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Mojo Updater
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Udvarnoky last won the day on August 23

Udvarnoky had the most liked content!

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About Udvarnoky

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    Short for "Jason"

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  1. Honestly, I would just play the game with a walkthrough. Better to "cheat" and have played Zak at all than to get frustrated and miss out, as I gather many have. I personally like Zak about as much as anybody outside of Germany seems to. I like how it's something of a reaction to Maniac Mansion, which was a "single location" game in a sense, while Zak is wide open and globe-trotting -- kind of a wackier Indiana Jones. The main objection to Zak is that it's the most dated LucasArts game in terms of design philosophy. As with Maniac, you can die and get stuck, but these flaws are magnified with Zak because of its scope. Nothing is worse than realizing you've been stalemated because you simply failed to pick an item that is in a location you can no longer access. At least with Maniac, the nature of the game is such that you could get back to wherever you were relatively quickly if you had to start over. Because it's relatively unforgiving, Zak is probably the most "Sierra-like" of the LucasArts catalog. It predates the jump in art/animation that came with Last Crusade and lacks the trailblazer status of Maniac, so it's sort of a middle child in that early period of SCUMM before Loom and Monkey Island 1 finished the recipe and firmed up the policy never to deny the player a winnable state. I think you almost have to be familiar with the kinds of adventure games that were otherwise being released in 1988 to get a sense of how Zak represented progress, and how a lot of its worst aspects in hindsight were practically pro-forma in those days. The mazes in particular are unpleasant and utterly bald attempts to pad the game's duration, but they were also an uncritically accepted feature of the genre at the time. Zak's introduction of multiple valid puzzle solutions was something of a quiet breakthrough in my opinion, and the game deserves credit for its ambition. I think it's telling, however, that the most enjoyable scene for me is an extremely self-contained one: when you have Zak wreak havoc on the airplane and ruin a stewardess's day. It's a classic "being an asshole" adventure game moment that would have made Guybrush proud.
  2. By all accounts the culture of the studio changed quite a bit as a product of the restructuring of the early 90s. Ron and Shelley Day were not the only people to leave the company around that time. Presumably they were just ready to strike out on their own and have stake in their own creations. As far as the motive behind making adventure games aimed at children, Ron told Mojo that "it gave me a way to do more games in a short amount of time and experiment with design issues." I think Ron saw which way the wind was blowing with adventure games in terms of growing budgets dooming them to become unsustainable, and the early Humongous years can be seen as sort of an antecedent to the digital revolution that would come. The internet was not an option yet, so games aimed at children, who didn't demand bleeding-edge graphics and 60 hours of gameplay, was sort of an alternative manifestation of the same idea Telltale popularized: make adventure games quickly and cheaply and thus profitably. The evolution is even more striking when you look at what the short-lived Hulabee, the successor of Humongous, was attempting. Ron was openly talking about downloadable adventures games by then, but the business fell apart before he could really prove what he set out to. But you look at the six-chapter Moop and Dreadly, and it's like Ron was predicting the future. Interestingly enough, Freelance Police (which would have entered development around this time) was itself conceived as a six-chapter adventure game, and the team had lobbied for digital distribution, which was too radical for the management at the time. (Ironically, the same management ultimately cancelled the game because of the cost of bringing an adventure game to retail.) Finally, Sam & Max: Season 1 demonstrated that this could work, but it's funny how different people were independently working toward the same conclusion in the years leading up to that.
  3. It sounds like David Nowlin and Dave Boat to me, but time away from the roles and a different voice director perhaps cause a slight difference. I am naturally pleased by the existence of a new Sam & Max title of any sort, and it is especially cool that this one has some Hit the Road folks involved, but I can only work up so much enthusiasm for something I am destined to be unable to play. Looking forward to following along with its developments though.
  4. The article, as threatened. Also, special thanks to Remi for inspiring me to replay CMI this weekend. Man, what a game.
  5. The early design period could well have been that slow if Falstein was flitting between projects (note his "Additional Design" credit on Monkey Isand 1) or if it was not yet a priority. Remember that Ron had submitted his Monkey Island 1 proposal before being pulled onto Last Crusade, which forced him to table it for close to a year. So there is probably a Monkey Island pitch document dated 1988 out there. (Or maybe it emerged already? I forget.) Just looking at dates can paint a misleading picture if you remove the circumstances. We also have to remember that we are talking about a studio that had a pretty unique culture, especially in the 80s. Did you see Ron's post-mortem on Maniac Mansion? It took two years to make that game, and it sounds like Ron and Gary were allowed a staggering amount of time to just kind of percolate on their concept before even figuring out what genre it was. There are just too many specifics we do not know to assume that the most sensational possible scenario is more likely than the ten mundane ones.
  6. There probably wasn't a huge gap of time between Last Crusade and the first version of The Dig, and Falstein has credits during and after that period which indicate he was lending a hand with other projects. When the first version of The Dig was shelved, its team was dispersed to assist with Monkey Island 2 and Fate of Atlantis, and I believe Noah was laid off shortly after Fate.
  7. By the way, people should check out the original CAPTAIN BLOOD if they count themselves any sort of fan of old-fashioned swashbucklers. It is the first of the eight match-ups between Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, and there are some who would tell you it is superior even to THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD.
  8. Tim's praise for Lucasfilm's archival efforts when Double Fine went searching for original assets for the remasters of Grim/DOTT/FT was very heartening. On the other hand, there was at least some reliance on things developers had saved themselves in personal archives, and some stuff was outright lost and had to be recreated (certain textures). And that is just the virtual assets for the games themselves. When it comes to artwork, we have seen enough examples of artists having originals in their personal possession to conclude that some folks walked out the studio with materials, so some of this stuff is scattered around. Promotional art and stuff associated with unreleased games come with their own level of uncertainty. Is the fabled Ken Macklin background art for The Dig, for example, still just sitting unloved in a filing cabinet somewhere? Hope so!
  9. This is reminiscent to me of how Don Giller, the David Letterman superfan who has every episode of the original Late Night show recorded on tape, became the show's unofficial archivist to the point where Letterman people would reach out to him for help with an old episode/clip. Meanwhile, the actual master tapes for Letterman's 80s run may well be rotting in an NBC vault in an outmoded format until it passes the point of being digitizable. It's a little chilling to think that some obsessive fans are the last line of defense against this stuff simply being lost forever. I am hoping Disney just found it more convenient/inexpensive to use's Laser's work than to disinter the original piece for an archival scan. It is a much more comforting thought than the possibility that the painting itself is history. Same with all of the original artwork for LucasArts games, released or unreleased.
  10. That's pretty cool. Kind of ironic how relied upon the fan base has become for official releases, whether it's for keeping the games runnable (GOG and Steam versions bundled with ScummVM) or collectibles. It is a testament to the professional caliber of your work, though it also raises the troubling question of whether they have access to the source art themselves at this point.
  11. Their Sega CD release of The Secret of Monkey Island was truly bonkers. I wonder if Laserschwert could do any better than he has already with that 18x24" poster as a source. Assuming it's not the product of Laserschwert's work already. https://limitedrungames.com/products/the-secret-of-monkey-island-scd-premium-edition
  12. It takes a while to file Max's teeth down to just the right sharpness.
  13. Seems like the awesome-looking collectibles have been up for pre-order forever, but they're finally shipping soon. Rejoice, etc.
  14. This is one of many examples of you just asserting things as if they are self-evident, when they are not. Cheekily referring to an untitled game as a "secret project" may strain credulity for you, but I daresay it's not so great a leap for most people.
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