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We try to keep track of the fantastic work Jimmy Maher does over at The Digital Antiquarian, especially when his comprehensive inquiry into the totality of video game history (because that’s more or less what his efforts amount to) leads him to LucasArts’ sizable contributions to that story.

The Herodotus of interactive amusement, who’s been at this since 2011, has arrived at the mid-to-late-90s in his ongoing chronicle, and in LucasArts terms that has brought us two terrific articles just this month: one examining Jedi Knight and another published only yesterday in evaluation of The Curse of Monkey Island. As usual it’s good stuff and inspires good engagement from commenters who might already be familiar to you.

If you’re unfamiliar with the site itself, you may well want to check out all the LucasArts-related posts over the years, the links for which we collect here for your convenience. Or you can just, you know, stop stagnating at the junior varsity level and read it all from the beginning.

Source: The Digital Antiquarian

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On April 1st, Lucasfilm.com ran a little commemoration of their Monkey Island series. And in keeping with the spirit of April Fools, they used the Special Edition cover art as the header.

We try to be pretty “It’s the thought that counts” when it comes to these valentines that the copyright holder has been willing to throw toward its legacy titles, so let’s remind ourselves that it wasn’t so long ago that even these passing mentions were seemingly verboten as a matter of company policy. And while the write-up may be on the fluffy side, I do see something noteworthy in this paragraph, emphasis mine:

The original game was followed by Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge the next year. A total of six games in the series would be released over the decades, bringing the tale of Monkey Island™ to a close in Return to Monkey Island in 2022. But that wasn’t the last we’d see of Guybrush Threepwood; players got to experience another tall tale of his adventures in a 2023 crossover event with the swashbucklers in Sea of Thieves.

Lucasfilm never was able to get its own story straight when it came to whether they saw Return as a series conclusion or not. Guess they’re back to their original stance. For today.

Source: Lucasfilm.com

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That risen phoenix of Monkey Island fan sites, The Legend of Monkey Island, continues to walk the walk by resurrecting the long-offline web comic adaptation of The Secret of Monkey Island by artist Paco Vink. Like a number of masterpieces, it stands unfinished, but that only compounds its mystique.

Legendofmi.com’s coup was accomplished by brokering a deal with Dalixam, the webmaster of the defunct World of MI fan site (the comic’s original custodian), a brutal negotiation that sources say took an army of attorneys eighteen months to hammer out. But in the end, the unwholesome favors were exchanged, the blood debts were paid, and the copyrights transferred. Better still, the comic is being offered in higher resolution than was the case in its first-run presentation, so you really need to check it out with some urgency.

When it comes to the (apparent) arms race of hosting legacy fan content of premium caliber, The SCUMM Bar is hardly going to allow itself to fall behind. That’s why it’s now the licensed home of Marius Winter’s celebrated Monkey Island flash videos. These include the one man band's adaptations of the first two games along with his breakout “I Wonder What Happens in… Tales of Monkey Island” speculation videos, a tightly scheduled bit of inspiration that Telltale itself wisely made part of the series’ official hype machine throughout its episodic release back in 2009-2010.

As they say, healthy competition benefits the consumer. As for unhealthy competition, like the sort we’re witnessing? Well, I think the sky’s the limit.

Source: The Legend of Monkey Island

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, comedic actor/writer Joe Flaherty, best known as a cast member of the brilliant Canadian sketch comedy series SCTV, has died at the age of 82.

In Mojo World™, Flaherty has the distinction of starring in the polarizing live action television adaptation of Maniac Mansion, which ran for three seasons on YTV in Canada and The Family Channel (replete with an artificial laugh track) in the U.S. As we once attempted to chronicle, the show began its life as a pitch that was said to be along the lines of The Addams Family or The Munsters, with the Edisons naturally assuming the role of the kooky spoof of a gothic horror household. Though there aren’t really any details to go on, the impression is that it would have been a fairly loose but recognizable adaptation of the game.

However, the project was ultimately offered to SCTV alumnus Eugene Levy who, when he expressed disinterest in the series bible he had been handed, was told he had creative carte blanche to shape the show into whatever vision he liked. What resulted was a self-aware parody of the conventional sitcom (think It’s Garry Shandling’s Show) and something of an SCTV reunion project - with Flaherty’s casting as Dr. Fred being only the most obvious connection - rather than anything that resembled the story, flavor, or really much at all beyond the title, of the computer game. The show nevertheless attracted a cult following and squeaked past the magic 65-episode number that led it to be regularly syndicated in Canada for years after its cancellation. No proper home video or streaming release has materialized to date.

Flaherty is also known for the many appearance he made in movies and other television shows. To people of a certain age group, he might be most immediately recognizable as the Western Union guy at the end of Back to the Future Part II:

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Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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As we’ve previously complained, Limited Run’s Loom Collector’s Edition package comes with a USB stick that is conspicuously missing the game’s EGA build. This despite assurances that it would be on there. In fact, it seems they just ended up dropping the grossly insufficient GOG fileset on the thumb stick and calling it a day, as if you didn’t fork over $75 for the damned thing.

Fortunately, the company is prepared to make good, even though it’s all being handled in a weird, coquettish way. What you do is head on over to Support and submit a request, order number in hand, to receive the missing files. You will then be given access to a Dropbox link that could conservatively be called the motherlode -- a 9GB treasure trove encompassing a ton of archival builds of the game, including every international version that a global search could round up, demos, patches, the audio drama, and scans of documentation like manuals and the Book and Patterns (in as many languages as could be uncovered), all of it no doubt cobbled together by the tireless and inconsistently credited efforts of Laserschwert.

It’s quite the nifty directory structure, and also a pretty decent model of exactly what Lucasfilm ought to be offering in the first place when you buy the SCUMM games on digital platforms. But after all, the nine additional seconds they would have had to spend to prepare complete copies of their classics is time they wouldn’t have been able to spend making Guybrush look like a Dreamworks Douche™:

Anyway, I really think you guys could stand to stop being so bitter about this and just claim your files. All’s well that ends well.

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In the realm of fringe dorkdom, few catastrophes resonate more rancidly and/or amusingly than the cancellation of Sam & Max: Freelance Police on March 3rd, 2004.

Yup, it’s been twenty years now, and what better way to mark this bittersweet anniversary than by cracking open our pitiful memoir on the topic for a re-read. Or at least to gawp shamelessly at Bill Eaken’s artwork for it, conveniently available with and without text. Frankly, if you don’t already have that thing framed in your house, a question is inescapably raised: Are you even Proper Mojo™?

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Lucasfilm.com is back with more token appreciation of their rich back catalogue, an exercise just unwonted enough to remain suspicious. The latest installment of “Lucasfilm Games Rewind,” which is, one ascertains, a thing, celebrates the 1992 graphic adventure classic Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Sure, it’s a bit thin, but a relationship with an estranged dad, however frigid and uncomfortable, doesn’t have to be without positive gestures, even if it all ultimately sours back to bitterness and despair. Wait, sorry, that was not at all the point I was trying to make.

Anyway, Indiana and the Fate of Atlantis is available from Steam and GOG.com.

Source: Lucasfilm.com

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It’s been a long runway, but it seems The SCUMM Bar, founded in 1996, is finally starting to hit its stride. If it’s escaped your notice that it’s been seriously upping its Trivia game for the past month or so, well, it’s probably a good thing we were here to point it out.

Heck, even ReMI trivia as oven-fresh as this divulgence from Dave Grossman only yesterday has been accordingly filed into the site’s downright show-offy new Trivia Viewer infrastructure. Clearly, our motivational criticism has been heeded. We do what we can. As for you, now could be the time to flatten out the creases of your Phatt Island library card and patronize The Bar as a regular once more and always.

Source: The SCUMM Bar

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Being a Zak McKracken aficionado, you already know that Annie Fox is the namesake of Zak’s principal ally in The National Video Game of Germany, and you may also know that she and David Fox are the forces behind Electric Eggplant.

But if you really want to go deep into Fox’s career as an educator, game designer, and New Media maven – which is inclusive of contributions to the Putt-Putt series for Humongous Entertainment, you’re not going to want to settle for less than her new interview with Daniel Albu. That promo for the Marin Computer Center at 3:47 alone may have more historical value than the Magna Carta.

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You all remember Limited Run Games’ rather promising-looking Loom package back in January of last year. True to the average turnaround time, it began shipping just recently.

Loom has long suffered a pretty compromised position in terms of availability. Like other SCUMM games that debuted with EGA graphics but received a subsequent VGA treatment (Last Crusade and Monkey 1), the latter eventually became defacto. Loom’s VGA version is unique, however, as it was also LucasArts’ earliest foray into “Talkie” editions. This prototypical effort relied on CD audio, which resulted in excellent sample quality (far better than LucasArts games would boast for years afterward, in fact), but with brutal trade-offs: the struggle to animate lip-syncing led to the game’s signature close-up artworks being almost entirely eliminated, while space limitations prompted an economic rewrite of the entire dialog script – without the involvement of its original project leader. In essence, the original game was replaced by what might be called a novelty version; to date, the legal copy of Loom you can buy on Steam or GOG is this CD Talkie revamp, not the game that Brian Moriarty actually presided over in 1990, and which is often considered the apex of what could be wrung out of a 16-color palette.

So you can imagine the relief when it was revealed that the USB stick included as part of the Limited Run Games release would have the EGA build tossed in. Except, not so fast. Two reports from customers who have received their package seem to confirm that this supposed inclusion fell to slaughter, like so many Glassmakers under the Great Scythe.

Heartbreaking. It’s enough to temporarily put one off their arbitrary SCUMM Bar feud.

Source: The Forums

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Getting old ain’t for the cowardly. With bones that crack when we so much as try to lift a yellow flower petal, it isn’t easy for we front page custodians to keep up with the hiatus-free Tech Talk parade, which is why we always recommend keeping tabs on the forum thread.

But the tortoise wins the race in the end, or something, and we’re here to catch you up on Daniel Albu's latest interviews. First up is Ken Macklin, illustrator extraordinaire best known for the Maniac Mansion cover art and his regrettably scrapped backgrounds for the first version of The Dig. Just recently, some incredible promotional art he did during the early Lucasfilm Games years emerged, so it's very much the Month[-ish] of Macklin. Here’s the interview:

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Next up is Charlie Ramos, who served as animator on Outlaws (Lead Animator, in fact), Full Throttle and The Dig. And that's another theme: The Dig war stories. Honor your veterans:

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Source: Tech Talk with Daniel Albu

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While the Good Neighbor policy that Thrik enacted upon starting his term as CEO (after the mass layoffs, of course) has been indicted by some as a performative and cynical device for Mojo to applaud its own virtuousness, it does carry the benefit of promoting fellow fan sites when they’re delivering the goods.

One of the “advantages” of a Monkey Island game being released into the modern world is that it’s loaded to the gills with achievements, a promise that Return to Monkey Island more than made good on. The question remains: how are you possibly going to keep track of them all? Why, with the elaborate achievements guide published by legendofmi.com, of course. Hopefully this sort of thrown gauntlet encourages the Monkey Island fan sites that tend to rest on their laurels to up their game, but you don’t drop coins into a wishing well with the expectation of getting a return on your investment, after all.

Update: The SCUMM Bar claps back.

Source: The Legend of Monkey Island

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Your most valued friend Aaron Giles is back to give you first crack at an upcoming version of DREAMM. Version 3.0 Beta includes a ton of new supported games and features. Frankly, it’s too much to list out – let’s just say those lonely, Fate of Atlantis: The Action Game-free nights are over – so you just as soon head on down to the web site for the details and your obligatory download.

Be sure to share your findings and/or gratitude in the corresponding forum thread. Now go forth and enjoy a privilege previously only known to the royal family: Roland upgrades and simulated CRT scanlines.

Source: DREAMM

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The game documentarians at Noclip have chosen as their latest subject Return to Monkey Island, a natural for this sort of retrospective seeing as it’s now roughly as distant an event as the First World War.

Since Noclip had the good sense to involve Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman, Jenn Sandercock, David Fox, Rex Crowle and Dominic Armato as talking heads, it was inevitable that it would be good. Proceed therefore with burning the next 90 minutes in the security that the investment carries the Mojo Seal of Approval.

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Source: Noclip

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By now you should recognize Cressup as the UK task force in this internationally bustling Interviewing Adventure Game Adjacent Humans For A Long Time genre. She has notched another great interview, this time with voice actor Bill Farmer. Best known generally as the voice of Goofy for Disney, Farmer is most treasured by us as the original voice of Sam in the multimedia debut of Steve Purcell’s characters, Sam & Max Hit the Road. It stands as the only published instance of Farmer voicing the character, though as we all know he was reprising his role in LucasArts’ ill-fated sequel before the assassin’s bullet found its mark.

Farmer discusses both of his Sam & Max experiences as well as his broader career in the enjoyable conversation, available in full below. We're above giving Cressup any grief over the misleading choice to put the Telltale/Skunkape version of Sam's model in her video's preview image, so that's why I'm not even gonna bring it up.

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Source: Cressup

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I don’t know how many times we have to stress that Laserschwert’s poster thread is basically the nexus of all that makes the internet esteemable -- a status aided by the fact that it’s pretty much the only example of it.

Why just this week, none other than legendary illustrator Ken Macklin decided to serve the cause by offering up three gorgeous pieces he did for Lucasfilm Games during the 80s. Behold some truly mindblowing, never-before-seen art for The Eidolon and Maniac Mansion, along with some context by Laser:

These are scanned from 35mm slides he made prior to sending them off to Lucasfilm, and while the resolution is very high, the quality isn't the best. Still, the Eidolon scan will work as a great source for a complete version of the art.

The Maniac Mansion artworks are so weird, though, especially since Ken stated these were commissioned by Lucasfilm AFTER he had already done the MM key artwork. Why further art uses these strange characters is unclear.

Weird, yes, but it makes them especially noteworthy that the Maniac Mansion pieces are artifacts of an earlier phase of the game’s conception, when Weird Ed was imagined as a far friendlier character and even the villainous meteor had a decidedly cuddlier demeanor. (Well, a demeanor period.) Naturally we’ve welcomed these images into our concept art gallery, where you can find some Gary Winnick sketches from that same trimester of the eventual classic’s incubating identity.

Source: The Forums

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Longtime fan site The Legend of Monkey Island is still busting out jams. To celebrate the 26th anniversary of The Curse of Monkey Island, they’ve published an ambitious new article detailing the differences between the game’s demo and the shipped final product. There are even some fresh quotes from Bill Tiller to give it that extra prestige. Read it and remind yourself that great Monkey Island content isn’t exclusively hosted on or by Mojo. Even though it's basically a rounding error.

Source: legendofmi.com

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Daniel Albu’s interviews continue to deploy at a rapid clip, and his latest is with Mike Stemmle. On the Freelance Police front, the designer acknowledges that the source is “floating around” (oh really?), and as far as I know reveals for the first time that the Gytgo stood for Genial Yet Troubling Gaming Organism. It’s all but a taste of the full interview, which explores Stemmle’s whole thirty year plus career:

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We’re barreling headlong toward the 20th anniversary of Sam & Max: Freelance Police’s cancellation now, yet there always somehow seems to be a few drops more blood to squeeze out of the stone.

Karen Purdy, who worked as an environment artist on the game, was the source of the last bits of known media, through her online portfolio. Reader Emma T has alerted us to the fact that Purdy has since revamped said portfolio with some additional art from her LucasArts projects, including Sam & Max 2.

We’ve dutifully made both our screenshot gallery and preposterous feature-length Feature current in accordance with this development. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for our attempts to contextualize the latest additions.

Need more Freelance Police autopsying to bring your day to its fullest potential? Daniel Albu’s ongoing series of developer interviews, which you can always keep track of in the dedicated forum thread, has included a recent chat with Dan Connors. This timestamped link will drag the needle to where most of the Freelance Police talk is.

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Last we reported, Bill Tiller was putting together a demo for A Vampyre Story 2: A Bat’s Tale to pitch out to publishers in the hopes of restarting production. In a quick update, Bill says, “Still working on the AVS2 publisher demo, but it is rapidly winding up and looks fantastic! My team has done a tremendous job.” So, know that. While waiting, he encourages you to pre-order that pop-up board game he worked on, Shivers.

’Course, nobody was exactly expecting that A Vampyre Story 2 was imminent. On the other hand, Skunkape’s much-anticipated remaster of Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse had openly targeted a 2023 release, and December has traditionally been the release window for these. Yes, I’d say it’s high time that Jake guy explains himself. And so he has, in that globally recognized confessional that the guilty are always free to avail themselves of, the Mojo forums:

Season 3 has been a significantly more rude game to remaster, technically. It did things with the Telltale Tool that are basically unsupported in modern versions that use a more modern rendering pipeline. We have conscripted three ex-Telltale engine/graphics programmers to help bend the modern engine to our will, but it has taken a lot of annoying and uncertain experimentation.

So it’s coming, you just gotta wait a little longer. You can handle it. Heck, you probably won’t even be sobered up from all those no-holds-barred Grim Fandango 25th anniversary bacchanals (they’ve been sweeping the nation) by the time it hits the streets. I’m here to tell ya, the one my grandma hosted did not spare the hookah water in those coffin shooters.

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