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Mojo Updater
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Everything posted by Udvarnoky

  1. https://mixnmojo.com/news/Indy-5-sizzle-reel-leaks-in-dubious-qualty-Willow-now-streaming-in-optimum-quality
  2. As with the commercial success of most of these games, the data is too sketchy to be confident either way. By some accounts, the game sold half a million units over its life, which if true is quite a hit for an adventure game. I don't know that I buy that number. But I definitely wouldn't be surprised if the game sold at least as well in its time as Monkey Island 1 did. I think it's possible that both things can be true: that Loom was a genuine hit in its time, but the IP being left fallow allowed it to be forgotten to the point where its own studio was cracking jokes about its obscurity in The Curse of Monkey Island. Awareness is largely a matter of continued exploitation. Monkey Island got sequelized, and Loom did not. In 1990, I doubt that Loom was necessarily considered less fit for a sequel than Monkey Island. But its creator wasn't interested right away, and other attempts to get a design greenlit didn't work out. When the moment passed, inertia had its way.
  3. The "Seckrit" sign that Captain Madison and co. use as LeChuck bait is misspelled the same way Dr. Fred's secret lab is in Maniac Mansion.
  4. There's a "Pappapisshu" on Terror Island if you touch the thorns on the rocky beach.
  5. What, another one? That's right: @Marius had a chat with Rex Crowle one day before the game's release, just for you.
  6. Not posting the video was part of the terms...not that I think our interviewers cried too many tears over it. I think the raw transcript approach works great for these things. The results remind me of the old (2004ish?) interview with Ron that Jake and Chris Remo did for Idle Thumbs (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). It was good enough for Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles.
  7. Ron and Dave had a long phone conversation with our own @elTee and @Marius. Or the other way around, arguably. It was fun.
  8. How it looks is the furthest thing from a negligible point for a movie. The idea that it's ugly is a matter of taste (mine, for example), but I think the aesthetic does real damage to the movie's sense of immersion. It's not like these adventures have ever been about verisimilitude, but they've at least felt like they took place on Planet Earth, in physical, tactile environments where gravity might actually have an influence. The smeary, self-conscious look is distancing, and without immediacy, you can't have stakes or peril. That's just an upfront, totally gratuitous liability before you consider the shortcomings of the writing. But I will fully admit that for the imaginary sect of people that were disappointed by the movie on the basis that they didn't believe ants could climb on top of each other, you've set the record straight. ;
  9. They're close, huh? My prescription probably just needs adjustment.
  10. https://mixnmojo.com/news/Indy-5-concept-art-teases-Morocco-chase-spooky-cavern
  11. I don't want to set expectations because Aaron certainly hasn't promised anything, but for the past week or so he's been tweeting his adventures in emulating Grim and now EMI. It's fun to watch.
  12. Maybe I just remember it as being a lot. To save face I'm going to do the natural thing and advance a conspiracy theory that he deleted the majority of his tweets because the takes were just too hot.
  13. At one point Tim basically live tweeted his playthrough of TMI. Dunno if those still exist, but I remember him having fun with it.
  14. It sounds unabashedly Golden Age Hollywood, and yes that is a compliment.
  15. There's a lot of contradictory information about the sales of the LucasArts adventure games, but it does seem to be the case that Full Throttle and The Dig performed the best. Tim has said that Throttle sold a million units, while the LucasArts itself touted that "At launch, The Dig became LucasArts best-selling adventure game with 300,000 units sold worldwide." That's probably lifetime sales for one being compared against more immediate sales for the other, but the information is uncertain enough to be skeptical about. My impression is that low six-figures seems to have been the trend for these types of games when they sold OK, so exceeding that was considered a relatively big hit. I believe that CMI, Grim and EMI all squeaked out a profit as well, but there was a brutal ceiling that none but perhaps Throttle was able to break. If The Dig sold even better than Throttle it was probably cancelled out by the sunk costs of its eighteen prior iterations.
  16. My guess about a boxed version is that it will ultimately happen, but as a boutique thing through Limited Run or iam8bit well after the fact, Psychonauts 2 style.
  17. That DREAMM has apparently kicked off some sort of accuracy arms race in @AndywinXp's head is really the best possible outcome.
  18. EMI probably goes in for more adolescent humor on balance than the other games, but at the same time it may also be the most literate. (A reference to The Illywacker?) It's yet another facet of that game's maddening/delightful all-over-the-placeness. With a chuckle, I am reminded of the exasperation of Randy Sluganski (RIP) in his review of the game:
  19. Having it all laid out in this thread, it's amazing how compromised VGA CD is. I grew up on VGA Floppy*, and when I experienced VGA CD I disliked every single alteration and never went back to it. Truly, the original Special Edition. *I still think it's an excellent version of the game, but have since joined the righteous in recognizing that EGA is the one true messiah.
  20. As I was exposed to this game (and indeed, the SCUMM catalog as a whole) through the NES version, the "irradiated" Edisons was always my preferred flavor. Maybe losing that nuclear reactor restored some skin health by the time of DOTT. That's fascinating, @dwa, about the enhanced version being included in DOTT for non-English releases. It makes it even more of a mystery to me why they would go with the older graphics version stateside when the update had become the defacto version by then. I wonder if the team just preferred the synchronicity of the flesh-colored Edisons or simply the idea of going full vintage. I also wondered if maybe the negligible difference in size between v1 and v2 was not so negligible in the context of DOTT's floppy disk release, but I guess we can rule that out. How is the enhanced version "cracked" in non-English DOTT? Is the security door forced open there as well?
  21. I’ve noticed sometimes in conversation that there’s confusion, which I share in, about how many distinct versions of Maniac Mansion there are, partially because of the way they’ve come to be labeled. Specifically, you’ll often see the computer versions bisected into “v1” and “v2”. When people use those terms, they tend to be talking about the two main graphic representations of the game, also commonly referred to as “original” and “enhanced” (and sometimes, “low-resolution” vs. “high-resolution”). Despite the implication, there are in fact more than two versions of the game, even if you limit the scope to computer releases. I thought I’d try to lay them all out. The impetus for digging into this was really for me to get a handle on the release history of Maniac Mansion myself, but why not destroy other people’s time by sharing what I’ve learned? A bit of housekeeping: The packaging images are taken from The LucasArts Museum, where you can find photos of virtually every printing, inside and out. Screenshots come from MobyGames. Grab a can of Pepsi and some wax fruit and let’s begin… Release #1 The original release of Maniac Mansion was published for the Commodore 64 and Apple II in the fall of 1987. Nailing down exact release dates for older games can be tricky, but it seems it was a simultaneous release for both platforms in October. Here’s the front/back of the C64 box: And below are some screenshots from the C64 version. The Apple II presentation is a bit jankier, but they fundamentally have same graphics. Amusing trivia about the packaging: The spiel on the back of the box caused a bit of a ruckus due to its use of the word “lust” in that list of nouns on the right. Apparently, a parent shopping at Toys R Us noticed it, dropped dramatically upon their fainting chair, and complained to management about the obscenity that had been unleashed unto children. The retailer banned the product from their shelves, and thus marketing cleaned up their act for all subsequent releases. Release #2 A couple of months later, in early 1988, the game was ported to IBM PCs (and since MS-DOS was the operating system, this is interchangeably referred to as a DOS port) as well as re-released on the Commodore 64. Here’s the front/back packaging of this release: Note that the back is redesigned. In terms of graphics, this release is nearly identical to the first release, and thus falls under the umbrella of the “v1” designation. Notably, the logo has been re-imagined into its more familiar “meteor tails” design, as you can see on the box along with a new tagline. The logo change is reflected in-game, on the character selection screen and opening sequence: There are other, more subtle visual differences compared to the original C64 version, but logo aside, screenshots from this release are virtually identical to the first release. On the audio side, the game is a bit quieter than the 1987 version, which had constant crickets in exteriors as well as a sound effect for the characters walking. Maybe these ever-present sounds were deemed annoying? Who knows. Also, when I look at a playthrough of the original C64 version, I find that the characters walk at a decent clip and the cursor movements are silky-smooth, whereas this DOS version was always painfully slow in that regard. I think ScummVM “fixes” the walk speed, but if you play this version authentically (either on an actual DOS machine or via emulator like DREAMM or DOSBox) you’ll experience the choppiness I’m talking about. Finally, the IBM version of this release introduced the “Nuke’em Alarms” copy protection, which C64 and Apple II versions never had. Instead, the door ahead of you upon reaching the second floor landing is just a regular door. Release #3 Finally, in 1989, the game was released yet again, this time with enhanced graphics (which is what people tend to mean when they talk about “v2”). In addition to being a re-release for IBM and Apple II, the game was further ported to Amiga and Atari ST with this version. Here is the front/back of the packaging, which features the familiar marble border typical of Lucasfilm Games titles from this period. Notice the studio came up with yet a third tagline, and gave Ron and Gary movie-director-style named credits that the studio came to take pride in. Note also that the rear packaging also has an all-new design, featuring an amazing oil painting of the Edison Family portrait by Steve Purcell. (I’ll also point out, since it’s sometimes misattributed, that Purcell is not responsible for the cover art for Maniac Mansion – that credit goes to Ken Macklin.) Here are a few screenshots from this version, which is probably the most familiar one in the PC realm: Note when comparing the graphics that this isn’t an EGA vs. VGA situation like with Indy 3, Loom and Monkey 1. The “enhanced” version of Maniac Mansion is characterized by higher resolution compared to the original, which allowed things to be rendered in a bit more detail. Noteworthy about this version is that the Edisons are depicted as having green skin. The Nintendo port carried on that idea, while Day of the Tentacle opted to revert the family to flesh color. As the credits on these old games aren’t great, I am not sure who drew the enhanced graphics – perhaps it was Gary Winnick himself? Later in 1989, this exact same version of the game was reprinted in a budget release for IBM – same box, but with less paraphernalia inside (no dormitory bulletin board poster!), a single 3.5” diskette (IBM customers got both a 3.5” and a 5.25” in the preceding package) and cheaper printing choices for the manual(s) and diskette label. There were a couple of other games that received this kind of budget reprinting that year, including Indy 3. You can compare the contents of the full-bodied version here with the cheapo version here. The "enhanced" version of the game is also what was found in the Classic Adventures pack (a compilation of the first five SCUMM games) in 1992. However, the version included as an Easter Egg in Day of the Tentacle (1993) was the “original graphics” DOS version (1988). In Day of the Tentacle Remastered, they decided to make the game-within-a-game the “enhanced” version instead. Today, When you buy Maniac Mansion standalone from Steam or GOG, it’ll launch by default as the “enhanced graphics” version (which by now has come to specifically mean the 1989 DOS port), but if you back out of the game to the ScummVM launcher, you’ll find that you have the data files for the “original graphics” version (which by now has come to specifically mean the 1988 DOS port) as well. Unfortunately, as with all the SCUMM games offered on digital storefronts that come bundled with ScummVM, you don’t get the native interpreter. The Console Ports The first console release was for the Famicom (the Japanese equivalent of the NES) in 1988. Its development outsourced to Jaleco (which also published it), it’s a version of the game notorious for its general weirdness. Perhaps that weirdness is why, when LucasArts decided to make an NES version in 1990, they opted to start over with their own 8-bit attempt rather than simply translating this release. While Jaleco remained the publisher of this port, it was developed by Realtime Associates in collaboration with LucasArts itself, and thus was a much better adaptation, censorship courtesy of a flexing Nintendo of America aside. Trivia: Dave Grossman, Tim Schafer, and Jennifer Sward all served as “object taggers” on this port during their SCUMMlette days – it may be the first credited role for all three of them. On the mythbusting front: You might have heard that Nintendo discovered the infamous hamster-nuking feature after the fact and forced its removal, thus making the pre-crackdown cartridges rare. This is only partially true. Nintendo did in fact discover the feature only after the game shipped in America, did in fact pitch a fit, and did in fact order that all subsequent printings remove it. However, the game didn’t sell well enough in the U.S. to justify a second printing (though the initial printing was a large one, I think of a quarter of a million units), so the removal only got applied to the international releases. Therefore, all U.S. copies have the feature, and all non-U.S. copies do not. The hamster-nuking cartridges are not rare, merely regional. Maniac Mansion Deluxe This is the fan-made VGA makeover that was released in 2004. It also removes some dead-ends that plagued the original game and adds a lot of observational dialog. (As the original game had a “Read” verb instead of “Look at”, there was unfortunately barely any incidental dialog.) I point this version out because the 256-color treatment is so tastefully done (and looking very Thimbleweek Park-esque indeed) that it’s sometimes mistaken for official. But the “enhanced graphics” release from 1989 is the last version of Maniac Mansion officially produced. At least, until they let Ron loose on a special edition…
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