Whether you know him from his animation career at LucasArts, his stint as Creative Director of Telltale Games in its earliest days, his comic strip Grickle (whose universe the Puzzle Agent series occupies), or his movie credits (Coraline, The Boxtrolls), Graham Annable is definitely One Of The Principals, so there was no escape for him as the latest subject of Daniel Albu’s “A Conversation with…” series.

Don’t let your unseemly, targeted lust for the Sam & Max: Freelance Police juice (29:28) get in the way of watching the whole thing.

The latest DREAMM build from Aaron Giles is meant to be the final beta before the release of DREAMM 2.0 and the start of world peace. Download away and replay your favorite LucasArts classics all over again for the good of mankind.

Aaron’s apparently made of sterner-than-average stuff, as he hasn’t yet been scared away from the Mojo Forums (we’ll get there), so share your findings with the mad scientist himself in the DREAMM thread if Bernard starts talking like Dr. Fred or The Dig starts acting like a good game or something. And remember, DREAMM is beginning to expand to support a broader LucasArts catalog, so you can give titles like Afterlife, X-Wing, and Dark Forces a whirl on it these days. Don’t bother getting your beloved copy of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: The Action Game out of hock just yet, though.

Comments: 1 / Source: DREAMM

We’re not at our best when we’re acknowledging deaths two years past, but punctually or not we must give a proper salute to voice actor Doug Boyd, who passed away in 2021. Boyd was a go-to talent for Telltale Games, a relationship that stretched all the way back to the dawn of the studio, when he nailed the role of Smiley Bone in Out from Boneville and The Great Cow Race. Anchoring a game wasn’t beyond his talents either, as he went on to voice Nelson Tethers himself in that gem of a series Puzzle Agent. And when it comes to all the roles he played in the Sam & Max games, they’re almost too numerous to list. Fortunately, as it often does, the Sam & Max Wiki has us covered:

  • Specs
  • Drivers
  • Puppet President
  • Slushie
  • Maimtron 9000 (Beyond Time and Space)
  • Red Elf
  • Documentary Narrator
  • WARP Announcer
  • Train Conductor

Reading that list makes me feel all the more grateful for the work that Skunkape and Bay Area Sound do on the remasters, as the higher sample quality they achieve by going back to the original recordings preserves these wonderful performances.

Boyd’s game voiceover reel (which, in a Small World moment, was put together by fellow Telltale regular Adam Harrington) remains online, and offers a nice encapsulation of his resume:

These reminders feel a bit tawdry and perhaps even irresponsible, but the time is upon us. The pre-order window for Limited Run’s multitudinous Return to Monkey Island offerings closes this weekend.

Good luck?

Next up in Daniel Albu’s mission to interview all SCUMM luminaries one at a time is his installment with David Fox. Noting that Ron and Gary didn’t seem to get one about the Maniac Mansion re-release, Fox mentions that he’d appreciate a holler from Limited Run Games if they should happen to like input on a hypothetical Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders box.

Of course, much more than that is discussed over the nearly two-hour conversation, so set aside the time, as challenging as that might be in a world where twenty-two hour Psychonauts 2 documentaries are a thing, and hear all the stories.

It’s worth noting that David Fox previously sat for an hour with this “Conversations with Curtis” YouTube channel just last year, chatting with the series’ other host, Paul Morgan Stetler, shortly before Return to Monkey Island came out. So if you didn’t get enough with this new one, rest assured that there’s more:

Maniac Mansion getting a big stupid collector’s box set is pretty much the type of event that Mixnmojo stays alive to witness, but it’s a little more of a novelty when the official Lucasfilm web site starts throwing conspicuous love bombs at the first SCUMM game.

With Josh Fairhurst of Limited Run Games on hand, has taken the opportunity to publish a suitably reverent article about Maniac Mansion and the broader collaboration between the two companies that has resulted in all of these hugely expensive exciting box sets.

Though Fairhurst grew up loving titles like Monkey Island, he first encountered Maniac Mansion later in his gaming life. “I love the humor. Maniac Mansion is genuinely funny,” he says. “I didn’t see that in a lot of games in the 2000s. Most were trying to be edgy and cool, but the older Lucasfilm Games titles had genuinely funny characters and situations.”

In a process that feels like digital archaeology, the Limited Run team mines the original data straight from the period game discs and cartridges, making necessary adjustments to create the refined, authentic version playable on modern computers and consoles (or in the case of the NES, a brand-new cartridge that plays on the original console).

Maniac Mansion was available on the Commodore 64, Amiga, and DOS computers, among others” Fairhurst explains. “If you put the screenshots next to each other, they may not seem that wildly different, but there are nuances between each version, and players have emotions tied to specific versions depending on which one they played as a kid. We include back-ups of every possible version so there’s a way to experience each one. These boxes became sort of archive for each game, with every version on a USB drive.”

In addition to the game itself, these limited-edition box sets feature a number of enticing items, including both recreations of original materials and brand-new surprises. In addition to a lenticular pin that portrays a Maniac Mansion hidden moment, the different boxed sets also include their respective soundtracks. “We record them straight from the actual hardware itself,” Fairhurst notes, “so the NES soundtrack comes right from the cartridge. It’s the same with the PC version, though we can also use an emulator. It’s all about accuracy.”

Another included piece is a double-sided poster featuring in-game artwork and a portrait of the Edison family seen originally on the game’s packaging (and painted by iconic artist Steve Purcell). Limited Run was able to offer up this artwork with the help of superfan Jan Hofmesiter who dedicates his time to digitally restoring pieces of Lucasfilm game art. “It speaks to how meaningful these games are to fans,” says Fairhurst. “They’re willing to put in the time to help preserve these materials and celebrate them.”

Every possible version on the USB drive? Jan thanked by his full name, as something other than a footnote, and only slightly mispelled? Maybe they're onto something over there.

I can’t decide whether this is a PSA or an act of malice, but I’ll point out that the pre-order period for Limited Run’s big boxed Collector’s Edition of Sam & Max Hit the Road closes out with the weekend. A reminder of what that obscenity looks like:

For the record, Mojo does not encourage anyone to go into debt over boutique computer game re-releases. We’re just doing our jobs here. If you or someone you know has a compulsive collecting problem, help is available and should be pursued.

Last year we brought some attention to the work of one @ScrungusCrungus, who has apparently devoted their time on Earth to reverse-engineering the Psychonauts source code, and more broadly to the discovery and collation of every fragment of esoterica related to the classic game. Certainly, Mixnmojo should be the very last to judge such an obsession.

The ongoing quest has included the search-and-seizure of rare pre-release media, which means the disreputable archives of certain fan sites and communities active in Double Fine’s earliest days are being plumbed, to the justifiable horror of us all. Mixnmojo, the Idle Thumb forums, and Thrik’s dedicated yet sadly unmaintained fan site (which today redirects you to an snapshot) are but a few of the resources that have fallen into the crosshairs of this Robert Caro-esque level of research:

ScrungusCrungus even politely noticed that The Grim Fandango Network (another milestone from Thrik’s executive training days) underwent a rather yawn-inducing theme change, leading to a bonding moment that international relations could stand to benefit from looking to as inspiration.

You can find some of ScrungusCrungus’ most notable findings collected on this blog dedicated to the purpose, but you’ll want to work up some loyalty toward the Twitter account if you want the minute-by-minute updates. And let’s not kid each other: you do.

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.

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.

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:

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

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.

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.

Comments: 2 / Source: Variety

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.

Listen. They did a fine feature. We did a fine feature. Who’s to say, really, who did the better job?

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’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.

Comments: 2 / Source: Youtube

Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders have been irreversibly tied together ever since that can of chainsaw gasoline was found on Mars, but a new fan game is taking it to a whole other level. Below is the spiel for Zak the Maniac - An Interactive Music Video:

Zak McKracken finds himself exploring the haunted mansion of the Edison family. Something has gone seriously wrong -- and if ghostly hauntings weren't bad enough, a band is using the dungeon as their rehearsal space.

This game is released as an "interactive music video" for Error 47's cover/mash-up of the Zak McKracken and Maniac Mansion theme tunes. The song is included in the download.

You can download the game and the cover tune that suggested it right here.

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Comments: 1 / Source: Error 47

If you've read our big 25th anniversary interview with the Curse of Monkey Island project leaders (and if you haven't, there's still time to do so fashionably), you're well aware of the legend of Bear Pig -- a classic example of programmer art that Jonathan Ackley cooked up to occupy "room zero" to the satisfaction of SCUMM's inviolate laws.

But just as everyone sees a different statue in the marble, BearPig represents different themes to different interpreters. In his latest blog post, CMI programmer/writer Chuck Jordan casts BearPig as his inspiration for some brief reflections on the concept of art that is "good enough." Read it, and lament Ron's delinquency in reprising the series' most indelible character.

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