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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.

News for a slow week: If, like me, you're working, bored of music, and not doing great because it's spring and you're stuck in a place you were supposed to be visiting for a few weeks but wound up a whole year in due to a pandemic mishandled by the two countries you live in inside, you might enjoy YouTuber BuzzMoo's lovely Monkey Island ambience videos. It's like being outside, but with Michael Land music.

Hey, I'm grateful. Stuff like this helps.

Comments: 1 / Source: YouTube

The newly re-christened LucasFilm Games – round and around we go – is hitting the ground running. Working with Bethesda and Machine Games, a new Indiana Jones game is on its way:

No word what platforms the game will be available for, but if memory serves me right, Bethesda is now a Microsoft joint, so take from that what you want.

So, teasing by Craig Derrick regarding a Monkey Island TV series not punishing enough? Step right up, son of David Bowie and movie director, Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code, and um, Warcraft), who spent his lockdown adapting the Full Throttle script for screen.

Kotaku has broken the story, nicked from Duncan's twitter feed.

If you know any movie studio bosses looking for something to fund, point them towards the pdf in Duncan's dropbox there.


Comments: 2 / Source: Kotaku

Yesterday Gamasutra reported the passing of Kelly Flock, who was the General Manager of LucasArts in the early-to-mid 90s.

It is noteworthy when a management figure is as fondly remembered by developers as Flock seems to be. He wielded greenlight power during a time when the studio could boast being at a creative height, and various accounts portray him as instrumental in that status due to his championing of original titles.

It was Flock who approached Steve Purcell about licensing his comic strip characters to the company to initiate Sam & Max Hit the Road; Dave Grossman cites Flock as the influential force in the assignment of himself and Tim Schafer to a Maniac Mansion sequel as project leads; Mike Ebert remembers Flock as a counterbalance to "politics," and credits him for approving games like Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Metal Warriors. Ebert even suggests that he left LucasArts largely because Flock did.

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.

Comments: 7 / Source: Twitter

Get a load of this!

Comments: 1 / Source: Twitter

Sixteen years after Maniac Mansion Deluxe, another LucasArts oldie has received a fan remake of astonishing care – the oldie, it could be argued. The decade-long labor of love Fractalus is now available for Windows, MacOS and Linux, and it’s probably as fine example of this sort of thing that comes along. May I present my first witness: the project lead of the 1984 original?

If that’s not enough to make you download the game, I’m not sure what else can be done for ya. Highest marks to the Australian enthusiast who apparently masterminded this. One wonders: is the Land Down Under to Rescue on Fractalus! what Germany is to the SCUMM games?

What’s interesting about the looming Monkey Island anthology set is that for all the hullabaloo about its extras and packaging, there’s still a bit of mystery about what actual game files we are going to find on that USB stick.

Right now, the only legally obtainable versions of the first two games are the special editions, while Curse comes bundled with ScummVM when you buy it on GOG or Steam, so that it’ll run on modern versions of Windows. But will Limited Run Games version include the original versions as well? This question rates a little higher than trivia, since the original game files for Monkey 1 and Monkey 2 have technically not been in legal circulation since whatever the last compilation was LucasArts put out prior to the SEs. And the original executables – which ScummVM replaces – would be necessary if you wanted to go Full Authenticity and run the game in DOSBox or a vintage PC. (We know you kooks are out there.)

So, what do we know? Here’s what Limited Run Games is saying on the subject at the moment, taken from their product description:

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge, The Curse of Monkey Island, Escape from Monkey Island, and Tales of Monkey Island will all be included as DRM-free installs/executables for modern Windows platforms. We will also be working to include fresh archives of original Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2 releases on various older platforms. Usage of these archived versions will be at the owner's discretion. We can't yet guarantee which older formats will be included, but hope to confirm soon.

Fingers crossed, but that’s promising verbiage! I’m also excited by the suggestion (if I’m reading it right, anyway) that The Curse of Monkey Island will run on a native interpreter rather than ScummVM -- which runs the game fine, but doesn’t seem to support its use of iMUSE correctly. At least for me.

The outrageous boxed set from Limited Run Games will continue to be available for pre-order until January 31st. Keep saving up those wooden nickels.

A lot has been written about Sam & Max: Freelance Police (2004) over the years. It would hardly seem to have gotten more relevant during that time, and many would reasonably argue that there isn’t much left to say on the subject.

We disagreed, and what’s more decided that we were the only ones qualified to prove our conviction that the history of Sam & Max 2 had not yet fully and satisfactorily been entered into public record. We accomplished this show of respect to a heady subject by - literally, according to some definitions - writing the book on it. Weep for our priorities and cozy up next to the fireplace with our indefensible digital tome, The Unabridged History of Sam & Max 2: A Mixnmojo Memoir.

The most unwieldy article Mixnmojo has ever published has been a long time coming. Hindsight tells us that the cancellation of Sam & Max 2 is the major event in The Mojo Histories™, and the theory was that the definitive account of the project’s life, death and legacy could only be written this far out and by the site that, for better or for worse, it had the most impact on.

This was a job too important to be left to the professionals, who would have left out the strikethrough humor and Dan Pettit references. Nevertheless, we did bamboozle William Eaken into crafting us professional-grade header art, and you’ll want to be downloading that (link inside) in its full-resolution glory because: my word. And in case you die of natural causes before reaching the appendix, I should point out here that all the new interviews we conducted for the article have been organized as a separate feature for convenience.

Yes, the fact that there is an appendix should raise some red flags. It took a minute to put this monstrosity together (At one point, this was meant to be a tenth anniversary article, then we punted to the fifteenth anniversary before giving up on a pretty number altogether), and at the outset no one could have predicted it would ultimately clock in at this biblical word count, but the important thing is that Mojo’s equivalent of The Aeneid is now here and available for your consumption. And unlike that hack Virgil, we finished what we started.

Now leave us alone, would you?

Put me squarely in the camp that contends social media has been a net negative for the species, but some flowers bloom even in darkness. The following thread proves that Twitter can claim to have produced at least one (1) neat thing, as it chronicles the Monkey 1 team’s real-time epiphany of what Mark Ferrari’s inspiration for Melee town might have been:

Another plagiarism exposed mystery solved!

If you've wanted to buy the Monkey Island 30th Anniversary Anthology from Limited Run Games, pre-orders started about two minutes ago and will end January 31st, 2021, at 11:59 PM Eastern Time (US). It's got the games! It's got a behind-the-scenes book! It's got a statue! It's got a $174.99 price tag. If that sounds appealing to you, get pre-ordering, as this is a limited run (hey, that's the company's name!).

The golden age of video chats with LucasArts alum has yet to peak. In the latest news from November 12th, a virtual interview with Noah Falstein was carried out by the fine folks at Arcade Attack. But you didn’t watch it then, because you were naturally waiting for Mojo to embed it in a news post:

Highlights include Noah describing his role in the conception of insult swordfighting, elaborating on his rejection of the “terrible” Monkey King script as the basis for an Indy game, showing off his rare Fate of Atlantis movie poster, his perspective on why the adventure games traveled particularly well in Europe, and general behind-the-scenes goodness.

Meanwhile, GOG is offering some patently ridiculous discounts at the moment. Remasters excluded, Lucasarts legacy titles appear to be 65% off across the board, meaning they’re all about $2 a pop right now. Angling for the record, Tales of Monkey Island is a whopping 90% off and can be had for $1.49. That’s just crackers.

After fans politely noticed that the first pass had subjective room for improvement, Limited Run Games went back to the drawing board to incorporate a number of tasteful changes to their commemorative Monkey Island anthology set with the guidance of Force ghost Laserschwert. Behold what can happen when an audience is listened to:

That's a major upgrade, with only a small growth in price point. Have your credit card at the ready on Friday, December 4th, when pre-orders will open -- for real this time.

What's that? We're several days behind on this rather significant news story? Only because we credit you with being people of taste who have therefore already been discussing it on the forums. For those who have fallen short of our expectations, why not pretend there's still something to complain about and join in on the discussion now?

It's here! The thing you didn't know you've been waiting 30 years for. Previously unseen artwork, deleted scenes, and insights from The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2! Not to mention a two-hour interview with Ron Gilbert where he reveals, amongst other things, some of his original plans for Monkey Island 3.

Gorge yourself on this bounty: The Secrets of Monkey Island's Source Code

All of this is thanks to the hard work of Frank Cifaldi and the other brilliant people at Video Game History Foundation. Look around their website and offer to donate your time or money to support their noble cause of documenting video game history. Thanks, VGHF!

Artist/animator extraordinaire Mark Ferrari recently sat down for his own extended video chat, and it would feel like paying insult to pretend that any more of a sales pitch is necessary:

I don't know what's in the air these days that is impelling so many lengthy interviews with LucasArts veterans to be recorded, but please do keep them coming.

That livestream with Mike Stemmle took place a few hours ago, and you can re-watch it right here at your own convenience. Drag over to 43:09 if you want to skip right to when Mike appears.

Throughout the 80-minute conversation Stemmle gives a lot of great anecdotes and some borderline apologies about Escape from Monkey Island, which is rightly the main topic (it’s celebrating an anniversary too, you know!), but there’s plenty of memories shared about the productions of Sam & Max Hit the Road, Sam & Max: Freelance Police, and the Telltale games Mike worked on. He even talks about some ideas that were pitched at Telltale but never happened, like his Lovecraftian take on Maniac Mansion.

And of course, there’s some pimping of the upcoming Sam & Max VR game, including some new story details. It’s all here, and a must watch.

Comments: 1 / Source: Twitch

Quoth the Reddit

Just in case it’s of any interest, I’ll be chatting to LucasArts’ Mike Stemmle of Sam and Max and Escape from Monkey Island fame on my Twitch stream tomorrow, Friday 6th November from 8pm GMT (as it’s the 20th anniversary of Escape!). Feel free to drop by and ask a question, he’s also working on the new Sam and Max VR game so will be chatting about that too! https://www.twitch.tv/cressup

The Video Game History Foundation conducted their "Secrets of Monkey Island" evening with Ron Gilbert to celebrate the game's 30th anniversary. A finished edited version of the event will be posted soon, but the raw streamed version is now available to rewatch for those who bought tickets and missed it.

The VGH Foundation unearthed previously unseen background artwork, sprites, cut-scenes and locations from Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2. They also demonstrated how a SCUMM programmer would have written code, and revealed the custom tools that they had to hand. It was wonderful stuff.

Oh, and Ron also casually revealed his original plans for Monkey Island 3, too. So there's that.

As soon as the public version has been made available, we'll share it here.

In the meantime, go give some love (or money) to The Video Game History Foundation for their incredible efforts and noble work.

Even though George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, the actual offices have remained at the Letterman Digital Arts Center in The Presidio -- a park in San Francisco. As Lucas owns those facilities, Disney has actually been paying George rent for that space despite owning the assets held there.

With the conglomerate undergoing a period of COVID related belt-tightening, rumor has it that Disney is finally ready to relocate all those assets to their home turf in Burbank.

The move down south for Lucasfilm apparently has been the plan for years. It is unknown what has been the delay in getting them down to Burbank. The goal was to have all of their divisions at convenient proximity to Disney headquarters. With that, they cut down distance and they no longer have to pay Lucas rent.

Why do we care? Well, presumably this means that the Lucasfilm archives are destined to make a six hour road trip, and as elTee's illuminating interview with Limited Run Games revealed, the original assets related to the old adventure games have not necessarily been digitized. And I'm not making judgments, mind you. It's hard to ask a supposedly state-of-the-art studio to make time over a thirty year period to digitally bank Monkey Island key art when there's a hundred other things to do. Those Baby Yodas aren't going to stack themselves.

I'm just asking everyone to join me in a collective prayer that they, you know, have the straps on the flat bed fastened tight as they load it up with irreplaceable diskettes of source code or Ken Macklin artwork for The Dig. And you know, that they throw a tarp over it if the weather forecast looks dicey. Things like that.

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