Articles

Tami Borowick interviewed by more professional website 03 Dec, 2021 / 27 comments

Since only those with a higher education in LucasArts adventure history read this site, you already know “SCUMMlette” as the term of affection for the junior programmers being trained in the SCUMM engine. There were two waves of these cadets between 1989-1990. In the first class you had your basic Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman, Jenny Sward, and Ron Baldwin, while the second batch consisted of Mike Stemmle, Tony Hsieh, Sean Clark, Tami Borowick, and Wallace Poulter. (Sources: Mike Stemmle)

Some of those names will be more familiar to you than others, but they all played integral roles in games you rank in importance above your own loved ones. In the case of Tami Borowick, those contributions are now far less shrouded thanks to an excellent new interview published by the highly scholarly and inescapably Italian Lucasdelirium.

As you’ll learn, Borowick’s primary LucasArts project was Monkey Island 2, after which she became one of the developers who followed Ron across the desert to Humongous Entertainment where she co-created the Freddi Fish series. The full interview is a real barn burner, with lots of great war stories from a most romanticized period at LucasArts, including how Borowick implemented the pants-falling gag in the Woodtick cemetery, and how Ron accidentally obliterated her laborious dialog tree for Rum Rogers. There’s even a photograph of an office whiteboard she shared with Dave and Tim in 1991. What more could you need?

27 Comments

  • Avatar
    Skinkie on 07 Dec, 2021, 00:47…
    Wow. That’s the e second biggest comment section I’ve ever see
  • Avatar
    Scott S on 06 Dec, 2021, 19:06…
    I come here regularly because I'm an 80's kid who loves nostalgia and hangs on for any PC games even loosely related to those glory days.

    If it means anything at all, this comments thread is the most exciting thing to happen on here in a while :-)
  • Avatar
    St_Eddie on 06 Dec, 2021, 18:41…

    elTee

    Fine, then I apologise for my hasty reply. I don't remember the thread well enough, my memory was that it was about claims of censorship which I do feel is an objectively disproven point, but evidently I was wrong so you deserve the benefit of the doubt. I do appreciate you putting it behind us in any case.




    Thank you for the kind and understanding reply. It's very much appreciated. All the best.
  • Avatar
    elTee on 06 Dec, 2021, 17:15…

    St_Eddie

    elTee

    St_Eddie

    I didn't want to drag that old topic back up but the sheer hypocrisy on display here kind of forced my hand.


    It's not hypocrisy. You're not a victim. I've read this comment thread and I think the main difference is that Tami made a well reasoned point that we agreed with, and you were just spouting idiotic easily disproven nonsense.



    No, I wasn't. There was nothing "easily disprovable" about the expression of my opinion and offense taken at being labelled as a "proud boy". I don't want to derail this thread any further, so I'll drop it. However, I will say is that anyone else can go and read the comment chain in question and see for themselves that I was making well reasoned and civil criticisms of the article, whilst the staff themselves were being aggressive, judgemental and insulting in response.



    Fine, then I apologise for my hasty reply. I don't remember the thread well enough, my memory was that it was about claims of censorship which I do feel is an objectively disproven point, but evidently I was wrong so you deserve the benefit of the doubt. I do appreciate you putting it behind us in any case.
  • Avatar
    St_Eddie on 06 Dec, 2021, 17:09…
    Sorry, just to add, the article in question is 'Sam & Max Save the World gets patched, elucidated'.

    Now we can all get back to discussing this lovely and enlightening interview with Tami.
  • Avatar
    St_Eddie on 06 Dec, 2021, 16:56…

    elTee

    St_Eddie

    I didn't want to drag that old topic back up but the sheer hypocrisy on display here kind of forced my hand.


    It's not hypocrisy. You're not a victim. I've read this comment thread and I think the main difference is that Tami made a well reasoned point that we agreed with, and you were just spouting idiotic easily disproven nonsense.



    No, I wasn't. There was nothing "easily disprovable" about the expression of my opinion and offense taken at being labelled as a "proud boy". I don't want to derail this thread any further, so I'll drop it. However, I will say is that anyone else can go and read the comment chain in question and see for themselves that I was making well reasoned and civil criticisms of the article, whilst the staff themselves were being aggressive, judgemental and insulting in response.

  • Avatar
    AlfredJ on 06 Dec, 2021, 15:37…
    Just wanted to say that I loved this interview too, always great to hear stories about that time we haven't heard before, and from people we haven't heard from as much as others. Definitely hope there's more in the future.

    Also good to see the discussion about the headline being so open and respectful of each other. I'm happy Tami and the Mojo'ers were able to work it out.
  • Avatar
    Thrik on 06 Dec, 2021, 12:43…
    Very good interview Tami. Always fascinating to hear anecdotes and insights into how these games that have developed legendary reputations were put together.

    Certainly I’d love to hear even more about the Monkey Island days, so hopefully you’ll get the chance to share more of that in the future!
  • Avatar
    elTee on 06 Dec, 2021, 08:43…

    St_Eddie

    I didn't want to drag that old topic back up but the sheer hypocrisy on display here kind of forced my hand.


    It's not hypocrisy. You're not a victim. I've read this comment thread and I think the main difference is that Tami made a well reasoned point that we agreed with, and you were just spouting idiotic easily disproven nonsense.

  • Avatar
    TamiBorowick on 06 Dec, 2021, 04:28…
    BTW MixNMojo, I noticed you adjusted the URL to use the new headline today. Thank you! :)
  • Avatar
    TamiBorowick on 06 Dec, 2021, 02:02…

    St_Eddie

    Having said that, great interview. Fascinating to hear the recollections of a lesser known (but by no means lesser) LucasArts alumna.


    Thanks for the kudos! And extra points for knowing the feminine version of alumnus!
  • Avatar
    St_Eddie on 06 Dec, 2021, 01:53…
    Having said that, great interview. Fascinating to hear the recollections of a lesser known (but by no means lesser) LucasArts alumna.
  • Avatar
    St_Eddie on 06 Dec, 2021, 01:49…
    And yet when I essentially said the same exact thing as Tami Borowick, in regards to being made the butt of a joke and expressed offense on behalf of myself and others, for completely unfairly being labeled as racist bigots (for daring to not be overly keen on censorship in re-releases of legacy games) in a separate article, I got insulted by the staff for my troubles and they proceeded to double down on the completely unwarranted accusations of bigotry towards myself and by extension a percentage of their readership. I can only presume that I wasn't famous enough to be treated with a modicum of basic common courtesy and respect, as Tami has been rightfully granted.

    I didn't want to drag that old topic back up but the sheer hypocrisy on display here kind of forced my hand.
  • Avatar
    TamiBorowick on 05 Dec, 2021, 08:20…

    Jason


    I can tell you that my feeling of gratitude got a healthy supplement of mortification in a hurry as I read your comment and learned the feelings my deliberately juvenile headline elicited from you.

    Obviously, the fact that a joke I made could even trigger your response - from the person the post was specifically meant to positively highlight, no less! - means that it was a lousy joke, one that accomplished the exact opposite of what I set out to do. For that, please accept my apology.
    ...
    I meant it in the same spirit as if I had written, say, "Steve Purcell takes credit for decapitating bishop" to headline an interview in which he specified ownership of a particular animation in LOOM. Since this site is directed at uber-fans of the SCUMM games, it often uses the assumption of their knowledge to make dumb quips.


    Hi Jason,

    First, please let me apologize for not writing you privately. I could not find an email address, which is completely on me because tonight I found one for the web monkey! I did not intend to publicly air dirty laundry and wasn't aiming to mortify you. I'm really sorry for that.

    Second, thank you for your kind response. It's refreshing when people own their missteps, rectify them, and learn. And I see that from you and that is exceptional!

    I did understand that the headline was meant in jest and not as slander. Your intentions were clear. It was just a matter of execution and wording.

    Not that you need pointers from me, but a few rules I've learned about humor:
    * What makes jokes funny is when there's an element of truth.
    * Rape and sexual assault are never funny.
    * Unless you're a comedian at a roast, making a person the butt of your joke is never fun for that person. (Probably not fun for the person of "honor" at roasts either. Roasts can be brutal!)
    * Humor is often used as a way to diminish people or make certain actions acceptable as a norm. Don't use it that way.

    Another thing you might not be thinking about is how headlines show up in Internet searches, completely out of context. Article titles become inextricably tied to names in the wild west of Internet searches. So when your headline says that a person did something, think about it with your own name and having the headline show up in a Google search of yourself. Would you be okay with it tied to your name forever?

    Anyway, excuse me for preaching, when you are obviously the choir! Thank you again for your apology and words of remediation.

    Also, if you'd like to take another shot at the headline, to draw more people in, I'm totally fine with that.
  • Avatar
    Jason on 04 Dec, 2021, 22:10…
    Tami, it's always our pleasure when a developer associated with any of these games leaves a comment, so thank you for taking the time.

    I can tell you that my feeling of gratitude got a healthy supplement of mortification in a hurry as I read your comment and learned the feelings my deliberately juvenile headline elicited from you.

    Obviously, the fact that a joke I made could even trigger your response - from the person the post was specifically meant to positively highlight, no less! - means that it was a lousy joke, one that accomplished the exact opposite of what I set out to do. For that, please accept my apology.

    Hopefully it goes without saying that drawing a connection even in the most indirect way between you any kind of inappropriate behavior was the furthest thing from my mind when I wrote what I did. During the handful of seconds I probably devoted to the headline, I imagine I felt secure in thinking it couldn't be taken as anything other than dismissible silliness precisely because the Guybrush animation ISN'T offensive, but rather a harmless sight gag that I always saw in the spirit of, say, Looney Tunes. The anecdote in the interview in which it is revealed that you pulled the scene into that realm from what might have otherwise been a crasser place was one of my favorites.

    Besides which, it's my impression that this animation is an iconic one for fans of the series, and I wanted to unironically underline the role you played in it, even while I was being misguidedly ironic in the headline. I meant it in the same spirit as if I had written, say, "Steve Purcell takes credit for decapitating bishop" to headline an interview in which he specified ownership of a particular animation in LOOM. Since this site is directed at uber-fans of the SCUMM games, it often uses the assumption of their knowledge to make dumb quips. In this case, it was offensively dumb.

    Anyway, I don't want to go on and give the impression that I'm trying to justify something that was clearly a louse-up. I just wanted to give a sense of where I was coming from to therefore give a sense of how badly I botched it. Unlike many of my headlines, let me be totally sincere here to say: Mea culpa, thank you so much for the joy you had a hand in giving me and countless others over the years, and I hope you won't let this permanently color your perception of a place that, when things are going right, exists almost specifically to pay tribute to folks like yourself.
  • Avatar
    TamiBorowick on 04 Dec, 2021, 22:09…

    Scummbuddy


    Of the actual scene I'm even more surprised that the scene in question was once considered to be done in a more pixelated-obscene way. I always found the scene as it is perfectly funny, if odd that Guybrush is looking at the player vs maybe looking up at the bone. The lightning flashes definitely add to the scene.



    Oh, the group brainstorm room came up with all sorts of ways that the scene could have been different. I mean, Guybrush is alone at night in a cemetery and he picks up a bone ... er ... I think we also discussed whether he should lose all pants and just be left with a black box or pixelated area on his body. I'm sure there were other ideas, too, but it's been thirty years and the constant leak in my brain has (probably purposefully) left those thoughts drift out.

    Yes, he does break the fourth wall in this scene. I thought it would be a nod to the little joke we had played, to let the player know that Guybrush was in on it and not upset.
  • Avatar
    TamiBorowick on 04 Dec, 2021, 21:56…

    ThunderPeel2001

    TamiBorowick

    Note to Jason, the author of this article:



    Thanks for your comments, Tami. I have updated the headline to this story. Sometimes our irreverent tone can miss the mark, and clearly this was one of those times. Apologies for any offence caused. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    Johnny



    Thank you for understanding, Johnny. I scrolled up and laughed heartily! :D I also noticed you made another small change to the text, and appreciate that, too. ;) Sure, I'd consider doing an interview with your site one day. You'll have to come up with some new questions (Diduz covered a lot!), so I don't start repeating myself and bore people. Thanks again for making the changes.
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 04 Dec, 2021, 21:40…

    TamiBorowick

    Thank you so much for writing your article, which beautifully promotes my interview with Lucasdelitium. It feels amazing that after thirty years, people are interested in hearing my story!



    PS - I hope you're consider doing an interview with us one day! :) I've seen your name in the credits of Monkey 2 alongside Tim Schafer and David Grossman for many years and always wondered what your contributions were. Great to learn more about you!
  • Avatar
    Scummbuddy on 04 Dec, 2021, 21:40…
    Tami, thank you so much for coming by here and continuing to share your stories Lucas and Humongous)! We are immensely interested in hearing them, from all points of view.

    I immediately only thought of the jest of the title here but I can see your side of this. I could have seen that title also used for a male developer, but perhaps it can be changed here, and thank you for saying something.

    Of the actual scene I'm even more surprised that the scene in question was once considered to be done in a more pixelated-obscene way. I always found the scene as it is perfectly funny, if odd that Guybrush is looking at the player vs maybe looking up at the bone. The lightning flashes definitely add to the scene.

    As for the title here, perhaps "SCUMM Veteran Tami Borowick details SCUMM-U and Game Dev Stories" or "Ron Gilbert deletes other developers work. Apologizes." ;)
  • Avatar
    ThunderPeel2001 on 04 Dec, 2021, 21:37…

    TamiBorowick

    Note to Jason, the author of this article:



    Thanks for your comments, Tami. I have updated the headline to this story. Sometimes our irreverent tone can miss the mark, and clearly this was one of those times. Apologies for any offence caused. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    Johnny
  • Avatar
    TamiBorowick on 04 Dec, 2021, 21:36…

    TamiBorowick


    ... Lucasdelitium ... Lucasdelitium ...



    And now I see that, in my comment, I misspelled Lucasdelirium ... twice!!! Doh! Perhaps, like Bart in the The Simpsons, I need to write it correctly 100 times on a chalkboard. Or maybe I should just add it to my online dictionary with the correct spelling. Heh. Done. I'm so sorry, Diduz!
  • Avatar
    TamiBorowick on 04 Dec, 2021, 20:31…
    Note to Jason, the author of this article:

    Thank you so much for writing your article, which beautifully promotes my interview with Lucasdelitium. It feels amazing that after thirty years, people are interested in hearing my story!

    In my interview, I talked about the three things I'm most proud of. Number two included "Though it could be difficult at times, I'm glad I spoke up when I thought something was sexist or offensive." I'm still proud of speaking up when I think something is wrong. And thankfully, since the #MeToo movement, I've had to speak up less in recent years than I used to, as people are better educated to see things differently. But in today's world, we're all learning how our speech can affect others.

    With that said, I find myself in the position of needing to speak up regarding the title you chose for your article. As much as I know that sex sells and that boys love reading about women in sexual escapades, I find the title you chose for this article ("SCUMM veteran admits to pulling Guybrush’s pants down") offensive and inappropriate. It implies that I committed SEXUAL ASSAULT! Yes, I realize Guybrush is a fictional character. But even so, the title describes sexual assault and reads like a confession gleaned from a criminal! Real or fictionalized, sexual assault is wrong.

    If you read my interview, you'll see that I worked hard with an artist to make sure the scene would NOT be offensive, which makes your title even more frustrating!

    I'm wondering, if the interview had been with a male Scummlette, would you have considered the same title?

    Of all the "great war stories" I shared across the span of the Lucasdelitium interview, it seems like you should be able to find something else to use as a title -- something which doesn't place me or any character in a sexual, predatory, or victimized position.

    Thanks for reading this with an open mind and a willingness to learn. As I said above, we're all learning. But clearly, we still have a ways to go.
  • Avatar
    TamiBorowick on 04 Dec, 2021, 19:42…

    Diduz


    If Tami reads this, she could enlighten us about her SCUMM "lightning trick".



    Guess you'll just have to wait until the next interview to find out!
  • Avatar
    Diduz on 03 Dec, 2021, 11:36…

    holaplaneta

    It seems that the link now is:
    https://www.lucasdelirium.it/petermcinterview.php


    Thanks! 15 years change everything!
  • Avatar
    holaplaneta on 03 Dec, 2021, 08:31…

    Diduz

    Being on Mixmojo homepage is always an honor. Thanks!
    You may not remember, but this thing happened back in 2006: https://mixnmojo.com/news/Peter-McConnell-Interviewed-by-the-Italians
    :-D



    It seems that the link now is:
    https://www.lucasdelirium.it/petermcinterview.php

  • Avatar
    Diduz on 03 Dec, 2021, 08:14…
    Being on Mixmojo homepage is always an honor. Thanks!
    You may not remember, but this thing happened back in 2006: https://mixnmojo.com/news/Peter-McConnell-Interviewed-by-the-Italians
    :-D

    Boxers or briefs? My take is Guybrush normally wears briefs. The boxers MUST be part of the Booty Island costume.

    If Tami reads this, she could enlighten us about her SCUMM "lightning trick".


  • Avatar
    Scummbuddy on 03 Dec, 2021, 03:48…
    "And it actually became a scene I'm super proud of, though largely because of the lightning, which I programmed by accident, using a flaw I found in the SCUMM system. But that's a different story!"

    Go on...

    Also, where's the hard-hitting question of "when did Guybrush have the time to switch between boxers AND briefs in MI2?"

Add a comment

What?! You're not registered? You better go and do so now! Or, simply log in: