In our haste and intoxicating indulgences of eggnog, we forgot to post Steve Purcell's traditional Sam & Max Christmas card. This year's features Max as the most adorable Krampus you're likely to run afoul of:
The National Film Registry, that one thing Congress is good for, announced the twenty five films it has selected for inclusion for the year 2010. Of the list of inductees, the one that seems to be headlining all of today's news write-ups is none other than the very first talkie - I speak of course of the German expressionistic masterpiece The Empire Strikes Back. Who could forget the pulse-pounding sequence where the shark is blown up with a tank of compressed air?
You can see the whole list here, although I think it's easy to see why Empire, which boasts arguably Bogart's greatest performance, is getting all the attention.
The image above is Double Fine's Christmas card. There are four packages shown, presumably relating to the studio's four downloadable titles. Two have been revealed, Costume Quest and Stacking, and two are still unknown.
However, the packaging the games are in seems to relate to the game itself (bats for Costume Quest, and an old-fashioned hatbox for Stacking). Kotaku have therefore speculated that the unopened two have hints on them.
What do you think? Perhaps this for the big red box?
Stacking, Double Fine's latest digital-only title, is an adventure game with "a more immediate way of interacting with the adventure". Tim Schafer's team is making an adventure game. Excuse me, I just need to lie down for a second...
... Right, I'm back. Kotaku have a nice preview of the game, offering a really detailed look into exactly how the game is going to play.
Oh, and while we're talking about Double Fine, for anyone who's played the Costume Quest expansion Grubbins on Ice, there's a strong possibility that there's going to be more DLC for that game as apparently it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger...
The madness of Steam's wallet-emptying Holiday Sale is now upon us! Let's check out the games you should be interested in.
1. 50% OFF The LucasArts Catalogue. Tightly doesn't include The Force Unleashed II. You'd think they actually didn't want the game to sell. 2. 73% OFF The Telltale Holiday Pack. Includes Sam & Max Seasons 2 and 3, Puzzle Agent and Poker Night. Not sure what makes them holiday games (barring Ice Station Santa and the fact that there's a lot of snow in Puzzle Agent), but it's a good deal nonetheless! 3. 33% OFF DeathSpank and 25% OFF DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue. These games are already great for the price (they're huge and lots of fun), now they're on sale despite only being out recently (TOV only came out three weeks ago!). THAT is how you get people to buy your new game, LucasArts. 4. 90% OFF The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom. That's 39-49 pence for a great puzzle game. What's this got to do with us? It's a storybook puzzler similar to LucasArts' Lucidity, and reportedly (by us, though I can't find it now) the teams of both games maintained a close relationship throughout development. 5. 50% OFF Time Gentlemen, Please + Ben There, Dan That. Two genuinely funny comedic adventures purposefully done in the style of LucasArts adventures, with a Use Partner gameplay mechanic lovingly ripped off from Sam & Max Hit The Road. Buy. The first game's free if you want to try it first though. The second game has Nazi robot dinosaurs. 6. 50% OFF Mata Hari. An adventure made with assistance from the Fate of Atlantis Dream Team of Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein. Flawed, but good for this price. 7. 50% OFF Jolly Rover. Another great comedy adventure that's obviously strongly influenced by (and with plenty of references to) LucasArts, specifically Monkey Island. If you're pining for the days of quality funny adventures from LucasArts (if not, why are you reading this site?), Jolly Rover and Time Gentlemen Please are essential purchases.
From the "what, I thought you posted that >:" file comes Double Fine's experimental podcast which is exactly what you'd expect it to be. A podcast. That's experimental. Featuring Tim Schafer, talking to Tasha Harris and Gabe Miller.
It's funny stuff, even informative, so you should go listen.
You remember that free episode of Back To The Future Telltale were giving out? If you went for that and were expecting to play it the same time as regular buying folks on the 22nd, I've got some bad news: according to the latest issue of The Telltale Interloper (it should be in your email box now if you subscribe) the free episode won't be available until February.
Hopefully there will still be a demo of the first episode next week for those still undecided about the game.
Did you know that The Collective, the developer behind Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, was so keen on making a sequel to their 2003 Indy game that they took the initiative of prototyping one? Along with a few models, former employee Peter Han has the following to share:
So... this image is 5 years old, low poly realtime model created for a project that could have been. No photos were used in the creation of the textures and the render was not retouched.
This was done at Collective Studios, now known as Double Helix, sometime after Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb shipped. Hoping to work on another game, we did some R & D for a possible sequel. New, polished character models were created and the Indiana Jones model completely redone.
There was an amazing prototype that was up and running with updated gameplay, but unfortuneately this project never happened. Probably could have been the greatest Indy game ever. : ) Unfortuneately due to things out of the hands of the studio and suprisingly, even the publisher, nothing came about.
But after all these years, it was still probalby the most fun project i've ever worked on and since after the new movie came out, i just decided to dust off these images.
The folks at GameSpy have put up a nice little preview of them playing The Old Republic as Jedi. Just enough to make you water at the mouth. I'm not really an MMO player, but this game has me genuinely interested. Even if it is just World of Warcraft with HK-47 a Star Wars touch...
Meanwhile, the first episode of Back to the Future, "It's About Time," is set to launch on December 22nd.
And if you're still looking to buy more Tales of Monkey Island, PC retail copies are apparently going to hit UK, Australia, New Zealand and Europe on March 25th with "bonus content and items" bundled. Woo!
Our God Ron Gilbert has been interviewed by io9 in their weekly The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. He talks about DeathSpank and Tales of Monkey Island along with the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
I would go listen to it now, but I've been summoned by our guinea pig overlords to go fight ninja-robots on Mars. What better way to spend the holidays? You should listen though!
... confused iPad owners ask, "Where the hell are the four remaining episodes of Sam & Max?"
It's kind of an odd move, isn't it? After only releasing one episode of The Devil's Playhouse, what is to suggest that the same won't happen with Tales of Monkey Island?
Anyway, if you're a sucker like me, you can download "Launch of the Screaming Narwhal" from iTunes for $6.99, then keep your fingers crossed that the four remaining episodes will be released also. Odds are dim if history is anything to go by, although TTG claims we'll see more next year.
(Oh, also only one episode of Wallace & Gromit is available on the iPad. Is this all part of... )
Want some more Back to the Future gameplay footage? Of course you do! Run over to the TTG blog for some Doc Brown goodness, as well as further interviews with Christopher Lloyd, Bob Gale and Dennis Lenart.
Double Fine's Costume Quest picked up 'Best Downloadable Game' in the VGA awards, beating hot contenders Monday Night Combat, Scott Pilgrim: The Game, and Lara Croft's Sexy Horse Spleen Fun Time.
In other news, the new Pirates of the Caribbean trailer has been unleashed. This is notable because the film is based on the Disneyland ride of the same name, and the Tim Powers book, On Stranger Tides: both of these were inspirations for the Monkey Island series. The trailer has mermaids in it. Hello!
Hothead Games, developers of this year's two Deathspank games, seem interested in gaining some feedback. Didn't like the fetch quests, the ever-prevalent toilet humour, the sounds of slurping Deathspank produced when consuming freshly-slaughtered chicken? Let 'em know.
Let the rumours centered on a new Deathspank project commence.
Six images from the upcoming motion picture Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides have been posted on ever site on the internet today, and the gallery below proves that we're one of them. I sure hope my graphics card can handle this baby:
On the character pages you can look at concept art, read a short bio (for character and actor), and even listen to voice clips. Characters currently available are Marty, Doc, George McFly, and for the first time, Biff! Sadly Tannen(s) will not be voiced by the iconic Tom Wilson, instead Telltale veteran with a great name Kid Beyond will be doing the voice. There's at least one other character still to be revealed - we haven't had a woman yet, so Jennifer, Clara or Lorraine perhaps?
Also excitingly on the site are short plot synopses for each of the five episodes! I won't post them here in case anyone wants to remain unspoiled (plus it's a flash site so I can't just copy and paste them like the lazy git I am), but episodes 2 and 4 do contain concept art of two other characters - mafia gang boss Kid Tannen and a mysterious woman (Clara?).
UPDATE: There's also a new interview up at GameTrailers focusing on story and gameplay! Haven't seen it myself yet, but it seems like it detail just how the game is going to play, which is something a lot of people (myself included) have been wondering.
Telltale tells us Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People is heading to PSN (December 21st) and Mac (soon!). That's great, really, as it's now available for pretty much every major gaming platform.
Other than the 360 that is.
And not to get too Tingler here, but it'd be nice to see TTG release some more games for that platform too. I'd buy 'em!
Not that any of us really forgot, but it's a sobering reminder of how trying being an adventure game developer must be to know that even game ideas that publishers like are rejected on the basis of genre. Such was apparently the case of a proposal Bill Tiller shopped around to no avail at some point in the recent past. Accompanying [a large piece of] a lovely painting of a freighter called the Lisa Marie crashing into a harbor, Bill writes:
Concept art from a game proposal, lots of publishers like it but dont want risk any money on adventure games. Guess we'll have self fund it.
Turn the record over and tell us something uplifting, Bill! Still, a sliver of hope at the end there. Hopefully Year One will strike a chord with gamers and enable Autumn Moon to make all the games about vampires, ghost pirates, robot assassins, and rust-covered vessels that we can handle.
As if El Poll Diablo wasn't enough, you now have the chance to vote for our annual "Best of" poll. Yes, we're doing them again. As always the results will be included in our end-of-year round-up feature, so what are you waiting for? Vote!
The polls are open again! Our first question is the classic Which is the best Monkey Island game?, so go ahead and vote for your favourite!
In the media section, you will find that Files has been opened. So far there are some fan games and demos in there, but more will be added in the days to come. Thanks very much to Giocherellone from the forums for his help in archiving the fan game collection (and more is on the way!)
For people daring to brave the User Prefs page, there is now a new option available: Time zone. You can set the time of the site to your local time to see exactly when all those news posts and comments were posted when you were asleep last night.
Update: Cookie problems related to "Remember me" failing to load your preferences has now been fixed.
If the success of the work of his now fellow employees wasn't enough, Ron also has reason to wear a smile. The PSN leaderboard statistics for October show that DeathSpank is continuing to be a consistent seller, with the two parts attracting over 12,000 new players.
As old science fiction movies inform, it will be the bugs who survive the apocalypse. Further proof of their resilience comes today in the form of word I've received that Crackpot Entertainment (aka LucasArts vets Mike Levine and Larry Ahern) have not abandoned Insecticide, and are "trying to make it into a comic or movie."
Insecticide has been a beleaguered property indeed. The brainchild of Mike and Larry (with help from fellow warhorses like Dave Grossman and Justin Chin in fleshing out the universe), the game's bifercated PC release was, thanks to an untimely publisher buyout, aborted halfway. This left the Nintendo DS version - with its heavily scaled down visuals, text-only mission dialog, and condensed and missing cutcenes - as the only way players could experience the complete story. There was some talk about Crackpot hoping to put the cutscenes in Part 2 on Youtube so that PC gamers could at least get the whole narrative (however imperfectly), but they have yet to materialize.
Although met with mixed to negative reviews from the mainstream press, even the harshest critics of Insecticide as a game praised its rich world and memorable characters, with the suggestion that it would make a good animated series being registered more than once. Mike and Larry were clearly thinking along similar lines, as even when the game was still in the headlines, there was talk of adapting their creation to other mediums; it is known that a series bible was put together and shopped to various networks. It's nice to know that they're still not yet content to leave Chris Liszt and Roachy Caruthers to the exterminator - I'm told that another interactive Insecticide venture is also being considered, with the idea of making a "pure" graphic adventure series not being ruled out. Facebook is among the landscapes being looked at.
Mike Levine was unable to give further details about this effort's prospects, unfortunately. But I share this news in the hope of generating some positive energy to surround the project with, and on the off-chance that Mojo's readership includes an influential publisher or studio executive who is anxious to add a high caliber entry to their line-up. Also, we haven't seen that Crackpot logo on the front page in awhile.
Check out the game's trailer below if you're in the market for a low-investment refresher on Insecticide, and keep the hope alive: