Many, many, many years ago we published reviews for all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which at the time were part of a trilogy. Now, just a little bit too late, we have completed the pentalogy, and reviewed the two last movies. Do we like them? Hate them? Do you care? All great questions, so go read!
Its been a while since the last Mojo podcast so to tide you over you might enjoy listening to the Super Marcato Bros video game music podcast. They dont have 4 guys arguing about which version of Loom is the best, but as podcasts go its pretty good.
Each week they analyse what makes the music in a particular game so great. To save you the trouble of searching here are some episodes that are of particular interest to Mojo readers:Monkey Island 3 & 4
Monkey Island 1
Monkey Island 2
Sam and Max Hit the Road
Interview with Peter McConnell - his Lucasarts music
Interview with Peter McConnell - his post-Lucasarts music
UPDATE: It's over now, and it was excellent. Dominic Armato showed up about 90 minutes in, and the gang played through the Three Trials section before adjourning. If you missed it, you can watch the entire three-and-a-half-hour stream here. Stay tuned to Jake's Twitter to find out when they will schedule the continuation.
I dunno how all this "Twitch" stuff works, but I always credit the Mojo readership with being hipper than I, so here goes. Jake informed the world yesterday that he and designer Marius Fietzek will be streaming their playthrough of The Secret of Monkey Island through his Twitch channel. If listening to Jake talk about the game for hours was on your bucket list, I'm happy to say you can die soon.
It all starts streaming at https://www.twitch.tv/ja2ke? come 11AM PT/8PM CEST. That's a little under than two and a half hours from now. Be ready.
We're a bit late on this and I didn't set out to make this Bummer Saturday, but acknowledgment is owed to the passing of actor Malcolm Dixon.
Cast at the beginning of his career as an Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Dixon was one of a number of dwarf actors who would find work in the 80s as creatures in fantasy/sci-fi films, appearing under thick costumes in the likes of The Dark Crystal, Return of the Jedi (as an Ewok) and Labyrinth.
Dixon's performances weren't exclusively buried beneath rubber and foam - he also had more visible roles in Time Bandits as "Strutter" and Willow as a musician in the village festival scene. A picture of Dixon from the latter can be seen below.
It has been reported that American actor Dimitri Diatchenko, who was often cast as Russian characters, passed away on April 21st.
Diatchenko played one of Irina Spalko's nameless Soviet henchmen in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a role which became expanded after he made an impression on the director. The actor was originally booked only for the campus chase sequence in New Haven, and beefed himself up to 250 pounds for the ten-day shoot.
But when Harrison Ford accidentally clipped Diatchenko on the chin during a take, Spielberg saw something in the actor's reaction that he loved and decided then and there to extend Diatchenko's commitment to three months, with the character brought back as a member of Spalko's permanent entourage for the second half of the film.
It was good news for Diatchenko but a rough break for his character, whose participation in the South America mission meant he lived long enough to get sucked up into an alien portal at the climax of the movie. That's cinematic immortality from where I'm standing. RIP.
One of the more insane and popular features this site has ever published was the tenth anniversary article by Gabez in 2007 -- a particularly fruitful year for the mischievous staffer. When it ran originally, the celebration/exposé garnered over a hundred comments. Even DJG himsef got in on the act.
Six years later, Remi re-published the article, but his effort to import Gabez's abusive HTML into the far less tolerant MojoX was predictably compromised. Today, we've gotten it into more faithful shape, and thought that would be an excuse to milk Gabez's deranged opus a third time. It's still a mess, but what can you do? Read it.
When we're not stirring up controversy over resurrected Star Wars games the Mojo staff love nothing more than to relax with some good old handicrafts. Right now Jason is reaching the end of his Ozzie Mandrill knitting pattern and Remi has almost completed the tie-die swordmaster tshirts for his Etsy shop.
Find them and many more over at his blog.
Like the dead-but-resurrected Telltale that birthed it, The Walking Dead shuffles on. You can buy every entry in the series, from the acclaimed, surprise hit first season through the company's swan song, via Fanatical's Sanctuary Bundle, which sets you back $4.99 for the lot. That's Steam keys for all what my Palestinian grandma calls "zombiss" plus Sanctus Reach, Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic, Blood: Fresh Supply, This War of Mine, and Redeemer: Enhanced Edition. And, for $4.99, this is a steal, tempting even to people such as yours truly who shuffled away from Telltale once Walking Dead changed the game (sorry).
You could do worse than support dark humour-as-marketing ("Sanctuary Bundle" raised an eyebrow, but I appreciate the effort) in these troubled times. Escape your troubles into a world overrun by the flesh-eating dead by clicking here.
Edit: Never post stuff at the tail end of a 20+ work day, kids. The Walking Dead games available are season one + "400 Days," season two, and Michonne, the "miniseries". You'll have to get seasons three and four separately.
Have you seen this lineup? I'm not newsing all this garbage as it comes out: https://limitedrungames.com/
Somebody who has actually played some of these game ought to step up. ¬
For the record those games are forthcoming Jedi Knight titles making their Limited Run appearance.
I ruffled some feathers earlier this week when I underestimated the nostalgia people had for Star Wars Episode 1: Racer. The repudiation of my assumptions continues with this paean to the Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace game published by The RetroBeat. Their argument is worthy of Criterion Collection liner notes:
Look, I’m not trying to suggest that the Episode I game is some massive hidden gem. It has not held up as well as other Star Wars games from that era, such as Episode I: Racer and Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. It also has some glaring problems, such as an awkward camera angle that is positioned far too high above your character and some lazy voice-acting.
But The Phantom Menace also has a lot of merit. It’s a snapshot of a much different time in the history of licensed video games, when developers were struggling to make 3D experiences that felt like true interactive versions of the moves they were based on. Eventually, this practice became much too expensive and difficult to create with a release date guaranteed to coincide with the release of a film, so now we see movies flock to the mobile space for their licensed games.
You know what, I'm just going to keep my mouth shut this time. Except to say this: If Masters of Teräs Käsi gets some sort of lionizing reappraisal next, a straitjacket's getting appended to my wardrobe rack.
That's the speculation over at SegmentNext, who point out the possible significance of a new job opening at Double Fine:
According to a recent job listing, Double Fine Productions was seeking a Game Scripter to implement “amazing writing and story moments” into Psychonauts 2. The position was closed a month ago and was on a contract basis of six months, which is just about the same time as when the game is expected to be done.
The six-month period also ties up Psychonauts 2 around the release window of next-generation consoles, which in this case implies that the long-awaited sequel could possibly be a launch title for Xbox Series X. Double Fine Productions was already revealed to be working with next-generation technology last December through a different job listing. Hence, seeing Psychonauts 2 release for Xbox Series X at launch will hardly be surprising.
As someone who's fallen somewhat behind on console platforms (any Wii U titles you want to recommend, for when I finally open the box?), I can't say this does much to change my position of I Sure Hope My PC Can Run This, but what do the rest of you think about Psychonauts 2 possibly angling for release on next-gen consoles? And when will Thrik relaunch Razputin's Domain now that Psychonauts 2 is coming out?
In short, hassle Thrik.
It only just relaunched, but samandmax.co.uk is doing something no one could have ever predicted from a modern-day Sam & Max fan site: reliable updates and actual content.
The unnatural activity began just a few days ago, when the site published an exclusive new interview with David Nowlin, the voice of Sam since 2006. They even got him to admit that "there has been some talk about some things here and there" with regard to future Sam & Max projects, so time to act like you're still a university student and get excited about that on the internet.
Mere hours ago, the restless fan site also reported on a second wave of Sam & Max action figures from Boss Fight Studio, which will consist of The Rubber Pants Commandos and Scuba Max. As for the first wave, both the Sam and the Max figures are still available for pre-order. Low on funds? Why not enter Sam & Max.co.uk's contest for a chance to win Max?
I don't know if there's any competition between Sam & Max fan sites these days, but I do know who's losing. In their neglectfulness, Jake and Metallus have allowed themselves to be usurped by a bunch of upstart monarchists from across the ocean. Being confirmed mercenaries, we at Mixnmojo are only too happy to forge an alliance with the winning side, so all hail the definitive, and some would say only, Sam & Max fan site of the modern era.
In the wake of Jason's recent, controversial comments which served to demean the upcoming re-release of the beloved N64 classic Star Wars Episode 1: Racer, we have decided that he does not reflect Mixnmojo's values and have invited him to pursue new career opportunities, effective immediately.
We did not come to this decision lightly, and imagine there may be some who consider that Jason's remarks, however insensitive, are not grounds for dismissal. We would agree, were it a first offense. But in fact it is a continuation of a pattern of behavior Jason has exhibited for over a decade.
Consider this news post from January 2007, shortly after it was announced that Traxion, a rhythm-based PSP game being developed by Kuju Entertainment, had been cancelled by LucasArts. The game's demise had already been reported on, and more than enough derision had already been directed at it. Enough was enough. But Jason just couldn't help but make one more snide remark at Traxion's expense, spurring Jake to speak truth to power in the comments:
"Everyone's being so hard on Traxion :( I have no idea what that game was, or if it was good at all, or anything, but Kuju - the developer of Traxion - is a cool studio and they don't deserve to be abused. Go play Batallion Wars on the Gamecube and then come back and dump on them again. It will be a lot harder to do."
We quite agree, Jake. And while Mojo prides itself in allowing its staffers to voice their opinions without fear of reprisal, we must balance this ideal of editorial freedom with the responsibility that comes with the influential Alexa ranking of 2,529,964. In short, we can only offer wayward employees so many chances to change.
We wish Jason only the best in his future endeavors and hope to continue to provide a safe environment for an audience that has come to expect unwavering loyalty to a pod racing game. Please continue to hold us to account and help us honor our pledge to do better.
The Mojo Management
The arms race for undeserving re-releases continues to heat up! Having already received a bogglingly reverent N64 cartridge recreation from Limited Run Games a while back, the 1999 bestseller Star Wars Episode 1: Racer is now getting ported to Switch and PS4 as well. Be amazed as James Vicari of Aspyr attempts to frame the most obvious tie-in product ever conceived as some sort of crown jewel of the LucasArts catalog. But he didn't count on the pushback from those notorious skeptics at StarWars.com. I'm kidding, of course:
StarWars.com: Star Wars Episode I: Racer is really fondly remembered. What do you think is the legacy of that game?
James Vicari: Legacy is an interesting thing to try and talk about. There’s like the pure metrics aspect, right? It’s one of the bestselling racing games of all time. At some level that means something, but it’s not the thing that makes people talk about a game 20 years later. That’s an intangible. And with Racer, I think its legacy is a very specific feeling of joy. When we announced it within the company, it was crazy how many faces lit up. Once we had it up and running, people from every department kept dropping in to check it out. If you’ve played it, you know. There’s just something about being in one of the coolest scenes from a Star Wars movie.
StarWars.com: Why is reintroducing Racer important to Aspyr?
James Vicari: Honestly, because good games should never be forgotten and great games deserve to be revisited as much as possible. I think Racer, like Jedi Academy and Jedi Outcast before it, has two crucial qualities: it’s a great game and it has emotional resonance. Those are very important to us. We really believe in reuniting fans with something they cherished, or connecting a new audience with something they may have missed.
Get ready to re-live the emotional resonance of Star Wars Episode 1: Racer May 12th.
Cognizant that the stay-at-home world we currently live in has come with a rise in video conferencing, Double Fine is offering background clips from Psychonauts 2 and RAD so that you can virtually bond with your loved ones and coworkers while advertising Microsoft product at the same time! The publicly available mp4s can be downloaded directly right here, courtesy of Spaff himself.
Speaking of Psychonauts 2, it's fair to wonder whether the pandemic will impact the development schedule of the oft-delayed sequel. It seems the team itself isn't quite sure yet. Beyond a comment saying as much and a vague statement from Microsoft about first-party studios facing "unique challenge" due to the ongoing situation, it seems the team is very much in the same boat as the rest of the world: figuring it out as they go along.
Although it's had an indiscernible impact on the frequency of Mixnmojo news posts, the ongoing pandemic has naturally caused a number of film productions to be delayed, and Disney has announced revised release dates for a number of its upcoming tentpoles, among them Indiana Jones 5. The long awaited cursed sequel is now slated for July 29th, 2022.
While COVID-19 is as legitimate as reasons get, the fact is that the delays to this project are so reliable as to achieve drinking game status. For those counting at home (and we do recommend you do your counting there, per government guidelines), this is the third year-long postponement that the film has seen since its original announcement back in 2016, timing the movie's release to be an 80th birthday present for its star.
That is, if you believe Ford is still the star of this. After all, the film's been undergoing serious behind-the-scenes havoc even before viral outbreaks started getting in on the act, with Spielberg demoting himself to a producing role and Logan director James Mangold reportedly being pursued as his replacement.
So we'll see! But at this point, Vegas is saying that Zaarin's estimates are more trustworthy than anything Disney would have you believe about this movie.