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.