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Return To Monkey Island - MI2 sequel from Ron Gilbert and David Grossman

Alex

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"I can’t think of anything I regret making too easy."

Why do these classic game designers keep coming up with these persuasive quips that make their genre appeal to no one.. It's Monkey Island and theyre still doing a marketing wave apologizing for puzzles..

I think they figure that if they make the puzzles easy enough this time, it will become as popular as whatever is selling the most nowadays.
 

JarlFrank

I like Thief THIS much
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Thing is, Thimbleweed Park was popular because it was a traditional adventure game. The players liked it. Thimbleweed Park has 2745 reviews on Steam at this moment, with 93% being positive.

But the critics thought it was too retro and not innovative enough.

Ron, being part of the demographic who still believe the word of game journalists, decided to make a game that appeals to those "people" rather than actual gamers.
 

sigard

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The players liked it. Thimbleweed Park has 2745 reviews on Steam at this moment, with 93% being positive.

so now majority is always right? i guess all these reviews giving 10/10 to oblivion were right. After all majority rules. And oblivion sold like hotcakes, what a wonderfull game!
codexers went from majority is never right to eat shit, millions of flies can't be wrong in just a decade or so???
Good to know.

btw "Shower With Your Dad Simulator" has 95% positive reviews, it must be even better than TP
 
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JarlFrank

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The players liked it. Thimbleweed Park has 2745 reviews on Steam at this moment, with 93% being positive.

so now majority is always right? i guess all these reviews giving 10/10 to oblivion were right. After all majority rules. And oblivion sold like hotcakes, what a wonderfull game!
codexers went from majority is never right to eat shit, millions of flies can't be wrong in just a decade or so???
Good to know.

btw "Shower With Your Dad Simulator" has 95% positive reviews, it must be even better than TP

My quote of Steam review numbers and scores was a response to Alex's post above me, who opined that Ron probably thinks that if he makes the puzzles easier he will reach a broader audience.
Thimbleweed Park is a classic adventure game with classic puzzles, and its Steam review stats show it's pretty successful for a title of this genre.

If the discussion is about audience reception and devs talking about dumbing down in order to reach a wider audience, then yes, citing the majority opinion of the same developer's previous game, which was not dumbed down, is very much relevant.
 
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Apropos Thimbleweed Park. I did enjoy it and it does have its moments, but it definitely does not have the charm of Monkey Island or Grim Fandango.

I played it once and then forgot about it.
 

Boleskine

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https://grumpygamer.com/dev_diary

Return to Monkey Island Dev Diary
May 25, 2022

Jul 17, 2020
First official day is Monday but I've started setting up Slack and other web services.

Jul 18, 2020
Ordered Linux machine. Talked to Dave about maybe controlling Elaine for a section of the game.

Starting to worry about finding great people. It's going to be hard because we have to keep the project a secret.

Played MI1 again. Taking a lot of notes about what made MI MI. After TWP and fast walk and other almost invisible improvements, it's painful to play a 35 year-old adventure game.

I was surprised at how many objects didn't have custom default responses. A large number of objects just said "That doesn't seem to work."

Jul 19, 2020
Played MI again.

Jul 20, 2020
Working with the lawyer to get contractor contracts done that conform to Disney's requirements. Taking longer than I thought.

Hope to get Dave's contract done by tomorrow.

Jul 23, 2020
First "real" design meeting with dave. Laying down the backbone puzzles for Act 1.

Jul 24, 2020
Started the Puzzle Dependency Chart for Act 1.

Jul 27, 2020
Jenn started

Jul 28, 2020
Making good progress on design. I know we'll slow down when we have to do all the details. Looking forward to getting a concept artist. Things come alive for me when concepts start to come in.

Nov 17, 2020
Starting up diary again... maybe I'll be able to keep it going this time.

Thinking about the ui. I hate the current status-quo.

Nov 18, 2020
Meeting with Disney.

May 25, 2022
Yep, this dev diary didn't last long.

Ron Gilbert 4h ago
We decided against a playable Elaine because the story went in a direction where that didn't make sense anymore. It would be fun to do a MI with Elaine is the playable character and Guybrush is the sidekick, but that will have to wait for another game.
Ron Gilbert 4h ago
MI3 is a good game. The only thing I didn't like about it was Guybrush and Elaine never should have gotten married. But what is done is done.
 

Morpheus Kitami

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it's painful to play a 35 year-old adventure game.
Uh-huh, 35 year-old. Like King's Quest 2 and not Monkey Island? Back when graphic adventure games were Sierra and the three people who were not Sierra?
I went to check the negative reviews on Steam of the classic Lucasarts graphic adventures, and you know something, outside of The Last Crusade all the ones I saw were complaining about the quality of the remaster. Almost like people who enjoy adventure games don't find playing the classics painful. Probably because adventure games are still desperately trying to get out of the shadow of those games. Calling the period of 1990-93, which I've frequently seen cited as the best period, painful, is not a wise move if you haven't shown any indication that you're going to be better than those games. Especially since one is banking on the nostalgia of titles from that period.
That's not to say one couldn't improve upon those formulas, or even make something that is a genuine classic...just that I don't see it coming here.
 

JarlFrank

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it's painful to play a 35 year-old adventure game.
:killitwithfire:

What utter bullshit.

Lucas Arts overtook Sierra in popularity (quite massively here in Europe at least) because of how incredibly user-friendly their games were. Starting from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there were no permanent death scenes in Lucas Arts games (you could always retry in the same screen if you died), nor any ways to get stuck by missing a pixel hunt 12 screens ago. The verb interface is incredibly intuitive and easy to use even for someone who never played a game before. It's way more intuitive than anything that came after it - Monkey Island 1 and 2 with their clickable verbs are much easier to understand than Curse of MI with its action coin that pops up when you hold down your mouse button. It just doesn't get any more intuitive than the classic Lucas Arts verb interface. Monkey Island 2 improved upon Monkey Island 1 a little by cutting out excess verbs that were rarely used.

What the absolute FUCK is painful about playing the original MI games? You point at a location and left click to make Guybrush walk there. You hover your mouse cursor over an interactable object, and the name of the object appears below the game window. You don't even have to guess which objects on the screen can be interacted with and which can't - the game tells you about it! Then you just click on one of the verbs, click on the object, and the action is performed. It doesn't get any more intuitive than that. Give, Pick Up, Use, Open, Look At, Push, Close, Talk To, Pull. Simple verbs whose effects on the objects you try to use them on is readily apparent. Dialog is just as easy and intuitive: you get a list of things you can say to an NPC, and then you just click on the sentence you want to say.

Interface wise, the classic Monkey Islands are among the most intuitive and easy to play games ever made. Not even exaggerating, you could hand these games to someone who never held a mouse before, spend 2 minutes explaining how it works, and he'll get the hang of it very quickly.

Anyone who claims the original MIs are painful to play is a disingenuous faggot.
 

Tramboi

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Fast travel with double-click is a real progress, though, UI-wise.
 

WallaceChambers

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There was a Eurogamer LP of Monkey Island where whoever played it right clicked for 90% of the game. So instead of just walking thru a door they would keep using the default open/close action and had spam click it until Guybrush eventually left.

So I guess Monkey Island's interface is too hard for some people.
 
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Morpheus Kitami

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Fast travel with double-click is a real progress, though, UI-wise.
Yeah, I think he's mainly talking about the slow walking speed there.
Fast travel is a boon to a great many adventure games, and I've thought quite a few games needed it over the years...but MI1? I mean, I guess you could change it so that clicking on the map just takes you to the place, but Guybrush is pretty swift for an adventure game protagonist. If anything more characters need to be as swift as Guybrush. And last I checked most of Monkey Island's areas are small, so you're not exactly running across the entire game to solve a puzzle. Nor are there any confusing mazes one is expected to map. What, should Guybrush move around like Doomguy or something?
 

Drop Bear

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Fast travel with double-click is a real progress, though, UI-wise.
Fast travel is a mechanical solution to a problem of design. If the game wastes your time by having you backtrack a lot then the issue is with the game, not that you can't instantly teleport from screen to screen.
 

Boleskine

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https://venturebeat.com/2022/05/26/...director-talks-inspirations-and-expectations/

Return to Monkey Island’s art director talks inspirations and expectations
Mike Minotti@tolkoto
May 26, 2022 1:42 PM

return-to-monkey-island-06.png

What an evil, demonic skull. Image Credit: Lucasfilm Games

Rex Crowle solidified his striking art style with games like Tearaway and Knights and Bikes. Now he’s serving as art director for Return to Monkey Island, the revival of the classic, pirate-themed adventure game series.

I had a chance to talk with Crowle about his love for the Monkey Island franchise and his work on this new entry.

GamesBeat: What is your history with the Monkey Island series as a fan?

Crowle: It’s the game that made me want to make video games. I never expected to actually achieve that dream, let alone actually working on a Monkey Island game. As a kid, most games seemed to be about one rectangle shooting smaller rectangles at another rectangle. Monkey Island was the opposite of that. I cared about the characters, laughed at the jokes, pressed my nose against the screen to study the art and I actually felt super sad for weeks after finishing the game. A state I remained in until I opened up Deluxe Paint III on my Amiga and started creating my own little adventure game graphics. It’s all the fault of that game.

return-to-monkey-island-03.png

I remember that street!

GamesBeat: Are you pulling inspiration from any specific past Monkey Island game?

Crowle: There’s the color palettes of The Secret of Monkey Island, the more painterly approach of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, as well as some of the shaper more stylized shapes of The Curse of Monkey Island. We’re a very small indie team so we didn’t go down the 3D route, but aside from that we’ve taken something from all of the games, while making something new and specifically tailored to the story that Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman wanted to tell. An art style has to connect with the core themes of the game you’re making, its not an interchangeable thing that you apply like a Photoshop filter, and for this adventure a picture-book style was the right fit.

GamesBeat: Are you taking inspiration from outside the series?

Crowle: There’s wider inspiration from some of the other LucasArts classics like Day of the Tentacle. When making a game like this, it can be a challenge to figure out how to cram everything that’s required into each environment, as they are often just a single screen. But Day of the Tentacle has some fantastic design solutions for that, and they create a lot of variety and a sense of rhythm and flow as you move from one screen to another.

return-to-monkey-island-05.png

A locksmith shop.

Mostly we’re just inspiring each other on the team. We’re a tight-knit little unit and we are constantly adding to each other’s paintings. So each time [a team member] adds something to the game it creates a little ripple of inspiration. Oh, and having a playlist of Tom Waits and sea shanties playing in the background helps as well.

GamesBeat: What is it like getting to reinterpret classic settings from past Monkey Island games?

Crowle: Terrifying. The Monkey Island games mean so many different things to different people it’s daunting having that range of hopes and desires pressing down on you. Some fans picture the earlier pixel art, some remember painterly clouds, some may have happy memories of giant mechanical monkey battles. But with Ron and Dave leading the project it couldn’t be a more genuine Monkey Island game, and we’re all enjoying doing what we can to make sure their vision becomes real. Because everyone on the team has wanted to play that game for a really long time!
 
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Tramboi

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Fast travel with double-click is a real progress, though, UI-wise.
Fast travel is a mechanical solution to a problem of design. If the game wastes your time by having you backtrack a lot then the issue is with the game, not that you can't instantly teleport from screen to screen.

When you're stuck in a an open adventure world, you end up iterating everywhere to check and attempt stuff. And you don't have to use fast travel if you don't want to.
 

Tramboi

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Fast travel with double-click is a real progress, though, UI-wise.
Yeah, I think he's mainly talking about the slow walking speed there.
Fast travel is a boon to a great many adventure games, and I've thought quite a few games needed it over the years...but MI1? I mean, I guess you could change it so that clicking on the map just takes you to the place, but Guybrush is pretty swift for an adventure game protagonist. If anything more characters need to be as swift as Guybrush. And last I checked most of Monkey Island's areas are small, so you're not exactly running across the entire game to solve a puzzle. Nor are there any confusing mazes one is expected to map. What, should Guybrush move around like Doomguy or something?

MI certainly isn't the worst offender, I agree.
But don't consider it when you know it by heart like you mostly do now. When you're exploring, trying to connect dots and so on, you end up traveling A LOT.
There is tedium involved (not even talking about swapping floppies :D)
 

Darkozric

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Fast travel with double-click is a real progress, though, UI-wise.


The problem for some adventures is the walking speed not the lack of teleport, plus if the game is well designed you don't have to backtrack a lot.
Overall, I can't stand the fags who can't handle a bit of backtracking. Seriously, if you don't have the patience to navigate between a few screens you're playing the wrong genre. Go play a hidden object instead, there in no backtracking in those.
Imagine those backtracking butthurts playing a game like Riven for example, their tiny rotten brains would melt in an instant.
 

Tramboi

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Yes backtracking is totally ok if you have enough interesting stuff to do and parallel puzzle threads. It's a ripple consequence of complexity and openness, that's why I agree that fast travel is great.
It works greatly in interactive fiction and point'n'click alike, it's an abstraction that's useful when you're working on puzzles.
 
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Drop Bear

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Dec 22, 2020
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471
Fast travel with double-click is a real progress, though, UI-wise.
Fast travel is a mechanical solution to a problem of design. If the game wastes your time by having you backtrack a lot then the issue is with the game, not that you can't instantly teleport from screen to screen.

When you're stuck in a an open adventure world, you end up iterating everywhere to check and attempt stuff. And you don't have to use fast travel if you don't want to.
Adventure games shouldn't be open-world.
 

Tramboi

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