Articles

If you’ve been following Aaron’s DREAMM page or forum thread, you may have been keeping up with the various beta builds of DREAMM he’s been regularly unleashing to your testing efforts. Well, he’s now reached the milestone of the final beta release, which means it’s the last call for you to submit issues before Version 1.0 is minted.

So do your part: download the current version, dust off your Hebrew version of Loom, and report your findings. Put this thing through its paces for mankind’s benefit.

As of late last month, it was noticed that A Vampyre Story had been abruptly de-listed from seemingly all of the digital storefronts it was hosted on, including GOG and Steam. Eventually, the mystery was solved:

So what is the effective consequence of this? Seemingly, not much. While I’m unfamiliar with ZOOM (even though it’s apparently been around since 2014), it seems to sell its games as DRM-free downloads, so the exclusivity to that platform thankfully doesn’t do much to limit the accessibility of A Vampyre Story. Plus, the purchase comes with a bunch of cool extras, although I honestly don’t remember if that was also the case with GOG/Steam.

But is there anything to be read into the fact that ZOOM wanted to be the game’s sole vendor in the first place, which might have cost as much as fifteen dollars? Does its love for Mona extend to coming up with the end money for the sequel? I’d better slow down; there’s probably nothing to see here.

But Mojo’s on it anyway.

When community mainstay and poster restoration maven Laserschwert isn't scouring the globe for ever-better sources to feed his scanner, he's trying to sell you on the potential of AI upscaling technology.

You might have caught his case for training such tools on the barely-in-need-of-remastering CMI, a taste of the future which was enough to challenge an orthodoxy or two. Further beliefs may be shaken in the wake of his latest proof of concept, which tackles Sam & Max Hit the Road:

More examples can be found in the forum thread (at the above link) he made elaborating on this experiment.

While I personally am frightened, triggered and dehumanized by the very concept of imitation brush strokes and machine-learned artwork (not to mention the horseless carriages that the kids are into these days), I have to admit I'd have preferred these results over what the Day of the Tentacle remaster achieved (and which in turn I found way more desirable than the no doubt well-meaning efforts of the Monkey Island special editions), and it's not a bad punt on an approach to such a project if the reason Disney is holding back is on the basis that it shouldn't exceed the cost of a 12oz. soda.

So betray your values, knuckle under in the presence of The Algorithm and behold what dispassionate 1s and 0s can accomplish when put to work on the true issues of the day.

Marius Winter - Flash animation extraordinaire, celebrated intern of Telltale and Double Fine, co-conspirator of livestreams with Jake, reaction video artisan, reluctant imbiber of root beer, and unanimously elected* mascot for all of Monkey Island fandom - was not about to allow basic human needs like eating and sleeping apply any kinda deacceleration on his ever-escalating contributions to your happiness.

In fact, after coming down with an aggravated case of being awesome, he's putting the final touches on his greatest achievement yet: a Flash film version of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. Stare directly into the burning bush by checking out this sneak peek ahead of Monday's premiere:

*Not that it was gonna stop Germany were it otherwise.

Skunkape’s exulted remaster of Sam & Max Save the World has long been available from all your favorite digital storefronts, and there were the Limited Run Games collectors editions for those who demanded it expensive and in their hands. You might have thought that accommodated every possible consumer, but that would have overlooked the people who required to see it on Best Buy shelves:

I’ll admit, it hurts that they’d go with a pull-quote from Nintendo Life when Mojo’s contemporary rave, “Is it okay to say that I prefer Bone?” was there for the taking, but everyone sees a different statue in the marble, I guess. Literally go out and buy!

You’ll sometimes see people bellyache about how the post-Ron Monkey Island games got the personalities of certain characters wrong. Elaine was never that lovey-dovey, they’ll say. “There was never any precedent in LeChuck’s psychological profile to suggest that he would favor slaw so much, by Jove!” We’ve all heard that at some point. “Wasn’t Wally a lot hornier in his original depiction, what with the love bomb and all?” Ten times a day, I think I get that one.

Of course, it’s all the raving delusions of the hoodwinked, because the fact is that ruining characters isn’t the province of subsequent teams – the practice goes all the way back to Monkey Island 2, at the hands of the original writers. The victim: Stan. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Prepare your innocence for departure and read our new indictment, which like all formal charges are brought with the aid of EGA screenshots. Be warned: we don’t pull punches.

One of the advantages of being Noah Falstein is that he gets to be a beta tester for Return to Monkey Island, and you do not. To further parade this privilege, the battle-tested veteran participated in a new interview with Twitch streamer Cressup (the selfsame host who brought you that rather terrific conversation with Mike Stemmle for EMI's 30th anniversary).

So okay, Noah's depicted motives might partially be projection on my part, but you would be right to presume that the talk touches on the subject of ReMI, and he drops some intriguing hints about the thematic depths Ron set out to plumb with the game.

You should check out the full interview, which is wide-ranging, but forumite "neocolor8", who knows how you operate, has got the time-stamped URL for the ReMI part.

Comments: 4 / Source: Twitch

If you read our interview with Aaron Giles back in March, you’ll remember that we touched a bit on the dilemma of faithfulness with running the old SCUMM games on modern systems, leading Aaron to drop this juicy nugget:

In fact, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to these specific issues recently and have created a new SCUMM-specific DOS emulator called DREAMM, whose goal is to combine the fidelity of an emulator with a more approachable and simpler interface tailored to how the SCUMM games work. I hope to be able to share it more broadly in the coming months.

So what exactly is DREAMM, and what purpose does it serve in a world where both ScummVM and DOSBox exist? Well, you get to find out for yourself seeing as the software is now in public beta, but this snippet from Aaron’s FAQ sums it up pretty nicely:

How Is DREAMM Different From ScummVM?

ScummVM is a modern reinterpretation of the original SPUTM game engine. It has a nice modern interface, but may not achieve 100% fidelity to the original code, due to the fact that it is not actually running the original code. For most people, this probably isn’t noticeable/doesn’t matter. But if you’d like to experience the games closer to their original form, complete with original bugs and user interface, DREAMM might be closer to what you want.

How Is DREAMM Different From DOSBox?

DOSBox is a generic DOS emulator, and has a lot of similarities to DREAMM in how it is constructed. The advantage of DREAMM is that it was specifically written for the SCUMM games, so it knows about how the games use the system. This allows for automatic configuration for each game, better mouse integration with other programs, and a simpler, more approachable user interface.

The “limitation” of DREAMM is that it is Windows-only and relies on you having the original .exes (which, inexcusably, are often missing from the official releases on Steam/GOG, since ScummVM acts as a replacement), so you’re going to have to dig out your old floppies and CDs. But for any DOS-based version of the SCUMM games (plus, in a heroic exception to complete the catalog, the natively Windows The Curse of Monkey Island), there is no better or more convenient way to play them with faithful exactness, making DREAMM a wonderful new tool to add to the True Fan™’s arsenal.

Ron seems to be having fun zapping out teases for that little adventure game he's knocking together. And why not? For example:

While the true sickos inferred this back in April and so won't be surprised by the confirmation, Hammon's casting is a noteworthy departure from Return to Monkey Island's trend of reprising the voice actors from The Curse of Monkey Island and the Special Editions. Stan's been performed by three voice actors to date: Patrick Pinney was tapped for CMI and later the SEs, while Pat Fraley played Stan in EMI. Gavin Hammon voiced the character in TMI.

While I personally think all of Stan's voice actors have been good, I always found Pinney's delivery a bit lethargic for a character so pushy and animated, while Fraley may have been a slight overcorrection by going full-on Jim Carrey. Hammon felt like a nice balance to me at the time, so I'm happy to see him continue the part.

But that's just like, my opinion, man. So let's stick to facts. Statistics. Hard data. Like:

If Ron's on the level with that figure, it's pretty astounding. For reference, genuine epics like CMI, Grim Fandango and Psychonauts capped out in the upper thousands, while EMI was portrayed as being fairly bananas for hitting 10,000 voiced lines. This isn't a contest or anything, but ReMI is winning. Maybe Ron is juking the numbers by having these guys actually sing 1000 Bottles of Beer on the Wall?

Boy, those pirates must have been happy to get that phone call from their agents. Naturally, all this stuff is being discussed to a fare-thee-well in our world famous ReMI forum thread. And if you really need more reason than that to participate, it may interest you to know that the thread has been graced by the presence of none other than the voice of Guybrush and man of the people Dominic Armato. Or "Dmnkly," as he's known on the street. Enjoy his company before he comes to his senses.

The appendix of the Freelance Police folio threatened that it would be a “living document” to be updated if new material ever came to light. Though successful in nabbing most of the key team members for interviews that would inform the article, I was unable at the time to make contact with Steven Chen – a regrettable omission, as he was Lead Designer on the game.

You may be familiar with Chen from his work on Indiana Jones and Infernal Machine; his Indy bona fides were later leveraged on Staff of Kings (the cancelled, good version). In the middle there, he also had a dalliance with Double Fine where, as one of the original employees, he worked on Psychonauts for the first two of its sixty years in production.

Well, now you’re about to be more familiar: Mojo bumped into Chen by chance at a monster truck rally the other day, and, after being plied with enough candy and cheese popcorn, he agreed to dredge up his memories of working on two of the most promising games LucasArts put on the docket in its post-2000 era. Both of which were of course killed, because, you know, LucasArts. Consequently, there’s a new inclusion in the Freelance Police interview compendium here, while the article itself has been quietly nourished with the designer’s insights.

Now then, who’s left?

Special thanks to retired Mojo staffer telarium for helping us get in touch with Chen. And of course, extra special thanks to Steven himself for taking time out for us.

Ron Gilbert has gone on record to say:

Ron Gilbert

Making games in 2022 is a lot harder than making games in 1990.

The quote comes in the context of this being the year 2022 when Ron Gilbert is making a game called Return to Monkey Island, and comparing it to 1990, when Ron Gilbert was also making a game called The Secret of Monkey Island.

But how does Ron Gilbert feel about us reporting on this? To understand this, we must move to an earlier section of his remarks, which originate on Twitter. Revealingly, he says:

Ron Gilbert

You can quote me on this

Not only can we quote Ron Gilbert on this, but we did quote Ron Gilbert on this. Only history will be able to judge whether we should have quoted Ron Gilbert on this, but what history certainly cannot do is claim that we did not have permission to quote Ron Gilbert on this. It's right there in the text, which to be perfectly clear, reads as follows:

Ron Gilbert

You can quote me on this: "Making games in 2022 is a lot harder than making games in 1990."

Now, admittedly it's a little bit ambiguous whether he was only allowing us to quote him on the part about making games being harder in 2022 than in 1990 (i.e. "Making games in 2022 is a lot harder than making games in 1990.") and not the bit about being able to quote him on this, but we've quoted him on both now and it's too late to do anything about it.

Comments: 1 / Source: Twitter

You think the previously announced Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space package is the only big boxed Sam & Max themed income-guzzler you're going to be pre-ordering come May 6th? Think again:

Ron "zo" Gilbert took his website, GrumpyGamer down the other week (I'm not going to find out exactly when, what do you take me for, a journalist?) prompting many in the community to speculate that it was due to a vocal minority of disgruntled 'fans' unhappy with what they've seen of Return to Monkey Island so far and not afraid to swear at the developers about it.

It turns out there might be a nugget of truth to those speculations, because the site is now back with an article called When I Made Another Monkey Island, in reference to that other one. He seems keen to make a few things clear.

For example, he'd like you to know that whatever his idea for MI3 was way back when, it was a nothing. There wasn't enough of a vision in the first place for it to become ruined.

The totality of that idea was "Guybrush chases the demon pirate LeChuck to hell and Stan is there." That's it. That's all it was.

There you have it. The plan for Monkey Island 3, in its entirety.

He goes on to give what I think is a spirited defense of the art style they chose for the game in the context of the history of Monkey Island, expresses disappointment with some of the fan response so far, and finishes with a plea to fans to join them in this ride. I don't think I can entirely do it justice in quotes so you'll just have to read it. I will leave you with one tantalising tidbit about the music, though:

The music Michael, Peter, and Clint are doing is equally amazing. It's not AdLib, Sound Blaster, or even Roland MT-32 music. Its stunning, interactive, and recorded live.

I'm giving you permission to get excited about Return to Monkey Island, people. I know you have it in you. Or as Ron puts it:

Return to Monkey Island is an incredible rollercoaster. Get on and have some fun or stomp out of the amusement park because it's not exactly the rollercoaster you wanted.

The Unofficial Sam & Max Website, once the go-to hub for Sam & Max news (a role assumed by samandmax.co.uk/ these days) got out of the day-to-day business somewhere around 2008, and you probably didn’t fail to notice its reduction to a static splash screen thereafter. This abandonment was perhaps in part because the staff was too busy making Sam & Max games to cover them, but let’s not trip over ourselves making excuses for those deadbeats.

Well as luck would have it, all these years later, new life has been breathed into the domain. The site has been relaunched and re-envisioned as Sam & Max Headquarters. The idea doesn’t seem so much to be producing content as serving as a flashy jumping-off point for all the online Sam & Max destinations deemed worthwhile through the parochial lens of a Web 2.0 world, though I also got a funny kinda feelin’ that there’s more to come.

Anyway, what’s going on there already is pretty neat-o, so show your support for mouseover hi-jinks and giddy up.

I know we report on these Prime Gaming inductions with a certain tone of discharging our duties (humor me on the we/our thing), but this time around there’s a little twist. CMI is indeed going to be one of six games being added to the service on May 1st, but apparently that came to pass because certain folks in the organization were really lobbying for it.

How brightly does the love for CMI burn at Amazon? Well, try on for size the fact that Principal Publishing Producer Amir Satvat put together a ten-minute video thesis arguing that the Plunder Island section of the game is “the greatest hour of video game gameplay ever made.” I mean, this is worth watching before you realize how much it’ll torque off Remi!

Comments: 3 / Source: Forbes

History tells us that it’s always a mistake to expose staffers Benny and elTee to information of any kind. Naïve to their indefatigably compulsive ways, Dave Grossman had no idea what he was unleashing when he innocently mused in 2014 about an unlisted monochrome graphics mode for Monkey Island 2.

But those familiar with the personalities involved found it all too unsurprising when this ignited a near decade-long saga that even the most confirmed of basement-dwelling obsessives would go on to call, “rather sad.” Unmoved by pleas from concerned friends to walk back from the brink, the two defiantly embarked upon an unsolicited quest to resolve this most unremarkable footnote in SCUMM esoterica that guaranteed no wider interest and could only ever end in anticlimactic frustration – all the qualities that make for a classic article, in other words.

One of the bummers that goes along with most of the old hosted sites being lost to time is that a number of them were home to valuable interviews. Where possible, we like to try to import such orphaned archival content to that greatest of rescue shelters: Mixnmojo.

Today's rescues are interviews from the late, great iMuse Island. They were all conducted by the site’s able webmaster Luc Gilbertz and come from the period of 2000-2003. Improve your education and relive historical conversations with…

  • Clint Bajakian, fresh off his work on Escape from Monkey Island.
  • Peter McConnell, talking all the things that were relevant in 2003. Hey, remember that incident when he and Michael Land started a software company?
  • Jeff Kliment, the then-manager of the LucasArts Sound Department, with a few welcome intrusions by voice director Darragh O’Farrell.
  • Daniel “Wolk” Strandberg, composer of “Zak 2,” which, unique among Zak McKracken fan sequels, didn’t actually get finished. If that’s a subject that interests you, by the way, there’s no better resource than The Zak McKracken Archive.

This might be a good time to mention that such resurrections are not Easter exclusive, and that any retired webmasters who would like Mojo to keep their legacy content alive (or even to help you relaunch your site altogether) should pick up the phone and dial 1-800-ZAARIN, or for actual results reach out via webmonkey@mixnmojo.com or Twitter.

Adventure Gamers may have broken the seal, but they're not the only site interested in talking to Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman about a new Monkey Island. And so, after Mojo made it clear that the game just isn't relevant enough to Willow to work for us, the designers turned to The Verge to divulge more about Return to Monkey Island.

Though the screenshots included are the same crop shared with Adventure Gamers, what you want are those sweet anecdotes. Consider this one involving Dom and weeping:

How did [Armato] react to hearing you wanted him back for the role of Guybrush?

Gilbert: He was pretty stunned. I knew him, but obviously, we never worked together because we didn’t have voice back then.

But I kind of knew him, and I was at about the point that I wanted to loop him into what we were doing. I live in Seattle, and just by chance, he was visiting Seattle that weekend. So I said, “Hey, let’s get together, just have a coffee, and I can tell you about my new game, air quotes.”

We got together, we had coffee, and I think he was very interested in the new game, almost kind of wondering whether maybe he could have a voice part in it. And then I told him that it was the new Monkey Island, and he was just floored. Which is a reaction I get from a lot of people. Before, when we were bringing people on, and we’d talk to them, the minute I mentioned, “I’m making a new Monkey Island….” One person literally started crying. They were so happy that this was happening. So I think Dominic was really floored that we were doing it and extremely happy.

When Dom is happy, we are happy. Well, as happy as we can be while noticing that you aren't yet reading the full interview.

Your old pal and prolific Adventure Gamers contributor Emily Morganti is back to her hard-hitting ways, having snagged Ron Gilbert (and Dave!) for his first proper interrogation following the announcement of Return to Monkey Island. While our attorneys won’t allow us to make an accusation of bribery outright, we’re authorized to pass along the rumor that Cheese Squigglies™ were exchanged.

The interview includes some specifics about how ReMI* came into being, which involved Ron loosening up a bit on the position of ownership, but in the first place having the right connections:

The whole thing came about because I was talking to Nigel [Lowrie] from Devolver. We got together, I think it was at PAX, and we just started talking. He had mentioned that he knew John Drake, that they were friends, and John Drake was in charge of, I think, the licensing at Lucasfilm Games. So he wanted to approach [John] about doing a Monkey Island, and I thought sure, let’s see if anything goes.

Check out the full exclusive for the rest of the good stuff, which includes - oh yeah - the first screenshots.

*Remi has “suggested” that this be the abbreviation Mojo perpetuates for Return to Monkey Island, and we didn’t find his bolt action argument easy to disagree with.

Authenticated original The Secret of Monkey Island posters are thin on ground these days, and when one turns up in mint condition, it is valuated by Lloyd’s of London at around $18 trillion. This is by way of setting the stage for Dave Grossman’s latest tweet:

Hey, you can’t put a price on a clever arts and crafts project. Well I mean you can, but it’d just be too depressing. Seriously, it should be said that it was Dave’s property to do with what he wanted. I will contend though that the cocktail napkins he made out of the Maya codices were a bit much.

News Archive