Highest Rated Comments

Japeth443 karma

Can you draw Arnold (from Hey Arnold! fame) as an adult? In whatever context you deem necessary.

Japeth97 karma

That's just because those words make the hyperlinks so much more tantalizing.

Japeth62 karma

What a bro.

Japeth56 karma

Yeah being able to sneeze on cue is a hard skill to master.

Japeth53 karma

Here's my contribution to this mess.

Question Answer
I read an interview with you somewhere — it must have been Computer Gaming World or that promotional magazine LucasArts used to package with the games — where you talked about designing Ben Whatsisname's character as someone the player could be proud of (as opposed to a character like Bernard). Are you still influenced by this philosophy? Do you believe a playing character like Ben is the most relatable and interesting? Or would that be a more flawed character like Manny, who must have done something really nasty to have to work at the Department of Death (and got detention a lot)? The theory at the time was that previous Lucas heroes had been “loveable losers” like Guybrush and Bernard, and maybe players would like a character who was “cooler” and more powerful than them for a change. I don’t think this makes characters more or less relatable. That’s a separate challenge. Hopefully Ben’s humanity still showed through for that. Manny may have been a flawed human being but we were still going for a character that was confident and cool, ala Humphrey Bogart. PS Ben’s last name is Throttle, but they couldn’t say that in the strategy guide because of the Biker Mice from Mars.
There are some mechanics of old adventure games I found interesting and unique. For example, in Sam & Max Hit the Road and The Dig, dialogue options were shown as icons rather than the lines of dialogue themselves, so you had no way of knowing precisely what your character would say. Do you wish any such features that have since fallen out of favor would make a comeback? Codewheels!
One thing I've noticed about modern adventure games is that they tend to have more simplified commands than the adventure games of yore: Left-click on an object and the game will determine whether your intent was to take it, inspect it, talk to it, or otherwise interact with it. This is, of course, a far cry from a bank of commands from "Talk to" to "Give" to "Open" to "Close." Do you find such simplification restrictive? We fought that for years. I remember writing a long email about how the removal of verbs reduces player choice. But I’ve come to accept that there are different places you can put player choice, even if they only have one verb: Use. You can still use timing, context, and inventory to give the player many different ways to say “use.”
Likewise, modern games' preference for minimal interfaces prove problematic at times. For example, having Manny remove inventory items from his coat one at a time looked elegant, but it rendered him unable to use items in his inventory together. And, of course, there were times when he needed to, like the severed hand and the grinder, so he had to place the grinder back where it was if he already picked it up. Do you have any regrets about sacrificing ease for aesthetics? The idea with Manny’s inventory was that people would use the number keys to pull out items directly. I regret hiding that information deep in the manual.
Given your recent Kickstarter success, do you believe we're now in a new era of community-funded games that eliminate the middleman and provide entertainment to the masses directly, aided by technology such as online downloads and payments? I think we live in an era where game makers and players are finding ways to get closer together without a middleman, just like they are in music and other creative industries.
What's your take on DRM? Do you believe that a DRM-free honor system is feasible? I think the Kickstarter experience shows that people will pay money for things they want, especially if you make it easier for them to buy it than steal it.
Do you believe that indie games will ever be able to take on the major publishers, market share-wise? I think they actually benefit each other, like the way indie films make the film industry healthier. And just like indie films, indie games stand the same chance of becoming blockbuster hits and stealing all the awards.
I assume someone like you believes video games are art. As such, are you invested in the movement to "preserve" old games and port them to modern formats for new audiences? I rely on the fans for that. They do it much better than I could. And much faster than publishers do.
So I have this friend, see? And he believes he has an idea for an indie game that will be unbelievably groundbreaking and innovative in terms of game mechanics and interactive storytelling. This in spite of the fact that his education and career path have nothing whatsoever to do with the gaming industry. Assuming my friend has any chance whatsoever to have his plans come to fruition in his lifetime, what advice would you give him to make his dreams a reality? Make that game! What is your friend waiting for?
Why did you introduce Hoagie and Laverne as new characters rather than bring back Dave or any of the other original characters from Maniac Mansion? Did you find Bernard to be the only interesting/funny one? Bernard had the most well-defined personality, we thought, along with Razor. Razor was in the original six DOTT characters, but we cut three.
How many people besides me would you reckon have noticed the fine print in Suzi's plans to recapture the restored hardtail? No matter how well you hide that stuff, somebody finds it!
What do you think about the cancelled sequels for Full Throttle? Do you agree with me that Full Throttle's ending was a logical endpoint in the narrative? I admit that I’m happy they were all canceled, but sad for those teams. I feel ownership over Ben and his world and wouldn’t want anyone else to do a sequel. Like most of the games, I think the story ended at a natural point, but a new one could always start for those characters.
If you're sprouted (or shredded to pieces, or whatever) in the Land of the Dead, what happens to your consciousness? Does it cease to exist, or does it just stay there next to your immobile remains, forever? O_o Maybe it just ceases to exist. Or maybe there is an entirely different underworld it goes to. Who knows? It was never spelled out in the game. But I knew it was bad.
Are you as disappointed as I am that they retconned Herman Toothrot's backstory in Escape from Monkey Island, rendering it incompatible with the narrative supplied by the captain's log Guybrush finds in the Sea Monkey? I never played that game, so I’m not sure what they did. But whatever it is, I’m sure they can explain it away again using Voodoo.
Given Full Throttle and the Bonewagon, I've always assumed you were something of a motor vehicle enthusiast. True? I love hot rods and old muscle cars. “Big Daddy” Roth custom car culture is something I’ve loved since I was a kid. I still drive a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda to work every day. Take that, environment!
So what, exactly, do you have against cats? You realize, of course, that you are now in what is firmly established as cat lover territory? We let the team thank whoever they wanted in the end credits of Throttle, and I was annoyed at how many cats were in there. Do you know how many cats finish games, let alone stick around for the credits? And even if they did see their name in there, they’d say, “Humpfft. Now get me my dinner.” I’ve married into cat ownership, but I’m not happy about it. Just one of the many sacrifices of marriage.
Just one more thing. When I was a teenager, one of my teachers handed out a form where you wrote your ideal career and a person from that career you'd like to talk to about how to get in said career yourself. The school or some other agency would supposedly try to set up an interview with you and that person. I was somewhat naïve back then, to put it gently, and my responses were "PC game designer" and "Tim Schafer," respectively. What do you make of that? They probably did contact me and I never got back to them, sorry! It’s all about timing. Sometimes I can give interviews and sometimes I can’t. For instance, yesterday I couldn’t do this one, but today I can.