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Indy month begins

30 Jul, 2005, 15:38 | Posted by: Gabez | Comments: 20
Back in ?99 LucasArts had a stab at getting onto the action adventure bandwagon and cashing in on the Lara Croft craze with Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine. Now, six years later, we review it. And if you?ve played the game then don?t forgot to drop a comment or two for good measure. Wic-chu!
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The latest attempt at a Star Wars RTS game is getting closer to release. Today LucasArts posts the first tasty trailer for Empire at War.

While it's impossible to get a feel for the gameplay from a trailer alone it certainly looks impressive.

This title may be the first fruits of LucasArts' CEO Jim Ward's "less Star Wars games, but of a higher quality" mantra.

The game is being made by Petroglyph, a company made up predominantly of ex-Westwood Studios employees (they of Command & Conquer, etc).
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Ignore the poo monstar. Look beyond the poo monstar.
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Ted the Bug Appears

28 Jul, 2005, 04:56 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 1
Up at Telltale's official Bone page, Ted the Bug's 3D model has been added to the cast member section. The tiny critter looks mighty fine in motion, and I can't imagine fans being disappointed with this character's translation to 3D. (Woo! They kept the lines!)
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Double Fine: Five Years Old

27 Jul, 2005, 00:33 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 6
Double Fine Productions celebrates its fifth year in existence today, and you can too by going over there and sending them your warm feelings. Go ahead, it will make you feel good inside.

Buy another copy of Psychonauts while you're at it.

EDIT: The Double Fine Action News celebrates by adding THREE special new comics, and by offering in the company store, your own, OMG, hand knitted two-headed baby doll!!!!!11 And it's only $150. Are you kidding me? Go there now and buy fifty of them!
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New Sam & Max game to happen soon?

26 Jul, 2005, 06:32 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 16
Ok, so it takes a little - a lot - of goodwill to come to that conclusion from this Gamasutra interview, but anyway... This is what Steve Purcell has to say:
Would I get back into games? Sure. The [Sam & Max] license is back in in my hands now so we'll see what happens in the near future.
So we'll see, I guess. Check out Gamasutra for more.
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Thorn in the Hot Springs

24 Jul, 2005, 22:45 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 4
Telltale has updated the Bone location section with the Hot Springs. Make sure to check out the screenshots of Thorn too; Telltale has done a great job at recreating the facial expressions from the comic.

And, uh, as for what's up with the dates... Who knows... Just party like it's 2004 for a bit.
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Blood Island goes big

22 Jul, 2005, 13:12 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 4
One hosted site we haven't done a good enough job pimping is The Blood Island Project, Goblin's rather impressive site dedicated to the classic Curse of Monkey Island location.

Not only is the site filled with some stunning 3d images, you also get 2d art and some of the more impressive fan music I've heard in a while.

In other words, go check out the all new Blood Island now - it's pretty cool.
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Max shaves his butt, does a jig

21 Jul, 2005, 11:42 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 9
Apparently we had some downtime during a server move. Imagine that. Is it over? Well, I don't know, but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.

Anyway! Jake Udvarnoky apparently found these little animations while we were down. Witness previously un-seen scenes from Sam & Max: Freelance Police including a dance-off, butt shaving and a view of the town.

Go watch. Then weep.
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Long-term readers may remember that last year I wrote an article called Evolve or Die over at the good old SCUMM Bar, about how adventure games should change to have more action and RPG elements in them. Well now I've written a follow-up to said article about how other games like shooters and strategy games could do with the puzzles and character/plot emphasis of the adventure genre - in other words, why more games should be like Psychonauts.

My argument is probably illogical and poorly thought out, but at least it wasn't written when I was drunk on tea and doesn't contain quite as many wanking references as my Star Wars reviews. Read the whole damn thing here, and don?t forget to drop a few comments with your own opinions.
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No More X-Wings For You!

19 Jul, 2005, 18:59 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Globe Technology | Comments: 2
At the end of this interview with LucasArts 2nd in command, Peter Hirschman he says, tragically and somewhat patronisingly;
Q: A new flight sim game in the style of X-Wing, like Totally Games used to do?

A:
Oh goodness, I am such a fan of Larry Holland and what Totally Games has done. X-Wing is personally one of my favourite Star Wars games of all time. Larry is a hero! I've been fortunate enough to personally tell him that too.

I think that with Star Wars Battefront II, which is on PC, Xbox and PlayStation 2, we're delivering a bit of that experience. It's very accessible Star Wars space combat. I've always enjoyed what Factor 5 did with the Rogue Squadron series, but it was very much arcade oriented.

I think what Pandemic Studios is delivering with Battlefront II is much more akin to what Larry did with his X-Wing series. It's very accessible, yet has some depth and true flight mechanics. I think people who loved X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter are going to love Battlefront II. It's the first time in a long time that you're going to be able to have multiplayer battles - X-Wings vs. TIE Fighters - over the Internet. It looks great.

I don't think that we'll ever do just a dedicated X-Wing or TIE Fighter flight simulator again. Genres lines have blurred so much that people expect more, and frankly, we want to do more.

The point is that hardly anyone loved X-wing vs. Tie Fighter. Why? Because it had no plot. They hastily put togeter Balance of Power to accomodate all the negative comments from the press and fans. The greatest thing about X-Wing, Tie Fighter & Alliance is the wonderful story progression. All throughout that article Hirschman's going on about LucasArts' new mission to make games with compelling stories and characters. The old X-Wing series (except X vs T) had that in bucketloads. And unless there's a radical shift in direction in Battlefront 2 the plot and characterisations will be almost non existent.

And there's more that we already know in the article regarding Star Wars, Indiana Jones & Mercenaries. He even namechecks Grim Fandango and Sam & Max.
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Mercenaries Sequel(s) planned

16 Jul, 2005, 06:38 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Game Daily | Comments: 3
LucasArts CEO Jim Ward has been interviewed at Game Daily where he confirms the new company strategy of increasing internal development after the recent period of rebuilding.
"LucasArts is working on three or four games with outside developers and, internally, two are in production with that number expected to ramp up to four in the next few years as the company's game studio expands from 60-70 people today to over 150 a year from now. At that point, the plan is for the company to license out fewer titles and to do more of the development internally."

"Many people think of LucasArts as being the 'Star Wars' company, and traditionally, I suppose, that's been our heaviest SKU. However, the plan is absolutely to broaden our interactive gaming sphere with our 'Indiana Jones' IP, and with a number of new intellectual properties, most notably 'Mercenaries,' which we launched in January and which is becoming a brand new franchise for us."
The full interview is here.
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Bone Trailer Posted

15 Jul, 2005, 14:32 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 12
Wa-hey, it looks like Telltale Games has posted the long awaited (?) Bone trailer which seems to consist mostly of cut-scenes (?) from the game. More importantly, you get the chance to hear the voice actors, and see the animation in full swing. My first impression is that they've managed to capture the spirit of the comics just fine. Yours may vary.

Go look!
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Majesco CEO leaves

14 Jul, 2005, 10:47 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 7
Amidst bad earning reports and other impressive sounding stock... things... it probably comes as little surprise to see Majesco CEO Carl Yankowski leaving ship.
In an interview with the Associated Press, [Janco Partners analyst Mike] Hickey said Majesco has failed to market its games properly, leaving a critical winner like Psychonauts floundering on shelves. "For them not to make that anything more than an underground title is unfortunate," Hickey said. "This could have been a home run for them."

More over at IGN.
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David Fox, creator of Zak McKraken, lead on Labyrinth and other very early LucasFilm Games has posted some interesting archival video clips (quicktime) on his website.

The video was first shown at the Lucasfilm Games press conference on May 9, 1984 to introduce their first two games, Rescue on Fractalus! and Ballblazer.
About the Video
At the press conference in 1984 where this video was first shown, the idea was to present only imagery captured directly from the game. We felt our first two games were breakthrough enough that we didn't need any special effects, and indeed, we were concerned that if anything on the screen was created outside the game, people might think everything was. That's why we chose to show a blank screen for the first minute and twenty seconds rather than creating any non-game imagery.
To prepare this video, first a script was written with all the dialog and scene descriptions. Dialog was recorded at Robert Berke Sound in San Francisco using professional voice-over actors. Then the video was captured to tape directly from an Atari 800 computer. The video and the voice were then edited together, and a few video transitions added between scenes. The only part of the video that was not from the Atari is the end sequence.
Click here for Rescue on Fractalus and here for Ballblazer.

There's more information on these two games and the early LucasFilm Games setup at this webpage by former employee Peter Langston, including some rather wonderful magazine & newspaper scans from 20+ years ago.

Update: I'm having problems playing the video clips in Explorer, though they launch and play OK in Opera. David Fox himself has stopped by and commented below.
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Maniac Mansion Explored

07 Jul, 2005, 00:19 | Posted by: jp-30 | Comments: 2
Udvarnoky (by way of UK Gamer Man at Ron Gilbert's Grumpy Gamer Blog has posted in the mojo forums about an in depth article recalling the development of Maniac Mansion recently posted at Edge Online Magazine
Bad horror movies, Gilbert identifies, were the game?s spiritual origin. ?Gary and I tried to pull every clich? we could think of into the game and really make fun of the genre. Everyone in it was a stereotype. A little known fact is that most of the characters in the game are based on real people Gary and I know, but I?m not saying who for fear of reprisals.? Consider it a necessary breach of the journalist code, then, that when we reveal that Razor was inspired by Winnick?s girlfriend and that Dr Fred?s deviant nurse wife Edna was based on Gilbert?s mother, we also withhold the source of that information, saving that person the inconvenience of joining a witness protection programme even though we may now have to do so ourselves.
You'll be rushing off immediately to read the whole article, won't you?
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Special Bone Preview forthcoming

06 Jul, 2005, 17:24 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Telltale Games | Comments: 0
This went up today on Telltalegames.com;



// Looks at watch //
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Best games ever... ever!

06 Jul, 2005, 11:46 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 4
GameSpy has taken it upon themselves to count down the Top 25 Xbox Games of All-Time, and quite a few familiar games made the list. LucasArts got three games in:

#23 LEGO Star Wars (Ok, so that's not LEC)
#19 Mercenaries
#2 Knights of the Old Republic

A pleasant surprise was seeing Psychonauts hitting #14. Hopefully this will make more people actually go buy the game. If you don't you're a tool. ?
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New LucasArts store

06 Jul, 2005, 01:03 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 10
LucasArts has opened its new LucasArts Store, which really isn't superbly new other than a re-branding, and an easier to use frontend. Is there anything else new? I couldn't find anything more at least...

As the oldest game in there is Curse of Monkey Island one can only hope that the GameTap rumor is true.

Update: The Tingler correctly points out that the store now ships internationally. Finally you can order that Secret of Monk... Oh, wait. :~
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Star Wars month concludes

05 Jul, 2005, 18:28 | Posted by: Gabez | Comments: 23
What happens when you drink 17 cups of tea in one go? Most people go on a killing spree and end up getting strangled by a paedophile, but Gabez wrote six Star Wars reviews instead. Six Star Wars reviews for Six Star Wars films. In retrospect and reference to the prequels. You do the math.

Lynn Scully has advised me to release each film review on a daily basis, so check back every day this week to see what I thought of each film. Most Star Wars reviews were written ages ago, but these ones have the advantage of freshness and obscure cultural references. They may also persuade you to have a Star Wars back to back watchathon like I did yesterday. I nearly died.

  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

    Next week: something not Star Wars related.
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  • This may well be old news, but there is a partially-functional Steve Purcell official website up at spudvision.com. Spudvision is the name of the (delayed and still unreleased) compendium of Purcell artwork and tidbits.

    The only link clickable on the page is 'portfolio', but alas the link is broken. One section is labelled "Sam & Max". Who knows what will eventually be revealed in that section now that the game rights have reverted back from LucasArts to Purcell?

    While there's no real content on the site as yet, you can *ahem* poke about in the images directory, though this could be considered a little bit like being an online peeping-tom. What does it all mean? Who knows, but I did find this;
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    Final Nail Driven into Humongous Coffin

    01 Jul, 2005, 20:48 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: Grumpy Gamer | Comments: 12
    Ron Gilbert reports at Grumpy Gamer on the fate of the children's game company he founded after leaving LucasArts, Humongous Entertainment;
    In preparation for shutting down Humongous Entertainment, Atari laid off all but a handful of people wrapping up a project. I'm sure it is an event that will go largely unnoticed in the gaming press, after all, it's just kid's games.

    In some ways I consider Humongous to be my greatest achievement, and also my greatest failure.
    Goodbye Putt-Putt, Pajama Sam, Freddi Fish & friends...
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