Mark Ferrari's work is so iconic, it apparently belongs to the world.
We've tattled on them to Lucasfilm, only to be curtly informed by the legal team that they're more interested in shutting down Fate of Atlantis fan games.
I’m just not sure there’s a more elaborate way to rephrase that. The two Games Of Mojo Import™ will be joining the ranks of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and the Monkey Island special editions as part of the September additions to the service.
So if you’ve disgraced yourself by not already owning these games eight times over, this may be your chance to check them out.
The high priests who maintain the Genesis Temple sat down with artist/designer Larry Ahern for six months to discuss his decades-spanning career. Getting the interview down on paper apparently required a scope akin to The Human Condition, because they’ve only published one of two parts.
But that first half takes us from the beginning of Larry’s career all the way through The Curse of Monkey Island. A number of good working-at-LucasArts-in-the-nineties anecdotes are shared from Larry’s experiences on Monkey Island 2, Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle, and we even get a few extra details on that scrapped prologue for The Curse of Monkey Island, which among other things would have seen the return of the Voodoo Priest of LeChuck’s Fortress.
The second part promises tales from Larry’s final years at LucasArts, including at least one collapsed version of Full Throttle 2, as well as the misadventures of Insecticide. Look for it whenever the intermission ends.
If you were hoping for a way to play Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis that requires a subscription, isn't DRM-free and supports Jeff Bezos, then today is your lucky day.
Joining the ranks of the Monkey Island special editions, Fate of Atlantis is now available via Prime Gaming, a revolutionary new service from Amazon that lets you register yet another app for doing the same thing you can do elsewhere, less conveniently. Go ahead and pinch yourself. This is really happening.
It’s hard to figure out how much Indy 5 stuff to report on now that the movie is in production and the rumor/leak mill is in full operation. Beyond consideration about spoilers, there’s also the question of whether every stray stalker’s uploaded glimpse of the location shoots really merits that precious Mojo front page ink. Besides which, there are more capable institutions out there who are in better positions to sate your cravings for unfiltered coverage.
But, one innocuous-enough leak couldn’t pass without comment.
Some of the photographs to hit the less reputable broadsides out of the first week of filming depict Harrison Ford and Toby Jones (nice!) exchanging some sort of prop outside Bamburgh castle. (Based on the dots on Ford’s face and the WWII-era imagery associated with the shooting thus far, it seems we’re in for a 1940s prologue.) No one could possibly harvest any meaning out of such an obscured view of this unknown object – that is, no one except those with an eagle-eye for Atlantean architecture:
This is of course an absurd extrapolation that’s about as convincing as zaarin’s theory that Indy is chasing the Zodiac killer, but it’s still good fun. Of course, it’s always fun and games until somebody pops orichalcum into the mouth…
The film world is acknowledging the passing of photographer Eva Sereny, whose prolific work taking stills for movie productions includes this recognizable photograph of Harrison Ford and Sean Connery during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
How recognizable? Well, SCUMM fans know that it was chosen to grace the cover of the Last Crusade graphic adventure, in a sense making Eva Sereny the box artist for the classic game.
As long as we're on the subject of Laserschwert, did you know that he recently gave his frame-ready poster download of the Monkey Island 2 cover art a material upgrade? You better give your eyeballs a head-up on this one.
You see, a 1991 issue of the UK-based magazine "The One" contained a large, fold-out poster of Purcell's artwork, making it a superior scanning source to the box, or for that matter anything else known to exist. A generous fan in possession of that particular issue heard the call of duty and sent the precious reference material to the pre-eminent authority in this field, who then worked his arts:
Read more and collect your upgrade in Laserschwert's stickied poster thread, where the latest version of his offerings can always be found.
Boy, it's almost like reading the forums is a good idea or something.
Dan Connors and Jake Rodkin of Skunkape were the featured guests on the latest episode of the Retronauts podcast, in which they tell war stories both about making the original Sam & Max Save the World as well as the excellent remaster. There are a lot of good anecdotes here, including how Steve Purcell vetoed a lactating Max and an intended Salmon Mack origin story in Season 2.
It’s really an excellent conversation, and not just because of the multiple Mojo shoutouts. Though that does make it a contractual obligation.
We often talk about the LucasArts adventure catalog as numbering fourteen, starting the count with Maniac Mansion (1987) -- a first both for the SCUMM engine and for Lucasfilm Games’ status as a publisher.
But the fact is, the oft-snubbed Labyrinth: The Computer Game (1986) was the first adventure product the studio developed, and with its “word wheel” concept – a prototypical stab at a graphic adventure interface that in fact appears only after a text-based prologue – it’s of substantial academic interest unto itself, not to mention one of the earliest examples of a commercially successful movie tie-in of its genre.
And as it turns out, its development was pretty interesting, too. Speaking to Retro Gamer last month, David Fox reminisces about the project’s production, which included a trip to the UK for a brainstorming session with two of his heroes, Douglas Adams and Jim Henson:
One night Douglas invited us over to his house for dinner and Jim Henson was also invited. He was sitting right across the table from me and if I was a little intimidated by Douglas I was probably more so by Jim because I knew his work even more. I'd be eating my food and every once in the while I'd hear Kermit The Frog across the table from me. Jim was really kind, humble, unassuming. Douglas was too, they were both extremely warm creative people who I felt honoured to be in the presence of. I also remember that when Jim arrived he came with a huge smoked salmon, maybe three foot long. That was intended as a joke, so Douglas could say at the end of the evening, 'So long and thanks for all the fish!'
Like most (all?) of Lucasfilm Games’ pre-Maniac catalog, Labyrinth isn’t commercially available, but there are probably ways to play it for the enterprising spirit while waiting for the inevitable German-made fan remake.
Did you know that Bill Tiller irregularly offers updates on A Vampyre Story’s future, but you just never hear about it because he hides them on Facebook?
It’s true! On the A Vampyre Story Facebook page – the only web presence for the property that appears to still be standing - Bill will make the occasional post and engage with fans in the comments. Here’s a reference to AVS 2 from last summer which, okay, isn’t that recent, but still a lot more recent than the last reference to the series’ future that I was familiar with, and I’m on active lookout for them:
Those with a long memory will recall that Bill used his favorite platform to announce that he regained the rights back in 2019, so the fact that he’s still keeping the dream alive as recently as nine months ago is, well, better than nothing.
And I don’t care if it’s not season appropriate -- I’m also taking this moment to share the Autumn Moon Halloween 2020 card Bill posted on Facebook that I never knew existed because it was posted on Facebook, god dammit.
Help us help you, Bill. Listen, I can blackmail Remi into paying the hosting for amegames.com, if that’s the issue. Don’t worry, he can afford it after selling all those non-fungible tokens for The SCUMM Bar. I know: the guy's shameless.
Hot off the presses: Sam & Max: This Time It's Virtual will be released on the Oculus Quest in June for $29.99, on SteamVR and Viveport Infinity later in the year, and for Playstation VR in early 2022.
And don't bother calming down, as Mojo will be making itself complicit in this press push by publishing our own interview with HappyGiant. Stay tuned.
Oh, and did we mention the new footage?
You may already be aware that a major location in Sam & Max: This Time It's Virtual will be a rundown "Aquabears" amusement park. And what dilapidated family funtime establishment could do without a creepy theme song?
And on just what platforms will you be experiencing this Purcellian Willy's Wonderland, you say? Take heart, for we will know soon:
In other "let's see what else Happy Giant tweeted over the last week that we can hastily compile" news, there's this new and improved clip of Max as Pennywise for you to ponder:
We all know and love Laserschwert for his important contributions to the art of LucasArts postercraft, and have for some time now. But while Mojo recognizes greatness on sight, the mainstream media, typically dazzled by the distracting rather than the first rate, has been slow to kiss the ring.
Are they starting to wise up? That's the signal being put out by the latest issue of Retro Gamer. Operating under the preposterous alias of Jan Hofmeister, Laserschwert sat for an interview that appears in their March issue. You can buy your very own copy below.
You’ve already borrowed against your mortgage to afford those terrific Sam & Max action figures from Boss Fight Studio, so what’s another overextension to afford the next batch? Behold this new tease for “Wave 2”:
It’s been a while since the design for Wave 2 was unveiled, so to refresh your memory its two offerings are supposed to consist of the Rubber Pants Commandos and “Scuba Max” fighting an octopus. This is shaping up to be quite a year for Sam & Max stuff!
So, we all know about the Monkey Island movie that ILM was puttering around with twenty years ago from its concept art and bizarre plot synopsis, all of which was eventually collected as bonus features in the Special Edition compilation LucasArts put out in 2011.
But what about the real behind-the-scenes dirt on this legendary project’s origin and demise? What about that rumor that Steven Spielberg threw a spanner into everything by suggesting that the main character be replaced by a monkey because he has lousy story instincts?
Wait, that was never a rumor. But it is nevertheless one of the several new tidbits unveiled by Polygon’s sordid tell-all about the Monkey Island movie, which offers hitherto unavailable insight into the abandoned project with the aid of its director, visual effects supervisor David Carson. Read all about the various permutations of the story - each pass of which took it further and further from its initial form as a loose adaption of the first game - and feel elTee's shame when the stubborn rumor that the screenwriters of Pirates of the Caribbean had any meaningful involvement is forcefully refuted. Then there’s this:
Beyond the problems of adaptation, there were also more troubling concerns. This included a second meeting with Spielberg. Jim Morris, Patty Blau, Rosen, and Tom Bertino (who was going to act as animation supervisor) were all present at this meeting.
“The first meeting was just this little table, but now Steven wanted to make the project the table … [imagine] this cartoonishly long conference room where Steven is sitting at one end, Tom Bertino is sitting at the other,” Rosen recalls. “The funny thing about Hollywood meetings and creative projects when you come up with ideas is, you’re like, ‘Oh, I have this great idea,’ and then the committee assembles. All of a sudden, this story that everyone was shaking hands on becomes, ‘What if we change the main character to a monkey?’”
“We gathered in Steven’s office, and the first thing he said was that we shouldn’t have the main characters be human,” Carson says. “Instead, he suggested we should make the movie be about the monkeys on Monkey Island. Everyone just nodded, but my heart stopped. What the heck? We had worked for several weeks on a story that was based on the charm and humor of the games, and Steven wanted to throw all that out and make some new story about monkeys? I was completely confused.
Share in the confusion and add to your knowledge by reading the full article.
May it weigh heavy on his conscience!
You should read the whole thread, which includes this reply to an inquiry about a CMI remaster:
COMI remaster is tricky. I looked into it years ago (as some have mentioned before) but I was always more interested in what we could do with Maniac Mansion first. Haven’t given up that idea quite yet.
I know Craig doesn't mean to be cruel, but tell it to the lacerations on my beleaguered heart.
Though no timetable has been offered, the innuendo from Skunkape has been strong that they will be following up their remaster of Sam & Max Save the World with similar treatments of the other two Telltale seasons.
Well, the implicit became explicit a few days ago when Skunkape shared this glimpse from episode 201 just in time for Christmas:
The North Pole is sure looking good in HD. Can the same be said of Stinky's Diner, Easter Island, the Stuttgart castle, the mariachis' spaceship and Hell itself? Hopefully 2021 holds the answer.
An update to Sam & Max Save the World: Remastered has just been published to address some minor bugs, and the good folks at Skunkape have, in light of growing interest, used the release of this patch as an opportunity to write up a blow-by-blow of dang near all observable differences between the remaster and the 2006-2007 original. In doing so they've laid to rest a few misconceptions, but mostly just further expose how much thought went into their fastidious upgrade of Sam & Max's post-LucasArts debut.
Be among the cool kids and read the lowdown while you wait for your update to download. There's also a brief new promo that shows off several pullquotes from the game's more laudatory reviews thus far. Mojo's rave was excluded, but you've gotta grade them on a curve on that one: After the heat Skunkape attracted from up to four pre-adolescents over "censorship" concerns, one can only imagine what kind of hell quoting a known CMI denigrator like Remi would have raised. Look, if he weren't so handsome, we wouldn't put up with him either.