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Dev Game Club

Join hosts and game industry veterans Brett Douville and Tim Longo as they explore older titles to talk about the influences those games had and what we can learn from them even today.
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Jun 15, 2016

In this first episode discussing recently remastered LucasArts classic Day of the Tentacle, we talk about the influence of adventure games generally and the reputed mis-reporting of games being dead, as well as talking about the format of this game in particular. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Note: Brett keeps referring to Monkey Island 2 and Secret of Monkey Island kind of interchangeably. We regret the error.

Sections played:
Hard to say! But we both tried to get to where Laverne drapes herself in the flag, about three hours of play.

Podcast breakdown:
0:33      Intro and segment 1
41:50    Break 1
42:17    Segment 2: intro to game, usability, format
1:24:10 Break 2
1:24:41 Segment 3: next time, FF9 follow-up, Hitman follow-up, outro

 

Issues covered: Hosts' early history with adventure games, playing text adventures on a 200 baud modem, calling hint lines, how to get hired at LucasArts, "death of the adventure game," exploring new directions for the genre, nostalgia factor and moving on from adventure games in 1993, usability issues in adventure games, grognard capture (and the audience base), exploration and getting into the head of the designer, player vs simulation, keeping the adventure game alive and evolving it this millennium, user-facing features and a request for reader input, wish fulfillment in your adventure games, immediacy of power fantasy in 1993, enthusiast press and what they focus on, Gold Guy animations, opening credits, building on existing technology vs building new technology (and the 3D revolution), no Star Wars games at LucasArts, art style for DoTT to preserve a look rather than lose it through low resolution, sparseness of initial playable environment -- tutorialization? or just lucky..., expanding the possibility space, puzzle threads, repetitive dialog as hints and lack of that in the inventory items, puzzles as quests but without a supporting journal or log, clarity or consistency of object or puzzle state, figuring out the weird constraints of time travel, level design thoughtfulness, a mechanical misstep that induces a lot of repetitive play, fighting the game, a jigsaw puzzle where you're not sure you have all the puzzle pieces, film references, choice of language and what's important to reinforce themes, maintaining consistent vision and the difficulties that team size present.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Double Fine Productions, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, Secret of Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Defenders of Dynatron City, Tim Schafer, Zork, Sierra On-Line, King's Quest, Space Quest, Infocom, Advent.exe, The Wizard and the Princess, On-Line Systems, Mystery House, King's Quest, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Daron Stinnett, Aric Wilmunder, Ray Gresko, Steve Dautermann, Starfighter, Curse of Monkey Island, Escape from Monkey Island, Jonathan Ackley, Larry Ahern, Final Fantasy IX, Resident Evil, Myst, The 7th Guest, Phantasmagoria, Gabriel Knight series, Police Quest series, Manhunter series, Doom, Ultima Underworld, Ultima IX Ascension, Sean Clark, The Dig, Mike Stemmle, Minecraft, Dave Grossman, Ron Gilbert, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Humongous Entertainment, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam, Putt-Putt, Spy Fox, Wadjet Eye, Emerald City Confidential, Blackwell series, Sam and Max Freelance Police, Kevin Bruner, Telltale Games, Dan Connors, Obi-Wan, The Walking Dead, Wallace and Gromit, Uncharted, Tomb Raider, Brütal Lëgend, Psychonauts, Dead Space, Pixar, Metal Gear Solid, Wayne Cline, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Haden Blackman, Vince Lee, Rebel Assault, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, Larry Holland, Fractalus, Habitat, Peter Chan, Broken Age, Minecraft: Story Mode, Majora's Mask, Daniel Johanson, Josh Arman, Jon Hassan, Doctor Who, Jason Schreier, Hitman (2016), Echochrome, Remember Me, Don't Nod, Life Is Strange, David Cage, Mirror's Edge.

Next time:
Another 3 hours or so of the game! Look on Twitter to see what's what.

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

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