A group of us teamed up to make a game for 2015’s AdventureJam. It’s a comedy about a girl retracing her steps through a series of bizarre fantasy worlds in search of a few things she dropped. The development team consists of myself (as lead animator and background artist) with fellow adventurers and developers including Jess Morrisette, Gareth Millward, and Troels Pleimert (concept and design), Natalie Juhasz (art), and SQInc co-developers, Akril (programming, art) and Frederik Olsen (music).
It’s free-to-play, so come check it out at GameJolt and leave a review! Hopefully, we can do a special edition soon…
Yesterday, Troels Pleimert assembled the leading crew from SQInc together (myself, Frede, and Akril) to create the commentary for SQInc. Here’s the game in its four-hour time-span while we chat through it. Also includes concept art, and mayhaps, a sneak preview for something else I’m working on…
Return to Lefty’s Bar: Even sleazier in high-definition.
For the last week, I’d like to think I’ve been doing a very good job resisting the urge to write a block-o-text rant against “Man of Steel”. And then our good friend, Al Lowe, finished his remake of 1987’s “Larry Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards” and completely took my mind off of poorly-adapted comic book movies.
“Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded” is one of the many Kickstarter projects that I helped fund last year (well, $15 worth of funding anyway) and the first to actually to be COMPLETED! The total amount they raised was $650,000 and the end result is not only a hi-def, fully-voiced version of LSL1, but a vast improvement over the original. LSL1 was originally remade in 1991 using 256-colors, a mouse interface and MIDI sound, but even then, it wasn’t as far a leap as this one is.
Larry and Fawn through the ages: Still a better love story than Twilight.
I’ve always enjoyed the LSL series for taking the high road when it comes to being an interactive sex comedy. The game series has never catered strictly to perverts, and both genders can enjoy the hoops Larry jumps through trying to impress women. Not that the games aren’t swimming with countless sexual innuendos and filthy gags (I mean, come on – one of your main commands is “UNZIP FLY”) but as far as dirty humor goes, the Larry series has always tried to stay classy about it. Humor first, boobs second.
The original LSL1 features Larry in Las Vegas (or “Lost Wages” as the game likes to call it). He’s 40, he’s almost out of money, he’s never found love, and he’s still a virgin. You have one night to fix all that. The game is relatively short as you ride a taxi between a sleazy bar, a disco, a convenience store, a wedding chapel, and a casino in search of love. In this version, there are now five women in total whom Larry has his eyes on. There’s “The Hooker”, a nasty piece of work swimming in STDs and protected by her pimp, 2) Fawn, the ever-needy “give me presents” girl who will take up half your game with fetch-quests, 3) Faith, the under-dressed security guard, 4) Eve, the original End-Game girl, and 5) the brand new Jasmine, a perfume connoisseur who swims with sperm whales. There’s also Olga, the infamous sixth girl, but she’s a blow-up doll, so she probably doesn’t count.
Jasmine the Whale-Diver: I did terrible things to a cat for this woman.
Fans of the original will notice a lot of changes. Several new puzzles have been added to flesh out existing ones, and there are a couple dozen new characters standing about (most of whom are Kickstarter backers who donated a “little extra” to put themselves in the game.) None of it makes the game any less fun, although anyone who’s VERY familiar with the original will find themselves stumped when a puzzle solution they once knew is no longer there. This adds a new element of surprise for veterans of the series. The new addition of Jasmine to the game seems unnecessary, but does help the game’s pacing and gives us a new girly close-up to look at (and repeatedly click the hand icon on hoping there’s a hidden egg there somewhere). Although winning her over requires a bit of disgusting animal cruelty towards a cat that I’m ashamed to admit I laughed really hard at. The game is also now “dead-end” free, meaning there’s no game over if you screw up. Bums will give you change if you go broke, and if you die, a mad scientist will turn you into a zombie and send you back up to the street to continue playing as if nothing happened.
For a Kickstarter project, I found “Reloaded” completely exceeded my expectations. They remastered the soundtrack, added lots of bells of whistles, tons of new jokes, some snappy animation, and it still carries the same spirit as any classic Larry game. There’s a lot of passion behind the game’s development and I salute Al Lowe and his team for pulling it off. While it’s still only a fraction as good as “Larry 7”, it’s still a wonderful treat to play and I look forward to seeing them remaster “Larry 2” and “3”. Or just plain make a new Larry game. Whatever comes first.
UPDATE: In light of recent events involving Replay’s management with its fans, I’m still going to recommend this game on the behalf of the actual [i]developers[/i]. I will not be recommending future Replay games unless management conditions change.
The nominations are open for the 2012 AGS Awards! Now is the time to head on over to this site, get a forum account, and start spamming every category with SQInc nominations (well, except maybe best demo, non-adventure, short game, and voice acting.) But you can totally nominate for best game, best gameplay, best music, best story, best writing, best character (you know you love Doomtron), and everything else.
Additionally, I’d also like to cross-promote Akril’s “Pledge Quest” games for nominations. These fall under the “short game” categories, but you can show some love for Vohaul Cat by adding her nominations to the list. And if you feel you should nominate other people’s games, I’m a rather big fan of “Ben Jordan” and “Donna: Avenger of Blood”. The 2011 “Space Quest 2 Remake” is also in there, and I’ve thrown a few nominations its way (they DID deliver on voice acting). But totally nominate my SQ stuff instead. That’s how this competition thing goes. There can be only one!
Now go! Nominate! Make me proud! You owe it to your country!
Woke up this morning. Couldn’t get out of bed. Only thing I could reach was a PS3 controller. Only thing in the PS3 was my Genesis collection. Decided to try beating the original “Sonic the Hedgehog” from 1990. I remembered why I don’t have fond childhood memories of this game.
If you run really fast, there will be spikes.
If you go around a loop-de-loop, there will be spikes.
If you bounce off a spring, there will be spikes.
If you hop down a ledge, there will be spikes.
If you hop up a ledge, there will be spikes.
If you try to jump on an enemy, there will be spikes.
If you’re waiting for an air bubble, there will be spikes.
If you try to jump on spikes, there will be lava.
To sum up, the whole game is booby-trapped and the only way to win is to go as slowly as possible. If you’ve ever seen one of those Mario mods where you can’t jump across a pit without hitting an invisible box, then you get the idea. The programmers were basically having too much fun watching the beta-testers scramble for rings.
“Hey, I’ve got an idea: how about we fill a pit with exploding robots, and then put fans on both sides that turn on at random and push Sonic INTO the pit? Also, the beta-testers really hated searching for air bubbles in the Labyrinth Zone. Wouldn’t it be funny if they got near the end of the game and suddenly had to play the Labyrinth Zone AGAIN?” “Ha! Do it!”
So… to follow up from the previous “the Two Guys have reunited” announcement, they’ve now got their own Kickstarter going for the new game. Personally, I’m already very excited for this one as they’ve not only got Gary Owens onboard, but also Paul Robson (Yakko from Animaniacs), Robert Clotworthy (Raynor from Starcraft), John Lowrie (Sniper from TF2), and Ellen McLain (GLaDOS from Portal) all providing voices. Not to mention they’re already in talks with Supertramp legend Bob Siebenberg to return and score the game. This is shaping up to be one of the more exciting Kickstarter projects.
The game promises to be in the style of Space Quest, with the same brand of humor, tons of the usual deaths, and with more modern sci-fi references. So check out their Kickstarter video and go give them a few hundred dollars.
In the vein of things that only happen when hell freezes over, after 20 years, the creators of the “Space Quest” series have reconciled their differences and reunited to make a new game. And they want us all to spread the word.
I’m sure this has more to do with Tim Schafer’s Kickstarter success and not so much with the three massive Space Quest fan-games that came out three months ago (although I’m sure all three of our teams like to sit around grinning like idiots and twiddling our thumbs thinking “Yeah, we did this.”) But in any case, the legends are back and they’re in full costume once again. And The Narrator, Gary Owens, is back on board. How’s that for head-exploding crazy awesomeness?
And it’s not just the Two Guys either. Other fellow ex-Sierra developers are also jumping on the bandwagon.
Jane Jenson (creator of the Gabriel Knight series) has started her own Kickstarter page and will be developing a new sci-fi murder-mystery thriller called “Moebius”. As of now, she’s only half-funded, but I’ve already put in my two cents (or more) and I implore other fans of hers to join in.
Also: Al Lowe (creator of Leisure Suit Larry) wants in as well. His Kickstarter project involves a complete HD remake of “Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards”. As of now, he’s got two weeks on his Kickstarter as well, and if this one goes through, he, Josh Mandel, and a group of Sierra vets will be HD-ing the whole Leisure Suit Larry series (and I really want to see LSL2 and 3 get the golden treatment).
So all we need is Roberta Williams (King’s Quest) and the Coles (Quest for Glory) doing their own Kickstarters and we’ve pretty much got the entire Sierra family back in business. Providing we still have enough money left over to donate.
Incidentally, the Two Guys aren’t asking for money just yet. All they want is for you to spread the word. And then they’ll probably ask you for money. In any case, spread the word!
Wait – people are willing to just THROW money at you?
Okay, so I already sort of knew this thanks to such local celebrities as that guy who plays recorder on the sidewalk and the guy who stands outside the Safeway with a paper cup. But that’s chump change compared to what a well-earned reputation can get you.
Take Tim Schafer for example. I’ve blogged at length about the guy many times in my ongoing effort to get people to play “Psychonauts” and “Brutal Legend” and he’s at it once again. Only this time, he and Ron Gilbert are going back to their roots and making an old-fashioned adventure game. But the catch? No publisher will give Double-Fine Productions money because people don’t buy adventure games. So they came up with an alternate solution to raise money: go on kickstarter.com and ask their fans to help them raise $400K in one month.
So far, the internet his given them $2 million.
UPDATE: The final tally was $3,336,371, with 87,142 people backing the project. That should be enough for about 7-8 games, I’d imagine.
To his credit, I think very few people could bring in that kind of fan-funding. If Joss Whedon asked for donations on “Dr. Horrible 2”, he’d probably bring in enough to fund a full-length movie. In Tim’s case, he hasn’t even pitched an idea yet, so his fans are basically just giving him money to exist.
A few people have already sent me e-mails telling me to jump on this bandwagon, but I’m still iffy about the legal ramifications of getting donations to make more fan-games or especially “Ducktalez 7”. I still wouldn’t mind seeing how much money people throw at it, though. The average Kickstarter project normally brings in around $10K, and before now, has gone as high as $1.4M, so I can’t say I wouldn’t be interested.
Hmmm… I do have a novel in the works. Anybody interested in throwing money at that? I promise I won’t stop you.
For now, check out Double-Fine’s adventure pitch video. It’s pretty awesome.