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We previously reported on Bill Tiller's involvement in a crowdfunded board game called The Shivers, which has seen unreasonable success.

Well, the folks behind the project have just added three new members to their team, and guess what two of them have in common?

  • Larry Ahern Larry is a former LucasArts adventure game designer/writer/artist currently working in the California theme park industry. He is part of the creative vision behind such beloved titles as Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and The Curse of Monkey Island. For The Shivers, he'll be writing some of the episodes included in the Core game, bringing his unique blend of cleverness and humor to our pop-up adventure!
  • Jared Sorensen Considered to be one of the founding fathers of indie roleplaying, Jared started publishing tabletop RPGs back in the '90s (he's also another LucasArts alumni) . In 2003, he created Action Castle, the first-ever Parsely game that brings the intrigue of '80s-style text based adventures onto tabletops around the world. For The Shivers, Jared will be overseeing and editing all of our 16 initial episodes to ensure they flow logically and intuitively with minimal continuity problems.

It's only a matter of time before Tim Schafer closes up shop and follows everyone else to this pot of gold.

Info for the new Sam & Max VR game keeps streaming forth, and samandmax.co.uk has been keeping on top of it. While Mojo falters in timeliness, it makes up for it by excelling at leeching off others.

First, some clarification on the game's team team. The studio publishing the game, HappyGiant, is the one founded by LucasArts veteran Mike Levine, who you may know from his work with Larry Ahern on Insecticide, while Sam & Max Hit the Road is among the many credits from his LucasArts days. Also integrally involved is Mike Stemmle, whose Sam & Max bonafides hardly need to be listed. Peter Chan is another of the apparently numerous Hit the Road alum involved, and Steve Purcell is naturally consulting.

Since the initial announcement, an extended trailer was released by IGN, some screenshots and story details came to light, and gameplay footage narrated by Levine and Stemmle appeared during something called a "Gamescon" Twitch stream yesterday.

For your convenience, we've got the screenshots safely stolen in our own galleries. Note the appearance of Sam and Max's office landing as a location, which we haven't seen since Hit the Road, but which we would have seen in Freelance Police.

In fact, what I'm finding most interesting about this game so far is how its depiction of the office/street is a balanced tribute to both the LucasArts and Telltale incarnations. The street environment seems extremely indebted to the Freelance Police version, while the hoodless DeSoto, the voice actors and certain specifics in the office (like the television) are straight out of the Telltale games.

Anywho, keep tabs on Mojo as we keep tabs on samandmax.co.uk's ongoing coverage of Sam & Max: This Time It's Virtual!.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard concrete rumblings about any new Sam & Max games, so this one came as a bit of a surprise…

Good to see them again! Particularly if you own a VR headset. At least five people from the previous Sam & Max titles are back working on this over at HappyGiant. We’ll keep you posted in a timely-ish manner.

And the forums are figuratively hopping with chatter about these news, so go discuss!

As someone whose experience playing Maniac Mansion on the NES (30th anniversary, incidentally!) was a formative one, that game means a lot to me. Consequently I’ve had a lot of inchoate and way-too-personal thoughts over the years about the game’s atmosphere, how promotional imagery managed to capture it, and how Day of the Tentacle opted to recast it. I also find myself struck by the attractively open-ended future this fairly unexamined series has, should anyone care to give it one.

Regrettably, I didn’t bother to actually pull those thoughts together before publishing them in an article, but hopefully the pretty pictures will distract from that. Don’t be a tuna-head; read it, and preferably not on a phone! MojoEx isn't up to it.

If you were a person of good taste, you'd already know this from reading our forums, but if for whatever reason you're not...

Terrible Toybox are looking for an art director, and as you will see in the description, the studio is working on an "unannounced 2D pixel art adventure game." That's pretty much it. But Ronzo and Winnick and new adventure game are words you want to hear together.

Excited? Go to the forums and giddy your heart out there!

We reported on a Firewatch movie back in 2016, and now it seems things are gaining traction.

Snoot Entertainment and Campo Santo are joining forces this time around to produce a movie, nay, piece of cinema, centered around the 2.5-million-copies-sold game. Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman – no introductions needed – will receive production credits.

Meanwhile, the rest of Mojo staff is still doing Mojo, because we’re not sell-outs and not at all questioning certain life choices.

Remember video game magazines, which you could have and hold? Me neither. But they apparently still exist, and the October 2020 issue of Edge, available now, contains a lovely spread about Psychonauts 2, printed upon tactile pages:

Psychonauts 2 features on the cover of Edge this month, and strangely enough, its premise couldn’t feel more of the moment. We were the very first media to go hands-on with a psychedelic new level, and we’re bringing you all the exclusive details on how Raz’s next adventure is coming along.

We’ve also gone inside the minds of the team at Double Fine – including art director Lisette Titre-Montgomery and Double Fine co-founder Tim Schafer – to figure out what makes a good Psychonauts level tick. A very large Google Doc, set up by Schafer 15 years ago, is one part of it. But elsewhere there’s talk of multiple script passes, algebra, prog-rock jam sessions – even a little bit of Uncharted. And, of course, novelty. The inside of everybody’s head is different, after all.

Naturally, then, we had to bring you something unusual for our Psychonauts 2 cover. The result is a very special glow-in-the-dark treatment that’s positively mesmerising to behold. Draw the curtains, turn off the lights, and take a look for yourself.

You heard them -- take a look:

Over on their Youtube channel, PC Gamer is running a video series called “Reinstall”, which seems to consist of capsule retrospectives for selected games. LucasArts’ two 1995 graphic adventure releases, Full Throttle and The Dig, made the cut; enjoy their episodes below.

We’re really bringing out the big guns today!

Twelve years ago, Jason bought a poster -- a Maniac Mansion one specifically. Fast-forward to 2020, and he finally got it framed, a momentous occasion. And who are we to deny you from reading such a tale of excitement and intrigue? We give to you: Jason Frames His Maniac Mansion Poster: A Gripping Account .

Conversely, taking twelve years to frame a poster seems indicative of how we procrastinate about anything and everything around here, but either way... Read!

Oh, and want to show off your framed LEC posters to the world? There's a forum thread for that.

The "top-down" shoot-em-up Zombies Ate My Neighbors was a favorite of the 16-bit era and not even the sole classic to come out of LucasArts in 1993. It is also, seemingly, among the most sequelizable games ever made.

Despite this, its potential as a series has been weirdly explored. It did get one official sequel, Ghoul Patrol, but that apparently began as an unrelated game only to be redecorated as a Zombies follow-up at the eleventh hour. A spiritual successor, Herc's Adventures was made by key members of the Zombies team but is technically not part of the brand, even if the branding is all that's missing.

Two obscure successors always seemed to be a rather limp legacy for a game that is still so fondly remembered, and apparently there are some developers that agree. Enter Demons Ate My Neighbors! by Tuned-Out Games and HumaNature Studios. Says Nintendo Enthusiast:

The premise of the game is a cursed VHS tape has turned Fairweather Valley into “a den of horrors,” ruining April and Joey’s relaxing summer. Now it’s up to them to use squirt guns filled with holy water to save everyone, while also battling creatures inspired by classic horror films.

If the title and premise don't convince you that this title is explicitly intended as an unambiguous tribute to Zombies Ate My Neighbors, the screenshot in the full write-up will. Look for Demons Ate My Neighbors! on Nintendo Switch and PC sometime in 2021, preferably with a Player 2 on hand.

You begged, you bartered, and as Mojo loves you, Mojo has provided the Mojo Forums. That’s right, party like it’s 2001 with good, old-fashioned posting boards.

So what do we got? Well, these are a continuation of the old LucasForums, so if you had an account there, you’re good to go here. Otherwise click the "Sign Up" button (it’s under the hamburger menu if you’re using your phone) to get rocking. All the old forums can be viewed in read-only mode; for new stuff we have a brand new board.

So why are you reading this when you could be posting your heart out? Be part of the Mojo Community – we are sure it will be very, very active!

And remember, these kind of updates would not be possible without the help of you, our dear Patreon contributors. If you still haven't had the chance to love Mojo back, why not do so now, with a healthy contribution to the Mojo Fund!

Looking for some Psychonauts 2 gameplay footage? Who better to show it to you than Jack Black himself?

Tim even calls in!

While renowned illustrator and one-time Autumn Moon CEO Bill Tiller continues his slow, NDA-shrouded efforts to get A Vampyre Story 2 financed, his drawing hand hasn't just been sitting around idle. He's been recruited as the artist of a crowdfunded board game.

It's called The Shivers, which describes itself as a "mystery pop-up Role-Playing Game for 2-5 players, exploring a spooky mansion filled with hidden secrets!" With 28 hours to go at the time of this writing, the Kickstarter has raised $490,000. Its goal: $40,000. Well, good for them, but when I think about how Bill's AVS prequel Kickstarter seven years back couldn't come close to its $200,000 goal, well, the contrast is saddening.

Check out the project for The Shivers to get a sense of its Tilleresque beauty, and do excuse me while I come up with some-assed board game concept. Apparently that's where the money is.

This one was irresistible. It turns out that The Orlando Sentinel does a pretty admirable job of digitizing its archives, as this online version of an editorial from August 16th, 1991 proves.

Here's how it opens:

We're getting letter after letter from readers wanting to know more about the Nintendo Entertainment System's Maniac Mansion ($54.95). To answer everybody's questions about this great (not to mention funny) strategy game, we'll take you on a run-through from the beginning. Remember, this is just one of dozens of possible scenarios. Try it out and use the same kind of strategy to solve the game with other characters.

You'll have to read the article if you want to see their useful hints for yourself. Tough break for the LucasFilm Games hint line.

Anyway, this is awesome. And a reminder that video games were always appallingly expensive. I would point out that the Nintendo version of Maniac Mansion was released in September 1990, so if they were getting "letter after letter" eleven months later, the game must have been big in central Florida -- and particularly so relative to the rest of the country, as the cartridge did not sell well enough to earn a second North American printing.

Because it is apparently compulsive for LucasArts legends to subject themselves to 90-minute interviews over Zoom, David Fox strapped himself into a headset and took his turn for a grilling over broadband. He and the interviewer cover a lot of ground about halcyon LEC, so do check it out when you're done with the Tim one, and just hope that someone will give enough of a damn about you when you are David Fox's age to put you through this:

Fox is apparently the darling of YouTube, as he's sat for quite a number of these over the years, and I doubt we've caught them all. If you find yourself craving more, Youtube is your friend.

First, so we don’t bury the lede: If you want to play the talkie-edition prototype of Monkey Island 2, we are here to provide: Download it right here.

Of course, when I say “we”, the credit belongs to Nicolas Deneschau, the gentleman author of the French Monkey Island tome, "Les mysteres de Monkey Island: à l'abordage des pirates!" Not only did he provide the file, he also conducted interviews with Aric Wilmunder (the man behind the voiced prototype, and also the voice of Rapp Scallion) and Khris Brown (LEC’s famed casting director). Make sure to read all the way to the bottom for instruction on how to get the prototype to run under DOSBox. Check it out now.

And Mojo wouldn’t be Mojo without without Benzo hacking his way into the prototype. If you’re the type of person who find deepdives into resource files interesting — and seeing you are reading this, you probably do — go read it, too.

In summation: A playable prototype; interviews; hacking tutorials. Mojo has it all for you. Go read, and expect more from this, because we’re going to milk this for what it’s worth.

And if you enjoy this kind of fine, quality content, why not contribute a donation to our Patreon campaign? Only you can ensure the continued excellence of Mojo and its vast ocean of exclusive features!

Way back in 2002, LucasArts.com, which was a site that once existed (ask your grandparents), underwent a revamp as the studio was celebrating its then 20th anniversary. In an effort that arguably represented the only substantial content the official site ever laid claim to, a 20th anniversary section was launched with all sorts of multimedia goodies. Aside from the immediately looted concept art gallery, most of that stuff has been lost to time, presuming you can't be motivated to board The Wayback Machine.

Among the offerings were three nice features -- one a four-part history of the studio, one a collection of employee memories, and one a series of profiles of five veteran developers: Jon Knoles, Sean Clark, Eric Johnston, Mike Stemmle, and Larry Holland. Thinking that these pieces deserved better than being lost to the ages, we went ahead and ported them to Mojo for posterity:

As you might expect, not all media survived the Wayback Machine crawls, and LOL on trying to match the LucasArts.com layouts in MojoEx to any pleasant effect. But whatever, at least they're essentially intact, and can now be enjoyed for centuries to come. Or until Zaarin misses a payment next Tuesday.

I am currently doing a Coding for COVID-19 fundraiser. This is a game making fund drive with funds being raised through the West Elmira Computers Museum, with game development by my company Cydoca Entertainment with support by Double Fine through use of their intellectual property.

All proceeds go to charity. 90% of proceeds will be split up evenly among Doctors without Borders, Direct Relief, and Action Against Hunger. The remaining 10% will go to the West Elmira Computer Museum.

Three games are currently being developed: a conversion of Host Master and the Conquest of Humor from Flash to Wintermute, A Host Master Carol - a sequel that sees Tim Schafer work with himself in three time periods to make sure he has a game for each time he hosts, and OpenQuest II, a sequel to Michael Sheail's OpenQuest that takes place right where the last one left off. All games will be available for Linux, Mac, and Windows through ScummVM. More games will be added as the charity drive goes on.

To support the fundraiser, visit https://donorbox.org/coding-for-covid/

The West Elmira Computers Museum is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, EIN 83-2343976. Your contributions may be tax-deductible.
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