enough things to spend money on, Côté Games are taking pre-orders for The LucasArts Chronicles.
There are seemingly some oddities with the book—e.g., I recognize the screenshots as promo material—but who knows? Judge for yourself. The “simple” version of the book will run you €45; the
complicated “deluxe” edition €62.
More news outside the usual Mojo purview, but Telltale stalwart Jared Emerson-Johnson—you may remember him from Sam and Max, The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us—crooned out an album. Jared Emerson-Johnson's One-Man Skeleton Revival's album 1924 released in December and it is pretty sweet, and is available on Bandcamp, YouTube, Amazon, Apple Music, and Spotify.
LucasArts and Telltale alumnus Graham Annable (of Nelson Tethers fame) did the cover art, with design furnished by some guy called Jake Rodkin.
I've listened to the album twice since discovering it last night—Mojo was timely for a while, I guess!—and it makes me want to dance. It's a new favourite, and (I suspect) absolutely phenomenal played live. Good stuff, Jared!
This is tangentially related to Mixnmojo's usual purview, but we thought it was worth breaking protocol for: If you love adventure games, you owe it to yourself to buy the Wadjet Eye Humble Bundle, which goes for anything over $10, with money heading to charity (specifically, the JDRF, which does Type-1 Diabetes research).
The games included are the Blackwell series, The Shivah, Primordia, Gemini Rue, Unavowed, Technobabylon, Resonance, Shardlight (which, uh, was quite the experience during the pandemic), and Strangeland, with a 30% coupon for their latest, The Excavation of Hob's Barrow.
You need the Mojo stamp of approval? You got it. While some of the earlier games are a little rough around the edges—specifically, the first Blackwell game and The Shivah—the rest are gold. Wadjet Eye's games constantly reinvent themselves and their mechanics, but have unique identities, are beautifully written, and forego both death and dead ends. While not comedies, their games have authenticity.
And Dave Gilbert, who heads Wadjet Eye, is just a really nice person. Anyway, get clickin'. You won't regret it.
I mean, we knew it was gonna happen, right? Return to Monkey Island in a glorious, limited box.
$89; $60 for an anthology “upgrade kit.” What do you get? We’re talking LeChuck’s onboarding pamphlet; a letter from Ron and Dave (presumably the ingame one); the scrapbook; a blowfish stress ball; the Chum lure pin; a platform specific golden key (just so you can buy five copies); a poster; booklet. And what do you know—a soundtrack!
This is what second mortgages are made of.
Variety is reporting that Earl Boen, who memorably provided the voice of the villainous ghost pirate LeChuck in the Monkey Island series up through Tales of Monkey Island, has passed away at the age of 81.
Though his voice work was particularly prolific, the veteran actor was well known for his appearances as Dr. Peter Silberman in the first three Terminator movies among countless roles across film and television. Though Boen had been retired since even before Tales, it was said that his enthusiasm for performing as LeChuck led him to nevertheless reprise the character for that project and the Monkey Island special editions that were produced around the same time. His contributions as Guybrush's arch-nemesis will endure. R.I.P.
Clearly inspired by our own interview, online publication Time Extension decided to get in on the CMI 25th anniversary action in the final moments of 2022, running a retrospective with project leaders Jonathan Ackley and Larry Ahern eight seconds ahead of the New Year. A taste:
Fans claimed that Curse would use SCUMM 3D, taking Monkey Island away from its 2D roots. Ackley says two "brilliant and grumpy programmers" – Chris Purvis and Chuck Jordan – decided to troll the internet back, adding the 'Enable 3D acceleration option to the menu screen for "super-special 3D SCUMM environments." But clicking it only presented messages ranging from "We were only kidding" to "You can click that all you want, it won't do anything."
Ackley confesses he feels a little bad about this joke, however. "After the game came out, the support team received a letter from some poor gentleman had tried swapping out several video cards to get SCUMM 3D to work – and ended up bricking his computer," he says with a smile.
It’s always good to hear from Bill, so it was probably an easy decision by The Retro Hour Podcast to host him for an hour long chat.
Bill shares some pretty good war stories from The Dig, his surreal experience of getting personal approval from George Lucas to shoot live action footage for Star Wars: Rebel Assault, and of course his experiences on The Curse of Monkey Island. The conversation doesn’t get a chance to cover the Autumn Moon games in depth (might I suggest a follow-up?), but the designer/artist does confirm that he regained the rights to A Vampyre Story 2 several years back, and drops the bombshell that he is actively at work on a demo for the long-halted game to pitch out to publishers. In addition, he promises that the original game will return to Steam in a matter of months, retooled so that it will actually run on your computer.
You can listen for yourself here. The interview begins around the 40 minute mark.
Let’s be clear about this: there’s the EGA version of Loom, and then there are the imitation versions. Unfortunately, the initial and definitive release has been out of legal circulation for a lifetime; what you’ll find representing this classic on Steam, GOG and wherever else is the “VGA Talkie” version, which Brian Moriarty himself has gently called “an abomination” for its revisionism and myriad of compromises.
Limited Run’s Monkey Island Anthology from a few years back offers some hopeful precedent for the inclusion of archival builds, as the USB stick in that package came loaded with a bunch of legacy versions of the game (original .exe’s included, which is crucial in a world where DREAMM exists). The idea of the upcoming Loom box following that lead was hoped aloud for on the forums, leading local poster restoration pundit – and by now routine collaborator on these LucasArts Limited Run releases - Laserschwert to confirm that the EGA build will be included. Justice.
Honestly though, can’t they just put all these old SCUMM builds on an FTP server at this point? I mean, what are even talking about here. Cripes.
As noted on the forums, a feature-length interview with Aaron Giles is now streaming on YouTube. The chat covers Aaron’s prolific history in the dark sciences of porting and emulation, and you’ll get to hear some of his stories directly from the horse’s mouth. His LucasArts tenure is of course highlighted, with DREAMM getting discussed at length in the second half. Though the games are not supported yet, he also relates adventures in expanding his emulator to run the two GrimE titles, and he even namechecks some non-adventures in the LucasArts catalog he’d like to tackle.
More important, you finally know that Aaron’s last name is pronounced with a soft G, so you no longer have to worry about making an ass of yourself if you ever bump into him at your local Delchamps.
We’re getting into the weeds here, with Loom set to receive the LRG treatment:
$75, so not too bad compared to some of these bundles. Currently unknown is if the EGA version will be included. We shall see soon enough.
Pre-orders start on January 13th, and it begs the question: What’s next? The Dig? Or Zak, a game Germans would legally be obliged to buy? Time will tell!
In November, Hit Point Films released Tales of Melee Island, the charming fan-film directed by Julian Stamboulieh. Mojo got to talk with Julian not long after. Like a pirate shanking a privateer, get some insight into the inner workings (by reading the interview). We cover inspiration and making of, plus gain a glimpse into Montreal's film and TV industry. Get readin', then rewatch the film below. (Also be sure to read our interviews with Monkey Island head honchos Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, plus artist extraordinaire Rex Crowle.)
We’ve possibly become a bit entitled, having been delivered superb Sam & Max remasters two Decembers in a row. The third and final – and, let’s face it, best – season from the Telltale archives is obviously requiring a bit more elbow grease, but Skunkape has offered official assurances today that it’s most definitely on its way:
Just as Mojo was ready to embrace the sweet release of death, it’s
condemned to afforded another welcome lifeline.