Thimbleweed Park Trailer Evokes X-Files, Twin Peaks

Thimbleweed Park [official site] is the upcoming point-and-click adventure from Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick that’s billed as a “true spiritual successor” to the duo’s 1987 classic Maniac Mansion. It’s designed to emulate the LucasArts games of Way Back When, complete with black comedy and an instantly recognisable SCUMM-style interface, and now has a new trailer. Introducing Agent Ray:

How’s that for nostalgia overload? Agent Ray is but one of Thimbleweed Park’s five playable protagonists amid a wider cast of twenty characters. Expect puzzles-a-plenty and snappy dialogue as you pick up and look at and talk to everything and anything that you can lay your eyes upon. Gilbert and Winnick also talk of “a joke every 2 minutes… guaranteed!” while “poking fun at Twin Peaks, True Detective and The X-Files, with a little Stephen King thrown in just for fun.” Here’s a synopsis:

“Thimbleweed Park is the curious story of two washed up federal agents called in to investigate a dead body found in the river just outside of town, bloated and pixelated from a death some too soon. Lost along a dusty stretch of highway, the town of Thimbleweed Park once boasted an opulent hotel, a vibrant business district and the state’s largest pillow factory, but now stinks of a desperate longing to be what it once was.”

Thimbleweed Park was funding by a Kickstarter in 2014, hitting its funding goal in just one week. The campaign unashamedly sold itself on nostalgia, and, with trailers like the one featured above, appears to be delivering on that front so far. If you backed, what are you thoughts? If you didn’t, you can still do so over here. Previous backers who wish to upgrade their initial offerings are advised to do so via a personal link sent in previous emails.

Thimbleweed Park is due for release at some point this year on Windows, Mac and Linux.

From this site

35 Comments

  1. Plank says:

    I’d really like an fps X-Files game. Think Condemned gameplay with X-Files goodness thrown in. I really like the dialogue and music in that video above but I hate point-and-click games.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      I reached Kickstarter saturation a while before this one was pitched but I’ve followed it with mild curiosity and occasional stupefying horror. I hate that voiceover but everything else looks promising.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Oh, hello Mr FPS man, this is rather embarassing. You see that wasn’t supposed to be a reply to you. However I’ve given your post some thought and decided that you’re wrong, it is in fact FPS games that you should not like. Uninstall them all now. You’re welcome.

  2. John O says:

    loving the music and voice over

  3. Konstantinos Dimopoulos says:

    This looks excellent. Better than I had dared hope actually :)

  4. TheTingler says:

    Awesome, exactly what I was hoping for.

  5. BenAttenborough says:

    It looks great fun, but I hope it doesn’t include those impossible Monkey Island style puzzles. And I’m not sure about using that verb-based interface from 1994 either…

    • Jekhar says:

      I wasn’t sure about that interface either. But on second thought, i’m eager to experience it again. You’ll have to think a bit more about what you’re trying to accomplish and use the correct word.

      Using just two mouse buttons in modern adventure games can get a bit too simplistic at times. If the puzzles don’t get too convoluted, your brain is just cruising along on autopilot.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Hah, that interface is from 1987 and don’t you forget it!

      But in all seriousness, I thought one of the remarkable things about Monkey Island was that it didn’t have illogical puzzles. Certainly in MI2 everything not immediately obvious could be deduced from clues in dialogue or by examining things. Maniac Mansion was definitely not as tightly designed as that but you have to cut it some slack because it was the prototype for the engine.

      Sure you could spend an hour playing Monkey Island and get nowhere, but you’d think about it at night and the next evening you’d have a flash of inspiration after which it would all fall into place and you’d feel silly for not realising it sooner… There was nothing that left you feeling cheated like there was in some other adventure games: Discworld, Future Wars, Simon the Sorcerer (how the hell was I supposed to know he would throw the melon at the sousaphone?) etc.

      • ansionnach says:

        I wouldn’t say the interface is from 1987 – there’s quite a bit different from what’s on show here and the text-based, 15-verb Maniac Mansion interface. MM was quite clunky in that it made you click a second time to confirm a command every time. The Thimbleweed Park interface looks closer to that in Monkey Island 2 (1991), Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992) or Day of the Tentacle (1993). I’d say these games had the best interface of any of the SCUMM games. Beyond this they went backwards by overly streamlining it, or introducing extra clicks (e.g. separate inventory screen in Sam & Max, Full Throttle and Monkey Island 3). It seems a UI anti-pattern and is demonstrated in the newest version of Google Maps: in spite of increased screen resolutions, designers seem loathe to use the whole screen for interface elements, instead hiding them off somewhere.

      • BenAttenborough says:

        *spoilers*
        I’m happy to agree to disagree but using the “monkey” as a “monkey wrench” to turn the water pump off was more than a small leap of imagination. I also found the mutli-part puzzles really frustrating. For example the spitting contest. You would figure out one part but get no reward until every single part of a frankly obscure puzzle were solved. It was not at all obvious to me that firing the cannon would have any effect on the contest or that the wind blowing was anything more than a background effect. I guess some players may have flown through those sections but been completely stumped on sections I found obvious.
        I guess what made the whole thing so much more frustrating was I originally played the Monkey Island games on an Amiga with no hard drive. Getting from location to location to try one possible solution after anything was thus ultra time consuming.

        • Barchester says:

          To this day, I still do not understand people’s problems with the monkey wrench puzzle. I’m getting the feeling it’s been brought up more to make a point (like Gabriel Knight’s cat moustache puzzle) than it being that hard or far-fetched (unlike Gabriel Knight’s cat moustache puzzle).

  6. Assaf says:

    1. Fucking hell, the graphics look fantastic.
    2. lol at the bit where Ray is trying to use everything on the corpse :)

  7. Premium User Badge

    Marclev says:

    That cafe looks strangely familiar – like someone gentrified the bar from Leisure Suit Larry…

  8. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Well it certainly looks like Maniac Mansion. But I won’t be happy unless I can somehow cause a nuclear meltdown.

  9. GemFire81 says:

    So awesome!!! Maniac Mansion is one of my very favorite games ever. It look just like MM!!! So excited.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Thirith says:

    I couldn’t even say why exactly (it’s nostalgia, but it’s more than just that), but the graphical style very much does it for me – even though I never even finished Maniac Mansion back in the day. (I was a big fan of Zak McKracken, mind you.)

  11. Pazguato says:

    Please, be good; please, be good…

  12. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Proud to have kickstarted this long ago, but damn if it’s not taking forever to come out.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thirith says:

      You think so? The wait for this one doesn’t even begin to compare to many of the Kickstarer games I’ve backed, from Torment to Night in the Woods.

    • turkeydrumstick says:

      The original estimate on Kickstarter is for June, and I have seen nothing suggesting that is going to change drastically.

  13. JFS says:

    Two or so years ago there was another X-Files/Twin Peaks style game on RPS. It had somewhat stylized graphics. Does anybody still know what it was called and what’s become of it?

    • JFS says:

      Never mind, I found it. It was called “Virginia”, featured in July ’14. Seems to be in limbo.

  14. MadTinkerer says:

    “If you backed, what are you thoughts?”

    Thimbleweed Park makes me retroactively less disappointed with Broken Age, because Thimbleweed Park better resembles the pitch for Double Fine Adventure than Broken Age does. Also, until the Backer Exclusive edition of BA finally ships, TP still has a chance of getting to me first.

    (I don’t hate Broken Age and I’m not mad at Tim Shafer, just disappointed. On the upside, it’s far clearer than ever before exactly who was responsible for which parts of old Lucasarts games. On the downside, it looks like we’ll probably never get another Tim Shafer & Ron Gilbert game.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Thirith says:

      I don’t think it’s that simple. Ron Gilbert’s also worked on disappointing games (and I liked Broken Age, but I didn’t love it, and it was a disappointment).

      However, I absolutely think that Double Fine were aiming to make something special and brilliant, even if it didn’t quite work out that well. So much of the 20/20 hindsight that fans are prone to strikes me as a mix of wishful thinking and naivety. Shafer could’ve gone for Maniac Mansion-style pixel art and still have produced something more or less disappointing; Gilbert could’ve gone for something more modern and succeeded; any any permutation thereof. I don’t think there’s a magic formula for making the games that fans and backers fantasise of, even if in hindsight many of us fall to thinking that it would’ve been so easy to get it right.

      (BTW, not saying that you’re doing this, MadTinkerer, but it is something you often see in comments threads.)

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      I utterly loved everything about Broken Age and anyone who was disappointed is completely mad and that includes John Walker, great guy though he is.

      Now that your evaluation is out of the way, I’m going to agree that I think something magical happened with Gilbert + Schafer on the Monkey Island games that certainly stayed with Schafer for a few more games but that Broken Age didn’t quite reach that level.

  15. Michael Fogg says:

    I’m slightly worried that in the trailer you can see the dreaded ‘This doesn’t seem to work’ message repeatedly… Give me custom messages for the attempted usage of each item, each one with jokes and subtle hints, dammit! With this graphic style you have no excuse not to!

  16. Brand says:

    I backed this but haven’t followed it to closely. Check out the trailer this morning though and it is looking good. I can’t wait to play it.

  17. ansionnach says:

    I’m optimistic about this one. I do wonder why they bothered with voice acting. Due to the extra cost, it often reduces the size of the script. I’d prefer they went crazy writing without having to think about this cost. The end result seems… okay. Of all the SCUMM games with text-based verb interfaces, only Day of the Tentacle had voice acting (in the intro of the original floppy version). It was pretty poor.

    • Juppstein says:

      There actually were quite a few Talkie versions of those LA SCUMM games.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Finally got around to watching this. Holy shit that looks good. And sounds fantastic! Good audio and voice acting does SO MUCH for a game.

    Upped my pledge. I want my name in the swearing jar.

  19. celticdr says:

    Lovely bit of nostalgia – will definitely get this when it is released… here’s hoping they’ve streamlined SCUMM a little bit more – it is 2016 after all, we’ve got hoverboards and Jaws 19 now.

  20. syllopsium says:

    DOTT was fully voiced, so was Fate of Atlantis, the DIG, and Full Throttle. Possibly others.

  21. syllopsium says:

    Trailer is looking good; it’s like a modern Zak Mckraken; I was expecting this to suck, so I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Just don’t include shitty Monkey Island style puzzles, as someone else mentioned..