The most important gaming event of the past April surely was the shutdown of LucasArts, the legendary publisher of true milestones for the entire industry and that is finally sealed off inside the archive of history by the new Lucasfilm ownership (Disney). An event whose importance cannot be underestimated, the LucasArts final disappearance, a tough news already expected by many – first of all by the designers which grew older while working at the George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch – and foretold by the long decline of these years. The memories remain, and it’s better this way: the classics, these days, turn into mobile filth or painful remakes for unable gamers without opposable thumbs. Lucasfilm Games is dead, long live to the three-headed monkeys.
What follows is a report for a long series of news occurred in the emulation world during the last period, and by “last period” I mean the latest months before the beginning of the new year at least. For this reason, in some cases I can’t exactly talk about “news”, but it felt right to me to emphasize them considering that these are already established advancements that will be the foundations on which to build the future ones. After all emulation is an ever-evolving world, and I want to start over to tell its progressing without losing too much important things along the way 😛
LucasArts is the historic software house constantly praised for its past full of pixellated pirates, purebred graphic adventures and more generally for a particular skill in shaping stories, creating characters and forging game worlds in which it was worth diving into for a while. In a manner that is nearly unbelievable for who is accustomed to see the company bringing out the usual, boring and useless series of Star Wars sequels, LucasArts is now faintly reconciliating with the development of original titles thanks to a game with little ambitions that could say something about the forthcoming future of the respected developer of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango.
A year after the official presentation during Penny Arcade Expo, Canadian developer Hothead Games and Monkey Island designer Ron Gilbert have took the occasion of the new PAX edition to show the work done on their new title: DeathSpank, the legitimate but grumpy child of adventure and action RPG genres, leaves behind the mere shadows of the first trailers to put his face and his deeds in front of gamers.
It isn’t exactly the end of the world as we knew it, but the dynamism of adventure games publishers and developers in the summer of 2009 seems to have a weight in the great order of things anyway. The fact is that years after their (alleged) commercial and creative death graphic adventures continue to come out, and in some kind of reboot effort the genre noble fathers try to suggest the way for a possible new renaissance of “point and click” games through the marketplace of digital stores already projected into the future.
Summer of 2009 could be much hotter than usual for adventure games fans, because other than the exhumation of the classic of classics The Secret of Monkey Island someone suggested the chance, the idea, the hope to meet again on nowadays LCDs the odd characters belonging to the most noble past of the genre and videogames on the whole. To go straight to the facts, if the new games featuring Guybrush Fruptwood will sell the right amount of copies LucasArts is more than well disposed to pull out of the freezer of memories the rest of its historical series.
Guybrush Threepwood wanted to be a pirate, but probably he would have never predicted that 20 years after his unsuccessful efforts to scrape up a decent crew, his many holes in the ground with no chest on the bottom and his merciless tendency to tell the same story about some ghost pirates again and again and again he would have always been in the same place, namely at about 3 meters under the ocean level or otherwise in some improbable swordfights where the tongue hurts, literally, much more than the sword.