Warp Drive

Showing posts with label Double Fine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Double Fine. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Year of the Adventure Game

Something miraculous happened last year. Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions asked for $400,000 on crowd funding site, Kickstarter, to make an old school point and click adventure game, and the world gave him $3.3 million. In doing so, he and his company bypassed the usual publisher route needed to secure funding for a game, and maintained full creative control of their project. People just about everywhere took notice. Among them, a number of past and present game developers from such origins as Access Software, LucasArts, Revolution Software and Sierra On-Line. They all wanted a chance to take another stab at the adventure game genre, which until then, had been regarded by publishers as a genre that did not typically generate a significant amount of revenue. Translation: It did not make as much money as Call of Duty. Could lightning possibly strike twice? Not only did it strike twice. It struck again and again and again. It was a bit like the end of It's a Wonderful Life, with an angry CEO at Activision, Electronic Arts or some other such place playing the part of Mr. Potter. And as a teacher once said, every time a bell rings, an adventure game developer gets his paycheck.

With that said, Happy New Year! This year is going to be very special because all those adventure games that we Kickstarted last year are going to be released this year. To celebrate, I decided to put together a list of adventure games being released in 2013, including a few that were funded beyond Kickstarter.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Double Fine Adventure

Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert want to make a modern classic-style point & click adventure game. If you are not familiar with Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert, beat yourself over the head with a monkey wrench, and then continue reading.

Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert go way back. Ron Gilbert may not have invented the adventure game genre, but he revolutionized it with LucasArts' 1987 cult classic, Maniac Mansion. A game that dropped the archaic command line interface found in earlier games for a much improved verb-based point & click interface. Maniac Mansion was unique in that you could choose two additional characters to accompany the main character from a group of six. Each character had his or her own set of skills, and because of this diversity, the game also contained several different outcomes. Ron Gilbert would go on to develop The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, and if you have not played either of those games, you should do yourself a favor and locate them on iOS, PlayStation Network, Steam, or Xbox Live.

Maniac Mansion Longplay

Tim Schafer is best known for Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, and most recently, Brütal Legend. Games that were all a stroke of creative genius in their own right. Definitely worth checking out. As of this writing, only Psychonauts is readily available via digital distribution channels, but you can probably still find boxed copies of Full Throttle and Grim Fandango on eBay or Amazon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tales of Comic-Con

This is my coup de grâce on Comic-Con 2009. Enjoy!

Here we go again! Has it been a year already? I wrote a blog about last year's Comic-Con titled Comic-Con Adventures. It was, for the most part, a Telltale Games-centric posting. This year, I once again attended the show. It was full of exciting experiences, but sadly, there were no Telltale Games panels. As Jake Rodkin has said, Tales of Monkey Island consumed much of their panel planning time.

You cannot walk five feet without someone bumping into you. At one point, someone told me to move so that they could take a photo. I did, and bumped into a bunch of other people, who proceeded to yell at me. Ah, Comic-Con.

My travel arrangements were mostly unchanged from last year, so I will skip that bit. That information is always mind numbingly boring, anyway. I arrived in San Diego around 10:10 AM on Friday, and picked up my badge. Where did I head first? If you have read this far, that should be obvious. Although the Telltale Games booth was in exactly the same place as last year, it took me a little while to find it. It is as if they hid it in the furthest corner of the convention center. Maybe if I follow the sounds of the jungle?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Top 11: Video Games

This is my attempt to list my 11 favorite video games (of all time!).

1. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
I first played Chrono Trigger in 2000; one year after the "Year of Lavos." Technically, I first played it on PC, since I used an emulator (Snes9x). Before I played Chrono Trigger, I was not much of an RPG fan. I had a few friends that were very much into RPGs, though. They strongly suggested that I play a few. I was blown away by the depth of Chrono Trigger. I still don't own a legitimate copy, but plan to when I pick up the DSi.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
I first played "ALttP" in 1992. It was not the first Zelda game that I ever played, mind you. I played The Legend of Zelda (NES) a few years earlier, which was also a good game, but nowhere near as great as this one. Furthermore, I have not played a Zelda game since then that has matched it. Until I played Chrono Trigger, A Link to the Past was my favorite video game of all time.

3. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
I first played Super Mario Bros. 3 on Christmas Day 1990, as evidenced by these two YouTube videos. The addition of items, map screens, and warp whistles set it apart from Super Mario Bros. and Doki Doki Panic: Mario Edition...Okay, Super Mario Bros. 2U.

4. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (GEN)
I first played Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 1994. By itself, it was very much an underwhelming game, but when locked-on to Sonic & Knuckles, it transformed into something of beauty. Knuckles became a playable character, Super Emeralds could be collected (unlocking Hyper Sonic/Knuckles and Super Tails), and additional levels were available.

5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)
I first played Super Mario RPG in 2000. It was around the same time as Chrono Trigger, and also via Snes9x. You can save the rotten tomatoes, though. I recently purchased the game on the Wii Virtual Console.

6. Sam & Max Hit the Road (PC)
I first played Sam & Max Hit the Road in 2004; a few days after the cancellation of Sam & Max Freelance Police. The outcry made me wonder just how good the original game was, so I decided to play it for myself. Of course, I was sad afterward.

7. Psychonauts (PC)
I first played Pi...Pyc...Psyco...Psychonauts in 2005. I am not afraid to admit that I couldn't spell Psychonauts until I bought the game. The game itself is mind blowing (literally). You can't expect anything less than awesome from Tim Schafer. Who knows, maybe Brütal Legend will make my list. That is, if a PC version is released.

8. Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers (PC)
I first played "SQ4" in 1996. I found it in a bargain bin at Price Club for five bucks, so I was not expecting much. It was better than I originally anticipated. Although, it did take several months to complete the Galaxy Galleria sequences due to timer issues. I still consider Space Quest IV my favorite in the series, seeing as it was the first one that I played. I later picked up Space Quest V and Space Quest VI individually, and the "prequel trilogy" (Space Quest I, Space Quest II, and Space Quest III) in the Roger Wilco Unclogged Collection.

9. GoldenEye 007 (N64)
I first played GoldenEye 007 in 1997. For me, it was the pinnacle of first person shooters. Perfect Dark would have made my list, but looking back, it was more of a retooling of what made GoldenEye 007 so good.

10. Star Fox 64 (N64)
I first played Star Fox 64 in 1997. I was never a very big fan of rail shooters, but this was one of the best. Of course, it does also contain a few free roaming stages.

11. Donkey Kong Country 2 - Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
I first played Donkey Kong Country 2 in 1995. I actually played this one before Donkey Kong Country. "DKC2" was the high point of the series for me. It fizzled a bit with Donkey Kong Country 3, and became mediocre with Donkey Kong 64.