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The Unofficial Sam & Max Website, once the go-to hub for Sam & Max news (a role assumed by samandmax.co.uk/ these days) got out of the day-to-day business somewhere around 2008, and you probably didn’t fail to notice its reduction to a static splash screen thereafter. This abandonment was perhaps in part because the staff was too busy making Sam & Max games to cover them, but let’s not trip over ourselves making excuses for those deadbeats.

Well as luck would have it, all these years later, new life has been breathed into the domain. The site has been relaunched and re-envisioned as Sam & Max Headquarters. The idea doesn’t seem so much to be producing content as serving as a flashy jumping-off point for all the online Sam & Max destinations deemed worthwhile through the parochial lens of a Web 2.0 world, though I also got a funny kinda feelin’ that there’s more to come.

Anyway, what’s going on there already is pretty neat-o, so show your support for mouseover hi-jinks and giddy up.

I know we report on these Prime Gaming inductions with a certain tone of discharging our duties (humor me on the we/our thing), but this time around there’s a little twist. CMI is indeed going to be one of six games being added to the service on May 1st, but apparently that came to pass because certain folks in the organization were really lobbying for it.

How brightly does the love for CMI burn at Amazon? Well, try on for size the fact that Principal Publishing Producer Amir Satvat put together a ten-minute video thesis arguing that the Plunder Island section of the game is “the greatest hour of video game gameplay ever made.” I mean, this is worth watching before you realize how much it’ll torque off Remi!

Comments: 3 / Source: Forbes

I, for one, am excited—Limited Run Games’ Sam & Max Save The World collector’s edition was an incredibly well put-together set, so consider the just-announced Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space an instant purchase. Semi-instant. They won’t take orders until May 6th. That aside, here’s what awaits you:

  • Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space on physical media
  • Bonus features DVD containing trailers, developer’s commentary, and other video goodies from the game’s original 2007-2008 production
  • Five episode postcards
  • Mini print of Steve Purcell’s "Autopsy" art (originally created for the March 2007 cover of Game Developer magazine)
  • Waterproof Banang sticker
  • Reproduction of Telltale’s Sam & Max Season Two Case File containing a souvenir from each of the game’s five cases: "The Friendly Demon Song" on mini CD, a Tiny Tiki drink coaster, Jurgen’s rave flier, one of eight random time cards, and a Soul Train subway token

$70 for the PC version, $80 for the Switch, which is pretty much them paying you to buy the set. Check out the LRG store for more, and get ready to open your wallet on May 6th.

Yet another Return to Monkey Island has been published over at Ars Technica, where Ron and Dave talk about... well, nothing earth-shattering, but it's always fun to read their thoughts on anything and everything.

"And very quickly, David and I came to the conclusion that we really wanted to build a game that was looking forward," he continued. "So that's kind of the impetus for the art we did, for the design, for the user interface. Everything we've done is building a game for the future, not necessarily the past."

Read more.

Or, as he more popularly is known, Herman Toothrot.

Ronzo took to Twitter today to announce that everybody's favorite hermit (and less favorite grandpa) is back in Return to Monkey Island. Wally Wingert will once again voice him.

Not too much more to say other than that ReMI is shaping up to be somewhat interesting.

Update: A little more say. When asked if Herman would be Elaine's grandfather (as he was in Escape) Ron shot that down and said, "He's back to being just an old crank."

History tells us that it’s always a mistake to expose staffers Benny and elTee to information of any kind. Naïve to their indefatigably compulsive ways, Dave Grossman had no idea what he was unleashing when he innocently mused in 2014 about an unlisted monochrome graphics mode for Monkey Island 2.

But those familiar with the personalities involved found it all too unsurprising when this ignited a near decade-long saga that even the most confirmed of basement-dwelling obsessives would go on to call, “rather sad.” Unmoved by pleas from concerned friends to walk back from the brink, the two defiantly embarked upon an unsolicited quest to resolve this most unremarkable footnote in SCUMM esoterica that guaranteed no wider interest and could only ever end in anticlimactic frustration – all the qualities that make for a classic article, in other words.

One of the bummers that goes along with most of the old hosted sites being lost to time is that a number of them were home to valuable interviews. Where possible, we like to try to import such orphaned archival content to that greatest of rescue shelters: Mixnmojo.

Today's rescues are interviews from the late, great iMuse Island. They were all conducted by the site’s able webmaster Luc Gilbertz and come from the period of 2000-2003. Improve your education and relive historical conversations with…

  • Clint Bajakian, fresh off his work on Escape from Monkey Island.
  • Peter McConnell, talking all the things that were relevant in 2003. Hey, remember that incident when he and Michael Land started a software company?
  • Jeff Kliment, the then-manager of the LucasArts Sound Department, with a few welcome intrusions by voice director Darragh O’Farrell.
  • Daniel “Wolk” Strandberg, composer of “Zak 2,” which, unique among Zak McKracken fan sequels, didn’t actually get finished. If that’s a subject that interests you, by the way, there’s no better resource than The Zak McKracken Archive.

This might be a good time to mention that such resurrections are not Easter exclusive, and that any retired webmasters who would like Mojo to keep their legacy content alive (or even to help you relaunch your site altogether) should pick up the phone and dial 1-800-ZAARIN, or for actual results reach out via webmonkey@mixnmojo.com or Twitter.

Mads Mikkelsen is the subject of a fat new profile at The Hollywood Reporter today. Naturally, the fact that Mikkelsen will be playing Indy's nemesis in next summer's fifth Indiana Jones wasn't likely to go unacknowledged, and while the actor can't reveal much, what he does say is likely to be what you want to hear:

His much-deserved break follows the actor working for 14 months on Beasts and his other upcoming big franchise project — the long-awaited Indiana Jones 5.

While he’s forbidden from discussing character or story details from the film (the rumor is that he plays, yes, the villain), Mikkelsen revealed the movie feels like a return to the franchise’s early 1980s roots.

“[Raiders of the Lost Ark] was one of my favorite films, and it just oozed that golden period of serials from the 1940s — and that’s in the fifth film as well,” he says. “They’re going heavily back to the first and second film and getting that original feel, the original Indy, something dense and epic.”

James Mangold (Ford v Ferrari) has taken over directing duties from Steven Spielberg, who remains on board as an executive producer. “It felt like a Spielberg film, though it’s obviously James making it with the same vision,” Mikkelsen says. Harrison Ford, who’s pushing 80, returns as the iconic adventurer.

Asked how Ford was holding up following reports that he injured his shoulder on set, Mikkelsen says he was impressed with his co-star’s physicality. “It was the first time I met him, and he’s an insanely powerful person,” he says. “Not just as an actor, but physically. I remember the first day we were shooting, it was a night shoot, then we stopped at 5 a.m. — and then he got on his mountain bike and went biking for 50 kilometers [31 miles]. Harrison is a monster of a man, a very nice monster.”

Since the franchise is in such a throwback mood, and now that Lucasfilm is all buddy-buddy with adventure games again, maybe they can get to work on Indiana Jones 5: The Graphic Adventure? The 21st century needs its Indy Quotient put to the test. And really, what better things do Ron Gilbert and David Fox have to do right now?

Adventure Gamers may have broken the seal, but they're not the only site interested in talking to Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman about a new Monkey Island. And so, after Mojo made it clear that the game just isn't relevant enough to Willow to work for us, the designers turned to The Verge to divulge more about Return to Monkey Island.

Though the screenshots included are the same crop shared with Adventure Gamers, what you want are those sweet anecdotes. Consider this one involving Dom and weeping:

How did [Armato] react to hearing you wanted him back for the role of Guybrush?

Gilbert: He was pretty stunned. I knew him, but obviously, we never worked together because we didn’t have voice back then.

But I kind of knew him, and I was at about the point that I wanted to loop him into what we were doing. I live in Seattle, and just by chance, he was visiting Seattle that weekend. So I said, “Hey, let’s get together, just have a coffee, and I can tell you about my new game, air quotes.”

We got together, we had coffee, and I think he was very interested in the new game, almost kind of wondering whether maybe he could have a voice part in it. And then I told him that it was the new Monkey Island, and he was just floored. Which is a reaction I get from a lot of people. Before, when we were bringing people on, and we’d talk to them, the minute I mentioned, “I’m making a new Monkey Island….” One person literally started crying. They were so happy that this was happening. So I think Dominic was really floored that we were doing it and extremely happy.

When Dom is happy, we are happy. Well, as happy as we can be while noticing that you aren't yet reading the full interview.

Your old pal and prolific Adventure Gamers contributor Emily Morganti is back to her hard-hitting ways, having snagged Ron Gilbert (and Dave!) for his first proper interrogation following the announcement of Return to Monkey Island. While our attorneys won’t allow us to make an accusation of bribery outright, we’re authorized to pass along the rumor that Cheese Squigglies™ were exchanged.

The interview includes some specifics about how ReMI* came into being, which involved Ron loosening up a bit on the position of ownership, but in the first place having the right connections:

The whole thing came about because I was talking to Nigel [Lowrie] from Devolver. We got together, I think it was at PAX, and we just started talking. He had mentioned that he knew John Drake, that they were friends, and John Drake was in charge of, I think, the licensing at Lucasfilm Games. So he wanted to approach [John] about doing a Monkey Island, and I thought sure, let’s see if anything goes.

Check out the full exclusive for the rest of the good stuff, which includes - oh yeah - the first screenshots.

*Remi has “suggested” that this be the abbreviation Mojo perpetuates for Return to Monkey Island, and we didn’t find his bolt action argument easy to disagree with.

Having inadvertently remembered Jim Carrey-Joel Schumacher paranoid fantasy The Number 23, I decided to stick the number of years between Monkey Island releases into Google Maps as coordinates, netting a picture which I've decided answers one burning question: Which of the damn games is the best in the series?

The hits keep on coming—though this one arrived a bit late at Mojo’s newsdesk: GamesBeat has published an interview with Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, one that has some meat on its bone. For example:

Mr. Grossman

The Monkey Wrench puzzle from LeChuck’s Revenge is notoriously unsolvable and was not a good design on several levels. Even if you are an English speaker from a location where the tool in question is commonly called a “monkey wrench,” and you realize that that’s what you need, you still have to make an astonishing predictive leap about how your actions will create that tool. Nothing in the game sets any of it up adequately. I use it to this day as my go-to example of what not to do with puzzle design, and it has influenced my thinking ever since. The player has to be able to somehow visualize what to do, and if they do give up and look at a hint, I want their response to be, “Oh, that makes sense, I should have thought of that!” rather than “How on earth was I ever supposed to think of that, you ridiculous, unfair clowns?!”

Conversely, The SCUMM Bar, everybody’s favorite website on the internet, is quasi-consistently being updated, landing-page style, with the latest ReMI factoids. Rumors (from me) suggest there might even be a few nuggets coming in later today.

Relatedly, our Adventurer newsletter already downright broke the GamesBeat news—we can’t be expected to update two sites at the same time after all. (Madness!)

Authenticated original The Secret of Monkey Island posters are thin on ground these days, and when one turns up in mint condition, it is valuated by Lloyd’s of London at around $18 trillion. This is by way of setting the stage for Dave Grossman’s latest tweet:

Hey, you can’t put a price on a clever arts and crafts project. Well I mean you can, but it’d just be too depressing. Seriously, it should be said that it was Dave’s property to do with what he wanted. I will contend though that the cocktail napkins he made out of the Maya codices were a bit much.

The eminent Jared Emerson-Johnson's work on the Telltale Sam & Max soundtracks is rightly celebrated, and his opportunity to polish it even further for the Skunkape remasters was justly met with excitement.

But in the final analysis, is something truly of any worth until it's been discussed on public radio? To the relief of millions, it's a question that doesn't need to be confronted, as Jared was invited to be interviewed by WSHU. Listen to it, then head over to Bandcamp to buy the soundtracks eight more times.

Our most legendary April Fools prank, never to be topped, was the successful counterfeit of some “leaked audio” from a fabricated fifth Monkey Island game called Return to Monkey Island (ahem) back in 2002. This prank was carried out by a previous generation of the staff with exacting fastidiousness, employing the help of professional resources, toward the goal of abject cruelty.

Some of the fake dialog lines even wound up in Tales of Monkey Island, earning Mojo billions in royalties that it defiantly insisted be given to a worthy children’s hospital, after The SCUMM Bar achieves solvency.

But with the 20th anniversary of the web’s finest prank having passed, few are alive who remember it firsthand. The issue of preservation thus announces itself. Dom already did his part by filing the audio files safely away on Archive.org, ensuring its survival of extinction events. The problem is that these mp3s, impeccably produced though they are, remain estranged from their context. Sure, the old news posts they belong to technically still exist, but only as sad phantoms of brokens links and absence media.

”What is to be done about this?” is a question you shriek to the heavens with knowing urgency, given that an imposter Return to Monkey Island looms and threatens to permanently supplant the real McCoy in perpetuity’s memory.

Well, we just handle it, of course. Now settle down, and try to have more faith next time.

Just as they made a point of doing with Sam & Max Save the World, Skunkape has followed up their remaster of Sam & Max Beyond Time a Space with original builds as gratis DLC* and a bountiful archive of legacy bonus and promotional videos. Here, they’ve pretty much done all the legwork for us with these tweets:

*Unless you bought on GOG, in which case you've already got that.

Comments: 1 / Source: Twitter

Congratulations to Kimberly Brooks for winning a BAFTA for her role as Hollis Forsythe in Psychonauts 2. Double Fine had an incredible 6 nominations this year, including Artistic Achievement, Narrative, Game Beyond Entertainment, Technical Achievement, Music and Animation, but were cruelly pipped to the post in every category.

The original Psychonauts won the Best Screenplay BAFTA back in 2006, and its sequel recently won Best Narrative at the GDCA, so I bet Tim and company were hoping to take home another shiny face this year, but sadly it was not to be. Psychonauts 2 is still a modern day masterpiece though, and six nominations is nothing to feel bad about.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Return to Monkey Island news...

Comments: 2 / Source: Teh News

We don’t do much as far as editorials go here at Mojo, but once in a while, there are opinion pieces we can all get behind.

First, elTee, Mojo’s lead columnist, has written an op-ed called “Returning to Monkey Island (Again),” where he takes a look at the decades that brought us to a place few had expected us to be.

Want more? Our resident French philosopher Nicolas Deneschau asks, “Is Return to Monkey Island the first legacyquel in video games?” (Feel free to use it as citations for your college courses.)

Busy days here at the ol’ Mojo, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a load off and read “Return to Monkey Island, First Thoughts.”

Ronzo is in a saucy mood and decided to tease his legion with confirmation of another reprised character. In fact, the very first character ever seen in a Monkey Island game:

The great Rob Paulsen was in fact the voice of the Melee Island lookout in The Secret of Monkey Island special edition, so it's cool that they're keeping consistency there.

Of course, with all these signs that we're returning to Melee, we're teased with the possibility that we'll get to see what The International House of Mojo looks like, Rex Crowle style. To think, Ron went to all this trouble as an elaborate excuse to supply us with a new logo.

Comments: 5 / Source: Twitter

While we at Mojo are excited about Return to Monkey Island, we also cannot shirk our journalistic integrity and report on scandals surrounding the sixth entry into the franchise. Anonymous sources have sent us a comparison of promotional logos, one from the website and trailer and one from the website’s OG image. (The latter being the one you see when you link to the site on Twitter.) To wit…

One is in the style of the original logo, the OG closer to the one from the Tales of Monkey Island era. One hydrated, one shriveled. What can we read into this? I think it’s safe to say it is all part of… Cover-up image Although, it’s hard to say which logo is censoring which, I think it’s safe to say that the purists amongst us prefer the original. We are also old, so take that for what it’s worth…

It’s been two days. You’ve all had your fun, and now it’s time to turn to pressing matters.

It’s time to put our feet back on the ground, drop the nonsense, stop forestalling the inevitable and embrace our duty.

It’s time to vote on the best Monkey Island official site.

  • First up you got your basic Curse of Monkey Island official site, all right. Now with this one you get HTML frames, chattering Murrays, and a developer diaries section filled with vintage Dan Pettit anecdotes. An easy choice for those with discerning tastes who also need to stay within a sensible budget.
  • Fancier customers may not be prepared to settle for less than Escape from Monkey Island's official site, a triumph of judicially-appointed UI controls and conservative screen resolution expectations. It is said that if you contemplate its all-encompassing blueness with deep enough concentration, you can actually start to levitate. And, ladies: it's said to be single.
  • And then there’s the newest contender of the pageant, an oven-fresh splash screen for Return to Monkey Island organically sourced and tailor-fit for the modern sensibility. Sleek. Elegant. Purple. These are but a few of the elements lifted shamelessly from Mixnmojo, but we admire anyone with the good sense to steal from the best.

There you have it. To which does your heart belong? Cast your vote in the comments, or declare loudly to Lucasfilm through indifference that they were wrong to revive this series. Whichever expresses your feelings best.

We might have seen this week's development coming, had we only listened. From a vintage interview with LucasArts in early 2001:

Guess you feel pretty silly now, don't you. Well, it's too late to apologize.

Unsurprising to most—but apparently shocking to some—is that Ron Gilbert’s "If I Made Another Monkey Island" post from 2013 has passed its expiration date. That is to say, the almost ten-year-old musings may very well not apply to Return To Monkey Island. To quote Ronzo:

NOTE: Now that Return To Monkey Island has been announced it’s important to note that a lot of my views (but not all) in this post have changed. Don’t take anything in here as more than a historical moment. Quoting anything in here as canon will just led to tears.

Now go relive that ReMI trailer one more time to keep riding this high.

(News nabbed from The Legend of Monkey Island’s Twitter.)

We're not quite through selflessly promoting "Video Game History Hour" - that would be the podcast of the Video Game History Foundation - which just last week delivered another Mojo-baiting episode by having Noah Falstein as their guest.

Noah's always a great listen, and this is no exception. He also at one point mentions having a "thick stack of design docs" still in his possession, which can only be interpreted as fishing for a bribe. Anyway, treat yourself to recollections from one of the industry's most storied careers, and thank me later.

The Nintendo version of Maniac Mansion is an odd duck in the best possible way, sporting loads of charm and a number of unique features. Part of its popularity is that it’s the version that many played first, but there’s more going on here, or SEGA CD The Secret of Monkey Island would be held up as some sacred cow (No offense, Dom).

A major distinction of the Nintendo version is its soundtrack. Typical of its time, the original PC version of Maniac Mansion was a relatively silent affair, with its audio consisting of little more than a title theme and the odd ambient sound effect. Wall-to-wall music wasn’t really a thing for the SCUMM games until Monkey Island 2, but it was very much the norm for Nintendo games.

So when the Maniac Mansion console port had just about wrapped up its development, the publisher, Jaleco, was wondering aloud where all the music was. Eleventh hour marching orders for a full-bodied soundtrack came down, and project lead David Warhol, something of a game composer himself, brought on three local musicians to split what ended up being a workload of twelve tracks.

To provide an in-game justification for all this music, the seven playable teenagers were given a CD player as a default inventory item, each loaded up with a genre pastiche representing his/her favorite fictional band. Serving not only the requirement for a fuller soundscape but also functioning as a kind of character-building conceit, the end result is surely one of the most varied of all 8-bit soundtracks, and who better to speak about it than the composers themselves? This is where I stop typing and link you to the article.

Yes, yes, you're all excited about a new Monkey Island, but there ain't no pancake so thin it ain't got two sides to it:

I mean, did Ron even consider Battlefront III's feelings when he took this selfish step? I'm just glad someone out there has the guts to speak for the underdog.

Comments: 2 / Source: Twitter

More to come.

Official web site. Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman, Land, McConnell, and Bajakian reportedly onboard. (See what I did there?!) Oh, and Dom, too!

Rex Crowle of Knights And Bikes confirmed as art director.

David Fox confirmed as lead programmer. We've heard murmurs about some other familiar name -- more to come.

Khris Brown is on as casting and voice direction.

Robert Megone of Thimbleweed Park-fame is joining in, too.

Ronzo has confirmed that CMI is canon; presumable EMI and TMI are, too. Do note the retcon in the trailer, though: the seagull that was killed off in TMI is back. Devolver state that the game "picks up where Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge left off".

For German fans: Marcel Weyers is translating Kehre Zur Affeninsel Zurück .

Want the trailer music in MP3 format? Mojo provides because Mojo loves you.

Jenn Sandercock is a producer on the game -- she previously worked on Thimbleweed Park.

Jared Emerson-Johnson confirmed as a music producer.

Noah Falstein pulled rank and got in on the playesting.

Known fanboy Elijah Wood raised his grog to the news.

Alexandra Boyd says, "there is only one true Elaine!" and jumps back into action.

Perhaps most strikingly of all, both The SCUMM Bar and The Legend of MI have had no choice but to update their front pages in the wake of all this. I guess that’s just something Ron will have to live with.

I admit that this is almost as much a non-story as Ron’s tired schtick, but if you’re into this Prime Gaming thing you should be aware that Monkey Island 2: Lechuck’s Revenge: Special: E:d:i:t:o:n::: is included on the service as part of this month’s arrivals.

No word yet on when Gametap will have it.

Ron Gilbert hates April Fool's Day. His dislike of the day is something that his blog celebrates every year by acknowledging the lack of an April Fool's Day joke on it. He's done this 18 years in a row. This year, however, he decided to mix things up a little by announcing a new Monkey Island game.

Has he decided to do a deal with Disney, or did he just become a bit less grumpy this year?

Make of it what you will! ;)

Update: Reader Sopabuena has done some detective work in the forums and uncovered this ancient Tweet:

An April Fool's Joke 18 years in the making or the most "Ronzo" game announcement of all time? Join the discussion!

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