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It's truly an honor to interview one of the most significant person in the adventure games' world. He started programming a graphic software when he was in college. Then Human Engineered Software called him immediately for working there. With them, he worked on his first games, but none was released. There he met a guy who took him to LucasFilm, where he started making Commodore 64 ports of Atari 800 games. At those times he met Gary Winnick, and decided to make an adventure. That adventure became Maniac Mansion, and with it came SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion), the engine that he started to improve in the following years. After making Monkey Island II: LeChuck's Revenge, he left LucasArts and founded a company called Humongous, who was recently bought by Atari, and does adventures for kids, like the brilliant Putt-Putt games. While he was in that company he founded Cavedog, that shined with the game Total Annihilation. Unfortunately it was bought by GT Interactive, that led it to it's closure. With no more delays, I leave you with Mr. Ron Gilbert.
Radiobuzz » In your beginning working for Lucas, what was the more important aspect in a game: the design of it, or that the player had fun with the story without other pretension?
Ron » The design of games was always the most important aspect of what we did at Lucasfilm. Technology came a close second, but in those days, technology had some real limits, so you could only push so far. That�s not to say we did get really excited about new machines like the Amiga, etc.
Radiobuzz » What are the greatest differences between developing a game based in the argument of a movie or famous saga and start from scratch?
Ron » I enjoy designing a game from scratch much more then building something from a license. When you�re working from a license, you are very restricted on what you can and can�t do. Either by the history and mythos of the world, or by the company that owns the license. Working on the Indiana Jones game was a lot of fun, but I had much more fun working on Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island.
Radiobuzz » What do you think about the graphic adventures nowadays? Do you see a good future despite Sierra's recent closure, the cancellation of Sam & Max 2, among other things?
« I still believe that the adventure game is the one genera that has the ability to attract a large mass audience. Problem is, no one with any money is willing to invest in one. »
Ron » I think the future is pretty bleak, but it doesn�t have to stay that way. I still believe that the adventure game is the one genera that has the ability to attract a large mass audience. Problem is, no one with any money is willing to invest in one.
Radiobuzz » What adventure was your favourite in the last years?
Ron » Honestly? None. I think the last adventure game I played that I thought was better then average was Grim Fandango, and I�m not just saying that because I owe Tim money.
Radiobuzz » Do you think there's a future for the graphic adventures in the console world of Dreamcast, PS2, etc?
Ron » Unlikely, and not because players wouldn�t like them, but because the console makers (Microsoft, Sony, etc) have a stranglehold over what gets made and marketed for those machines, and they don�t want adventure games because they aren�t sexy for 18 year old boys (or 35 year old boys that think like 18 year old boys).
Radiobuzz » What do you think about the amateur world? There's a lot of stuff going on, and most them seem pretty good.
Ron » I think the amateur world is very exciting and could be the savior of games like adventures, or anything else innovative, but I will argue with you about most of it being pretty good. I think most of it has some interesting nuggets of stuff, but generally falls way below the quality line needed to attract people other then hobby gamers. Mostly, they need better art. More interesting art.
Radiobuzz » Maniac Mansion Deluxe was released recently, a remake of a great classic. Do you felt nostalgic, do you remember those good old times?
Ron » I had a lot of fun playing that game. It brought back some great memories, and I had forgotten most of the game, but it all came back. I found a couple of places where they didn�t get the puzzles right. I was surprised that I remembered.
Radiobuzz » There aren't too many humorous graphic adventures lately. So many adventures revolve around mystery, suspense and intrigue stories nowadays, do you think that's the point where adventures fail? Do you think that the great success of LucasArts was because of that?
« I think you need a dash of humor to keep the game from taking itself too seriously. »
Ron » For me, humor is very important, and I think for adventure games in general it�s important. I think you need a dash of humor to keep the game from taking itself too seriously. Many of the mystery and suspense games are trying to hard to be like a serious movie and they just can�t pull it off, so they fall flat.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
Radiobuzz » Have you played any Spanish adventures like Runaway, The Westerner, etc? Do you think the international stage is mature enough concerning topics like product's quality, support, etc?
Ron » I have not played any, and I am embarrassed to admit it. I have heard a lot of great things about Runaway and need to play it.
Radiobuzz » What do you think about piracy? While the prices of some games are reasonable in some areas of the world, some people say they're unreachable in their countries. What can you say about this?
Ron » I think �piracy� is bad. If someone spends a lot of time and money making something, and they want to sell it, then you should buy it if you want to play it. It�s very simple. But, that said, I think a lot of companies (record companies come to mind first) are missing a huge opportunity by not embracing better ways to do distribution and (most important) promotion of what they make. I think they�ve become too paranoid and are going to strangle themselves in the end. We saw this with the invention of the VCR. Hollywood hated it and tryed to get it killed through various laws. But, in the end, Hollywood now makes 3 times the money on VHS/DVD sales then they do on Movie tickets. And yes, I do think games are over priced. I would like to see games sells for about the same amount as DVDs.
Radiobuzz » What do you think about TellTale Games and Autumn Moon? Why aren't you involved in those projects?
Ron » I think what they are doing is great. I�m not involved (although I have has many conversations with them) because I am working on my own stuff. I also never worked with any of those guys. They started at Lucasfilm after I left.
Radiobuzz » Do you have any future projects, besides working on your site Grumpy Gamer?
Ron » I am currently working on a design for a RPG/Adventure game that I�m pitching to publishers, trying to raise money. So far it�s been a struggle because so many of the mainstream publishers are adverse to anything not targeted at the 18 year-old boy market (guns-n-boobs). And, the smaller publishers just don�t have that much money. I am currently trying to raise money though investors (non-publishers) to make the game. If your readers know anyone interested in investing, send�m my way. ;-).
Radiobuzz » Do you think that the popularity of the Monkey Island games make other adventures to be diminished? Do you think you're aware of the impact of those two games in the industry?
Ron » I don�t think Monkey Island hurt other adventure games. I just think adventure games got silly. Puzzles got way too obscure. DOOM came along and attracted a completely different kind of person to gaming and we began the focus on that type of player.
Radiobuzz » What do you think about the third and the fourth part of Monkey Island? A lot of fans share the opinion that the quality of those games are really under the original ones. Do you share that opinion?
Ron » I think the 3rd one was great. It had good writing and great humor. It�s no the story I would have told, but it was good. I never played the 4th one.
The Secret of Monkey Island
Radiobuzz » Is the diffused secret of Monkey Island true or all the fans are walking in the dark? Sure, the last sequel tells another "secret", but we all know you weren't a part of that game. Are you telling the secret or what was your plan for the third game?
Ron » There really is a secret to Monkey Island. Hopefully, one day I will get to make the real Monkey Island 3 (I�m calling it �Monkey Island 3a: The Secret Revealed or your Money Back�).
Radiobuzz » Another great company in the '90 was Sierra, did you play any of their games? Did you enjoy any of them? What do you think of them as a company?
Ron » I played most of there games. Kings Quest I was the inspiration for Maniac Mansion. I had a lot of respect for them. I loved Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry.
Radiobuzz » There are artists of one play and sportsmen of one success, that after obtaining a big hit all the later efforts don't get the high effects as the first one. Are you one of them? Do you feel capable of making greater things (not only adventures) in the videogame's world?
Ron » Good question. Only time will tell.
Radiobuzz » Well, that was all. We really appreciate all the time you spent with us, and looking forward to see new projects from you. Thanks Ron!
Entrevista realizada por Radiobuzz
Publicado el 06 de junio de 2005
© 2005 La Aventura es La Aventura
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