As a boy who cut his gaming teeth on Lucasarts point-and-click adventure games like Day of the Tentacle, Maniac Mansion, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango and The Monkey Island games (when Lucasarts used to make good games, that is), backing Thimbleweed Park on Kickstarter was a no-brainer.
No sooner had I watched the Kickstarter trailer of the new game from Maniac Mansion creators Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick I had my credit card out, pledging $US20, which gives me a digital copy of the game when it’s finished. Unusually for me when it comes to spending money on anything, there was no hesitation, no “Umming” or “Ahhing”, no checking with the Home Office: I just backed the project.
Here’s the trailer that convinced me to back Thimbleweed Park:
I blame nostalgia (I also blame nostalgia for my backing of Tim Schaefer’s Broken Age, the only other video game I’ve supported via Kickstarter) for my decision to back this as-yet-unmade game.
I blame part of my inner gamer wanting games to be like they were when I was a youngster. My teenage son, who has been born into an age of games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and GTA, doesn’t understand why I like old-skool point-and-click games. He just doesn’t get it.
I can’t exactly say why I loved the point-and-click adventure games so much but I just did. Another of my favourites was Westwood’s Blade Runner, based on Ridley Scott’s universe. I still have it and its four CD Roms and copies of Grim Fandango and Full Throttle on a shelf in my spare room. When I first started playing games we didn’t have photo-realistic graphics to carry a game that lacked substance. We relied on solid and inventive game play that required a bit of logic.
Gamers of today will probably cringe at the huge pixellated characters point-and-click adventure games had – I know my son does – and many will struggle with the often head-scratching puzzles where you had to combine objects to find the solution, but I loved it. I still do (I think). Yes, Thimbleweed Park could have been remade with more modern graphics but honestly, I love the charm of the way games used to look and be.
Here’s what Gilbert and Winnick say on Kickstarter about the game: “Thimbleweed Park is the curious story of two washed up detectives” called in to investigate a dead body found in the river just outside of town. It’s a game where you switch between five playable characters while uncovering the dark, satirical and bizarre world of Thimbleweed Park.”
“We want Thimbleweed Park to be like an undiscovered classic LucasArts’ adventure game you’d never played before. A game discovered in a dusty old desk that puts a smile on your face and sends a wave of nostalgia through you in the same way it does for us,”Gilbert and Winnick say.
The game is expected sometime in June next year and no doubt once I start playing it there will be times when I’ll start pulling what hair I have left and will curse my nostalgia when I’m stumped by some confoundedly difficult problem that I just can’t solve, but right now I’m excited to see a game like Thimbleweed Park being made. I really hope Gilbert and Winnick get the funding to make the game.
So, here’s to hoping that Thimbleweed Park puts a smile on my face and I’m swamped by the tsunami of nostalgia that it promises will wash over me.