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The road to Hell is paved with well-intentioned remasters

23 Nov, 2017, 15:05 | Posted by: Jason | Source: Rock Paper Shotgun | Comments: 17

Rock Paper Shotgun published an interesting article yesterday about the artistic merit of remastered video games. Ron, Tim, and Brian Moriarty are all on hand to weigh in on the technical and even ethical pitfalls of "upgrading" a classic:

“We had limitations back then” recalls Gilbert in an email interview, “and the artist worked magic to make the game work within those limitations. They often turned working within those limitations into an art all its own. When classic games get ‘hi-resed’, you lose all of that.”

[...]

“It’s true that you can often switch back to the original graphics,” he says, “but that is also true of colorizing black and white movies.

“You can always watch the original, but that doesn’t make colorizing it any less of an artistic sin. Saying you can switch back to the original art feels like a cop-out.”

Harsh! But Ron has a point. And as we've seen, the "original version" you can switch back to often isn't the perfect recreation it purports to be. After all, the only "classic" version of Monkey Island 2 that anyone can buy has vertical scrolling effects removed and some dialog altered. My grandkids will grow up without the "white slavers" line, so I hope you're proud of yourself, Craig Derrick!

GOG.com Disney Publisher Sale

06 Oct, 2017, 19:36 | Posted by: Jennifer | Comments: 1
All of Disney's catalog is currently on sale at GOG.com. That includes tons of LucasArts games:
  • Afterlife
  • Armed and Dangerous
  • The Dig
  • Loom
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
  • Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb
  • Monkey Island 1 SE
  • Monkey Island 2 SE
  • Outlaws + A Handful of Missions
  • Sam & Max Hit the Road
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Star Wars: Empire at War
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Dark Forces II
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D
  • Star Wars: Tie Fighter
  • Star Wars: X-Wing
  • Star Wars: X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter
  • Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
  • Star Wars: Rebel Assault 1+2
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Saga
  • Star Wars: Rebellion
  • Star Wars: Star Fighter
  • Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
  • Tim declares war on crunch mode

    13 Sep, 2017, 23:17 | Posted by: Jason | Source: Medum | Be the first to comment!

    Tim is the subject of a new article on Medium in which he speaks about the oft-documented strain - and, perhaps, the needlessness - of crunch mode, a period at the end (or sometimes throughout) of a game development cycle when teams work around the clock to meet looming deadlines.

    Speaking about his experiences at both LucasArts and Double Fine, Tim's thoughts on the subject are sobering and even personal, such as when he relates how the passionate and relentless climate at LucasArts during his early days at the studio brought consequences at home:

    Schafer saw the crunch periods become more demanding as time went on, and it wasn’t long before he experienced the heavy price of that kind of working culture. His first marriage, he said, collapsed after just a year.

    “You don’t realize until it has happened that you’re doing all this damage to your personal life by staying at work all the time,” he said. “You can mentally put the rest of the world on hold, but the rest of the world can’t necessarily be put on hold by you. I was so gung-ho about it. If you think someone will wait for you and tolerate you not being around… people move on.”

    Even then, with a relationship falling apart around him, the work came first. The rewards were just big enough, and the aura of George Lucas radiant enough, that it felt impossible to leave. Schafer only met Lucas three times in the 10 years he worked for him, but says his presence was felt in the craftsmanship and artistry of the house and its grounds. The attention to detail exuded an air of quality that reminded everyone that things needed to be done right.

    The whole piece is worth a read.

    In lieu of actual Indiana Jones gaming news, read this

    11 Jul, 2017, 22:54 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: The Onion | Comments: 2
    Our fine friends over at The Onion have pulled a Mojo and reviewed ranted about the TT Games LEGO Indiana Jones videogame series some years after release.

    Consider: While the Indiana Jones of film punches out Nazis, his mute Lego doppelgänger spends far more time attacking trees and flowers. Indy can scarcely walk five steps without finding a cluster of greenery that he’s compelled to destroy in order to collect the tiny Lego studs that constitute the in-game currency. Even when outrunning the giant boulder—that most iconic moment from Raiders—he’s evidently supposed to risk his life brutalizing the vegetation for a few extra studs. So you’ll understand, Adam, if I’m at a bit of a loss as to what makes this game “pretty fun.”


    Bravo Onion, bravo.

    Full Throttle article ascends from print origins to your screen

    04 Jul, 2017, 14:47 | Posted by: Jason | Source: PC Gamer | Comments: 1

    PC Gamer published an interview with Tim about Full Throttle in their June issue, but you don't buy magazines anymore, so you didn't read it. At least not until its ink exclusivity ended and it wound up online, which is now.

    At the time a LucasArts adventure was expected to sell around 100,000 copies, but Full Throttle sold over a million. And now, 22 years later, the game has been re-released with remastered graphics and audio. I ask the game’s writer/director Tim Schafer what it’s like going back to something he made when he was in his early 20s.

    “It’s been interesting looking at how I wrote dialogue back then based on my life experiences at the time, and how I interpret it differently now that I’m older,” he says. “And now that I’ve actually been a biker on the run for a crime I didn’t commit, that adds a lot of depth to it too. I had no idea what that was like back then.”

    You know what I did in my early 20s? Not make Full Throttle. Learn more about how Tim outclassed me by reading the full article.

    Habitat rises again, world kind of shrugs

    02 Jun, 2017, 16:22 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 5

    29 years after it was shut down, Habitat is set to go live again. The (at the time) groundbreaking online game is considered a bridge between the MUDs (multi user dungeons) of the time to today's MMOG (massively multiplayer online game), and it will relaunch at midnight under the name Neohabitat.

    Yeah, I don't even know, but check out more info on the official site, if you so wish.

    Full Throttle Easter Egg Discovered (Finally)!

    28 Apr, 2017, 14:18 | Posted by: ThunderPeel2001 | Source: Double Fine | Comments: 2
    Double Fine's luscious Full Throttle Remastered has revealed an easter egg in the game that has managed to stay hidden for over 20 years! According to the Remastered commentary one the game's main programmers, Mark Crowley, got a little punchy one night and hid a little surprise for anyone who entered his date of birth into Malcolm Corley's safe.

    So well hidden was this little easter egg, that not even Tim Schafer was aware of its presence.

    Since the reveal, fans have been trying to find Crowley's date of birth, but it was proving very tricky, and even reaching out to him over social media had been fruitless. Enter ScummVM developer Digitall who examined Full Throttle's game code and discovered Crowley's date of birth hidden deep within:
    14 December, 1962.

    That's right, entering 12-14-62 into Malcolm Corley's safe will reveal a little secret that nobody, not even Tim Schafer, was aware of.

    The easter egg itself is very silly, and isn't the secret to Monkey Island or anything, but it is amazing that we're still finding secrets after all these years! Enjoy!

    Full Throttle Remastered coming April 18th to PC, PS4 and Vita

    14 Mar, 2017, 22:01 | Posted by: Jason | Source: engadget | Comments: 6

    Some news requires no comment, other than: w00t.

    Here's Tim humbly suggesting that you pre-order from GOG:

    One last cool thing: apparently Tim had the original demo of the game (a PC Magazine exclusive) remastered as well because it featured unique dialog not heard in the shipped game, and Tim wanted all of Roy Conrad's lines preserved in high quality. Pretty rad.

    Tim discusses the hunt for original Full Throttle assets

    12 Mar, 2017, 21:27 | Posted by: Jason | Source: GamesIndustry.biz | Comments: 2

    As with Day of the Tentacle Remastered and Grim Fandango Remastered, Double Fine had to go through the LucasArts archives to resurrect Full Throttle, and Tim talked about that effort with GamesIndustry.biz:

    Schafer called it a sort of "digital archaeology." For Full Throttle, the art was completely repainted, often with input from original artists like Larry Ahern and Peter Chen. 3D elements like the game's motorcycles had to be remodeled from scratch because the originals weren't archived. Roy Conrad, the original voice actor for the game's protagonist Ben, died over a decade ago, so they had to track down the uncompressed DAT tapes of his original voiceover sessions in order to remaster them in stereo.

    "We're in a unique position where we remember where the bodies are buried," he said. "'I think that sound guy took home a box of tapes once, and I know so-and-so has that thing in their attic.' And at Skywalker Ranch there's an archive that has a lot of cool stuff there, and we got access to those. We got to dig through these flat files, finding these great pieces of art and putting them in the concept art browser for the first time to let you see all this stuff when you play the game. It's more like a fun treasure hunt."

    One might expect that the hassles of remastering projects like these would cause Double Fine to re-think the way it preserves its current titles for the future.

    "I feel like we had all this trouble finding all these archives," Schafer said, "and it was like, 'Why didn't we archive this stuff better?' And then I was like, 'Are we archiving our new stuff better?' We had to really look at it, and well, you know... In some ways it's easy to make those same mistakes again, to just not really think about what's going to happen 20 years from now. 'Yeah, that stuff's all on that one artist's hard drive, but we don't have time to do all that...' So you really have to push yourself to create good archives, and to put away a machine that can do the actual build of the game. And that's something I hope all developers do, or they'll be kicking themselves later."

    It's a comfort to know that Roy Conrad's line readings will liberated from that Turkish prison that is MONSTER.SOU.

    Lucasfilm shuts down Fate of Atlantis fan remake

    01 Mar, 2017, 22:54 | Posted by: Jason | Source: Facebook | Comments: 4

    You may recall that time a year ago when we reported that an indomitable band of Germans were seeking to get official approval for their HD remake of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

    Those of you who hate surprises, I should warn you: this isn't going to be one.

    Hi Fans!
    Quick announcement!
    We have been asked politely by a new promoted Lucasfilm Head of business development person to stop developing and distributing Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis Special Edition demo.
    We will remove the downloading buttons from our website this Sunday (5th March 2017)
    We have been told that Lucasfilm don't want to share the Indy license with anyone right one, so we came up with other solution and we will see if that is going to work for them.
    We will keep in touch with Lucasfilm people and continuously trying to obtain a deal for a full project development!
    Lucasfilm has seen what we have done, we proved our skills, show them a great effort and strong responsibility, they have received all required documents and now it's up to them if they will change their minds and start supporting Independent developers.
    Whatever the response will be, We are extremely proud of what we have done, it has been a great fun, we will love this project forever and we thank you all who participated or support us during this "long-term, free-time" development.
    Fans community is strong, full of talented people and nobody is going to stop us from doing what we love, because we are doing it right! This is not the end of this project and this is not the end of any fans projects...big companies need to understand that: "All things come to him who waits." #lucasfilm #lucasarts #adventuregames #disney
    website: http://went2play.com/fate-of-atlantis-se
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/39935592/IJ_clocks.jpg

    Which reminds me, I'd be much obliged if you guys could keep my painstaking remaster of Defenders of Dynatron City that's nineteen years in the making under your hat.

    STFU, Monkey Island 2 free

    30 Jan, 2017, 19:39 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 4

    Hey, we’re back! You might have thought we had been back for a while, but as our admin feature wasn’t working… Well, that’s neither here nor there.

    So what’s happening? First, Xbox Gold members will be able to download Monkey Island 2 for free from February 1-15. You do, of course, already own the game, but it’s worth nabbing anyway—it plays well on the platform. And from February 16-28 you can get Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, lovingly known as STFU around these parts.

    More importantly: Our very own elTee spawned last week, and is the proud father of a baby boy, Johnny D Tones (I think was the name). Congratulations to him from all of us!

    Which Game Are You Most Looking Forward To In 2017?

    08 Jan, 2017, 01:08 | Posted by: Jennifer | Comments: 7
    We're now a week into 2017, which means it's the perfect time for a new poll. We couldn't just put one up on the first day of the new year. That's just not The Mojo Way™.

    There's a lot of goodness coming out this year, from just about every company that this site covers. So go to the poll on the right and let us know which one has you excited the most.

    The fan remake of Fate of Atlantis now has a demo

    31 Dec, 2016, 21:52 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Facebook | Comments: 1
    The team behind the fan remake of Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis released a 7 room demo in late November, so Mojo keeps up its fine tradition of being behind the cutting edge of LucasArts related news. Months behind.

    The file is around half a gig, so if you have the time and hard drive space, give it go. There are PC and Mac versions available, plus a demo of the circular stones, if that floats your boat.

    Image

    To give feedback, or simply follow the project's development, check out the game's Facebook page.

    Here's the download link again in case you can't be bothered looking back through the first paragraph for it. Keeping Mojo traditions alive into 2017 and beyond...


    Indy3 now on GOG.com

    30 Dec, 2016, 18:31 | Posted by: Jason | Source: GOG | Comments: 6

    Sure, the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade graphic adventure has been available from Steam since forever, but I know you kids love things that are DRM-free, so consider yourselves accommodated. And just like the Steam version, you get the unabridged Grail Diary in all its .pdf glory.

    There was a time when GOG was releasing LEC games more regularly, then that all stopped, and if you think that wasn't the consequence of a sinister, labyrinthine conspiracy, get a clue. But does the unceremonious appearance of Last Crusade signal that the seal has been broken again? We still need Monkey Island 3 and 4 up there, bare minimum.

    Short but sweet new interview with Bill

    24 Dec, 2016, 16:17 | Posted by: Jason | Source: Gamecrate | Be the first to comment!

    Festivus is over lads, so back to work. Earlier this week, Gamecrate asked Bill Tiller a few questions about his career. Among other things the interview gives us an idea of when Duke Grabowski Episode 2 will drop.

    So, when is the second episode of Duke Grabowski: Mighty Swashbuckler due out?

    We're planning on five episodes. The plan is to have the second episode come out in the Spring. I've already written it, and we're doing pre-production on it now, and have some sketches done, as well as some of the puzzles.

    Check out the full interview here.

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