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I had twin criteria for this. The first was ‘is it a decent game?’ and the second ‘does it meaningfully evoke the spirit, themes or characters of the movie in addition to having Quite Good Guns And Graphics?’ The second saw quite a few games which would otherwise qualify ruled out. This year’s Mad Max, for instance, was an agreeable murder-romp but it’s much harder to argue that it nails the desperation or oddness of the films it’s based on. Star Wars: Battlefront, meanwhile, is an OK online shooter with marvellous graphics, but it’s too mechanical to ‘feel’ like Star Wars once you get beyond the spectacular presentation. Ah, ‘feel’. That’s the thing, isn’t it? Does a movie game make you feel like you’re a part of that movie’s wider world, or is it just wearing its skin?
It’s that question which most informed this list. I don’t disagree that there are, in some cases, better games-based-on-movies if ‘game’ is the foremost criteria, but these, in no particular order, are the ten games which most understood and even grew my appreciation for their subject matter, rather than simply piggy-backed it. (Additional FYI: I decided not to include any superhero games, reasoning they’re really their own thing rather than innately movie-based).
The first part of GOG's new six-day "Bundle Tower" sale is simple enough: It's about game bundles. Today, for instance, they've got the Hasbro D&D Immortals package, the Divinity Trilogy, LucasFilm Adventures (including the fantastic Sam & Max Hit the Road and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis), and the Broken Sword Saga, all discounted by up to 80 percent. Good deals all around—but what's the "Tower" part all about?
"New floors, with up to four new bundles, will be unveiled ever 24 hours—some of the bundles will even include fresh GOG.com game releases!" GOG explained, not especially helpfully. "Beyond that, the tower is a mystery, so it's worth the daily trip to see all news, intrigue, and a mystery final offer."
Sounds good to me, even if I don't really get the architectural angle. One point probably worth clarifying is that bundles added to the "tower" will remain on sale until it's "built" rather than being swapped out for the next group, so there's no harm in waiting if you're on a budget and want to see if something better comes along. The GOG Bundle Tower sale is live now and runs until 12:59 pm GMT on April 19.
I was 13 years old when I first encountered Brian Moriatry’s Loom. It was on a friend’s ninja PC that sported both VGA and AdLib cards and I was, understandably, blown away. The complex, whimsical story, the wonderful graphics, the unique musical interface and the amazing music itself were unlike anything I had ever seen. Or have seen since.
GoG.com has just added six Lucasarts(films) games, three of which are enjoying their digital debut. The debutantes are 2.5 wild west shooter Outlaws, Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders, and Indiana Jones And The Emperor’s Tomb. All three will make a smattering of people very excited until those same people actually take the time to revisit the games, at which point they’ll either loudly deny the trickery of nostalgia while pulling a face like a kid pretending to enjoy a Liquorice Allsort, or they’ll quietly mutter something about the “shuddering, shifting, deceitful veil that is memory” while weeping into a pint glass. As for me – thoughts below.
Option 1) Disney give it the thumbs up and it carries on to completion, rapturous acclaim and a whole host of olden LucasArts titles getting a similar do-over.Option 2) You know. The other thing.
For now, let’s just admire the effort and care this five-person team are putting into a 3D remake of classic LucasArts pointer-clicker Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, which as we all now know is really about kissing. (And, frankly, that raises other concerns about just how carefully this project needs to be treated in order to not upset its delicate balance of characterisation and comedy). Take a look at work in progress below, anyway. … [visit site to read more]
A long time ago, when I was just a fledgeling writer who had just attended her first Game Developer’s Conference and only accidentally brushed shoulders with Tim Schafer at a bar, I was surprised to get a message on Facebook from Noah Falstein. He had noticed that my cover image was of the 1992 LucasArts point and click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. He saw it on my page thanks to a connection of a friend of a friend. He ‘liked’ it. And I realised: Noah wrote that game.
I guess that was the moment I knew I was privileged to be able to talk to the people who make the things I care about, and that I should spend my time critiquing their work. This week’s S.EXE is about the ‘team’ narrative strand of Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis. It’s got clinches worthy of Hollywood. I’ve not seen a kiss in a game that’s ever topped Sophia and Indy’s frequent tonsil-scraping embraces.
Later this week, the asteroid YU55 will pass close to the Earth. How close? Like, between the moon and the Earth close. PC gamers may remember the last time this happened, in 1995.
Back then, it was the asteroid Attila, and unlike TU55 - which should pass by harmlessly - it was headed straight for us. And our only hope of salvation lay in the hands of Steven Spielberg, Orson Scott Card and the T-1000.
The game I'm talking about is of course The Dig, one of the strangest and most interesting games to ever come out of 1990's PC powerhouse Lucasarts. Arriving at the vanguard of the late-90s fascination with giant asteroids, seen in movies like Armageddon and Deep Impact, The Dig was a game that flaunted starpower and marketing like no other adventure game before or since.
The basic premise of The Dig, involving a team of astronauts exploring an alien planet, was conceived by Steven Spielberg, who had intended to first use it as the basis of an episode for his Amazing Stories TV series, and then later as a motion picture. He ended up doing neither, as the budget and technology required to do it justice simple weren't available at the time.
So instead, the story was handed off to his pal George Lucas, who in 1989 set Lucasarts to work turning Spielberg's story into an adventure game. Unlike most other adventure games to come out of the studio at the time, work on The Dig was a mess; it would take six years to get the game finished, during which time it went through four project leads and a number of complete re-writes.
By the time the game was released in 1995, its story went like this: a giant asteroid, Attila, is on a collission course with Earth. So a team of scientists and astronauts are sent to land on the thing and detonate explosives, which it's hoped will cause it to shift into orbit, thus saving the planet. Instead, they discover the asteroid is actually a starship, which whisks them off to a ruined, near-deserted alien planet.
You spend most of the game trying to get back home again, using decaying alien technology and exploring the unknown world. There's even time to meet some aliens.
While the final product bore little resemblance to Spielberg's original story, he is still credited as one of the game's writers, alongside sci-fi legend Orson Scott Card, who was brought in to write most of the game's dialogue. Adding to the starpower was the casting of Robert Patrick (best known as the T-1000 in Terminator 2) as the game's star, Commander Boston Low, a rare move for games in general at the time, let alone 2D adventure titles.
Owing to the big names and protracted development cycle, not to mention a promotional campaign that made the game look like a movie, The Dig attracted an unhealthy amount of pre-release hype, which the finished product - being an adventure game - was never going to meet. Nonetheless, by the time fans finally got their hands on The Dig, most people's reactions were positive, and while it failed to really win people's hearts like other Lucasarts titles, it's still seen as a solid adventure game. The game's sweeping soundtrack is particularly well-remembered.
If you'd like to check it out, the game is currently $5 on Steam. It's very much worth it; like many of its peers, time has been kind to The Dig, its sprites looking just as good today as they did at release.