Archive for June, 2009

A Look Back at Monkey Island

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

With the new announcements from LucasArts and Telltale Games regarding (A) a special edition remake of the original “Secret of Monkey Island” and (B) a new season of adventures entitled “Tales of Monkey Island”, fans of classic adventure gaming are going nuts, with not-so-surprisingly diverse reactions.

See, fanboys of any franchise fall into a number of categories. There are the fanboys who think that everything in the franchise is of an equal standard, there are the fanboys who think that only the first (or maybe second) installment is worth anything, and there are those who fall into some sort of middle ground. In the case of “Monkey Island”, there are a number of fanboys who believe that the series ended after original creator Ron Gilbert left, and anything not written SOLELY by him is not canon. (A slightly odd stance to take, as Gilbert himself has stated that his co-writers Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer were just as responsible for the tone and humor of the original game, but I digress.) These people seem to want nothing to do with the new releases, despite the fact that both of them got Gilbert’s blessing, and “Tales” had his involvement in the brainstorming process and is being overseen by Grossman.

Personally, I could not be more excited about the new Monkey Island releases. It does my heart good to see LucasArts at least showing a little respect for its roots (more than Sierra has shown, even when they released a few Quest collections…but that’s another rant), and Telltale has an excellent track record as far as doing justice to beloved franchises goes. Does being happy about these releases instead of immediately cynical mean I lose all my geek cred?

This got me to wondering where I fit in the fanboy spectrum. I decided to look back over the classic Monkey Island collection and see how I feel about each one.

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE MONKEY ISLAND GAMES. IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED THE MONKEY ISLAND GAMES AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, DO NOT READ THIS POST. UNLESS THE ONLY GAME YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED IS “ESCAPE FROM MONKEY ISLAND”, BECAUSE NOBODY CARES ABOUT BEING SPOILED FOR THAT ONE. (more…)

“I have DOZENS of loyal fans! BAKER’S dozens!”

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

For those of you who don’t keep up with me on Facebook or Twitter, you may be surprised and delighted to hear that the exciting internship I’ve secured is, in fact, on Season Three of The Guild.

Like many people, I discovered the show shortly after seeing Dr. Horrible and wondering just what else this lovely and talented Miss Felicia Day person has done. Despite not being a World of Warcraft player, I really enjoyed the characters and kept watching through Season Two. On a whim, once I got out here, I decided to use the contact form on the website and see if they had any internships available for Season Three. I thought the odds that they were going into production while I was here were slim, but hey, it wouldn’t hurt to ask, right?

Turns out they were indeed moving into production, and were very happy to talk with volunteers about being production assistants. One thing led to another, and I ended up being an intern with the lighting department!

I’ve been on set two days so far, and they’ve been very busy and tiring, but a lot of fun. I haven’t really interacted with the cast all that much (aside from constantly almost bumping into them carrying C-stands down narrow halls), but they have all been perfectly friendly. But no, I will not get Felicia’s number for you.

Obviously, I can’t tell you much about what we’ve been shooting, and I haven’t read the full script for this season, but the scenes I’ve seen shot have been very funny (I was actually grateful to have canker sores on my first day because I could bite them to keep from laughing), and from the story bits I’ve been able to piece together in my mind, I think it’s safe to say that this season is going to be pretty amazing.

Even though my duties mostly consist of relatively menial things like grabbing C-47s, guarding the front door, standing in for Zaboo, generally doing whatever I’m told, etc., it’s still very exciting to play a part in creating something I enjoy watching so much, and that so many others enjoy. I’m proud to be able to work on such a great show, and I can’t wait to see the completed season.

How appropriate. You update like a cow!

Monday, June 1st, 2009

I could tell you about how I’m doing in California. I could tell you what it was like to shake Christopher Lloyd’s hand and touch a DeLorean. I could tell you about the very exciting internship I’m almost positive I have secured. I could tell you these things…but instead, I’m telling you about adventure gaming news.

Because, after twelve years (well, nine if you didn’t hate “Escape”), MONKEY ISLAND IS BACK.

LucasArts announced a special edition remake of the original “Secret of Monkey Island”, complete with new hand-painted graphics, voice acting (including Dominic Armato as Guybrush), rerecorded music, and the option to play in “classic” mode.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Telltale Games, protector of all that is good and holy in the universe, announced a new season of sequels entitled “Tales of Monkey Island”. Since so many of Telltale’s staff members were also classic LucasArts staff members, and they definitely did a stellar job reviving Sam and Max, this is the best possible way we could get a sequel. Armato is back for this as well, as is designer Dave Grossman and composer Michael Land. Series creator Ron Gilbert was apparently also involved in the brainstorming.

This news is all extremely exciting. It’s almost enough to make me wish I had a PC. Now, where did I put that rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle…