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Those of us of a certain age will remember how the Monkey Island games were unavailable for literal years, because . . . Well, who knows why, but it’s probably safe to assume LucasArts liked to pretend they didn’t exist.

Not surprisingly, what with TTG taking a nosedive, Tales of Monkey Island is now part of this tradition. The game has been scrubbed from Steam and GOG, though, as is usual, you can still download it if you have already bought it.

Will this mean pirating under the guise of "abandonware" will start occurring again? Who knows, but this feels like 2002 all over again.

Thanks to LucasArts Adventure Fans for the news, and my apologies if we already posted this and I forgot about it.

Now we've got a brand spanking new Mojo, but not much new news to report, let's take a look backwards into some (possibly) forgotten history.

Back on February 8th, 2003, exactly 16 years ago to the day, Bill Tiller (famed lead artist on The Curse of Monkey Island), graciously attended a fan-hosted IRC chat (ask your grandparents), and for 30 minutes answered their questions. One question came out of a thread on TheScummBar's LucasForums, and it was this:

The "secret" of Monkey Island has come up in some forums recently. Can I just ask you - what was Ron Gilbert's Secret of Monkey Island? Do you know it? Was it all a kid's imagination or is that just a theory?

Bill Tiller went on to give probably the most explicit and straightforward answer regarding the "secret" of Monkey Island, and Monkey Island 2's contentious ending that has ever been given.

And it was this:

Well this is all I know, and I learned it from Larry Ahern and Dave Grossman. Ron went to Disneyland, rode Pirates of the Caribbean ride. thought it was cool and wondered what it would be like to get out of the boat and explore the pirates cave and village. Calvin and Hobbes was very popular back then. It is a daily cartoon strip about a boy and his stuffed tiger going on all sorts of adventures and imagining themselves in all sorts of different things like dinosaurs, spacemen and monsters.

I speculate that Ron combined the to together - Pirates of the Caribbean and Calvin and Hobbes - and created Guybrush.

I was told that the ending of MI2 was originally going to be the ending of MI1. But Dave Grossman and Tim Shafer didn't like it an talked Ron out of it. Then I heard from Larry Ahern that two to three months before MI2 was supposed to be done, an ending had still not been decided upon. And about then Ron decided to go with the amusement park ending he was originally going to use in MI1.

The explanation I heard is that Guybrush was lost in the Pirates Ride at Big Whoop Amusement Park the whole time, imagining the whole adventure. Then Chucky, his mean older brother goes and pulls him back to reality. The end. And that magical lightning coming out of Chucky's eyes and Elaine waiting by the hole on Dinky Island (which sounds a lot like Disney Land) was put there just in case there was to be a Monkey Island 3.

The secret is that the MI world is not real. now I have no clue how Ron would have written his way out of the MI2 ending. He either knows and isn't telling. Or He doesn't know and he isn't telling you he doesn't know. Or he has a bunch of ides of what he would do and isn't telling you that either.That is a bigger secret then what the secret of Monkey Island is.

But secret being that the whole MI world is imagined sucks. Why? Because we want the world of Monkey Island to be real, not in a kids imagination.

Enter big whoop the portal of hell. Lechuck goes in, comes out a powerful ghost. Then he is killed again, comes back as a zombie and hatches a plan to lure pirates through the portal of big whoop and come out zombie/ ghosts. Guybrush had spell cast on him and that is why he was a little kid. he escaped Big whoop in a bumper/ dodgem car and reverts back. Elaine had to rush back to Puerto pollo to defend it from Lechuck renewed attacks because Guybrush is safely under his spell back on Monkey Island. That is the official secret of monkey island in CMI.

Sean [Clarke] and Mike [Stemmle, lead designers on Escape from Monkey Island] don't like that secret or want to add to it, so they either borrow Dave Grossman's idea that the monkey head is jut the top of a giant monkey robot, or they came up with it independently. That is the official secret of Monkey Island in EMI.

Is this all cleared up now? There is no 'one' secret of Monkey Island. Period. Maybe in Monkey5 there will be yet another one. Personally I'd like to know more about Guybrush' s origins. Where did he come from? Who are his parents? Any brothers or sisters? WHo was the voodoo priest who brought LeChuck back to life?


Thank you Bill Tiller! And to mymipage for hosting the event and asking the question! Read the complete interview here courtesy of Archive.org.

(Note: On this day 16 years ago... yesterday (unless you're in the US). I missed it by a few minutes!)

Mark Ferrari, one of the most important LucasArts artists during the early SCUMM era, has relaunched his web site, and you have reason to be exited - I particularly want to draw your attention to the Image Archives section, where Mark is hosting rare samples from his older work. JP has already been fomenting an irresponsible tizzy on Twitter (but not here, for some reason ¬) by suggesting that some of the screens may belong to an unreleased Star Wars adventure game.

So check out Mark's new site, which he promises is merely a work-in-progress. And unlike Mojo, it may actually graduate from that status at some point.

This had been acknowledged on Twitter during the downtime, but I figured the passing of British actor W. Morgan Sheppard merited front page mourning. The Mojo faithful will recognize him as the voice of Guybrush Threepwood's loyal if reckless navigator Ignatius Cheese, who is additionally revealed to be the owner of The SCUMM Bar*, in Escape from Monkey Island. He was also that one guy from The Prestige, among about a thousand other roles. Sheppard was 86.

*In fact, I considered titling this "Owner of The SCUMM Bar dies", but that seemed in poor taste given that people might have interpreted that as being Remi, and why get people's hopes up?

Comments: 3 / Source: Deadline

It's Black Friday, even though it's Thursday, which is to say that both GOG and Steam have discounts on their LucasArts games. If for whatever reason you still haven't vacuumed-up both attempts at Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Star Wars: TFU, or STFU if you're in a hurry), now's your chance.

Additionally, Steam's got a sale going for Double Fine's games, including The Cave; both Costume Quest games will put you back $3.24 together. And there are other adventure games on sale, such as the excellent Kathy Rain or all the Wadjet Eye stuff (highly recommended).

Telltale's output isn't included in either sale. Wonder why that is.

As an aside, I was curious about the name "Black Friday"; surely, I thought—being an edgy, black-clad cynic—the name also referred to other, less capitalist Fridays? As it turns-out, it does: Hollywood Black Friday was part of the eventual break-up of the Confederation of Studio Unions. Which doesn't seem so bad. And also a lot of other Black Fridays, all of which are depressing.

On the one hand, never say Mojo isn't educational. On the other, people suck. Anyway, you could forego the sudden urge to drink the sorrows away by playing some sweet games instead.

Obligatory second link here (in the sense we don't play favourites).

I’m sure you’ve read it elsewhere, but just in case you haven’t, a slew of LEC games have appeared on Steam. I thought they already were there, but there you go. The list:

  • Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
  • Sam & Max Hit the Road
  • Outlaws + A Handful of Missions expansion pack
  • Afterlife
  • Escape from Monkey Island
  • Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
  • Star Wars Episode 1: Racer
  • Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb

Go get them if you love yourself some DRM. ¬

Remember that thread on LucasForums fifteen years or so ago about the canceled VGA version of Secret of Monkey Island? Of course you do, because all of you who are here now were there then.

If you don't recall: There was an early effort to create a fairly straight VGA port of the in-development EGA version. Presumably LEC decided to attempt something a bit more extravagant, and we do, of course, all know the final VGA version which today might be considered the de facto MI1. (Although that, really, should be the Amiga version. ¬)

The earlier version was in a playable state, with some (but far from all) of the graphics converted to 256 colors. See below for a screenshot, which, to me, reminds me of the VGA version of Loom.

The good news: This version of the game works with ScummVM, and we will have the resource files available hopefully within the next week. (Which means you can play the game if you already possess MI1.) Our deep throat is putting a couple of compatibility fixes into place as we speak, so stay tuned for more soon.

For now -- this is what could have been:

It does not seem that long ago when LucasArts then-president Simon Jeffery was lending quotes to press releases and celebrating their games' fan modifications.

NEW WEB SITE FOR POSTING OF LUCASARTS INSPIRED GAME MODS LAUNCHED BY LFNETWORK.COM FAN SITE

Officially Sanctioned Site, http://www.lucasfiles.com, Offers Fans Location to Create and Post Modifications of LucasArts Titles

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- December 11, 2002 -- Fans who create game modifications (mods) based upon characters and elements in titles by LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC can now post their works on the Internet at LucasFiles, which can be found at http://www.lucasfiles.com. The new site, created by Lucas Fan Network (LFN), http://www.lfnetwork.com, an independent collection of web sites dedicated to LucasArts and its games, is an exclusive and sanctioned online location offering a variety of mods inspired by LucasArts titles. The LucasFiles database also hosts unique fan produced content, levels, and an array of other media.

"LucasArts is grateful to the Lucas Fan Network, whose enthusiastic and very dedicated members have created a distinctive online destination for fans of our games to showcase and share their creations with others," says Simon Jeffery, president of LucasArts. "The fan community is incredibly important to LucasArts and this site will provide them with a variety of ways to continue to celebrate their passion for the company and its games."


Flash forward a decade and a half, and while it is lovely to see that the LucasFilm letterhead stationery is still getting some usage, those halcyon days of Lucas sanctioned fan activities are nothing but a distant memory.

Read more...

Late night host Conan O'Brien maintains a pretty active online presence, and one of the things his digital wing sometimes does is post video game live streams to the Conan Youtube channel. These streams are hosted by the Conan team's resident gamer Aaron Bleyaert.

Well, it looks like the latest one of these deals was for Grim Fandango. The stream just ended, but it is available on Youtube for posterity. I kinda skimmed through it, and it looks like Aaron liked the game, without getting very far. Check it out below:

Or, as it is, totally Infernal Machine. That's right, ATM informs us the 1999 classic -- if you're into this kind of stuff -- is available for purchase over at GOG. (Windows only, natch.) Grab it if you so desire.

Former LucasFilm Games developer David Fox is hosting a slew of Zak McKracken & LucasArts activities at the Cervignano Film Fest this weekend. There may even be is a livestream on at this very moment (Saturday 22 September 20:00 – 23:00 CEST or 11am-2pm PDT). The video of his LucasArts presentation from the day before will also be available soon.

Read more...

Comments: 3 / Source: Twitter

A glass-is-half-full personality is going to zero in on the positive elements of this new interview with Bill Tiller courtesy of the rakish charmers at Arcade Attack. After all, it offers delightful career anecdotes from one of the industry's best artists, including his time back at LucasArts (and the attendant travails under Randy Breen).

Unfortunately, it also offers this:

Do you think you will ever work on a new Vampyre Story game?

No, I have given up. I can’t raise enough money to do it and I don’t own the computer game rights, though I own all other rights. But I will do A Vampyre Story graphic novel next year. I am bummed we never got to do the sequel, so I’ll tell the whole story of Mona and Froderick through that medium instead.

[...]


What projects and games are you currently working on?

I was just working on a side scrolling game based on an idea I came up with called Miskantoic Mary, but I couldn’t devote enough time to it, so we cancelled it. I’ll make that into a kids book I think. Now I am looking for a full-time job and freelance work. I think I am done making my own games. They just didn’t make enough money and were very stressful to make. I’m off to do kids books, comic books and to work full time at a reliable game company.

Despite the headline, I don't honestly blame this turn of events entirely on Zaarin's failure to relaunch the Mojo forums by now after a clear mandate to do so, but let's face it: his dereliction of those duties probably did nothing to help.

One silver lining in all this grief is that we intend to celebrate A Vampyre Story's tenth anniversary in some way before the year is through, so look forward to that.

Or, indeed, Wednesday if that’s when you’re reading this. Or any day, but I digress . . . We love ourselves some Outlaws music here at the old Mojo, enough so we want to share it with you:

That’s right, MP3s and FLAC -- we treat you so fine! Now go listen, and agree that Outlaws is an underrated classic, be it soundtrack or game.

Mojo regular Laserschwert has used the original LucasArts X-Wing PC game midi files to create an upgraded score for the work-in-progress X-Wing Virtual Machine project which we first reported on back in late 2016.

Image

Hear Laserschwert's amazing work on his soundcloud page here.
ScummVM and its sister project, ResidualVM are participating in the Google Summer of Code once again.

This year, the students are working on the following games:

ScummVM:
  • Pink Panther: Passport to Peril and Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink. Student: Andrii Prykhodko
  • The Immortal. Student: Joseph-Eugene Winzer
  • Star Trek: 25th Anniversary and Star Trek: Judgment Rites. Student: Matthew Stewart
  • ResdiualVM:
  • The Longest Journey (currently completable with missing features). Student: Liu Zhaosong
  • While we're on the subject of ScummVM and ResidualVM, both projects have had updates lately:

    ResidualVM 0.31 has been released. This is a bugfix release that fixes a few bugs in Myst III, in preparation for Cyan's upcoming digital release of Myst III that will use ResidualVM to play the game.

    ScummVM's addition of Xeen, the first RPG engine added after ScummVM changed their guidelines to allow RPG games alongside the adventure games, is now completable in the daily builds. There are five RPGs that are currently completable: Might and Magic IV, Might and Magic V, World of Xeen, World of Xeen 2 (CD Talkie), and Swords of Xeen. If you want to play these games in the daily builds, make sure that you place xeen.css in the same folder as your game files.


    Stuart Brown's YouTube channel, "Ahoy", has just released its latest episode, a 75 minute documentary(ish) on everyone's* favorite adventure game, The Secret of Monkey Island.

    I've only watched the first 30 mins, but I like what I've seen so far.



    Thanks to Threepwood4life to alerting us to this video's existence.

    * Yes, everyone in the whole world.
    Comments: 8 / Source: YouTube
    The best non-Lego, non-arcade, non-pinball game based on Star Wars: Episode I is now available digitally.*

    Star Wars: Episode I Racer is now available from GOG.com.

    *It's probably not coincidental that podracing is also the best part of the Star Wars: Episode I film.

    Of course you do. And you're in luck, because that's just what was recorded at something called "EGX Rezzed 2018." I assume that's the name of an expo, though it may also be the model of dirt bike my nephew got for Christmas. For those of us who happened to be washing our hair during Tim's panel, here's a handy Youtube embed of the whole interview:

    I haven't watched it myself yet, but reportedly Tim mentions the possibility of further LucasArts remasters, iterating once again that he'd insist on the original creators being involved. Hasn't Brian Moriarty been pretty upfront about wanting revisit Loom? Anyway, Tim evidently talks a bunch about Psychonauts as well, so it's sure to be a worthy listen all the way around.

    Because why the hell not? In anticipation of an upcoming Escape from Monkey Island extravaganza, we give you the soundtrack:

    Che[ck/que] can be sent to the regular address.

    Update (April 17th)! Some of you had issues with the zips; these should now be fixed.

    Ken Macklin, the artist behind Maniac Mansion's iconic box art (and who was supposed to do the Thimbleweed Park box), was interviewed last year about the development of said art. It's brief but you'll be glad you read it. A year later.

    Now all that's left is for somebody to leak all of Macklin's background art for Noah Falstein's version of The Dig. Anybody got that lying around?

    Comments: 1 / Source: VGArc
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