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July 9, 2009

LucasArts classics on the iPhone?

Not to just parrot another blog entry, but I thought this was interesting. I'm sure most of you are by now familiar with the news that LucasArts is in the process of reviving some of their classic point-and-clickers like Secret of Monkey Island and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis for XBLA and PCs, which is beautiful news indeed.

In addition to this, though, is the report from Joystiq (via TAUW) that we might be seeing some of these classics on the iPhone someday soon. As reported:

...we did get a vague answer in the affirmative (from LucasArts): "On iPhone, you know Apple's policy that we can't talk about a release until it's ready to release. But it would make sense that we would do something like that if we were to go in that direction ... wink wink, nod, nod."


It certainly makes sense, and this would be great to see, although I do have some reservations. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I'm not a big fan of remakes, and it looks like the upcoming Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition is just that, with updated graphics and sound. There's something I find particularly charming about the pixelated graphics and simplistic sound of the originals, and I have little interest in experiencing these games again in a more modern style. Even the blocky font used in those original games has a particular feel that communicates something, however small, and replacing that with a sleek, scalable OpenType serif font would change the look and feel enough to alter the experience.

We see originals remade in a different, and often more modern, style all the time these days in the entertainment industry. Music, movies, TV shows all do this, and now games have reached the age where remakes now seem to make economical sense. While I like the idea of introducing younger generations to the classics, I've never warmed up to the idea of remaking the originals.

I remember when I used to do editorial cartoons for the school paper back in college, I brought up with my father the idea of remaking some of my better early works later on when I was a senior, both so that the younger students could see them, and so I could update my earlier work with the more refined style that I had developed over the years. Bad idea, he told me. The originals were good because of what they were, and it would only ruin them to remake them in a new style. I never did it, and that opinion has stuck with me over the years with respect to creative pieces of any kind.

So I'd consider purchasing and replaying those LucasArts classics on the PC or iPhone if they are the true originals, but not if they are updates or remakes. Still, I like the renewed interest in adventure games, point-and-click or otherwise.

On a related note, as pointed out by TAUW (and somehow only recently realized by yours truly), you can pop over to Tim Schafer's DoubleFine web site and play Schafer himself in a free classic LucasArts-style spoof of his invitation to host the 2009 GDC Awards Ceremony back in March. Schafer (who was born just a couple months after me, a fact interesting only to me I suppose) is one of the original LucasArts greats, having worked on Monkey Island, Full Throttle (one of my favs), and the classic Grim Fandango.

Playing Schafer's online game reminded me how much I like that old pixelated style and the inventory-based gameplay. It also reminded me how bad I am at these games. I thought I had collected all but one of the jokes, but it turned out I had only collected half. Not even close. Pretty embarrassing.

4 comments:

Andy B said...

I think I read that the remake of Monkey Island will layer on top of the original game - adding modern graphics, a help system, etc - but allowing the player to switch back to the original graphics with a single keypress.

Can't recall where I read that, but I certainly hope it's not something I dreampt...

Rubes said...

Now that you mention it, I may have read something similar. I also can't remember if or where I read that, though. But since we both think that, perhaps it's true...

Andy B said...

It is true, quoted from http://store.steampowered.com/app/32360/:

"Purists will also delight in the ability to seamlessly switch between the updated hand-drawn re-imagining and the original classic version."

It's also out! :-D

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