Schafer Liveblogs Monkey Island 2

By Alec Meer on September 17th, 2010 at 11:16 pm.

Tim Schafer may be long-gone to console-land these days, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten the PC adventure game roots that made him. As anyone who follows him on Twit-witter knows, he’s been sharing his thoughts, memories and mild horror about Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge as he plays through the Special Edition. It’s as close as you’re likely to get to a director’s commentary [edit - ah. There is one with the SE. Didn't play it yet, see. Oh well, this is still new stuff, and wonderfully pithy] for the revered pointer-clickerer. Some highlights of what’s clearly the man having a great time with one of his old creations are below.

Finally playing Monkey 2 SE. I haven’t played MI2 since it came out, almost 20 years ago. Hope I can remember some of these puzzles…

Haha. That opening campfire looks suspiciously familiar! I can’t believe we just re-used the lookout fire from Monkey 1. Oh wait, yes I can.

Voodoo lady says, “True evil can never be destroyed,” because that’s what my dad said after we saw Star Wars the first time. I was like, “Did Darth die or not?” so he laid that on me. Then he turned off the headlights so we could pretend we were in an X-Wing.

Weird. That peg leg polishing scene didn’t seem so dirty to me at the time.

The glow on hot objects would have offended us in 1991, but it looks cool and totally helped me find the knife in the kitchen.

Another good thing about the special edition: Visible Cheese Squigglies.

Dang. I really need a piece of string or rope, but there’s none to be found! Except for in the background art of every shot!

We named Kate Capsize after Spielberg’s wife. He called Ron [Gilbert] once for a hint, and right when he was about say what he thought of the name there was a loud static on the line so we never found out if he was offended or amused. He used to play each game and call for hints.

I can’t believe we got away with a Fred Flintstone costume in the shop. Or at least his lower half. He’s even tagged “Caveman Fred!”

I’ve never actually read all the cards in the Phatt city library. I’m doing it now because there has got to be an achievement for it. Right?

How can you say you only have one cannon, when I can clearly see three on the counter?

It’s shameful how many times you hear the default examine response in this game. “Nice!” I am ashamed. We should really hack in new lines.

Guybrush in a dress looks a lot like Kurt Cobain in a dress for the In Bloom video.

Special Edition art is pretty, but Elaine is hotter in classic mode.

Wait, why did they put that Kyle Katarn line in there?

Rapp Scallion just coughed up the third map piece. Forgot about how he turns to ash, except for his thumbs-up fist. Oh you Steve Purcell!

He’s still only mid-way through, so I advise some slightly stalkerish following to hear more.

I’d also love it if more devs took a crack at this sort of thing – just honest, playful commentary on games they’re far enough away from to no longer be towing any marketing line, enjoying them for what they are and the memories they summon.

Which seems an appropriate moment to ask “what olden wonder-games do you think deserve director’s commentaries, readers?”

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49 Comments »

  1. Dean says:

    “It’s as close as you’re likely to get to a director’s commentary for the revered pointer-clickerer. ”

    You mean, except for the director’s commentary on the SE version?

  2. qx says:

    >I haven’t played MI2 since it came out, almost 20 years ago.

    I find that hard to believe.

    • Samuel Bass says:

      It’s pretty easy to believe…

      I have a hard time going back to anything I’ve made previously, even the good ones, and when it’s an adventure game it’s worse simply because there’s no new “play” to draw you in.

    • TCM says:

      Breaking news: Game devs would rather spend the little time they have to play new games, not revisit old ones. If they play games at all (I’ve heard from more than one dev that they don’t have the time or willingness to play other games.)

    • Gassalasca says:

      It’s the norm. It’s a bit like actors never watching their films. Some really never do.

    • Rugged Malone says:

      I wrote all the dialogue for Gilbert Goodmate, and I’ve never played the final game.

      (It kind of left a sour taste when the founders declared bankruptcy and then formed a new company so they could void all our contracts and we never got paid any royalties.)

  3. DAdvocate says:

    For any of you guys which don’t have it yet, Steam are offering Monkey Island 2 at 50% off, over the next 24 hours only (I think).

  4. James G says:

    For what its worth, the special editions are currently reduced on Steam, £3.49 each, or £5.24 for both.

    But yes, more directors commentaries please! I find them utterly fascinating, and would love to see them as part of more games. The somewhat spartan directors commentary in MI2 SE was one of the things which made me purchase it, although admittedly I did wait until this Sale. (Mainly because I realised it would come shortly. Today was inevitable with Lucas Arts Week and ITLaPD)

    • Wang Tang says:

      Joink, thank you, wanted to buy MI2 SE when it’s on sale, but without you I would’ve missed it!

  5. Hakkesshu says:

    The commentary track for MI 2 SE was completely fucked and barebones, though. Apparently they recorded around 2 hours’ worth, but the game itself has maybe like 10-15 minutes total. It’s like why did they even bother?

  6. juv3nal says:

    Also the iphone/ipod versions are currently only a buck each. That’s like not enough money to buy gum in your funny English money.

  7. eoy says:

    I’d really love to see Day of the Tentacle remade. That simply has to be best (and by far most twisted) adventure game ever made.

    • Paul B says:

      And after that an Indiana Jones and Fate of Atlantis remake. And then Sam & Max. And finally Full Throttle.

      Looks like LucasArts could be very busy during the next few years, remaking their old games, if it was up to me ;)

    • Dean says:

      Grim Fandango should be the obvious choice for the next remake. Sam and Max, DOTT, MI3 and Full Throttle all play great on Scumm VM and still look pretty good. Grim is an arse to get running and looks a lot more dated due to the early 3D stuff.

    • ChaosSmurf says:

      Why is Grim Fandango at all obvious? It’s in 3D, already has full voice acting, works on modern PCs (to my knowledge), has no game-breaking bugs and has even aged non-terribly. I mean I love it, but unless they’re gonna put it in the Crysis engine or some shit, I don’t really see the point.

    • Vague-rant says:

      I’d agree with Grim Fandango calls. Early 3d looks a lot worse than late 2d. I remember having some trouble getting it to work a few years ago, so a remake would be right up my street. If they handed it over to/worked with Telltale then they could probably just use their engine.

    • Nick says:

      But DoTT still looks beautiful…

    • Nick says:

      and was already fully voiced on release..

  8. qrter says:

    Which seems an appropriate moment to ask “what olden wonder-games do you think deserve director’s commentaries, readers?”

    Each and every Thief game. I’d love that.

  9. konrad_ha says:

    I’d kill for a full Half-Life developer’s commentary. The ones on EP2 and TF2 were super-interesting.

  10. edosan says:

    How about the PC version of Brutal Legend?

    Oh, right.

  11. jeremypeel says:

    I’d love to listen to commentry from the old timer Obsidian devs playing through the Fallout and Icewind Dale games. Although that would be one hell of a big job, of course. Most of the games I’d really want a commentry on would be logistical impossibilities, to be honest.

    And Thief 2! Thief 2.

  12. Alexander Norris says:

    Why wouldn’t they put that Kyle Katarn line there?

    Also, the answer is always System Shock 2.

    • Dean says:

      Well the original line was “Hey, it’s Zonker Harris in a dress!”

      When they did the remake they figured no-one would know who that was anymore, so they changed it.

    • Rugged Malone says:

      Yeah, who the heck was Zonker Harris? I don’t remember that line…not that I remember all the lines, but…I wonder if they changed it in the original release for NA? Maybe it was a regional thing?

  13. Jonas says:

    I’d kill for a proper Deus Ex commentary by Warren Spector, Harvey Smith, or Sheldon Pacotti. Preferably all of the above.

  14. Ignorant Texan says:

    Defender of the Crown(not the shitty remake for the XBOX that is one of my contenders for worst game ever) and Rocket Ranger. I still love the Cinemaware games.

    • BonusWavePilot says:

      Rocket Ranger! Oh hell yes, I’d forgotten all about that game…

      Such a fun b-movie take on the whole thing. Nazis on the moon!

      (Those guys did It Came From The Desert and Wings as well… Ah for the salad games of my youth)

  15. kwyjibo says:

    Forget this shit, Steve Martin is on Twitter, and he’s somehow funny again, kind of like the last time the Tories were in power.

    “My publicist is nervous about my becoming a Tweeter. He says celebrities tend to make such monumental gaffes. He’s such a typical Wop!”

    http://twitter.com/stevemartintogo

  16. cw8 says:

    Where’s the PC version of Brutal Legend?

  17. Neil says:

    Toeing.

  18. Red Avatar says:

    “The glow on hot objects would have offended us in 1991″
    It still offends me in 2010. At least give us an option to turn “baby/console” mode off!

  19. Shadrach says:

    Wow Schafer’s day must’ve been awesome. Also I agree, Elaine was much hotter in the original.

    • Shadrach says:

      D’oh – DAD not day… edit feature please come back…

  20. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Bah, put you’re games on PC. I’ll take a wild guess and say that Psychonauts has made far more on pc than it did on console, and Brutal Legend would have been a bigger hit on PC than it was on console.

  21. Doonesbury Retro says:

    Zonker Harris is a surfer hippie character in Doonesbury.

  22. Billzor says:

    Psychonauts? Wait, nm.

  23. Birdman Tribe Leader says:

    “Early 3D looks worse than 2D”–this does not apply to Grim Fandango! The whole Day of the Dead theme/papier mache art style was chosen particularly to take advantage of the state of 3D graphics at the time (the fact that all people in games in 1998 already looked like papier mache dolls). Really no need for a graphical upgrade.

    Would be great to get a quality audio commentary, though.

  24. DTz says:

    Thanks for the head’s up on Tales Of Monkey Island. I’ve bought it from Telltale (missed out last year when they gave away Part 1 free!). I’m still playing my way through the first Monkey Island Special Edition, that came free when I pre-ordered MI2 on Steam. Total $ spent on Monkey Island games – $15 US. Loving digital distribution!

  25. Richard Clayton says:

    Alec, is there any chance that this could be updated with the whole MI2 twitter feed once Tim has completed the game?

    They’d make lovely archives.

    A fascinating read.