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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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Now displaying: Page 1
Feb 28, 2024

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on rotoscoped games by hopping aboard The Last Express, the graphic adventure from Jordan Mechner and Smoking Car Productions of 1997 via publisher Broderbund. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To Vienna (Tim) and past Epernay (Brett)

Issues covered: our history with the game, playing the game on the iPad, the adventure game at the time, budget and sales, some history of the game, the edutainment industry, critical response, how many discs, cost of goods, the history of Epernay, generic settings vs the highly specific dates in the game, the overwhelm, jumping onto a moving train, photo research, pulling the brake, what to do with a dead body, trial and error, the various ways things can play out from just the first puzzle, rain in Europe in 1914, a digression into multiple speed CD-ROMs, getting into rotoscoping, a 3D modeled train with rotoscoped characters on top, chasing after a character in the hall, walk-boxes with Z values, the screen door effect, a linear game in space vs an open-ended game in time, synchronicity, the sense of a train trip, prioritizing animation vs input, mechanics-forward vs simulation-forward, what players care about and what they see.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Jordan Mechner, Broderbund, GoldenEye 007, Diablo, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Fallout, Curse of Monkey Island, Riven, MYST, Jonathan Ackley, Larry Ahern, Quake, SW: Jedi Knight: DF2, Outlaws, LucasArts, Turok, Shadow Warrior, Hexen II, Duke Nuke'em, Postal, Age of Empires, Final Fantasy VII, Wing Commander: Prophecy, Xwing vs TIE Fighter, Colony Wars, Interstate '76, Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Grand Theft Auto, Gran Turismo, OddWorld, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Bethesda Game Studios, Bill Tiller, Day of the Tentacle, Sierra, Phantasmagoria, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father, Zoetrope Studios, Francis Ford Coppola, Smoking Car Productions, Tomi Pierce, Doug Carlston, Chris Remo, The Learning Company, Another World, Prince of Persia, Baldur's Gate, Final Fantasy VII, PlayStation, Sony, Daron Stinnett, Scream (series), Grim Fandango, Quadrilateral Cowboy, Blendo Games, Thirty Flights of Loving, Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express, Paul Verhoeven, RoboCop, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers, Elle, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Skyrim, Ron Gilbert, Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly, Deadline, Infocom, Zork, Ben Sarason, Arkham Asylum, Red Dead Redemption (series), RockStar, Tomb Raider (series), Brandon Fernandez, Core Design, Mario (series), Uncharted (series), Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Next time:
Finish the game (?)/ Explore further

Errata and Extra:
The lead animator on CMI was Mark Overney (!), and it was my mistake, I was thinking it had been Charlie Ramos

Blendo Games is Brendon Chung

Paul Verhoeven is Dutch, and he did direct Basic Instinct

Links:
The Last Express: Revisiting An Unsung Classic

Twitch: brettdouville or timlongojr, instagram:timlongojr, Twitter: @devgameclub
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DevGameClub@gmail.com

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