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Why Are We Still Talking About LucasArts' Old Adventure Games? 285

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-in-class dept.
jones_supa writes "The gutting of LucasArts was a tragic loss for the video game industry, but for many of us, it was more than that. By most accounts the last truly great LucasArts game was released almost 15 years ago, and yet, many in the industry still hold these titles as the benchmark. But why is that? Why is it that we still consider these games among our pinnacle achievements as an industry? Why do developers still namedrop Monkey Island in pitch meetings when discussing their proposed game's story? Why do we all continue to mentally associate the word "LucasArts" as the splash screen we see before a graphical adventure game, even though the company hadn't released one in over a decade? Gamasutra has collected a good majority of the answers. Following these responses, as a special treat, Lucasfilm Games veteran David Fox attempts to answer that question with his own insider perspective."
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Why Are We Still Talking About LucasArts' Old Adventure Games?

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  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:30AM (#43390523)
    Its Monday morning, stop asking so many damn questions until I've had my coffee.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why haven't you had coffee yet?

      • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Monday April 08, 2013 @01:12PM (#43392917) Journal

        Because the coffee vendor is too despondent to sell him coffee. The vendor's nephew is in jail, and springing him requires a lock pick, a banana peel, and a kazoo. Only then will you be able to get coffee, but it'll be decaf,, unless you give the barista the beans you got from the voodoo priestess.

        Seriously, have you never played this game?

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          And THIS is why I never got into that genre, you could smoke a big fat bong and still not figure out WTF the insane troll logic they were looking for with their puzzles.

          I remember one where you had to get past this place by stealing a passport from a guy, getting some scotch tape so you could get hair off a cat to make a fake mustache and jump through a bunch of hoops to get a black magic marker so you could draw a mustache on the passport...because the guy whose passport you stole didn't have a fucking mu

          • by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday April 08, 2013 @04:08PM (#43394547)

            I liked Monkey Island for one reason because they were logical puzzles, in a perverse sort of way. They weren't just find random objects applied to other random objects, everything made sense in hind sight. Plus they're humorous, the solutions are entertaining in the LucasArts games. That's why these are classics and the other graphical adventures of the day aren't as well remembered. Ie, the spitting contest, the pirate barbers' song, insult sword fighting ("how appropriate, you fight like a cow"), and so forth.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ..."Samzenpus, float over here so I can punch you."

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday April 08, 2013 @12:03PM (#43392125)

      The games of old, we look back on when we were in our pre-teen to early adult years have a special place in our heart. These adventure games are the first few games that you have won and it was a hard win to have won. My nostalgia was more towards Sierra Online Adventures, but the premise is the same. You spend hours as there wasn't easy access to the internet to give you a hint. The excitement every time you were able to get to a new screen, as you are about to face a new challenge. Then you get older, you have real challenges in your life, and the new games just don't spark that kind wonderment. It isn't that the new games are any better or worse, but when you were a kid, things are new.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Monday April 08, 2013 @12:50PM (#43392667) Journal

        If it's all nostalgia, we should find games we didn't play "back in the day" boring. I can tell you this is not the case. I too was a Sierra kid, but I love LucasArts adventures. I loved Civilization back in the day, today I'd rather play Master of Magic or Master of Orion 2 than Civilization 5. I played my share of DOOM and Duke3d, and I still find Blood, Strife, and Shadow Warrior to be more compelling than Call of Duty 8 or whatever.

        No, I think the late 80s/early 90s were a special time in the games industry. It was no longer the case that an individual in his basement could make a AAA commercial game, but that ethos persisted. Game designers designed for the love of games still, and not to satisfy some marketers checklist. Less effort was expended in producing eye-popping graphics, allowing for more focus on good gameplay. And computer gaming was still the realm of nerds, so games were designed for a sophisticated audience who didn't mind reading the manual. All of these things contributed to a golden age, that we were only lucky to experience when we were coming of age.

        • Actually I think you nailed it about "not dumbing down" but I would put the era all the way to the early/mid 00s. After all the late 90s gave us such games as Half Life (can you imagine anybody putting in something like the opening tram sequence without Michael Bay-ing the shit out of it today?) and No One Lives Forever series, the Descent games and Freelancer, these games cared about making their worlds, no matter how real or unreal they were, come alive for the player. Today all the games act like you have the attention span of a hamster and if shit isn't shooting and you or exploding for longer than 20 seconds you'll fall asleep. I remember in Freelancer just exploring for new places to mine for just hours, other than the occasional tense run in with raiders i could just explore this rich galaxy (and with the mods out there the universe is now insanely huge, with dozens of systems) all I wanted with ZERO hand holding. None of this "You must do X-Z before you can go here" leading by the nose crap.

          I do have to wonder though how much of this hand holding and noise is because of Michael Bay and how many truckloads of money he makes each picture as I've noticed that movies and TV likewise throw jump cuts and explosions like jangling keys in front of your face, its like they think we simply can't pay attention if they don't constantly throw shit at us. I bought the Kane & Lynch games (hey they were a buck a piece on Amazon) just to see what was so horrible and frankly 10 minutes in I was thinking "A video game by Michael Bay" as it was nothing but camera effects, shit blowing up, and foul mouthed one dimensional characters we couldn't give a shit about, classic Michael Bay.

          So I have to wonder how much of the "dumbing down" and hand holding with an emphasis on set pieces is the changing taste of the devs and gamers and how much of it is a cynical attempt to rip off the Michael Bay style of doing things.

      • by SQLGuru (980662)

        They were also nearly the last games of their nature that were any good. Shortly after the Monkey Island series, games started going 3D (FPS) or real-time (RTS) and the point-click adventure was pushed to the side. Some of us still enjoyed them, but we became niche and the larger budgets were spent on other genres.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Bullshit. You wanna know the truth the answer is VERY simple: Because they just didn't have the ability to fall back on bling they had no choice but to focus on the gameplay which lets face it folks its a GAME and PLAYING should be the focus in the first place!

        Now while I was never into the adventure games (thought they smoked too much weed to come up with them batshit puzzles) I have been a fan of the FPS genre going all the way back to the first time I played Battlezone and you CAN tell the difference in

  • by Virtucon (127420)

    The pain.. Oh the pain of trying to install their games on my kids' computers. The incompatibilities with the video and soundblaster cards. The endless trips to buy upgraded hardware, even though you had the hardware already per the side of the box.

    My kids loved their stuff, but they haven't been a player in this space, unless it was supporting the venerable Star Wars brand and IMO, that's played out. Once it went to Disney, as foretold in "South Park", expect Mickey to put the merchandising and game ti

    • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:53AM (#43390781)

      There was not one game from that era that could install without spending a day trying to tweak config.sys files and autoexec.bat, no reason to single out Lucasarts. Its just that they made some of the better games in that era.

      I remember the same headaches with the Wing Commander series responsible for causing me to have to spend hundreds of dollars to find the right combo of video and sound card just to get the opening cutscene to play without stuttering.

      DOS was the dark days of PC gaming for sure.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I had a Pro Audio Spectrum 16 and a Gravis Ultrasound in my 486dx33 back in those days (plus a US Robototics 14.4 Sportster modem). The IRQ/DMA assignments were definitely messy. The GUS sounded absolutely amazing but messing around with MegaEm, Ultramid, and all the other nasty software was a pain at times. I loved the games that would allow me to use the PAS for the digital fx and the GUS for music (yay MT32/LAPC1 via MegaEM).

        DOS 6 and the arrival of multi-config was a *godsend*. Without it, I'd have need

      • by discord5 (798235) on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:50AM (#43391335)

        There was not one game from that era that could install without spending a day trying to tweak config.sys files and autoexec.bat

        I remember it well, and it was the first steps for me into the dark art of understanding how computers work. I can only thank videogames of that era for making me start a voyage into a new realm. Understanding memory, learning about DMA and IRQs, getting a modem to work, setting up a LAN, trying my hand at programming, ... I learned a great deal from all that and it got me interested in a subject I had little interest in before.

        Thanks DOS games! You've set me onto a career which I enjoy tremendously (despite becoming such a cynic).

        • by Luyseyal (3154)

          So much THIS.

          To make everyone happy in the household, I implemented a config.sys menu system to load EMS or XMS depending on what task you wanted to undertake. Before that, I was fixing it for every reboot (and every time Mom wanted to use LotusWorks 1.0).

          -l

          Thank you for playing Wing Commander! [gamasutra.com]

        • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Monday April 08, 2013 @12:22PM (#43392321)

          It's interesting today. A few months ago a group of modders released Diaspora, a Battlestar Galactica game based on the Freespace 2 Open engine. It takes a little bit to get working, especially for multiplayer. The younger people, I'd say those 25 and under, got frustrated at the game and gave up to go back to the craptastic browser game released by bugpoint. Why? They couldn't hit the magic "login" and play button. You had to do some set up first in the launcher to get the game to work and then there are a few features in the advanced menu to check/uncheck depending on your set up. That was "too hard" for most of them. Then when they got into the game they said it was "too hard" with "too many things" to remember and those of us with joysticks had too much of an advantage, yada, yada.

          I guess I don't mind because I think I spent weeks getting Wing Commander Privateer to run on my computer from with a floppy with custom config.sys & autoexe.bat files. There were others, but Privateer was the one I remember the most frustration with.

      • by bfandreas (603438)
        Worse still was being able to run MSCDEX, various drivers and still have enough memory to start the game. Now the whole thing runs on 10 year old phones.
        SCUMMVM was ported to S60 yonks ago.

        Wing Commander 1 only flight control animations if you had EMS. Which you propably hadn't if you had a 286. Fun times!
        ...and fun those times were. The games had focus. Focus that has been lost. Something like Lemmings or Populous would propably be considered 'casual' nowadays even if there wasn't anything casual about
      • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:56AM (#43391403)

        You spent all day mucking with config.sys? Why didn't you just Google the issue???

    • by Nimey (114278) on Monday April 08, 2013 @11:02AM (#43391469) Homepage Journal

      Most of the games from back then were just as bad about configuration.

      The worst were the games (can't remember the names, but were usually from the early '90s) that hardcoded the Sound Blaster's I/O port or IRQ or DMA channel. It could be made to work, but if something else in your system had grabbed one of these (most often a parallel port needed the IRQ) you were out of luck. Even better if you had more than one such game and one of them expected a different value (say, one wanted 0x220 for the I/O port, but another expected 0x240).

      Even if you had one of the later games that let you specify your configuration, you might still have to dig the card back out because you'd set a jumper or DIP switch wrong and there was a conflict. Then you'd have to set the AUTOEXEC.BAT incantation correctly, which would be extra work if you'd been forced to switch a jumper around.

      And the video! A game might work just fine with a bog-standard VGA card, but another would need VBE 2.0 and if you didn't have the newest card that meant editing AUTOEXEC again to load a TSR on boot. Oh, wait! Now with that TSR you don't have enough RAM to run your game, so you've got to either fiddle with CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT manually (reading the manual entries for EMM386 and HIMEM) or shell out for an upgrade to MS-DOS 6 or buy QEMM386 and hope that either of the latter two could successfully optimize your memory layout. If you're poor and not up to editing your config files, you could always make a boot floppy instead (sometimes the game even did that automatically! Oh the luxury.) and boot the computer from that when you wanted to play your game... except that sometimes the automagic boot floppy utilities didn't set up your Sound Blaster properly, so you're still looking at work.

      Kids just don't know how good they have it these days, with working PnP and standardized multimedia APIs and a flat memory space.

      • by hjf (703092)

        A=220 I=5 D=1 T=4

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:38AM (#43390621)

    The reason the games from 15 years ago were so great was that there was no attempt to shoe-horn prequel material into the story.

    • by bfandreas (603438)
      ...and hardly anybody mistook themselves for Hollywood movie directors. Well, not after what happened to Chris Roberts.

      Interactive Movies were at the butt of any joke in the second half of the nineties. Yet they seem to have won. Press A for victory!
  • by ubrgeek (679399) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:39AM (#43390639)
    Thinking and puzzle solving (to a greater extent it's why people still mention Myst, although that was problem solving and really neat scenery). They were fun, with memorable characters and funny catch phrases ("I'm Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirateâ). They weren't twitchy, blow-things-up-to-solve-problems games.In some, the characters had continuity between games and in others they were tied to movies of which we had fond memories (Indiana Jones and Star Wars).
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:44AM (#43390695)

    For the same reason scummvm has been ported to damn near every platform and why I still play these games on brand new smartphones. Reminds me, I need to find my Full Throttle game files.

    • by melikamp (631205)
      Don't bother. [torrentz.eu]
    • I would guess that a lot of this has to do with the small pool of games available during that time. Everyone played the same 10 big games that came out in a given year during the 90s. If you liked point and clicks you probably played all of these titles:
      Goblins
      Quest for Glory
      Kings Quest
      Monkey Island
      Hook
      Simon the Sorcerer
      Day of the Tentacle
      Space Quest
      Gabriel Knight
      Lora Bow
      Phantasmagoria
      MYST
      etc...etc..
      Obviously some were prettier/funnier than others and stuck out. Many of these formed our chi
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Are any of those new point and clicks good?
        These are games that require a good story and characters. Making them much harder to produce then pumping out another iteration of Medal Of Duty: Call of Honor.

        • by bfandreas (603438)
          Well, the Walking Dead seems to do allright.

          If you want a true masterpiece you will have to gun for classics like The Last Express or Toonstruck.
          But to be fair in most cases it is also enjoying to watch a Youtuber doing a Let's Play on them. Adventures lend themselves to that.
        • I haven't gotten to play it yet but people rave about the Deponia series http://www.gog.com/gamecard/deponia [gog.com]
        • by hjf (703092)

          Last point and click I played was Syberia I and II about a decade ago (breathtaking graphics and a great story), and The Moment Of Silence (not so bad). I'm reading that Syberia III started development last year!

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:46AM (#43390701)

    Its a shame that George forced his entire empire to eat, breath and shit out Star Wars franchise IP which is why the empire collapsed and got absorbed by an even bigger evil empire. But the few original IP created by Lucasarts were actually quite good and original.

    I'm not saying we need to revisit them or have remakes of any of them, but it shows there were actually some creative and inventive original thinkers in the Lucasarts company and hopefully now they are free of the oppression of only doing Star Wars IP, we might see some new and novel games come from them again.

    • What happened to Lucas Arts: I loved Afterlife, although essentially pointless (you spend your game time in a vain effort to balance Heaven and Hell, whatever that meant) it was relaxing and I spent hours at it. Then Half-Life came out and I never looked back. All the other stated reasons for waving bye bye to LA pale.
  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:46AM (#43390705)
    At this point is all going to be a PR stunt to make everyone somehow go "Yeay they saved Lucasarts." and then they hope that we will all run out and buy their next SW game: Darth Vader and the lost princess.
  • Full Throttle (Score:5, Informative)

    by tekrat (242117) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:47AM (#43390717) Homepage Journal

    Full Throttle had the greatest opening to a Videogame I have ever seen. I would point to the screen even years later to show people, "There! This is how you do it!" *Movies* didn't get me that juiced.

    And while the gameplay itself was reminscent of "Sam and Max hit the Road" (since I believe it used the same SCUMM engine); it was still mighty entertaining. Considering that most CD-ROM based games at that time were terrible "click and wiggle" titles; the stuff that came out of LucasArts during that period was well thought out, richly designed, spectacularly written, and incredibly above-average. It was an exciting time.

  • Nostalgia. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonnythan (79727) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:53AM (#43390777) Homepage

    It's not because those games were just particularly amazing, well-written, and well-constructed. It's because those were the games that we grew up with. Those of us in their 30s and early 40s are the ones currently dominating the industry, and we grew up playing King's Quest IV and Monkey Island and Loom and X-Wing etc. We have a fondness for those now because we were kids and those games were the world to us.

    Same reason most of us love Voltron and hate Power Rangers, even though they're damn near the same thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Culture20 (968837)
      Voltron is pure nostalgia. I had fun watching it as a kid, and attempted watching it as an adult, but it was as you say: just as bad as power rangers. However, good games from the past like the Lucas Arts games stand the test of time. They're still fun, and that's not the nostalgic reminiscing talking, that's honest to goodness present day fun I'm having.
    • Compared to today's games, Tetris has incredibly bad graphics and sound, there's no writing and nothing about it is amazing at first glance... yet there are versions of it for virtually anything you can possibly play a game on and everyone has played it. The quality of a game cannot be measured by the quality of the graphics and sound.

      In addition, I would say that the Monkey Island games are still some of the best written adventure games ever made. I shared the the two special edition remakes with a frien

  • Why? Simple ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgd (2822) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:53AM (#43390787)

    Nostalgia.

    Everyone doing that right now is getting old. Kids today will be doing the same thing about Gears of War, Borderlands and Splosion Man.

    And some of us, who are older, are still doing it about Joust, Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers.

    Welcome to the pool of people not at the top of the generation queue.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Partly. There's also more to it. I'm not of the Joust generation, but that was an awesome game. They still make Super Mario Brothers games, and Donkey Kong gets a remake every once in a while.

      LucasArts, and earlier Sierra, really dominated the adventure game genre in a time when your game had to be creative because the hardware wasn't good enough to make it shiny.

      • Re:Why? Simple ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday April 08, 2013 @12:49PM (#43392649) Homepage Journal

        because the hardware wasn't good enough to make it shiny.

        Yeah, but what kind of frame rate did you get out of King's Quest? ;)

        I think this is a bit like music - people always try to credit nostalgia, but really some old music is much better than most modern music. The trick is, there was plenty of bad old, music, but nobody remembers it. The winners have staying power, and color our memories.

        And my favorite musical era occurred a few years before I was born. My second favorite, 40 years before I was born, and my third favorite, when I was 12. So now people will immediately jump on the one when I was 12 and say it's because I grew up with it.

        c.f. the RedLetterMedia review of The Phantom Menace.

    • Re:Why? Simple ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Windwraith (932426) on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:04AM (#43390881)

      I don't think so. I still pick up some of their games every now and then, and they are as rightfully enjoyable as they were back in the date. Even new ones I never got around to try as a kid, I enjoy greatly now.
      I think the word "nostalgia" has been shifting meaning as of late. Nostalgia is when you think of that summer in 1989 (random example). Something you only relive through your memories, if you will.
      Perhaps if you relived that summer, it wouldn't be as memorable as you remembered.

      However, this is videogames! Things you can pick up and play almost anytime. I still pick up games from the Genesis/Megadrive or SNES. I still find new obscure games that I never played as a kid. And know what? I love them! Because they are genuinely good, and nothing else.

      This is not nostalgia. This is given credit where it's due.

      • by bfandreas (603438)
        And you still can pick up the old adventures and still enjoy them. They have aged quite well.
        X-Wing and Tie Fighter have interestingly also aged quite well.
        There are a lot of DOS era games that have aged very well and still are fun. GoG is chock full of them.

        Others haven't aged very well at all. Wing Commander(1+2) for example. Back in the day we marvelled at those two. But now...hrm. Nostalgia does indeed have to kick in to enjoy those two.
        Master of Magic is also a candidate for "hasn't aged very wel
    • Re:Why? Simple ... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mike Frett (2811077) on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:08AM (#43390907)

      Not really. There is a difference between a good game with lots of playability and a game that can't be played anymore when the DRM servers are turned off. There is a difference between making a good single-player game and a game where the devs can't be bothered with anything but the same dime-a-dozen multi-player.

      There is a difference between a finished game and a game that requires DLC. There is a difference between a game company that wants to make games, and a game company that only cares about money. This has nothing to do with that first glass of Milk and Cookies you ever had.

      • There is a difference between a good game with lots of playability and a game that can't be played anymore when the DRM servers are turned off.

        I believe you're confusing "lots of playability" with "can always be played." Those two are mutually exclusive.

        You can have a good game with lots of playability that relies on servers (World of Warcraft, for example) which will eventually be shut down. You can also have a game with limited game play and no replay value which doesn't rely on servers (like Braid) which will always be available for you to play even though you'll most likely never do it.

  • by Molt (116343) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:56AM (#43390805)
    Equal parts rose-tinted nostalgia and the fact that no-one's moved the genre forward in a major sense since. Telltale have done a good job with their games and have managed to get rid of a lot of the annoyances from the Monkey Island era but it's all been small-steps rather anything major, and I think they've not managed to achieve quite the same level of humour as the old games yet but that could just be me getting old.
  • by Luyseyal (3154) <swaters AT luy DOT info> on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:00AM (#43390833) Homepage

    I know everyone wants to complain about adventure games being dead, but recently I have been enjoying The Book of Unwritten Tales [kingart-games.com], an amusing point-and-click adventure in the traditional style. Incidentally, it had a Linux port before Valve ported Steam.

    Cheers,
    -l

    • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Monday April 08, 2013 @11:29AM (#43391757) Homepage

      I know everyone wants to complain about adventure games being dead

      The genre had quite a down in the early 2000's, but it hasn't been dead for many years. Not only is TellTale putting out adventure games on a regular basis, we also have Wadjet Eye games, Daedalic, Amanita Design and a whole lot of other companies releasing new games all the time. The Walking Dead even managed to grab numerous Game Of The Year awards. The Daedalic games are probably the closest in style to what LucasArts put out back then.

  • ... and the majority of people couldn't access a BBS. Walkthroughs? Tutorials? If you were lucky, an actual real-life friend might have told you how to win the spitting competition in Monkey Island 2. Or you persevered, having a much greater attention span twenty years ago - uninterrupted by a billion browser tabs, FB notifications, phones ringing, etc. It was just the game and you.

    • by Carrot007 (37198)

      > Because there was no internet...
      > ... and the majority of people couldn't access a BBS. Walkthroughs? Tutorials?

      Nonsense they were there if you wanted them.

      Magazines had huge section on tiops/walkthroughs back in the day. Nowadays they know it is pointless as you have already found one on the internet if you wanted one. Also diskmags had them as well. No need for internet/bbs if you were scared to do it!

    • by bfandreas (603438)
      ...or your monthly gaming rag which we also bought for the walkthroughs.
      But yeah, the game discussions at school wer best. Kids nowadays can only say "And then I shot his nuts off."
      We discussed the ideal weapon loadout for the spider boss in Xenon 2 and how to get past that "kneel down" section in Indy3. Or in very hushed voices what kind of lubber we got. YOU PERVERT!
  • The LucasArts point and click games were generally funny. I can't think of any other games being funny. Maybe it's because so many games are made in Japan, and Eastern humor is different than Western humor, but I can't think of a any game having even generated a chuckle out of me since playing the LucasArts games. Even the Monkey Island Tales, while somewhat entertaining, wouldn't be described as funny.
  • by Guru80 (1579277) on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:13AM (#43390965)
    Simple..because LucasArts just got canned for exactly what is mentioned...they haven't produced much that's appealing in a decade. Sure, those games were fun and mind-blowingly fun when they came out but I assure you, nobody I know "still talks about them" except in a moment of nostalgia and that's no different than any other game from the first time we played Pong right up to recent years.
    • by Guru80 (1579277)
      *Disregard one fun or the other in the above comment ;-)
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I disagree. People still play them, and talk about them. Monkey Island finally got a recent sequel, but it had to be done by TellTale since LucasArts had no one to do it in house.

      Had LucasArts made those games instead of licensing out more and more Star Wars mmorpgs it might have survived.

      • by bfandreas (603438)
        LucasArts had the same problems a lot of old game companies have nowadays.
        The original creative people have left and the new generation was mainly recruited from the fanbois who grew up with the games.
        Lucas suffered from that, Blizzard suffers from that, SquareEnix suffers from that,...

        The direct result is why the old hands make a killing on Kickstarter and the second generation fanbois at the huge companies only shovel crap upon crap into sequel after sequel.
        The true and novel things that happen in th
  • Grim Fandango (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MetricT (128876) on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:16AM (#43391001) Homepage

    In the 30+ years I've been gaming, Grim Fandango was the best game I ever played. Such an absolute joy, and an ending that was worth the journey.

    If I had to choose between Grim Fandango 2 and Half-Life 3, GF2 it would be.

  • by tqk (413719)

    They haven't released much that's at all memorable in ten to fifteen years, yet they're only now being handed pink slips? Way to screw the pooch! I'm impressed! How do we find sinecures like that, or do they only exist in corporate boards of directors these days? Fifteen years of no, "What have you done for us lately?", and they got away with it (no lawsuits & etc)? That's pretty amazing.

  • First, because they were good. Second, because "we" - as in someone, somewhere - are always talking about everyone's old games. Thirdly, because they've just been closed down so they're topical (sorry, "trending"). Oh yeah, and fourthly, because Slashdot are click whores.
  • Seriously, I guess I must have missed something because I was too busy playing advanced (for the time) FPS games such as Wolfenstein, DOOM, Quake, Unreal, Diablo, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, and various AD&D style RPGs. Prior to this I had played the various Sierra games as well as the Tex Murphy series (now that was a funny game).

    I chalk this up to nostalgia, rather than the games being better than any other games from the same era.

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      I played all those games too, but the Lucas arts games like X-Wing series, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, and Monkey Island series were top notch. Sam & Max were close to top notch, but were probably only on par with Doom as far as overall fun goes. BTW, you also missed UFO/XCOM, Civ, MOO, MOM, Infocom games, and many many more.
    • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Monday April 08, 2013 @11:13AM (#43391597) Homepage

      I chalk this up to nostalgia, rather than the games being better than any other games from the same era.

      While Sierra was still trying to kill you in dozens of more or less "funny" ways and allowed you to end up in dead ends, LucasArts practiced essentially modern game design practices and made sure that you couldn't get stuck into dead ends, get killed or otherwise get your gaming experience ruined by obtuse puzzle design. I think that is the main reason why those LucasArts game are so fondly remembered and Sierra not quite so much. When you load up an old LucasArts adventure today it essentially plays not much different then a modern one would, the interface is clean and polished and the game design very straight forward without any ugly surprises. When you load up most other games of that time you are greeted with a rather obtuse interface, unclear game rules and other problems that just make those old games far less tolerable in modern times.

      It of course also helps that the games are just damn good, with rememberable characters, great graphics, voice acting and all that.

  • Replaying value (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ScaledLizard (1430209) on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:39AM (#43391233)

    Many games are too boring to play to the end even once. They lack story, or the challenges are repetitive in nature (Shoot that alien! Now shoot that alien! And that must be an entirely different alien, even though it looks exactly like those I shot before it, but it's still moving!...)

    It is an interesting challenge to see whether you still remember the solutions to all the puzzles in the LucasArts games. If you do, playing these games is like participating in an interactive movie, but often with way more alternatives. I still like exploring large and complex environments when I find the time. Leave linear first person shooters to the masses and give me a new Fallout, Wasteland, or Elder Scrolls. Zak Mc Kracken 3D?

    The LucasArts games were made with love and programmed thoroughly. I mean, while many games in that era were difficult to set up, the LucasArts games usually scaled better with faster hardware and enjoyed patches for years, long after other manufacturers would have dropped similar games. Also, the philosophy of death-free play that encouraged explorative playing style without a gazillion load-attempt-reload. The LucasArts games still serve as an ideal that is difficult to reach for many productions even despite much larger costs.

    • by qwak23 (1862090)

      Oh Zak McKracken, one of the fondest games of my youth and probably one of the most painful (if not THE most painful) game to try and play now.

      Fucking keyboard cursor interface my ass. Whoever thought that selecting words from a list (using the keyboard to move a graphical cursor) instead of just implementing a parser needs to have their head examined.

  • by Destoo (530123) <destoo@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday April 08, 2013 @12:14PM (#43392243) Homepage Journal

    Tell me about Loom
    You mean the latest masterpiece of fantasy storytelling from LucasArts' Brian Moriarty? Why it's an extraordinary adventure with an interface of magic. Stunning, high resolution, 3D landscapes and sophisticated score and musical effects. Not to mention the detailed animation and special effects, elegant point 'n' click control of characters, objects and magic spells. Beat the rush! Go out and buy Loom today!

  • by kreyg (103130) <kreyg@shNETBSDaw.ca minus bsd> on Monday April 08, 2013 @02:17PM (#43393651) Homepage

    ...they relied on story, clever dialog and had *heart* - so, the same reason everything of quality (books, music, movies) is appreciated decades or centuries later.

    I just finished playing Day of the Tentacle with my wife and two kids last night, and they all enjoyed it thoroughly.

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