Some long time fans of Star Wars are afraid of what will become of their favorite franchise now that Disney has acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion (to be fair, Disney's done a good job with Marvel assets, like The Avengers movie), but as an old school adventure gamer, I'm even more concerned with what fate awaits old friends like Guybrush Threepwood (The Secret of Monkey Island) and Bernard (Maniac Mansion). So is Ron Gilbert, the guy who created both games (along with Gary Winnick, who co-conceived Maniac Mansion).
In under 24 hours, Double Fine made gaming (and Kickstarter) history. It all started when the funhouse that funnyman Tim Schafer built took to Kickstarter to ask for a few coins in the cup of a brand new point-and-click adventure game. And by “a few coins,” we mean $400,000. And so – no doubt fueled by fond memories of pirates who fight like dairy farmers – a legion of adoring fans buried the Kickstarter account in nickles, dimes, dollars, and priceless family heirlooms. The end result? It breezed past $400,000 in mere hours. And it's still going. As of writing, it reached $1,250,476, officially shattering Kickstarter's record for most donations in 24 hours and most backers. Which is all to say damn. Oh, and let's not forget that Notch is essentially playing Robin Hood to Psychonauts 2 – except with less arrows and more proof that there is justice in the universe after all. So yeah, all-in-all, we'd say Double Fine's had a pretty OK week or whatever, we guess.
Do you want to know how long I’ve been doing this? So damn long that I covered the original Monkey Island games. Friends, back in my day, we had only two colors (black and not-black—and black’s not even a color!), and we liked it!
Actually, it kind of sucked, and one of the pleasures of covering games throughout the 1990s was watching sound and image improve to the point that spectacular graphics barely warrant a mention. If you can’t make a game look and sound good in 2009, you really should be making something other than games. Burgers, perhaps.
It’s illuminating to be able to play something you remember fondly from ye olde days, only with the ability to hotkey back and forth between the old game and a shiny new version. The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition is a gorgeous hand-painted version of the original game, with a slightly “improved” interface. This has been laid right on top of the old game, and the most fascinating thing is the ability to hotkey 19 years into the past with each new screen.
Old school adventure gamers who own an Apple iPhone may soon have reason to raise up a mug of grog, and those who have never matched wits with LeChuck might be in for a treat. In a not-so-subtle Twitter update, LucasArts stopped just short of saying it would release The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition on the iPhone.
"For our Monkey fans - an iPhone sized wallpaper. No reason. Wink wink nod nod," LucasArts tweeted.
LucasArts plans to release the remastered adventure game for the PC and Xbox 360 on July 15th, just two days from now, and the Twitter message is being seen as a (strong) hint that the game will also find its way to the iPhone, though it's anyone's guess as to when that might be.
The remastered title will feature high definition graphics, original cast member voice-overs, renewed music score, a new interface, an in-game hint system, and the ability to switch between Special Edition and Classic Modes at any time during gameplay, LucasArts says.