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LucasArts RIP
April 3, 2013 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Game Informer has learned that Disney is closing its LucasArts game publishing subsidiary.
After evaluating our position in the games market, we've decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we've had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.
LucasArts is probably best known for its point-and-click adventure games, such as Maniac Mansion, LOOM, the Monkey Island series of games, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango. (via Joystiq)
posted by Elementary Penguin (138 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
*holds up lighter, puts hamster in microwave*
posted by The Whelk at 10:48 AM on April 3, 2013 [47 favorites]


No.


NO.


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:48 AM on April 3, 2013 [15 favorites]


a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.

A larger selection of even more brand-diluting drivel and zero new IP only punctuated by the occasional BioWare release?
posted by JauntyFedora at 10:50 AM on April 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


That's a grim fandango.
posted by chavenet at 10:50 AM on April 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


Does this...does this mean...can I...can someone with way more money than me...purchase and rerelease...Grim Fandango!?! Pretty please?
posted by postel's law at 10:51 AM on April 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


LucasArts hasn't been LucasArts in awhile. It's been a Star Wars game making machine with the occasional Indiana Jones game tossed in every so often. Besides, the best SW games recently have been made by Bioware anyway. The people at Telltale Games are more old school LucasArts than the current incarnation.
posted by inturnaround at 10:51 AM on April 3, 2013 [29 favorites]


LucasArts is probably best known for its point-and-click adventure games, such as Maniac Mansion, LOOM, the Monkey Island series of games, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango. (via Joystiq)

Not to mention Xwing, Tie-Fighter, and the Dark Forces franchise.

This sucks.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:53 AM on April 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yah, it's been years since they put anything out that had the wit and writing of the old SCUMM games.
posted by k5.user at 10:54 AM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I come to bury LucasArts, not to praise it.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:54 AM on April 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


This is a sad day, yes, but isn't most of what we think of with LucasArts really more of a Double Fine thing now anyway?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:54 AM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


On further reflection, the best LucasArts adventure games in the last decade were all licensed out to Telltale, so if Disney is willing to keep that up, this could go well.

If they're explicitly looking at just selling the Star Wars name and nothing else, well, we'll always have Melee, I suppose.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:55 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I never could beat Afterlife
posted by The Whelk at 10:55 AM on April 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


They did great work in the '90s but not much since then. Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight may still be my favorite FPS.
posted by octothorpe at 10:56 AM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Does anybody else here remember Indy's Desktop Adventures?

Man.
posted by Avenger at 10:57 AM on April 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


Hey Disney. Sell the IP to those old classics so that game devs kan Kickstart a sequel or two.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:58 AM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Unsurprising... Disney is basically in the business of shutting game studios (Propaganda, Black Rock, Junction Point, Lucasarts).

Lucasarts closing now is, as noted, a bit like Sierra closing: it's been nothing but a badge for a long time now. Actually, we are now seeing cool indie mammals (things like Kentucky Route Zero) cautiously picking over the dinosaur bones.
posted by selfnoise at 10:58 AM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Big fan of their earlier stuff, but yeah, as everyone notes, not much worthwhile over the last decade. Well, RIP - let's hope the Star Wars license gets some great games now.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:00 AM on April 3, 2013


LOOM was one of my first loves. It was re-released with some updated graphics and voice overs on Steam a while ago.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:00 AM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Does anyone know what the last major LucasArts game was that they developed in-house? I didn't know they were even doing development anymore, I thought they were basically just a publisher.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:00 AM on April 3, 2013


BTW if we are all listing our favorite Lucasarts games let me point you in the direction of The Dig.
posted by selfnoise at 11:01 AM on April 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


LucasFilm Games > LucasArts.
3D fractal engines on a C64? Yes please!

.

posted by davemee at 11:03 AM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


. for LucasArts

Also, for anyone holding out hope that Double Fine will get a chance at the Monkey Island IP, Disney already bought it all up.
posted by fight or flight at 11:03 AM on April 3, 2013


Dear Lord, if you send the right IP to Volition so they can make Sith's Row, I will forgive you for mole rats.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:04 AM on April 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


Growing up, I spent way more time on LucasArts games than on the games of any other publisher. I had X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and all the add-on missions. Maniac Mansion. Loom. Monkey Island *sigh*

pours a little out for Sam & Max
posted by gauche at 11:06 AM on April 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sith's Row

I... just... I don't... my brain is breaking trying to imagine what this game would be.
posted by kmz at 11:07 AM on April 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Steam has Loom, The Dig and the two Indiana Jones adventure games for $10. tempting.
posted by sineater at 11:09 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, yes.

X-Wing.

Grim Fandango.

Tie Fighter.

Dark Forces.

Full Throttle.

Sam and Max.

So many, many terrific games - and I know I've only mentioned a few. They haven't really produced anything of quality in the last however many years, as very many of you aptly note, but as a nostalgia kick, this hits hard. I loved those games, and they are tied - directly tied - to my youth. I remember being 14 and getting Tie Fighter for Easter.

Or! Or!

I remember walking into a computer store - like in the golden age of computer stores - the mid 90's - there was a place in town called COMPUTER CITY - and I remember walking in and they had a Rebel Assault demo playing on a loop and I just about messed myself.

I just really liked being a kid and playing those games and the memories, the memories, the sweet memories.

Thanks for all the hard work, folks! Good luck.
posted by kbanas at 11:10 AM on April 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


Robot Walt Disney was last seen hucking Manny Calavera into the Disney(tm) Vault, cackling maniacally.
posted by hellojed at 11:11 AM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can we just give LucasArts some life crystals? Or will they just go batshit and start making MoistureFarmVille and Fandango With Friends?
posted by uncleozzy at 11:12 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


The truth is that Disney doesn't know how to do games - look back 10 years to Tron 2.0 which was actually a much better game than the lack of marketing prowess in selling it would have you believe.

So, that said, I'm not entirely surprised this came to pass.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:14 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


LucasArts haven't developed a great game in over a decade. It published some great games but other companies are more than capable of that. This is not big news.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:14 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


God dammit, Google.
posted by boo_radley at 11:16 AM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


As others have pointed out, Lucasarts is more of a distribution arm than a game studio these days. I'm a little sad that the name will no longer be in use, but Telltale, Bioware et al have done a good job so I'm not too upset.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:16 AM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, for anyone holding out hope that Double Fine will get a chance at the Monkey Island IP, Disney already bought it all up.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Disney hired Double Fine to develop a Monkey Island game for them.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:18 AM on April 3, 2013


Depends on how much money Lucas saw from Telltale's go-round, I guess.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:19 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder what they'll do with the LucasArts name. It must have some value behind it.
posted by griphus at 11:20 AM on April 3, 2013


LucasArts is a shell of its former self.

But this is still heartbreaking. Sam & Max, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, X-Wing/Tie, Dark Forces, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, these are the games that made me a gamer.

Does anybody else here remember Indy's Desktop Adventures?

I had the Yoda Stories version. Loved that game.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:20 AM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, shit. Kotaku says they're letting 150 people go instead of absorbing them into Disney. That does suck.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:22 AM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Think of the last LucasArts produced game you really enjoyed. Now go look up what year it was released. Was it Knight of the Old Republic? That was a 3rd party production and came out 10 years ago. Battlefront? 3rd party and 9 years ago.

Grim Fandango came out in '98, X-Wing Alliance in '99, Escape from Monkey Island in 2000. We're eulogizing a company that hasn't been more that a mediocre licensing arm for more than a decade now. Disney also doesn't have the best track record when it comes to quality in their licensed games, but at this point they don't need two divisions doing the exact same thing.
posted by thecjm at 11:24 AM on April 3, 2013


I seriously LOVED The Secret of Monkey Island. Playing games was so much different back then because there was no Google - if you got stuck, there was little choice but to put the game down and hope you'd figure it out next time. Very frustrating and rewarding. The bizarre quests, great writing, exotic characters, and metacommentary really shaped my sense of humor, and how I played other video games.

I got this scar on my face during a mighty struggle!

"I hope now you've learned to stop picking your nose."

posted by antonymous at 11:24 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I must have left it in my other pants."
posted by nickrussell at 11:25 AM on April 3, 2013


I think the last Lucasarts game that I played was Pipe Mania.
posted by hoodrich at 11:26 AM on April 3, 2013


You post like a dairy farmer.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:26 AM on April 3, 2013 [25 favorites]


How appropriate. You read like a cow.
posted by Malor at 11:26 AM on April 3, 2013 [28 favorites]


Does anybody else here remember Indy's Desktop Adventures?

Having not yet heard of anything like Nethack, I was really impressed by this game when it came out. If I remember right, Lucasarts did a similar game in the Star Wars vein with Yoda as the protagonist (edit: called Yoda Stories - thanks, eyeballkid!). Randomizing all the game bits and having the game play out differently seemed like such a simple, awesome idea at the time but it would take almost a decade before games really started to use it to good effect.
posted by Appropriate Username at 11:26 AM on April 3, 2013


That's the second saddest studio closing I've ever seen!
posted by yellowbinder at 11:27 AM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Noooooooo! Lucasfilm is canceling Clone Wars without revealing Ahsoka's fate
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO indeed
posted by suprenant at 11:31 AM on April 3, 2013


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I think you guys mean:

nooooooooooooooo.com
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:33 AM on April 3, 2013


start making MoistureFarmVille

Moisture Vaporator Simulator
posted by zippy at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sell the IP to those old classics so that game devs kan Kickstart a sequel or two.

BUY "GRIM FANDANGO: DIRECTOR'S CUT" TODAY BEFORE THIS TIMELESS CLASSIC GOES BACK INTO THE VAULT FOREVER!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


I never finished Grim Fandango. Boo.
posted by sweetkid at 11:37 AM on April 3, 2013


Goddammit, I've been waiting for an updated version of TIE Fighter forever.
posted by saladin at 11:38 AM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Noooooooo! Lucasfilm is canceling Clone Wars without revealing Ahsoka's fate

POR QUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:38 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


TEARS SO MANY TEARS

SHOUT OUT TO FULL THROTTLE

EVEN BADASS BIKERS CRY SOMETIMES :~(
posted by naju at 11:38 AM on April 3, 2013


This is sad news, but:

Sith's Row

If I could play as Darth Zimos, with an autotuning breath mask and light-pimp-cane, then they would be required to SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:39 AM on April 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


Goddammit, I've been waiting for an updated version of TIE Fighter forever.

Yes. This. FFS TAKE MY MONEY BEFORE YOU DISAPPEAR, LUCASARTS.
posted by gauche at 11:42 AM on April 3, 2013


Oh, the hours I pissed away playing Rescue on Fractalus on my C64. Good times.
posted by zzazazz at 11:43 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


EVEN BADASS BIKERS CRY SOMETIMES :~(

I believe they just ride off into the sunset.

\m/
posted by eyeballkid at 11:43 AM on April 3, 2013


It's not fun that people lost their jobs, but honestly LucasArts hasn't made something that grabbed my attention in a long time. The games I loved -- like TIE Fighter and Sam & Max Hit The Road -- are still out there. Heck, most of 'em are downstairs in my CD binder. I loved LA, but I'll live.
posted by Monster_Zero at 11:43 AM on April 3, 2013


Had to dig into Wiki to get the name for the old industrial simulation game "Night Shift" that they made.. (and to verify LucasArts did not make "The Incredible Machine")..

(I see no one mentioned the Luftwaffe games that, while I never played, garnered awards right and left).
posted by k5.user at 11:46 AM on April 3, 2013


Ooh, The Dig was fantastic and isn't mentioned nearly enough. So I'm mentioning it again.
posted by naju at 11:48 AM on April 3, 2013


These are not the SCUMMs I wanted to hear about.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.
posted by ersatz at 11:49 AM on April 3, 2013


Consider that Marvel only saved itself from doom by shifting from a licensing model to a model where they took on the responsibility of making the movies and thus reaping all the profits for themselves. It seems like Disney is doing exactly the opposite here. Even though interactive game franchises can reap substantial direct revenues. There is no way a licensing model is going to generate the kind of returns and worse it gives away creative control of the work. Thus you actually get a bunch of crappy games that dilute core creative product.
posted by humanfont at 11:54 AM on April 3, 2013


Oh no! But who will develop the sequel to Angry Birds Star Wars II: M&Ms Mickey Lego Edition?
posted by tapeguy at 12:00 PM on April 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Huh? Marvel's shift to licensing is what saved the company; they were bankrupt, and made themselves not-bankrupt by selling the movie rights to Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, et al. Making movies themselves has made them more money, but without licensing revenue they wouldn't have been around to form Marvel Studios, nor would they have had the seed money to bankroll Iron Man. And if they hadn't turned out to be so good at making movies, the self-funding thing won't have turned out to be such a coup. It'd be more of a Warner Brothers "you made The Dark Knight, but also took the hit on Green Lantern" sort of thing.

Also, Angry Birds Star Wars was the best game in the series. Either series.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:03 PM on April 3, 2013


Oh no! But who will develop the sequel to Angry Birds Star Wars II: M&Ms Mickey Lego Edition?

Zynga, if there's any justice in the world.
posted by griphus at 12:12 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Zlorfik.
posted by EnterTheStory at 12:16 PM on April 3, 2013


I am rubber you are glue

.
posted by Damienmce at 12:17 PM on April 3, 2013


I wasn't really introduced to the classic catalog of LucasArts until fairly recently, maybe about 6 years ago, so I was definitely a latecomer to the Golden Age of Adventure. In fact, I just finished Day of the Tentacle for the first time last week. If you're wondering if these games were really as good as you remember, I can only say that they've left a huge impression on me. I wrote a game as a birthday present for my now husband because of our shared love of adventure games, and I seriously considered making a Manny and Meche topper for our wedding cake. I even organized a massive insult swordfighting event a couple years back, and it was more fun than you can shake a rubber chicken with a pulley at (and we had a couple dozen of those!).

I'm not terribly surprised by this news, because the studio has been lagging for a long time now, but I sincerely hope this doesn't mean an inglorious end to a tremendous catalog. It deserves better than to fade away as forgotten SCUMM from another age.
posted by Diagonalize at 12:21 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


BALLBLAZER 4EVER
posted by jquinby at 12:25 PM on April 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


You're right. I thought I had read otherwise. Never mind.
posted by humanfont at 12:35 PM on April 3, 2013


Steam has Loom, The Dig and the two Indiana Jones adventure games for $10. tempting.

It also has the enhanced editions of the two first Monkey Islands (you can play the new or the original version) and I recommend Monkey Island 2 to people who like laughing, chuckling or LeChucking.
posted by ersatz at 12:43 PM on April 3, 2013


:-(
Thanks to LucasArts (Lucasfilm games?) games, as a child, I learned the word "grog", and that the word "minutes" can mean "record of a meeting" (thanks, Monkey Island!) ... also they introduced me to the Dodge Neon (thanks, TIE Fighter demo.)

(seriously, though, I learned so much from the text in these types of computer games. ... kids today and their iPhones, etc. ... "And I've got a little TIP for you. Get the POINT?")
posted by mean square error at 12:47 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think one of the things about classic LucasArts games is that most could stand very, very little improvement, especially in presentation. Like, look at Day of the Tentacle, for instance. Short of gameplay tweaks and maybe making some puzzles a little less obtuse -- which, itself, would be heresy to a number of adventure game players -- what can you improve? Better graphics? Why? Better sound? Why?
posted by griphus at 12:47 PM on April 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Aw! Loved these games in my early adult years - my cat is even named after a line from Monkey Island 3: The Curse of Monkey Island.

Guybrush falls from cliff into swamp, next to a small bramble bush with a small plaque in front of it

Guybrush: The Papapichu bush; from the native word meaning "ouch".

Guybrush touches bush, picking up a thorn

Guybrush: Ah! Papapichu!
posted by urbanlenny at 12:52 PM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Guybrush: Ah! Papapichu!

this thread is worth it for that adorable picture alone.
posted by sweetkid at 12:54 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


RIP Manny Calavera >.<
posted by Jernau at 12:54 PM on April 3, 2013


I still have Tie Fighter and X-Wing (the CD versions) in the box. With the instructions and cheatsheets for the keyboard combos. I haven't played them in years.

Once as an undergrad I was playing the Tie Advanced training mission, shot at the beacon that summoned the fury of the other Tie Advanced pilots, and had racked up an insane kill count before taking a hit that disabled my lasers. It was going to be a little time before they came online again, and I didn't want to be a sitting duck. I glanced at my watch, noticed it was almost time for class, and punched up the hyperdrive to quit the mission. As soon as I exited I realized "God damn it all, I still had missiles left!"

This was the closest I ever came to wiping the slate clean on that mission. I've tried to go back and play them again but they always look better in my memory than they do on-screen. That, and I'd need an emulator to even start them up. But I still won't part with them.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:55 PM on April 3, 2013


I loved Loom, so much. So, so much. But I at least own it. And pretty much every LucasArts game that is for sale on Steam, so not Grim Fandango, which I never finished because my computer died and I didn't have the CDs anymore.
posted by jeather at 12:56 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does anybody else here remember Indy's Desktop Adventures?

!!!!
So THAT'S what it was! My mom's a teacher, and back in the 90s had a nice rotation of used computers through her classroom that would come with all sorts of random games already loaded on them. I spent hours playing that game. ("What are you doing over there?" "Killing Nazis." "Still?!")

Man, good times.
posted by phunniemee at 1:09 PM on April 3, 2013


These are the games that made me not a gamer because no games made anymore are nearly as good or fun to play (though I'd love to be corrected on this).
posted by mike_bling at 1:10 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've tried to go back and play them again but they always look better in my memory than they do on-screen. That, and I'd need an emulator to even start them up.

DOSBox runs the X-Wing and TIE Fighter games just about perfectly. And they hold up better than you'd expect; the very spare, minimal graphics work quite well. They could redo those games just by having the renderer run at high resolution. X-Wing at 2560x1600 would, I think, look like it was always meant to be played that way. Vector engines scale very well.

The only real problem with the games is that they're designed around having a joystick available. You need to be pinpoint-accurate, able to bullseye womp rats in your T16, and thumbsticks don't hack it. You really need an actual joystick to succeed.

The age of these titles is most strongly evident in their difficulty level; some of those missions are hard. Games usually aren't that tough anymore. TIE Fighter is especially punishing, because your craft is so very, very fragile. But, as a consequence, you develop a fair bit of skill in playing, and there wasn't much in the era as rewarding as pulling off a flawless combat run in either game.
posted by Malor at 1:19 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tim Schafer just tweeted this adorable vintage Lucasfilm Games video made for an internal company meeting. Look out for Tim in a stylish lilac sweater at 0:56. Also young Ron Gilbert.
posted by fight or flight at 1:20 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


From this article:

Disney has been moving away from games that are expensive to make for consoles, like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and toward apps....One example of the licensing model is Rovio Entertainment Ltd.'s November launch of "Angry Birds Star Wars."

I see a future of very mediocre Star Wars games: Less TIE Fighter, more SW-branded Monopoly and Scrabble ports.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 1:37 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:45 PM on April 3, 2013


May the Tentacles bite the big Mouse and devour them forever!
posted by homodigitalis at 1:49 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I replayed Day of the Tentacle a few days ago. I'm pretty sure it was the first point-and-click adventure I had played for which I did not need to dial into a BBS to figure out how to complete the game -- if memory serves, it was the first LucasArts adventure game I owned.

On a related note, five or six years ago I finally discovered the correct solution to one of the missions from Interplay's Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, and I bought that game when it came out.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:00 PM on April 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


These are the games that made me not a gamer because no games made anymore are nearly as good or fun to play (though I'd love to be corrected on this).

Sorry, but I doubt I can "correct" your opinion, even if I think it's hilariously misguided. I adore (and grew up with) LucasArts games, and lovingly maintain a 486 DOS machine with a CRT monitor, on which I actually replay them every few months. I don't disagree that they were magical. But magic is still being done! Plenty of modern games are pretty incredible, just as much fun, just as challenging, just as technically innovative, and filled with wit and charm.

I won't mourn the loss of LA, because there are other people carrying the torch. Hell, sometimes the same people are carrying the torch at different companies. Rather than list single examples, maybe you should download Steam and try out some of the more well-regarded recent indie (that's indie, not Indy) games, for starters. If you can't find ANYTHING to enjoy, you may want to have your head examined!

On a side note, I feel like I've been dodging bullets left and right: I interviewed for a job as a composer at Lucasarts a few years ago and didn't get it, and then went on to work at Volition / THQ for a while, but left before that whole thing collapsed. Here's hoping that my current studio stays independent (as they have for 20+ years) and doesn't get bought out by a huge publisher any time soon. I really don't ever want to be herded into a conference room and given news like this.
posted by jake at 2:02 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


This deal's getting worse all the time...

:(
posted by George Lucas at 2:09 PM on April 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


Plenty of modern games are pretty incredible, just as much fun, just as challenging, just as technically innovative, and filled with wit and charm.

Okay, cool. I want the LucasArts or Sierra style adventure games. I know of good games in other styles, but haven't heard of much in this genre. I'd love to hear you list some. In particular, they should be puzzle-based, non-linear solve order (to a certain extent), non-simulation or RPG, with no real hand-eye coordination needed, and no combat that isn't puzzles. There should be a story that you are going through. If I look under adventure, all I see are action-adventure, or RPG-adventure, or simulation-adventure.
posted by jeather at 2:28 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Was it Knight of the Old Republic

Yep. Obsidian made KotOR and KotOR2, LucasArts just published them. Those are definitely the last great Star Wars games.
posted by Justinian at 2:29 PM on April 3, 2013


That is NOT one of meat's many uses.
posted by poe at 2:37 PM on April 3, 2013


jeather: Strictly on the LucasArts tip, have you heard of Telltale Games? If not, they make point-and-click graphical adventures, all puzzles and story, with great dialogue and artwork. Mostly episodic (split into 3 to 5 chapters) so a Busy Working Adult can play through them in reasonable sessions (though you can just run through them all at once if you want to, like I did.) Tales of Monkey Island is only a few years old, and even has a genuine Michael Land soundtrack. The semi-recent (2006 onward) Sam'n'Max games are also pretty great.

Also, check out Machinarium, the Samorost series, and Botanicula, all made by Czech adventure devs Amanita Design. You will be glad you did!
posted by jake at 2:52 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Genuine Michael Land soundtrack" nothing, it has genuine Ron Gilbert.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:56 PM on April 3, 2013


It sure does, but count on me to pay attention to good game music first and foremost. It's kind of my thing! (Land, McConnell, and Bajakian, the IMUSE Holy Trinity, are one of the main reasons I got into game audio)
posted by jake at 3:01 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mourn not what is now lost, but what was lost several years back. Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle, and Sam and Max are "they don't make 'em like that anymore" games. The "they" in that sentence is specifically referring to LucasArts, who hadn't made a game like those in years.

Basically, LucasArts games has been dead to me for over a decade. Closing it down is tragic for the employees, but not (to my mind) a sign that the evil mouse empire is going to quash amazing LucasArts games. That ship sailed and sank years ago.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:09 PM on April 3, 2013


Having not yet heard of anything like Nethack, I was really impressed by this game when it came out. If I remember right, Lucasarts did a similar game in the Star Wars vein with Yoda as the protagonist (edit: called Yoda Stories - thanks, eyeballkid!). Randomizing all the game bits and having the game play out differently seemed like such a simple, awesome idea at the time but it would take almost a decade before games really started to use it to good effect.

I feel the same way, and I really loved Yoda Stories. And The Dig, Fate of Atlantis, Dark Forces, Jedi Knight and Monkey Island.

Disney is releasing a remastered NES DuckTales game on XBox Live.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:16 PM on April 3, 2013


I know Telltale Games. I like them.

Machinarium is very linear. I seem to recall Samorost also being linear, but it didn't catch me for some reason, same with Botanicula. Probably it's that all of them lack dialogue, something I care more for than the soundtrack, and something that to me is an important part of the adventure game genre. It's not that they're bad games -- but they're not the same genre as what I want, and I think what I want doesn't exist anymore.
posted by jeather at 3:32 PM on April 3, 2013


If you want updated versions of Sierra games (tolerated and occasionally blessed by Sierra and the original creators), try AGD Interactive. They also do a couple in-house games in the same style.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:51 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obsidian only made KotOR 2, using the tech Bioware used for KotOR 1.

Incidentally both games are now available on Steam (until recently only the first was). I think the first is even SteamPlay (for Mac and PC, don't know about Linux).
posted by dumbland at 4:06 PM on April 3, 2013


Okay, cool. I want the LucasArts or Sierra style adventure games. I know of good games in other styles, but haven't heard of much in this genre. I'd love to hear you list some. In particular, they should be puzzle-based, non-linear solve order (to a certain extent), non-simulation or RPG, with no real hand-eye coordination needed, and no combat that isn't puzzles. There should be a story that you are going through. If I look under adventure, all I see are action-adventure, or RPG-adventure, or simulation-adventure.

How about The Longest Journey? There's a sequel and another game is being kickstarted. A friend is saying good things about Deponia II (which seems more Lucasfilm than Sierra).

It sure does, but count on me to pay attention to good game music first and foremost. It's kind of my thing! (Land, McConnell, and Bajakian, the IMUSE Holy Trinity, are one of the main reasons I got into game audio)

I like Jake Kaufman too. Your music for Scurge: Hive, among others, was brilliant.
posted by ersatz at 4:13 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obsidian made KotOR and KotOR2, LucasArts just published them.

Bioware made KOTOR 1, which is why its writing is vastly inferior to KOTOR 2.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:26 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I interviewed with LucasArts about seven years ago, thinking that they must have one or two cool secret projects in the works. They really didn't. There was Lego Star Wars stuff everywhere, and they hinted that that was pretty much all that was keeping them afloat. I didn't take the job, which was good, because that team was let go a month later.

At least there was a slim chance they'd do something with all the adventure game IP, but now I think those franchises are pretty much done for. Very sad.

Anyone looking for an adventure game fix: Ron Gilbert's The Cave came out a couple months ago, and Double Fine just released the trailer for their Kickstarter-backed game, Broken Age.
posted by Sibrax at 4:27 PM on April 3, 2013


"With boney hands I hold my partner
On soulless feet we cross the floor
The music stops as if to answer
An empty knocking at the door
It seems his skin was sweet as mango
When last I held him to my breast
But now we dance this grim fandango
And will for years before we rest."
posted by sicem07 at 4:39 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now that I've learned that LucasArts still existed, I'm sorry to hear that they're shutting down.
posted by moss at 4:43 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bioware made KOTOR 1, which is why its writing is vastly inferior to KOTOR 2.

Affirmation: Well said, meatbag.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:48 PM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Manny: (looks at the moon)
It shone, pale as bone
as I stood there alone.
And I thought to myself how the moon...

Manny and Velasco: (together)
...that night, cast its light
on my heart's true delight
and the reef where her body was strewn.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:53 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alternatively,
Manny: Run you pigeons, it's Robert Frost!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:54 PM on April 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hey, wait, I just realized: I never got my fine leather jacket! LucasArts can't quit yet!
posted by Malor at 5:27 PM on April 3, 2013


Sibrax: Anyone looking for an adventure game fix: Ron Gilbert's The Cave came out a couple months ago

I was very much Not Impressed by The Cave. The voice work was excellent, and there was some pretty good humor sprinkled throughout, but the actual game itself was tedious as hell, with just tons and tons and tons of tracking back.and.forth.and.back.and.forth. over the darn levels.

Gilbert was the guy who pretty much invented no-bullshit adventure gaming, so to see a title from him strung out with tons of bullshit was extremely disappointing.
posted by Malor at 5:31 PM on April 3, 2013


This makes me sad, in the sense that I may never see Curse of Monkey Island remade for a mobile device (and it seemed like the logical next release for iOS too *shakes fist*)
posted by samsara at 6:29 PM on April 3, 2013


Run you pigeons, it's Robert Frost!

This is one of those phrases I'll glean on occasionally and have to reconstruct it because I never remember the wording immediately and it's worth it every time.
posted by griphus at 6:54 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


jquinby: "BALLBLAZ"

This and Fractalus on the Atari 800 was like fucking living *in* the Tron world.
posted by meehawl at 7:37 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


For nice, low-key LucasArts-style adventure games, I'd suggest the Blackwell Series, which should have the fifth episode out this year. They're nicely put together short games, and the puzzles are generally well designed enough that you won't find yourself banging every item in your inventory on every hotspot in the environment to make progress. The initial episodes are a little creaky in the voice-acting department, but very impressive from a one-man (now a husband and wife) team. All available on Steam.

I keep meaning to play The Shivah, his earlier effort, which features what is basically the Rabbinical version of insult swordfighting.
posted by figurant at 8:00 PM on April 3, 2013


*eagerly awaits latest Sierra Entertainment news*
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 8:17 PM on April 3, 2013


The Shivah is really cool. If you don't want to spend the time/money to play it, at least check out this LP of it, which displays the power of the rabbinical response.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:25 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


So this kills Star Wars 1313? Damn.

I loved the X-Wing/Tie Fighter series but I always wanted an Elite style game set in the Star Wars Universe.
posted by the_artificer at 8:30 PM on April 3, 2013


Farewell, Dave. Guess we'll never know what became of you and Sandy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:39 PM on April 3, 2013


BALLBLAZER!!!!
posted by newdaddy at 9:15 PM on April 3, 2013


In other news, Disney has announced its intention to create an animatronic version of American Graffiti.

According to a spokesman, We realize that, like The Jerry Lewis Telethon, Disney was cool towards rock in its formative years. And for some time afterward. But we've come to realize the wisdom of recognizing it as part of the Great American Experience. In addition, now that so many artists have passed, Disney will be able to manage the financial hurdles involved.
posted by Twang at 9:25 PM on April 3, 2013


Rebel SCUMM.
posted by monkeystronghold at 9:39 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Ballad of Sandy and Dave
(On the Occasion of the Death of LucasArts)

1

Dave got fat.

Of course he did, though it wasn’t as if the tentacle hadn’t warned her.

All those years ago, sidling up alongside her in that moss-perfumed basement, he—he?—it pressed a sucker against her ear and whispered her a fortune:

Boys like that will always love the bottle first, then the Sunday game. Boys like that will turn into rotten apples stuck with a pair of toothpick legs.

She always wondered how it knew, where this thing had learned of boys. Television, maybe? At night, she forgot to be afraid of it.

Strange, she always thought. Later—not then. Then, in the slanted light of day through bars, she mostly screamed, how it seems to smile at me, though I know it doesn’t have a mouth.

2

They don’t talk about what happened.

Anyway, it had only ever been rape in the classical sense. Rape of the lock. Rape of Persephone. Not that Dave would know the difference.

But oh, he’s a good father. Building forts with Sidney. Helping little Ed to tinker with the heap out back. Going out early on Easter morning to bring home yet another cardboard box punched with holes.

Funny, she thinks, as she plants another fluorescent egg, how the hamsters keep disappearing.

3

She sees him once, at Michael’s wedding. Tanned to the color of a nectarine, hay-white hair falling in his eyes. Sure, it's thinned a little, at the top, but if she squints she could almost believe that she was sixteen again, on the night before all this started.

He’d lean into her, as beneath them, his Lamborghini purred, and point out the constellations: Hydra, Cassiopeia, Andromeda. Her eyes were full of stars: How do you know all this?

Sleepy-eyed, smiling, Man—he always called her man—it’s all nature.

Now he hands her a glass of three-buck Chuck, picks his teeth and says, Man, I can’t believe that asshole Bernoulli got rich, can you?

She closes her eyes, remembering how he used to smell. Like sand and sunscreen—how? They lived leagues from the ocean.

4

You have to understand, there was no choosing.

There was only rescue, and being rescued—gratitude, and pride. Before that, their relationship had been on the rocks. Like that ship, tossed high on waves, in the painting in Jeff’s grandma’s living room. Before that, there was Jeff. And Syd. And Razor, too. Oh, Dave was no saint.

But after, after—all those newspaper clippings her mother saved, yellowing on the fridge. And the pressure, and the questions.

Where’s Dave? He saved you, you know. You should be thankful that creep didn’t have his way with you.

Thankful. Grateful. Gratitude. Her eyes, a pair of pixelated sapphires, and just full of it.

They don’t talk about what happened. He’s a better husband than most. Four times a week! And after kids. It should be enough for anyone.

But she knows, she knows, that when he closes his eyes, he goes to other places. That kitchen, splashed with blood, that dungeon. She knows he yearns for colder, bluer hands. She’ll buy a nurse’s uniform. She’ll paint their bedroom walls with hearts. But there’s no replacing what he’s lost. She hears him breathing heavy on the dead landline when he thinks she's out and knows she’ll never be enough.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:30 PM on April 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


...holy goddamn.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:38 PM on April 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was still hoping for a Tie Fighter remake. Ugh! That game was my childhood.
posted by 0127661 at 11:10 PM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by armage at 12:05 AM on April 4, 2013


I kept on hoping for a new Monkey Island game. Now I have nowhere to spend my wooden nickels.

And I sold my Grim Fandango CD last year, and desperately want to play it again now.
posted by tracicle at 12:50 AM on April 4, 2013


Once as an undergrad I was playing the Tie Advanced training mission, shot at the beacon that summoned the fury of the other Tie Advanced pilots, and had racked up an insane kill count before taking a hit that disabled my lasers. It was going to be a little time before they came online again, and I didn't want to be a sitting duck. I glanced at my watch, noticed it was almost time for class, and punched up the hyperdrive to quit the mission. As soon as I exited I realized "God damn it all, I still had missiles left!"

Oh god, that mission. I failed it so many times, I actually lost count. Then I failed some more. Until I finally came up with a way to complete it without cheating - I think you had to run for safety as fast as you could and then pick your wingmates off one by one from the distance.
posted by daniel_charms at 4:06 AM on April 4, 2013


This makes me sad, in the sense that I may never see Curse of Monkey Island remade for a mobile device (and it seemed like the logical next release for iOS too *shakes fist*)

If you don't mind dragging your finger to control the mouse instead of touchscreen controls (at least on Android - guess it's the same on iOS), download ScummVM, load your ISOs, and you can be a mighty pirate on the go, too.
posted by ersatz at 5:04 AM on April 4, 2013


octothorpe: "They did great work in the '90s but not much since then. Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight may still be my favorite FPS."

Continuing that thought: I have very fond memories of both DF:2 and a lot of the SCUMM games because my then young son and I played through them together when I was a single parent. Not much better bonding than being able to attack your dad with a light saber!
posted by octothorpe at 5:20 AM on April 4, 2013


I'm going to pour one out for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:21 AM on April 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


.

Also a ; for the laid off staff and anyone who grew up playing these games and wanted nothing as much as to join this group and make games like that, because I know y'all are out there. Keep your heads up.
posted by koucha at 7:49 AM on April 4, 2013


If you don't mind dragging your finger to control the mouse instead of touchscreen controls (at least on Android - guess it's the same on iOS), download ScummVM, load your ISOs, and you can be a mighty pirate on the go, too.

Cool thanks, I'm actually very familiar with ScummVM (having ported many titles to my tweaked Nintendo DS carts, which does a decent job having stylus support). With iOS however you have to jailbreak the device...also with that being said, it's not quite as enjoyable unless the game is also tweaked for touch controls. The first two Monkey Island games were ported to iOS quite nicely (where I'd prefer them over the VM versions absolutely)...was holding out for the third with money at hand.

I'm going to pour one out for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

.
posted by samsara at 8:21 AM on April 4, 2013


If I look under adventure, all I see are action-adventure, or RPG-adventure, or simulation-adventure.

For a brief period in computer game history, the point and click adventure games were also coined as "Interactive Fiction" and where thought to be the future of gaming (before the FPS genre took hold).
posted by samsara at 8:27 AM on April 4, 2013


I'm going to pour one out for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Thinking back, I can't recall if I ever finished that game via the beat-everyone-up (sucker punch!) story path.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:46 AM on April 4, 2013


Is Disney about to destroy the Star Wars Expanded Universe Altogether?
posted by homunculus at 4:56 PM on April 4, 2013


Darth Baby's Lightsaber
posted by homunculus at 12:24 AM on April 5, 2013


Here's a thing I just learned (via IMDB).

Orson Scott Card was the "insults writer" for The Secret of Monkey Island.
And did some work for Loom and The Dig as well.
posted by Mezentian at 12:09 AM on April 7, 2013


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