Thimbleweed Park [official site] – a sinister and quirky point and click from Maniac Mansion’s Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick – has a trailer out to coincide with Gamescom. Adam went to see a demo of the game back in March and that focused around the playable character of celebrity clown, Ransome. This trailer takes a look at aspiring game developer and heiress Delores Edmund – another playable character – and gives a bit of background on the game’s namesake:
“Lost along a dusty stretch of highway, Thimbleweed Park once boasted an opulent hotel, a vibrant business district, and the state’s largest pillow factory. Now it teeters on the edge of oblivion, stinking of a desperate longing to be what it once was. When a dead body turns up in the river, the federal agents sent to investigate are immediately suspicious of each other. Then a cursed clown, a jaded heiress, and the ghost of a pillow salesman get mixed up in the case and things start to get really weird.”
I tend to see that old-school point and click style on contemporary games and find it an instant turn-off, remembering hours of frustration and pixel-hunting just to be drip-fed a story or get a bit more time with a good voice actor. I’ve realised that I don’t actually associate point and click games with fun, it’s just that I’ve tried to forget the mountains of stuff I find frustrating or repetitive and focus on the deliciously bitter humour or silliness the best of them contained. That’s why I’d probably cite Simon The Sorcerer as one of my favourite/formative games but have zero desire to go back and play through the whole pain in the butt again.
Something from Adam’s interview with Gilbert caught my attention and has kept me interested in Thimbleweed Park, though:
“A good puzzle has to tell you something about the world, about the characters, about the mystery, about the plot. Too often, and I’ve been guilty of this myself, puzzles are used as roadblocks to slow you down and block your progress. Really they should be like signposts that you’re trying to decipher.
“In Thimbleweed Park we have a large world to explore and that can be intimidating so there are some obstacles to prevent you from going everywhere right at the start. But when you need to solve a puzzle to advance, that puzzle must have some context. When you solve it you should understand how and why it was necessary to do what you did in order to move forward and to open up a new area.”
The full interview with Ron Gilbert is here. Thimbleweed Park has demos at various upcoming game expos and is expected out in early 2017 for Windows, Mac and Linux (as well as consoles and smartphones, whatever those might be).