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Aro-tron

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Everything posted by Aro-tron

  1. I would love a Monkey Island art book! Especially one that includes RTMI, since I think that it re-contextualizes the visual style of all the other games in the series in an interesting way.
  2. That's some nice looking art, and I about to crowd-fund the project on the basis of that tweet, but the actual cover of this issue is apparently devoted to a gory horror title and I can barely stomach looking at it. Seems like a cool publication overall, but I'm going to have to pass on the basis of my own personal squeamishness.
  3. This song got periodically been stuck in my head for 20+ years, despite the fact that I surely hadn't heard it since 1998. When the game came out, the idea that there would be over a minute of animation and an original song just hidden behind a non-essential hot spot was like an audaciously opulent use of FMV. I don't think Humongous ever did anything quite like that again, but it was cool. When my kids first played Putt-Putt I was interested to see what they would think about that part. They had been playing for about ten minutes before they clicked on the 'Topiary Creatures', and then kind of sat there dumbfounded as the song played. At the end, my seven-year old announced "Ok, we are NEVER clicking on that EVER AGAIN". But by the second or third playthrough they willingly clicked on it several times in a row, and since then we have sung the song while walking to the park, so its power as an ear-worm is enduring.
  4. I've bought the two Putt-Putt games for my kids (ages 4 and 7) to play together, and they have enjoyed them. They played through Saves the Zoo probably half a dozen times, but found Travels Through Time to be a bit trickier and haven't been able to finish it. My impression was that Travels Through Time has a premise that is a little less accessible for small kids, and the puzzles seem to be more esoteric - I haven't been able to help them through it! The younger kid still asks to play Putt-Putt, but the older kid finds it hard to get excited about Putt Putt when the Switch also has Mario Kart on it. To be honest, the market for kids games is so different to what it was in the 1990s. The pace of the Humongous games is so much slower than almost any other game my kids have played on something with a screen. Modern games have an abundance of ways get instant feedback by clicking or tapping or swiping, and constant incentives to keep playing and progressing in some way or another. Compared to this, Humongous games are much slower. I would say that they are less engrossing than watching cartoons, since there are plenty of times without a lot of action, or where you might just be sitting there thinking about how to solve a puzzle. The level of engagement is more like reading a picture book, which I personally think is good for kids, but that's not where the market is. Obviously, the market for these kids of games is parents rather than kids, but again the market is way different than it was in the 90s. I remember seeing Humongous games at Costco and electronics stores in the 1990s, but that casual retail market is gone. I honestly have no idea where to buy good 'edu-tainment' games for my kids. Interestingly, the Humongous graphics and sound have held up better than I expected. My seven year old nearly started to cry when he saw what Mario Kart 64 looked like, but had no complaints about Putt-Putt.
  5. I think this is the same list games are already available to download in the Nintendo Switch store, but it's cool to see them get a physical release. I wonder how/why they chose these particular games for porting to the Switch. They seem to coincide with the height of the brand's popularity, or at least when they really hit their stride, launching with several franchises. I believe the chronological order of the main, adventure-style games was (with the games that have been ported to Switch in bold): Putt-Putt Joins the Parade (1992) Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise (1993) Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon (1993) Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds (1994) Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo (1995) Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse (1996) Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside (1996) Putt-Putt Travels Through Time (1997) Spy Fox in "Dry Cereal" (1997) Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell (1998) Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning Aren't so Frightening (1998) Putt-Putt Enters the Race (1999) Freddi Fish 4: The Case of the Hogfish Rustlers of Briny Gulch (1999) Spy Fox 2: "Some Assembly Required" (1999) Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat from Your Head to Your Feet (2000) Putt-Putt Joins the Circus (2000) Spy Fox 3: "Operation Ozone" (2001) Freddi Fish 5: The Case of the Creature of Coral Cove (2001) Putt-Putt: Pep's Birthday Surprise (2003) Pajama Sam: Life Is Rough When You Lose Your Stuff! (2003) They're all available on PC, but just the 95-98 games are on Switch. The curious outlier is Freddi Fish 2. I wonder why it's been excluded, and why the later games have not been ported. Any Humongous historians out there?
  6. I haven't ventured to MI Reddit or Twitter lately, and now I'm afraid to. I'm afraid if I check I will go down a rabbithole of negative fan emotions. Can anyone briefly sum up the discourse for me? I remember when Curse came out, and it coincided with an explosion of fan activity online since it was the days when anyone could start a fan site. There were so many of them! My memories of Curse are really entangled with the experiences of checking sites like The SCUMM Bar and other early Mojo affiliates every day in the lead-up to its release, and then regularly for years afterward. I mean, just the fact that Curse had its own website was a big deal at the time - were there any earlier LucasArts games that had dedicated websites? For me, a big part of the Monkey Island was this transition from a world in which Monkey Island consisted of just two games, to a world in which it became a franchise. It was exciting and confusing, and a very fun time to be a fan. I still haven't finished playing Return, so I don't think I can do an updated ranking, but mine would be pretty non-controversial: -Revenge -Secret -Curse -Tales -Escape
  7. I think we're at risk of turning this into a BTTF thread, but I am going to come to the defense of part 2. The Almanac is just a McGuffin, the film is about him saving his family and preventing a Biff-led dystopia. I don't think you can criticize BTTF2 for coasting on all the things that made the first film good, when it subverts and changes the formula of the first film in ways that I think are as ambitious as the Godfather Part II (while admittedly not as successful, but in a fun way). The easy thing to do would have just been to have Marty have to travel to 1965 and prevent his parents from splitting up again. To bring this back to Monkey Island, I think it's fun when a sequel to an impeccably crafted Part 1 take some liberties to do weird things that stretch and extend the concept in ways that are less 'perfect', but more interesting. Raiders, MI1, and BTTF1 are all structurally very tight, inventive and nearly unimpeachable. They all have sequels that are darker, weirder and messier, and threequels that are safer, cuddlier reversions to a more crowd-pleasing structure. Still good, but less exciting. I suppose the original Star Wars films are a bit like that as well. That seems to be the "trilogy" format that I grew up with, it seems!
  8. I have only just now gotten to the start of Part 3 of RTMI, due to having two kids and plenty of other responsibilities, and I'm definitely enjoying it. As a kid, I only got limited pockets of time to play games, so I would work puzzle over an adventure game for (what seemed like) months. I have introduced my kids (4 and 7) to Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo on the Switch and they have replayed it half a dozen times now. The four-year old finds the controls difficult (mostly navigating the cursor precisely with the joycon), and my seven-year old is now starting to find it a bit simple. They enjoy playing together though, so I think there's a very narrow sweet spot for the Humongous games. The three most recent purchases on my Switch are Putt-Putt, Thimbleweed Park, and RTMI, which I thought was funny. --- To chime in on BTTF3, I think I agree with Kestrel that the first is nearly perfectly structured, the second is a glorious and ambitious mess, and the third one is a genre exercise that is well-made, but which doesn't feel as personal as the first two. I think what makes the first two movies more than just adventure romps is that they are about Marty's relationship with his family and his own past/future. The third film doesn't add to this in any significant way, and it feels kind of extraneous to me - like an episode of the animated series or something. They lean on the "Are ya CHICKEN" bit so hard in 2 and 3 that I was convinced it was set up in Part 1 for years....
  9. When my family got out first PC with a CD-ROM, it was packaged with the CD versions of Loom, The Secret of Monkey Island, and like ... the Encarta encyclopedia. I know this is not the preferred version of Loom among aficionados, but it had voice acting and was in some ways more technically impressive than the CD version of MI. I liked both games, but Loom was generally confusing to me, and it seemed so solemn. To me it always felt like more of a niche title than Monkey Island. I would be surprised if it sold as well as Monkey Island did! On the other hand, maybe if they had made Loom 2 instead of LeChuck's Revenge, history would regard Monkey Island as the forgotten niche title. Hindsight is weird.
  10. Whoa, Maniac Mansion with FMV feels like a very wild idea in 2022...I dunno. Live action FMV cut scenes seem like such a late '90s kind of thing. Do any modern games use them? The idea of using a grainy filter to make the games feel like a low-budget horror film could work, but I think most video game live action FMVs already feel kind of uncanny and low budget. There were some live action cut scenes in Jedi Knight that made the game feel like a big-budget ordeal, but somehow even with the full weight if ILM music and SFX it kind of felt like the game was playing dress-up with the license. It would be a different case with a license like Maniac Mansion, but I don't know if it would work. Maybe they could re-create the sets of the old TV show while they're at it ...
  11. Complete speculation on my part, but once the pre-orders opened, it seems like Ron and the rest of the team started being a lot more open in interviews to the possibility of a follow-up game. It made me suspect that sales have been fairly strong, and that Disney/Devolver are amenable to another go-round. I actually would be surprised if Return to Monkey Island didn't post the best first-week sales figures of any game in the series, since it's 'legacy sequel' that some fans have been waiting decades for, and the press has been fairly breathless. It seems undoubtedly to be the best-selling game Ron has made for the past couple of decades (he seemed a little disappointed in how Thimbleweed Park sold). It's the kind of trick you can't easily pull off a second time though, so I'm skeptical that a MI7 would match the general interest there has been in MI6. I'm still enjoying Return though, so I'm not yet champing at the bit for another game ... I think they should do another MM first, tbh.
  12. In this first part of the prologue, is it possible to tie Chuckie up? There's a place with ropes that prompts you to try, but I couldn't figure out if it was a puzzle to try and solve or not. Please don't tell me HOW to do it, but I'm curious if anyone was able to do it ...
  13. It's meant to be an audio-animatronic parrot, like they have at the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland, isn't it? But yeah, I think it is meant to make us question of what is real and what is a simulacra.
  14. The prologue presents the idea that the world of the games is part of a storyworld that exists somewhere between how father Guybrush retells his adventures to his kid, how Guybrush remembers them himself, and how his kid imagines them. It cleverly speaks to the subjective nature of video game narratives, where the players inhabit a story the developers programmed, and re-tell it in their own way. It also strikes a delicate balance between resolving the LeChuck's Revenge cliff-hanger and honoring the previous three Monkey Island games that came after that cliffhanger. In fact, the neat way Return's answer to the Revenge cliffhanger builds on the narrative baggage of the previous games, especially the idea of Guybrush as an older, married, established as pirate who has had lots of adventures, makes me wonder whether a satisfying resolution would have even been possible in 1992. I feel like both MI1 and MI2 benefited from this sense of nagging dread, which helped to balance the general corniness of the world. Both games are constantly hinting that there is something actually quite terrible about treasure you're seeking. In Secret, it's a portal to Hell, which gave me the absolute heebie jeebies as a kid. It sort of feels like you're on the edge of unraveling the entire world. In Revenge, that same sense of dread is still there, in particular with the cutscenes that show LeChuck closing in on Guybrush each time he finds a map piece. However, Ron has admitted that he wasn't sure how to end the game, and I think he went with something that felt uncanny the same way that Hell did, without really knowing how the cliffhanger would resolve. So there's this great sense of the world collapsing in MI2, but how do you come back from that? I can believe that Ron possibly intended the games to be sort of like a child's fantasy, but I think that idea works more as a vibe than as an overt plot point or M. Night Shyamalan twist. I think he was able to get the dread of the MI2 ending by sort of subverting that child-like vibe and making it overt in a way that feels uncomfortable and wrong. But it does kind of write the story into a corner. I never wanted a Monkey Island 3a that revealed that the previous games were imaginary, and I also never though the anachronisms were something that needed to be explained. Even if you do want those things explained, that's nowhere to start the first chapter of a computer game that might be another player's entry to the series. Return makes the Childbrush section work because seasoned players understand it in context of Revenge, while newer players will just experience it as a 'junior pirates' tutorial section. No one was doing in-game tutorials in 1992. It's possible that Ron had a great resolution planned for the start of MI3a, but he certainly didn't stick around at LucasArts to tell it. I find it hard to believe that it would have felt as natural of a resolution as what Return delivered. And in a weird way, I'm kind of glad to have had 20 years of speculating about what that resolution could have been. It's been fun!
  15. Guybrush had no way of knowing the ring would turn her into a statue, right? If I remember correctly, he doesn't know it's cursed until Wally shows up and tells him and Elaine right after he proposes to her. I guess his mistake was proposing to Elaine with a ring that he stole, but LeChuck is presumably the one who put the curse on the ring. It's on-brand for Guybrush to not accept responsibility for it, of course. It is kind of funny how the scrapbook glosses over it like "here's another crazy thing that happened one time - Elaine was a statue for a while, and was got briefly swallowed by a snake! Anyway... "). Boy, I'm glad to have stumbled into the Curse of Monkey Island spoiler thread where we can discuss the plot intricacies of this groundbreaking follow-up to Ron Gilbert's Monkey Island 2.
  16. I've only played the prologue and explored Melee so far - all the characters keep telling me to go to the docks, but I've been resisting it so far and just wandering around. I've been enjoying the dialogue a lot, and haven't felt the need to turn on subtitles like I thought I would. My favorite part so far is pestering Locke Smith by asking what every lock and key do. Her answers feel very Grossman in their specificity, and are just the kind of detail I love about these games.
  17. The prologue did the impossible in threading the needle and turning the cliffhanger from Revenge into a new-user friendly tutorial section. I've just played Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo with my little kids, and that whole section had a Humongous vibe to it - albeit with plenty of gross touches that suggest a disturbing rot underneath the happy-go-lucky veneer. To suggest a layer of meta-commentary for whoever write the dissertation about the prologue: It's interesting to think about this section in light of the fact that the first thing Ron did after he wrote the end of LeChuck's Revenge was create a mini-universe of children's games with wide-eyed, optimistic protagonists who are cut from the same cloth as kid-Guybrush (this is really reinforced by the voice-acting). If you prepared for Return to MI not by playing through the Monkey Island series, but by playing all of the adventure games Ron Gilbert produced in chronological order, you would follow up LeChuck's Revenge immediately with Putt Putt, and then a dozen other kiddie adventures. The prologue of Return to Monkey Island then serves not just as a resolution to the ending of LeChuck's Revenge, but a bridge from the bright and happy world of Humongous.
  18. The interview was great!! Peak Mojo content. And very cool of Ron to ask about the origins of Mojo. Both Ron and Dave seem like cool, down to earth guys. Interesting to hear his perspective on how the Monkey Island cult developed. I had somehow had this idea in my head that he had desperately wanted to make Monkey Island 3a ever since leaving LucasArts -- maybe because that's what *I* hoped he would do. But it seems like he didn't realise there was such a fan demand there until after he had finished at Humongous Entertainment.
  19. I didn't think Kylo's arc in ROS made a lot of sense - or at least I don't remember the logic or emotional stakes of it, especially compared to his arcs in TFA and TLJ, which felt very clear to me. I think there was a missed opportunity to have a very big pivot for Kylo as a result of Luke defeating him at the end of TLJ. If you make that a moment that directly leads to either Kylo's destruction or redemption, it would have made the whole trilogy feel a lot more cohesive. Maybe his defeat lead to the First Order starting to lose faith in Kylo, and results in his power being reduced within the organization. This leads him to become even more desperate and reckless. Maybe Kylo becomes obsessed with getting revenge on Luke, not understanding that Luke become one with the Force. Maybe Luke continues to appear to him as a force ghost, eventually guides him back to some kind of redemption, as he had done for Vader.
  20. Yeah, I agree. Those books/games/comics are all still available (not sure if the novels are still in print), which is cool. I'm just ambivalent about the drive to re-make Star Wars as this cohesive universe. In the wild and wooly pre-prequel trilogy days, Lucas licensed Star Wars to a bunch of different companies that expanded the universe in different ways, so there wasn't a cohesive plan. I don't think that was by design, in retrospect I feel that I liked that the old version didn't fit well together. Fans seemed more tolerant of each other at that time as well, because you just learned to roll with the contradictions of the franchise. More recently, it just seems like Star Wars has become something people argue about, and it doesn't feel fun any more. But I've also aged out of it. I only made it into a few episodes of the Mandelorian before I got bored, so I probably shouldn't even be on this thread ...
  21. Yes, I think the EU canon had become pretty overstuffed and restrictive by the time Disney bought Lucasfilm, and I don't blame them for essentially just wiping it and starting over. I personally liked the improvised nature of the brand as it existed in the early '90s, but I'm not sure how long it could have continued to expand without imploding. I like the ideas of several tiers of canon that Lucasfilm developed, but I think having to classify stuff in that level of detail point to larger problems. If you look at superhero comics, they don't have the same compulsion to synthesize everything into the same timeline, or to classify whether something really 'counts' or not. It's all just stories. It's not a perfect approach, but it's certainly more flexible. I think I would be more receptive to a Han Solo prequel film if it were supposed to be a version Han Solo, rather than the definitive Han Solo. All the same, I think I liked Star Wars because I was a kid, and there wasn't much else like it at the time. I stopped caring as much after the prequels came out, and the book license moved from Bantam to Del Rey, and LucasArts started pumping out tie-in games that no longer told their own stories ... but that was also around the time that I learned to drive a car, and started thinking about going to college, etc. That all happened at the same time for me, so it's hard to say if the old way was truly better, of it I just liked it because it was what I had as a kid. The fact that it all started changing around the time that I stopped being a kid makes it easy to be nostalgic for. I imagine for people who were becoming adults right as the sequel trilogy came and the EU canon was ditched out feel similarly ambivalent about it all.
  22. I get this point, but I read that book as a kid and it was more like a weird creative writing challenge than at attempt at building out a cohesive lore. The stories were written by a bunch of different authors, and they each took their stories in wildly different directions in terms of tone and genre, and it didn't tie into anything else. It's not a classic by any means, but I can recall more details from the stories than I do from many of the main EU novels. I found it disconcertingly avant garde, and it didn't seem like anyone was monitoring the brand very closely. The wobbly continuity of Star Wars in the 90s had a charm to it that I don't associate with the brand any more. I had a book called 'The Essential Guide to Characters', which re-read a lot because it had a bunch of characters that came from outside the EU I was familiar with. There was stuff like the Ewoks cartoon series, the Marvel comic books, and a middle-grade chapter book series where the Emperor had a long-lost kid called ... Triclops. Just piles of stuff from a whole range of licencees who obviously never talked to each other. This book purported to reconcile all of it, but really just drew attention to the depth of imagination required in order to piece together how ramshackle and incongruent it all was. Here's the cover: Like, I love that Vader and Leia are just kind of buried in the background behind random aliens, and that C-3PO is from a comic book adaptation of the Droids cartoon series. Who's that lady in the front? I couldn't tell you, and I spent many afternoons sprawled on the floor reading this book. This was a thick black and white paperback with lots of drawings of the characters, and I think it had some things in common with a role-playing source book. To me, it made it feel like Star Wars was a weird world where anyone could add a character or a time period and mess around however they wanted to.
  23. I guess my problem with the sequels is that most of the characters don't develop in particularly satisfying ways between movies. I like all the characters pretty well in TFA, and wanted to see them have another adventure. I think the characterisation of Poe and Finn is pretty thin, though, and this becomes a problem in later films. In TLJ, the scenes with Rey, Luke and Kylo are strong, and I also like the stuff with Poe as a deconstruction of the 'cocky rebel' trope. On the other hand, Finn's plot is weird. He doesn't seem like the same character as in the previous movie. ROS fails to do anything with the characters that felt meaningful to me, and doesn't pay off the interesting parts of TLJ. Rose could have been the 'Lando' of this trilogy, but she gets sidelined, which retroactively makes Finn's plot in TJI feel even more extraneous. Snoke being dispatched should have led to us seeing what would happen if Kylo took on an Emperor-like role, but they cart out Emperor instead, so we once again see Kylo being subservient to another Sith lord. Ho hum. I actually think Palpetine himself was creepy in a fun way, but he doesn't have a meaningful connection to the remaining characters. Having Rey be his granddaughter I guess is an attempt to give some purpose to his return, but there's no emotional heft to it, and it feels like a retcon. I don't really remember what Rey, Poe or Finn do in this film, except that they go on a mission that is boring. I think what they should have done with ROS is have a big time jump. TLJ had a real 'last adventure' feel to me, and I would have liked to have seen Episode 9 jump ahead like 10 or 15 years. That which would have mirrored the jump between Episode 1 and Episode 2, and let the first and last episodes in the saga feel like bookends. More importantly, it would have let us see what happens to these characters after they've processed the deaths and sacrifices of the OT characters, and how they shape the world in their absence. You could have had Kylo as a supreme bad guy (or, I dunno, a repentant outcast), and Rey mentoring some kind of new Jedi academy. Maybe Finn and Rose have a family. Maybe Poe's moved on to become a bureaucrat and hates it. Maybe Chewbacca is king of the Republic! Anything, just advance the characters in an interesting way.
  24. My first experience with Star Wars was when I was like eleven. I remember wandering into the living room on a Saturday afternoon, and my dad had been channel surfing and landed on a cable-adjacent channel showing the first part of Return of the Jedi. There were the pig guard things, and Chewbacca, and it all looked old and weird and unlike anything I had seen before. My dad wandered off to mow the lawn and I guess I watched the rest of the movie. When I went to school the next week I was amazed that anyone else in my class had heard of it. I guess this was the sweet spot in the early/mid '90s when merchandising for the original films had finished up like a decade ago, and Lucas hadn't started gearing up to reinvigorate the IP. You could get the movies on VHS, and some kids who had older siblings had seen Star Wars toys in a box, or the attic or whatever, but that was about it. Lots of adults remembered the films fondly, but no one seemed to care deeply about them. I was like they were this fairy tale from the 1970s that kids from the '90s were discovering second-hand. That was fun! Then they re-released the films, and as I became a teenager, the novels, comics, merch, computer games, and finally the prequels became HUGE. I was the right age to main-line all of that for a couple of years, and enjoyed it a lot. Now there are several exhaustive universes of Star Wars stuff and it has become inescapable, and I feel grumpy about it. I've probably just out-grown it. But I also feel like Star Wars gets treated like some historical era to be studied now -- there are kids books about the event of the film which read like non-fiction, and I miss it feeling like a weird old fairy tale that grown-ups didn't take seriously.
  25. I'm expecting to be somewhat disappointed, or I guess I should say that I'm tempering my expectations. I guess it's kind of like when a rock band reunites after 20+ years and decides to do another album together... it's very exciting and cathartic to get to have another go-round with something that you loved so long ago, but it's very unlikely to reach the highs of the original experience. The indications from the screenshots and marketing so far is that RtMI will mostly be 'playing the hits', and I like the idea of returning to Melee Island after several decades, etc. I'm going to be interested to play it and reflect on how times have changed, but I don't expect that it will be on par with the original games. That's all OK! If it's comparable in quality to Tales I will be happy.
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