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Thimbleweed Park: A New Classic Point & Click Adventure FROM RON GILBERT! AND Gary Winnick

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I'd only heard bad things about the NES version of Maniac Mansion, largely from this article that goes into how Nintendo censored everything:

http://www.crockford.com/wrrrld/maniac.html

Interesting to hear someone say it's their favorite.

The music in the NES version really adds a lot to the experience, and the game is all in-tact minus the censorship (although every version is somewhat censored over the original C-64 and Apple ][ versions anyway, as there is a curse in the finale that was changed to tunahead in the DOS V1 version and in every version after that).

Plus, there's an extra way to complete the game in the NES version that's not in any other version (and it's pretty funny).

If you don't like the censorship, there's a prototype available online that is the complete NES version without the censorship (except for the tunahead change I noted above).

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Cool. I really dislike the NES graphics, but it sounds like it might be worth a play. Especially the uncensored version.

Are you sure about that "tuna head" reference, btw? I don't believe there was a version released that actually said "sh¡t head"?

This is a great article on the different versions:

http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/maniacmansion/maniacmansion.htm

I'd actually like to play the original graphics version with the SOMI parser. I like the look of it over the "enhanced" version.

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I always understood the tunahead line change to have been pre-release as described here:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/123780/GDC_2011_Ron_Gilberts_Odd_Collection_Of_Maniac_Mansion_Memories.php

One famous line from the game's dialogue is "Bernard! Don't be a tuna head!" This peculiar quote is well known to fans -- but, says Gilbert, originally this was supposed to be "don't be a shit head!" Gilbert and Winnick got in a huge fight with management over the line, but were asked to only keep it in if they could think of a good reason.

They couldn't, and the line was changed. However, Gilbert says that he went with "tuna head" as a subtle form of protest -- something that would stand out. 


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@suejak

Illogical often is used for different kind of issues.

a) A puzzle is really illogical, like apart from that it doesn't make sense in the real world, it also doesn't make sense in a game's world's way of thinking (iagwwot).

b) It might make sense iagwwot but due to a lack of information/motivation you can't solve it properly without trial and error or by accidentally stumbling over the solution. It might make sense only in hindsight, after you solved it already.

c) It might make sense iagwwot but the solution is hidden from you in a cumbersome way, like there already exist seven better methods which make more sense and would be more fun solving a puzzle (real or iagwwot) and the accepted solution comes without reasonable explanations why the other methods didn't work and is primary an annoying stopper to keep you from progressing in the game too fast.

And so on, there are quite some things you can do (and they do) wrong. You find such poorly designed puzzles in many adventures (old and modern ones).

Hmm, this reminds me of an old post ... yep, still online:

http://www.oldmanmurray.com/features/77.html

Has there ever been an adventure project which tries a pitch like, "Hey, i don't have some sweet eye candy, a fancy trailer or am a celebrity but what i can offer are three examples of puzzles i designed and which represent the puzzle design which i have in mind for the game with this story and these characters."?

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Are you sure about that "tuna head" reference, btw? I don't believe there was a version released that actually said "sh¡t head"?
That term never made it in, but there was a term that was in the earliest versions (the Apple ][ and C-64 versions) of the game at the end that weren't in later versions. Dave still does say "don't be a tunahead" to Bernard at the beginning, but at the end Dr. Fred tells Dave "don't be a smart ass" when he says "cash would be nice". This was censored to tunahead in every other version, which works as a callback to Dave's comment to Bernard at the start.

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...was in the earliest versions (the Apple ][ and C-64 versions) of the game...

Do you know how it felt like playing MM on the C64?

Acceleration for digital input ...

Point & click adventures needed a mouse, for the mainstream this wasn't 8 bit territory.

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I don't like update #6.

Dunno, naming characters, placing graphics/logos inside a game or providing backer voices for the answering machines, all these things kind of destroy the immersion of a game's world. Then carrying around all those MBs of sound data i don't want to hear. Imagine if they won't be able to fund (hopefully won't happen) the talkie version, how weird this will feel in the game, no voices all around but the answering machine. A short list with funny names and funny messages would have been much better.

In my opinion they could have done better with a reasonable tier structure and a different stretch goal order (talkie before mobiles [already caters a different crowd]). There wouldn't have been a reason trying to fix things by motivating people increasing their pledges whilst harming the integrity of the game. Nay, i think it's a bad idea ...

Backer data is nicely placed in the credits but it shouldn't be part of the game.

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I was always puzzled by the branded inventory item reward tier at $1000. Sure, it's a neat idea I guess, but they have 75 slots in that tier. I think Monkey Island 2 had about that many inventory items in total, and that was a pretty big adventure game!

So far 10 have been taken, but it's a bit weird they're prepared to accomodate and find uses for up to 75 backer-branded objects in the game. I doubt they'll fill that many slots, but even 10 makes a noticeable dent. I can't help but think that having so many will either rather stick out, or the objects will be relegated to kind of red-herring items like all the library books in Monkey 2 which you don't actually ever need to complete the game.

That said, I didn't mind the Broken Age backer tier of putting likenesses in the game, but they were priced much higher, and only 2 made it in. One turned out to be a pretty significant character who you wouldn't know was based on a backer unless you bothered to look it up, and the other one is an unnamed cardboard cut out that looks like the guy on the box of ticket to ride (which I guess could be mildly distracting if you're familiar with it).

I generally agree that this backer content is usually best outside of the game itself, but it depends how it's used. I rather like it in MASSIVE CHALICE for example (with some reservations). I guess we'll see.

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Yep, the "guy on the box of ticket"-thing felt displaced and wasn't looking good.

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I...

don't actually think I'll back this.

Which makes me sad. It seems like I'd be the target audience for this sort of thing, but I don't know how to feel about it. A mixture of emotions, I suppose.

1) It's cool that Ron Gilbert is making an adventure game again. It's obvious he's wanted to for some time.

2) I really don't like the nostalgia-grabbing style. I've no problem with pixel art - I use it myself and it's a fun limitation to work within, but nothing about the look of the game appeals to me. I always remember when a new LucasArts game was revealed the new art style was one of the most exciting things about it, the idea of walking around in this new, beautiful world. Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and so on - all pixellated but they don't look dated. This is brand new and it already looks dated. Not just graphics, but that big ol' verb thing taking up the bottom of the screen. Now, I've nothing against the verbs (although I tend to agree with Ron Gilbert himself when he says that they're not as important as they seem) and if throwback is what they're going for, fine. But I like to think that user interfaces have at least somewhat progressed in the last 25 years, so it just seems like a really self-conscious nostalgia-grab in this case. Not a deal breaker, but maybe not the game I'm looking for.

Or, in short: I don't think I want to play a game that's like 'discovering a long lost LucasArts adventure in a dusty old desk draw' or however they put it. I want to play the game they'd make right now. I'm nostalgic about those games because of how fresh and different they felt when I first played them.

3) I became incredibly annoyed by this passage in the pitch, which it's very difficult to read as anything other than a passive-aggressive jab at modern adventure games.

Why do we want to make Thimbleweed Park? Because we miss classic adventures and all their innocence and charm.

They were fun and would put a smile on your face. We want to make one of those again and we want to do it right. We don’t want to make a game “inspired by,” or “paying homage to” classic point & click adventures, we want to make a real classic point & click adventure.

Thimbleweed Park is a game for true lovers of adventure games. This is a Kickstarter for fans who loved Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island, and everything else that made that era great. It strips away all the cruft built up over the years and is distilled down to what we loved about the genre.

Huhm. So much for us 'fake' lovers of adventure games that like the new stuff, too, eh? Also it's interesting that they'd use the word 'cruft' to describe things that modern adventure games have done, when that's the same word that Ron Gilbert in a not-so-old blog post used to describe verbs when he was talking about how he'd approach Monkey Island 3. It feels a bit cynical, a bit dishonest.

---

And it's not like I say this stuff blithely. It genuinely pains me not to be backing a project like this. I love adventure games, and Ron Gilbert was primarily responsible for the games that got me into the genre. I expect I'll buy it and play it when it's out. I hope that I'll even enjoy it.

But I just can't support this approach, this approach which seems wilfully unambitious in a way that those old games never were.

:/

How much did you back DFA for?

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How much did you back DFA for?

I don't see how that's relevant? The pitch was different, the year was different, the rewards were different and the entire project was different in several important ways. They have in common both being kickstarter pitches for adventure games from creators who haven't made an adventure game in a while. Aside from that, they're markedly different propositions.

To briefly return to this topic, yes - I'm still not backing this because it still hasn't excited me in the same way DFA and other kickstarter pitches have done, and there are parts of the pitch I specifically dislike. But I continue to be interested in the project as a whole, and so I'm trying to contribute constructively to the continuing conversation.

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How much did you back DFA for?

I don't see how that's relevant? The pitch was different, the year was different, the rewards were different and the entire project was different in several important ways. They have in common both being kickstarter pitches for adventure games from creators who haven't made an adventure game in a while. Aside from that, they're markedly different propositions.

To briefly return to this topic, yes - I'm still not backing this because it still hasn't excited me in the same way DFA and other kickstarter pitches have done, and there are parts of the pitch I specifically dislike. But I continue to be interested in the project as a whole, and so I'm trying to contribute constructively to the continuing conversation.

Answer the question please.

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How much did you back DFA for?

I don't see how that's relevant? The pitch was different, the year was different, the rewards were different and the entire project was different in several important ways. They have in common both being kickstarter pitches for adventure games from creators who haven't made an adventure game in a while. Aside from that, they're markedly different propositions.

To briefly return to this topic, yes - I'm still not backing this because it still hasn't excited me in the same way DFA and other kickstarter pitches have done, and there are parts of the pitch I specifically dislike. But I continue to be interested in the project as a whole, and so I'm trying to contribute constructively to the continuing conversation.

Answer the question please.

See above post, please. I don't owe you answers.

I tell you what, if you really want to know I'm sure you can find the answer somewhere in my post history. Otherwise I'm not humouring what, based on this response, I can only assume is a childish attempt to accuse me of hypocrisy or something. If it isn't, please clarify, and then I will be happy to discuss further.

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How much did you back DFA for?

I don't see how that's relevant? The pitch was different, the year was different, the rewards were different and the entire project was different in several important ways. They have in common both being kickstarter pitches for adventure games from creators who haven't made an adventure game in a while. Aside from that, they're markedly different propositions.

To briefly return to this topic, yes - I'm still not backing this because it still hasn't excited me in the same way DFA and other kickstarter pitches have done, and there are parts of the pitch I specifically dislike. But I continue to be interested in the project as a whole, and so I'm trying to contribute constructively to the continuing conversation.

Answer the question please.

See above post, please. I don't owe you answers.

I tell you what, if you really want to know I'm sure you can find the answer somewhere in my post history. Otherwise I'm not humouring what, based on this response, I can only assume is a childish attempt to accuse me of hypocrisy or something. If it isn't, please clarify, and then I will be happy to discuss further.

I just want the facts, ma'am.

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How much did you back DFA for?

I don't see how that's relevant? The pitch was different, the year was different, the rewards were different and the entire project was different in several important ways. They have in common both being kickstarter pitches for adventure games from creators who haven't made an adventure game in a while. Aside from that, they're markedly different propositions.

To briefly return to this topic, yes - I'm still not backing this because it still hasn't excited me in the same way DFA and other kickstarter pitches have done, and there are parts of the pitch I specifically dislike. But I continue to be interested in the project as a whole, and so I'm trying to contribute constructively to the continuing conversation.

Answer the question please.

See above post, please. I don't owe you answers.

I tell you what, if you really want to know I'm sure you can find the answer somewhere in my post history. Otherwise I'm not humouring what, based on this response, I can only assume is a childish attempt to accuse me of hypocrisy or something. If it isn't, please clarify, and then I will be happy to discuss further.

I just want the facts, ma'am.

To what end? I'm asking you why you think this question is on-topic.

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Surely the fact KestrelPI backed it at all is the only thing that really matters? The actual amount they gave is irrelevant.
Not even that really. I don't see how the question of whether I backed Broken Age or how much for has any bearing at all on my opinions about why I didn't back this superficially similar but different project.

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Now that translations are in, I kinda hope it doesn't make anymore money, which sounds wrong, but I think if the iOS goal is met, it WILL change things to be more iOS friendly, and of course Talkies arn't that important for this games style, especially if they want to keep it true old school where they can change dialogue and stuff last minute.

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Now that translations are in, I kinda hope it doesn't make anymore money, which sounds wrong, but I think if the iOS goal is met, it WILL change things to be more iOS friendly, and of course Talkies arn't that important for this games style, especially if they want to keep it true old school where they can change dialogue and stuff last minute.

I doubt that iOS will cause any changes to the interface (except, perhaps on iOS, but perhaps not even then). I've been critical of the pitch, but one thing they are very clear about is their intent to make it just like it would have been 20 years ago, they're very specific about that and I believe them.

I also don't think the voices are anything much to worry about. This is a game that clearly isn't going to have a lot of complex animation assets that require dialogue to be finalised ahead of time - it seems likely that they could build the whole game and then add the voices as the very last step. This is the same as what happened with the early talkies like Fate of Atlantis and DOTT where the voices were not added until later. I realise that the style of this game suggests a slightly older adventure game than those, but I don't think it's so out of place that I wouldn't welcome it.

I love Broken Age, but one problem with the pitch turned out to be that everyone has a different idea of what 'old school' actually means. Some people think it means everything from graphics to audio etc. Other people think it simply means a point and click story-based game with an inventory, puzzles and dialogue trees. I've seen the whole spectrum of things, and by just using the term 'old school' different people had a different idea of what they were getting. This pitch, at least, has been a lot clearer about what it means by 'classic' adventure game, to use their term, and I expect it was a deliberate move to avoid all doubt about what people would be getting.

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I would like to see Talkie (if the voice acting is good it adds a lot to the experience) but i have zero interest in a mobiles port. Designing a game for PC or mobiles often is different. If you don't take care of this it can come with drawbacks for one of the platforms. It's quite obvious that currently the majority has no interest in mobiles. This might change in the end of the campaign and after those who want mobiles plus new users add enough so that Talkie fans feel the Talkie option within reach. As i wrote before, if this was the idea and it works out, it was a clever move, if not, the stretch goal order was rather stupid.

It kind of reminds me of The Flood in the flame. The dev was very interested in reaching the PS4 goal but the audience wasn't, so they didn't pledge any longer (with a dev's comment like, we do it anyway, which is okay as long as it doesn't have an bad influence on the PC version and they don't finance it with the Kickstarter funding). The best part was when someone was asking if there will be any drawbacks for the PC when there will be a PS4 version and the dev veterans acted kind of confused, somehow ignoring the history of PC games with the typical watered down experiences due to performance and input issues (joypad vs mouse input designs).

There exist some devs who weren't ashamed of taking money from one crowd but misused it for pleasing another crowd. I hope these devs have either learned their lesson, stay away from crowd funding in the future or just go out of business.

Reminds me of ...

http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/molyneux-kickstarter-is-a-destructive-force-that-damaged-godus-1275205#null

Anyway back to Gilbert, he could add mobiles from the sales of the game afterwards, adding Talkie would be more uncommon.

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I also don't think the voices are anything much to worry about. This is a game that clearly isn't going to have a lot of complex animation assets that require dialogue to be finalised ahead of time - it seems likely that they could build the whole game and then add the voices as the very last step. This is the same as what happened with the early talkies like Fate of Atlantis and DOTT where the voices were not added until later. I realise that the style of this game suggests a slightly older adventure game than those, but I don't think it's so out of place that I wouldn't welcome it.

The dialogue trees in Broken Age felt smaller to me than say DOTT of Monkey 2 - not sure if that's my imagination but I was worried that the extra work and locking-in of voice assets was related to that. I'd prefer say, Ron being able to think up 20 jokes at the last minute and just add them in with minimal planning.

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I also don't think the voices are anything much to worry about. This is a game that clearly isn't going to have a lot of complex animation assets that require dialogue to be finalised ahead of time - it seems likely that they could build the whole game and then add the voices as the very last step. This is the same as what happened with the early talkies like Fate of Atlantis and DOTT where the voices were not added until later. I realise that the style of this game suggests a slightly older adventure game than those, but I don't think it's so out of place that I wouldn't welcome it.

The dialogue trees in Broken Age felt smaller to me than say DOTT of Monkey 2 - not sure if that's my imagination but I was worried that the extra work and locking-in of voice assets was related to that. I'd prefer say, Ron being able to think up 20 jokes at the last minute and just add them in with minimal planning.

Sure, there are possible trade-offs here. I think Act 1 had a good amount of dialogue in it (especially considering Shay's half of the game was really dialogue light because of the setup) Knowing that there are going to be voices in advance might put a cap on the amount of dialogue or it might not. It seems to me that post-talkie adventure games varied quite a lot in how much dialogue they contained, and it was more a function of the demands of the setting than it was the budget.

The stretch goal is probably high because then they can account for a large amount of dialogue if needed. It's a budgetary concern, but not as much as people imagine in the grand scheme of things. I'm fairly sure that just because of the way Ron tends to work, he'd rather get the text dialogue in and worry about speech later, than plan heavily around it.

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If they're "determined to make it just like 25+ years ago," then they wouldn't have voice acting...

Personally, I think voice acting is a horrible thing. I haven't enjoyed it any games outside of the Space Quest series, and even then SQ5 was grand without voice acting.

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Well, they added a Talkie version to Fate of Atlantis about 22 years ago and this was the more enjoyable version of the game (despite the rather low audio quality). Also with verbs and icons for the items. The more abstract and less interaction there is, the more you can get away without Talkie but once you can afford it and do it right, it's like a jump from CGA to EGA, EHB instead of dual playfields ... whatever. I'm sure a Talkie version sells better too.

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Yes, the first talkies in adventure games came in about 1991.

I really disagree that these were better versions of the games -- including for Fate of Atlantis, which I've played both with and without voices.

Anyway, they're making a game in the model of Maniac Mansion, which did NOT have voice acting, so merely by adding it they are deviating from their grognard legacy.

"It's like jumping from CGA to EGA" is not something I agree with in the slightest, but I also don't think that's an objective improvement either.

Really, though, my point is not whether a talkie is necessary or not, as I'll probably turn the voices off regardless. My point is that if they're willing to include voices, there's no reason "dedication to making the game just like a game from 25 years ago" would stop them from simplifying the interface on every platform for the sake of making the game playable on iOS devices. They probably would never go Broken Age's one-click-to-interact route, but who knows what they would be willing to change...?

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I would buy no talkie if the gfx and sfx also would look and sound like from 1987 (Amiga 1988?) but not this way. Even if it would look and sound like from those days, talkie is fine to have (but it must be great as otherwise you turn it off). Dunno, i think it was the right decision for The Cave but in a point & click adventure you're usually talking some more. I also prefer talkie for the negative feedback (although you generally could implement some feedback via universal voice noises).

Btw. can you play the DFA without voices? The Dig would feel empty without talkie. Loom did fine without but it was a completely different setting and style. Hmm, it also depends on how dominant and beautiful the music is. I could imagine turning talkie off when i'm in a scene like MI2 with the changing Woodtick theme but then again i would miss it in other scenes. It depends on the specific case but i generally prefer the talkie corner with the possibility to turn it off whenever i want to.

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#9

Hey hey hey ... a dev who's listening! :o)

What comes next? Games bigger than 4KB (or KiB as weird people say)?

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simplifying the interface on every platform for the sake of making the game playable on iOS devices.
I've played Day of the Tentacle on ScummVM on an iPad just fine. The verb menu actually works perfectly with a touch screen (so much so that I almost prefer it over a mouse).

The iOS version of the Monkey Island special edition actually added a verb menu to the bottom of the screen when in special edition mode. In my opinion, the iOS version of the first special edition is actually superior to the computer and console versions because of this.

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