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Why are We Still Talking about LucasArts' Old Adventure Games?
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Why are We Still Talking about LucasArts' Old Adventure Games?

April 5, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

In adventure games, verbs are mechanics and writing is gameplay. The two can live in harmony. LucasArts made some of the best -- by turns thrilling, funny, strangely morbid -- and I will always be grateful for that.

- C.J. Kershner, scriptwriter, Ubisoft Montreal

The dialog is still funny, even today. The gameplay mechanics are dated, the puzzles are hard, and sometimes obscure, but I play them today mostly for the lines of dialog. From trying every action on an object, or every object with every other, to exhausting dialog trees to wring every last drop of humor from the game. It is definitely the writing that stands the test of time.

- Andrew Goulding, of Melbourne-based Brawsome

LucasArts games have always had a special place in my heart; from Loom to Koronis Rift to Ballblazer and the Monkey Island series. Not (just) because they were ground breaking titles for their time but they had that extra special element which fired my own imagination and made me think "what if?" and "wouldn’t it be great if I could do this," elevating a fun game with great mechanics into a world which you wanted to explore and make up your own stories in.

This basic idea is one that I still talk about to BioWare staff. If you can create a world which engages people’s imaginations and fuels and impassions them, they’ll take it to new heights. 

- Alistair McNally, BioWare

A tarred and feathered Guybrush terrifies the locals in The Curse of Monkey Island.

Classic LucasArts adventures are timeless because their influences are timeless. Frankenstein and film noir and buddy comedies and teen movies, classic pulpy sci-fi and swashbuckling movie serials crossed with irreverent, real, believable characters living in outrageous worlds.

I loved Full Throttle's neo-noir before I knew what film noir was. I loved Day of the Tentacle's Bernard, Hoagie, and Laverne archetypes before I'd ever seen the teen movie source material.

But regardless of the specific references and inspirations, classic LucasArts adventures are timeless because great, clever, earnest, memorable, human writing is timeless, and that is the foundation on which all those great games were built.

- Steve Gaynor, of The Fullbright Company

The characters just stuck with me, and catching the in-jokes and cameos between games just made me feel like I was somehow connected, because they were in-jokes that I got.

There were serious moments in the titles, but it's the humor that will always be with me. Like Monty Python sketches, these moments have just wormed their way into my mind and stuck, curled up with an amused smirk, waiting to spring to the forefront of my consciousness even 20 years later.

Basically, LucasArts titles infected my brain.

- Kyle Kulyk, Itzy Interactive

"Hello!" Sam (or was it Max?) makes an entrance that would make Orson Welles proud.

What makes these games timeless for me is the combination of memorable characters and their hilariously witty dialogue. People remember bad writing in games - "All your base are belong to us" and they remember great writing - "That's the second biggest monkey head I've ever seen!" Many games try to achieve great writing by imitating the successes of others, but end up falling flat somewhere in the middle.

- Game designer Jordi Fine

It was thanks to Full Throttle that I began to understand the true power that a great story could have on a game. The DigMonkey Island, Grim Fandango... these worlds pulled me in and kept me there. Every detail of the story, worlds, and characters was fully fleshed out beyond anything else I had ever seen in games. 

- Dan Silvers, Lantana Games

Guybrush's mutinous crew isn't much help in The Secret of Monkey Island.

Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

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