Thursday, October 27, 2016

Happy Twentieth Birthday To This Blog!

On October 27, 1996, the first iteration of my adventure blog, a subpage of MIC World, went live:

On November 7th, 1997, the adventure game page became The Mega Monkey Page, a fan site for the Monkey Island series.  On September 18, 1998, with the addition of a Grim Fandango page, the site was expanded into a general LucasArts adventure game fan site simply named Mega Monkey.  On April 25, 2000, the site briefly became known as Real Adventure, a general adventure website focusing on all adventure games.  That name lasted less than a month, as, at the time I felt it was too hard to maintain a general adventure website on my own.

On June 16, 2008, this version of the site went live on Blogger, with the title Telltale Fan.   On November 30, 2008, the site briefly became known as Autumn Double Tale when it began to cover Autumn Moon and Double Fine games in addition to Telltale games, in addition to the LucasArts titles that were made by the founders of those companies.  In 2009, this site was once again expanded to cover adventure games in general and was given its current name of The Adventuress.

It's been a very fun 20 years, watching the evolution of the classic adventure into many different forms.  It should be really interesting to see what the next 20 years bring. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

ScummVM 1.9.0 "Myst-ery U.F.O.s Release" Is Here

ScummVM, the project that aims to re-create engines for adventure games, using the original scripts and data files, so that the games run on modern (and some not-so-modern) systems, has received a new release.

This release brings support for six new games: Myst, Myst: Masterpiece Edition, U.F.O.s (also known as Gnap), and Sierra's Hi-Res adventure games #0: Mission Asteroid, #1: Mystery House, and #2: The Wizard and the Princess.

There's also been a lot of bugfixes for Sierra's SCI games, the addition of Hercules rendering and font for the AGI games, an enhanced Sherlock games experience, and the addition of AmiUpdate on the Amiga port.

Duke Grabowski Episode 1 Is Out Now

The first episode of Duke Grabowski, the crowd funded adventure game by Venture Moon (the new venture by a trio of developers that made Autumn Moon's adventures, including Bill Tiller himself), is finally here on Steam.

The game follows a brutish pirate named Duke, who longs to be a captain.  It's set in the same world that was introduced in Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Day of the Devs 2016

It appears that the Day of the Devs lounge that was at the GDC in March isn't the only Day of the Devs event that's being held this year.  Double Fine's fourth annual Day of the Devs event is going to be available to the general public soon.

It is a day that is full of gaming fun, from Double Fine and other developers.  Plus this year, they are accepting game submissions from the public.  The game selection will be locked down in the next few weeks, so if you want to take part, head over to the website now and fill out the form linked at the bottom of the page.

The event takes place this November 5th at The Midway in San Francisco, and, as always, admission is free.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

King's Quest: Snow Place Like Home Is Out In Two Days

The penultimate chapter of the five episode King's Quest by The Odd Gentlemen, Snow Place Like Home, is arriving on the 27th of September.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

OpenQuest Converted to Wintermute

I've been learning the Wintermute engine, which I used to create my last few adventure games. I decided to learn more about the engine by porting the open-source game, OpenQuest, to macOS and Linux, as well as Windows, via Wintermute.  Every part of the game is in place, including the triangle puzzle, which was in the original AGS version but wasn't included in the SCUMM conversion.

OpenQuest for Windows, macOS, and Linux, including source code, is available here.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Games

For the past month, I've been working on some open source adventure games as part of a Game Jam that took place while the Double Fine Forums were down during an upgrade. I also just completed a new, small, one room adventure game called Dreamcat. It is meant to serve as a template to make your own low resolution games using Wintermute. All of my available games can be played through the links below.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Choices-and-Consequences Game Review: Minecraft - Story Mode Episode 5

Minecraft: Story Mode has been a breeding ground for new experiments at Telltale Games. The fifth episode is no exception. Rather than an episode to wrap up the season, Telltale has instead created an episode that is all about a new story.

The story of the old Order of the Stone had concluded in episode four, and episode five opens with the new Order of the Stone coming into their own with their new found fame and responsibility. This also has brought them some scorn from some of their peers. This jealousy brings a new danger to the world, and the team is split up in order to confront it head on before it’s too late.

This split up gives the group a much different dynamic than before. The new Order of the Stone has been split in half. Jesse is paired with two people who are seemingly outside of the new Order, but who have worked with Jesse before. These two are the two who were deemed outsiders in the previous adventure. They didn’t fit in, but they tried their hardest to get people to acknowledge them. They managed to do that by the time the Wither Storm was defeated, but after the new Order was formed, they once again found themselves to be outsiders. So, their inclusion in this new group is quite interesting as the two members of the new Order are now much more sure of themselves, and the two who aren’t are still trying to prove themselves. This split in the attitudes of the cast changes the tone of the game, as everyone was more or less on equal footing before. But now with this split, the two outside the Order feel out of place, even more-so than before.

That's the crux of this episode, as it is mostly about the relationships between the characters. While the first arc had a big bad that needed to be vanquished, the enemy in this episode is strictly human. As such, the voice performances are more important than even before. Thankfully, the voice cast delivers. The returning actors are excellent as usual, and the actors for the new characters deliver performances that compliment the regulars quite well. The music and art style once again compliments the story and the performances of the actor beautifully.

As this is a new story, the choices you make primarily matter only within this narrative, for now. However, the long wait between episodes is worth it, as your choices make much more noticeable changes than in previous episodes. There isn't a lot of puzzle solving, compared to previous episodes, but the choices and consequences are handled well. Additionally, now that the three episode Adventure Pass downloadable content has been announced, it is possible that your choices will make a difference in future episodes as well.

Overall, the fifth episode is a worthwhile addition to the main game. The evolution from the old Order of the Stone to the new is explored, albeit briefly. The main crux of the game is the split up group dealing with the relationships between themselves, as well as the relationships of their peers, now that they have become heroes. It's a mostly standalone title, except for a cliff-hanger at the end that sets up the events of the downloadable content. In that way, it might seem like an advertisement for future episodes to some. However, the choices and consequences are handled well, the new locations and characters are fun, and the music and voice acting is handled very well. It doesn't quite live up to the adventure and suspense of the previous episodes, and the puzzle solving is lacking in comparison, but the episode should please fans of the series.

Final Verdict:

3½ out of 5

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Moebius Is Now Available for Linux

Jane Jensen's crowd funded return to adventure gaming, Moebius, is now available for Linux.  People who purchase it now will get access to the Linux version, and if you purchased it already (including crowdfunding backers), you'll be able to download the Linux version now at no extra cost.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My PAX East 2016 Experience - Day 3

Even though I ended up walking through Boston for the same amount of time on my second day as the first, I started off my final day much earlier.  I woke up at 9AM and headed into Boston.  After missing my turn and getting turned around, I arrived at the convention center at 11AM.  I didn’t have the same luck the second day as I did the first, so I ended up having to find parking elsewhere.  Now that I knew the layout of downtown Boston better, I managed to find a parking garage that advertised convention parking.  Luckily it was near the hotel where the fan meetup was held the previous night, so I didn’t have any problem making my way back to the convention center.

I didn’t get to go in through the exhibitor’s entrance this time, but luckily the crowd was already inside, so the line wasn’t nearly as long as it was when I arrived at the opening of the show on the first day.  I spent the previous days checking out the indie games, so I decided to check out the big name games on display before heading to work.  I stopped by Nintendo’s booth, and tried out the games on display.  I was pleasantly surprised by Starfox Zero.  From what I played, I found it really enjoyable, and didn’t notice the slowdown that many had seen.  My favorite booth was the Shadow Warrior 2 booth, which was adorned with cherry blossom trees.  It was really a sight to behold.  I didn’t get to play the game, due to the long lines, but it looked impressive in motion.  I was hoping to try out the games for the virtual reality headsets, but the waiting lines were so long there was a list that was filled up ahead of time, so that was out.

Since the Shadow Warrior 2 display was so close to the Double Fine booth, I decided to see if anyone wanted me to take over so that they could take a break.  My offer was gladly accepted, so I took the tablet that was being used for credit card transactions and settled in for my last day helping out at the show.  The large T-shirts were mostly sold out by the time I arrived, and the Brutal Legend art books sold out before the show closed.  Gang Beasts continued to be a crowd-attracter, and more Everything also brought in its share of people to marvel in its charming weirdness.

The time seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, it was 5:30 and we began counting down the clock. Of course, the last thirty minutes seemed to crawl.  It always works that way when you are paying attention to the time.  I decided to help the team pack up before they headed out, as they had an early morning the next day, since their flight back to California left at 6AM.  I bid the team farewell, and told Spaff that I was available to help out again if they ever came back to PAX East in the future.

I did get lost on the way back, as to be expected, but thankfully I was close this time. I asked for help on my previous days, but their advice just ended up in me going around in circles.  This time, the parking garage was right down the street, so I was able to easily find my way to it from the directions I was given.  I was going to head directly back to New York, but I was tired so I opted to spend an extra day and a half relaxing before I headed home.   All in all, the experience was fun, despite my knack of getting lost.  I got to check out some games that I was anticipating, got to meet some of my gaming heroes, as well as people that I had only known online through fan websites and in my time as a community manager.  Best of all, I got to help one of my favorite companies, and I have a lot of fond memories and pictures to remember from my experience.  If the opportunity to do something like this came up to do this again in the future, I’d take it in a heart beat.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My PAX East 2016 Experience - Day 2

I ended up sleeping in the second day, probably due to all the walking around Boston I did while I was looking for the parking garage, and ended up waking up at 10:30.  I headed to McDonald's to get myself a cheap breakfast before I headed into Boston, and ended up arriving at the convention center at noon.  This time, I ended up getting lucky in terms of parking.  While the convention center sign usually stated that the parking lot was full, this time I was pleased to see that parking was available.  I headed to the parking lot and paid the attendant fifteen dollars.  However, I still had to circle around a few times before someone pulled out of their parking space.  The bonus of being able to park right next to the building was, with my exhibitor's badge, I could enter the exhibitor's entrance and walk through the staff corridor.  This brought me right to the show floor.

I headed to the Double Fine booth, and went right to work, operating the credit card system for the store.  It seems that Saturday was a good day for sales, as the Psychonauts mini action figures were completely sold out.  While working the booth, two people came up who were cosplaying Double Fine characters - one as Raz and one as Manny Calavera.  Sadly, since I was working, I left the camera in the staff tent area, but it was still enjoyable to see.  The pinny arcade pins again continued to sell quite well, as we continued to restock them in the display area in front of the booth.  I personally enjoyed selling the Raz and Hexipal plushies, as the people who bought them were always so pleased once they were given them.  They are cute, and they are really well made.  I have one of each, which are currently sitting happily in my living room.

This time around, since I arrived late, I continued working at the booth right up until the close of the exhibition hall.  Spaff reminded me that they were holding a meet-up with Media Molecule and friends at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel immediately after the exhibition hall closed.  It was right down the street, so I thought I'd be saved the amount of walking from the day before.  I should have known to not sell my knack for getting lost and confused short though, as I ended up walking for another three hours until I made my way to the hotel.

When I did make it though, I had a great time.  It was great to meet up with the group, talk about games (mostly about Miitomo on my part, as I was a bit addicted to it when it first launched), and enjoy the great seafood New England has to offer.  I'm not much of a drinker, so I ordered a lemonade, tried an oyster, and ordered a fantastic lobster roll.  Since I got there so late, most of the group left shortly after I arrived.  Once I had finished my meal, I decided to head back to the convention center.

As I was at the convention center anyway, I decided that I'd check out what PAX East had to offer after the exhibition hall had closed.  The day before I was talking to Ron Gilbert about the difference between E3 and Pax.  He said that he liked PAX better because it felt more fan-oriented, and wasn't as loud.  I thought that, even though it was as big as E3, it had the some of the vibe of smaller gaming shows like Magfest or the Midwest Gaming Classic.  This feeling was increased tenfold once I got a taste of the show after exhibition hours.  It had rooms dedicated to multiplayer gaming, both on consoles and on PCs.  There were also people playing card based role-playing games, arcade games, and rooms full of games running on classic video game consoles, from the 8-bit era to the original X-Box and PlayStation 2.  I had always enjoyed classic game shows, so I enjoyed checking everything out.  This portion of PAX East closed at midnight, so at 11:45, I headed out to the parking lot (after getting directions from one of the PAX staff).  At this point the parking lot was fairly empty, so my car was only one in about a dozen, making it easy to find.  I then headed out of Boston, which was an easy task at this hour, as traffic was minimal, so I could get some sleep for the last day of the show.

Friday, May 13, 2016

My PAX East 2016 Experience - Day 1

It's quite a bit late, but I'm working on my writeup of PAX East 2016.  Here's the write up of the first day.  The other two days shouldn't be as detailed, but I wanted to post what I've written so far.  I'll post the rest of it shortly.  I'll also go through my hundreds of pictures from PAX to pick out the best ones to use for the article.  Hopefully I'll have it all done by the end of this weekend.

I haven't been to a major gaming show since 2002. That was at Electronic Entertainment Expo, the year of the 20th anniversary of LucasArts. Their 20th Anniversary video was playing on a loop on the big screen in the lobby, and was honestly the highlight of the show

I forgot how crazy these big gaming conventions get. Had I remembered, I still would have volunteered to work at the Double Fine booth, as I loved being able to help people who work at the company that made some of my all-time favorite games. I just would have been more prepared.

The first day, I arrived at nine in the morning, just as the show was opening to the public. The crowd outside the convention was insane. It took me an hour to get through it. I had lost my cellphone, so I brought my iPad and laptop. It was too loud to make a Skype call, and I wasn't sure how to send a text. Luckily, the registration booth was very helpful, and they sent a text to Double Fine's community manager, and half an hour later I was in the convention center with my exhibitor badge in hand. That community manager is James Spafford, who was the founder of The Interneational House of Mojo, and I asked him for permission to write about my experience for the site. It had to be surreal for him to be on the receiving end of requests for Mojo articles.

Double Fine's booth was situated next to Adult Swim's booth, as they will be the publisher of Double Fine's upcoming platformer, Headlander. Spaff told me to look for the Adult Swim banner if I ever couldn't find the booth. I am grateful for that advice, as I ended up using it multiple times throughout the show. Double Fine's space was showing several of their current and upcoming games. They also had a station demonstrating Headlander, as well as one demonstrating Day of the Tentacle Remastered. Three of their published games, under the Double Fine Presents label, were also present, Gnog, Everything, and Gang Beasts. Gang Beasts always had a large group around the game. It was described as "perpetually popular", and, at least for demonstrations at game conventions, it fit that description well. Gang Beasts is up on Steam Early Access now, but the 1.0 release is slated to come out by the end of the year, once the development team finishes online multiplayer support. Once it has reached that stage, Double Fine will publish the game on consoles.

I spent most of the day selling items at the booth from the Double Fine store. The Pinny Arcade Raz and Two Headed Baby pins were quite popular. Quite a few people asked for more Brutal Legend merchandise, and were happy to hear that the Double Fine art team finalized a pin design for a Brutal Legend Pinny Arcade pin, which will be available at the Double Fine booth at next year's PAX.

Towards the end of the first day, I learned that Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick were showing off Thimbleweed Park as part of the Indie Showcase area.  I headed to the booth, and talked to them while I was waiting for my turn to play the PAX demo of the game.  I had a hard time keeping myself composed, as I love Maniac Mansion, and I love all of Ron's games. I even have a soft spot for the Humongous Entertainment games, even though, at 12, I was outside of the demographic when the company was founded (that didn't stop me from playing the games though).  I also purchased and enjoyed Gary Winnick's Bad Dreams graphic novel so much I tracked down most of his other comic work, including the Venture comic magazine and the short-lived two issue Neomen.

After getting my inner fangirl in check, I asked Ron Gilbert if Thimbleweed Park would have multiple endings like Maniac Mansion.  He stated that each character would have their own ending.  However, unlike Maniac Mansion, you won't have to play through the game again to get each ending.  It will be possible to see each ending in a single play-through.  I also asked Gary Winnick if he preferred working on comics or games.  He stated that which he prefers depends on the situation. Right now, he's working on Thimbleweed Park, which he began right after working on his Bad Dreams graphic novel. So at the moment, he prefers working on games.  However, he said that he likes doing both, and once Thimbleweed Park finishes and he goes back to making comics, his answer would probably be different.

I bought a Thimbleweed T-shirt and went over to the play area to watch people playing the Thimbleweed Park demo.  There were four people playing, I was fourth in line, and I could hardly wait to try it for myself.  From what I could spot while looking on, it had all the humor that we've come to expect from the Lucasfilm Games era, and tons of in-jokes to spot for fans of those games.  I took a few pictures of some of the in-jokes in action, and waited patiently for my turn to play the game.  Finally, I was able to play the game, and it was worth the wait - not just waiting in line, but it also was worth the wait since the Kickstarter concluded back in December 2014.

This demo starts at the crime scene that has been shown prominently in features about the game, even while the Kickstarter was still live.  You can alternate between the two police detectives, and like Maniac Mansion or Zak McKracken, some puzzles require you to give objects to the other character, so that character can combine that object with one that they have in their own inventory.  Once the crime scene is cleared, you're taken to a diner where you obtain information about a suspicious clown named Ransome the Clown.  The police officers are told the story about this clown, and you are then given control of Ransome as you play the story out in flashback.  Ransome's story is quite interesting, as it includes dark magic that reminds me, in a way, of the Voodoo Lady from the Monkey Island games. Once Ransome's backstory is revealed, the player characters once again become the detectives, who have placed Ransome on their suspect list.  However, the demo doesn't last much longer, as one of the officers is seemingly ambushed, and the demo ends, leaving the player wanting to experience more of the game.  The suspense of the cliffhanger is supplanted with humor, as the ending text is displayed across the screen, bringing back memories of the "Turn Your Computer Off and Go to Sleep" text at the end of Monkey Island.

I leave the play area, and, like everyone who takes the time to play the game, Gary Winnick gives me a Thimbleweed Park mouse pad for trying out the demo.  I thank him for the excellent gift, and decide I should head back to help out the Double Fine team at their booth.  At this point, there are four people there, and they are in the middle of a change-over in booth staff.  They said that they don't need any help at the moment, so I decided to head out to see what kind of food was available at the convention center.  I'm actually a big fan of festivals, so when I spotted a festival style set up with festival staples like Italian sausage, pizza, and funnel cakes, I knew I found the place I wanted to eat. I ordered a slice of pepperoni pizza, and got a Mountain Dew Kickstart from a vending machine, as it was about a dollar cheaper than getting a drink at any of the food areas.  I then headed back to the Double Fine booth, and went inside the staff tent that was set up beside the booth.  I ate my food, and talked with Spaff until the exhibition hall closed at 6:00PM.

I told Spaff that I'd help the entire weekend, and decided to head back to my car.  The convention itself didn't end until midnight, but I was quite tired, so I decided that I'd check out what PAX East had to offer outside of the exhibition hall some other night.  I had a long walk ahead of me. Since the traffic was intense coming into the convention area, I parked in the middle of downtown Boston. I would not recommend anyone to go this route, as it was several miles away from the convention center and it didn't have a convention discount parking rate.  While I paid $15 to park for the other two nights, I ended up paying the maximum rate of $40 my first night there.  I also recommend driving around to get a feel of the area before parking, if you park a long distance from the event, as I ended up getting lost and walking around for three hours before I got back to parking garage. The good news though, was that with my car picked up, and the parking fee paid, I could head back out of Boston and get a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

More Duke Grabowski Coming In Episodes

Duke Grabowski's Kickstarter updated with news that more Duke Grabowski is coming, as the game is now episodic and will now be published by Alliance Game Studios.

The game that backers will be getting will now be episode one out of five. Backers will get the game exactly as described in the Kickstarter, but the good news is that Duke's adventures will be larger than planned. The other good news is that the backing by a publisher means that the Duke Grabowski team can now work on the game full time. The first episode, the one that backers of the Kickstarter will be getting, is now planned to be finished in July.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Making Sense of Back to the Future: Part III

The third film in the Back to the Future trilogy contains a lot of backstory for the game, so even though it doesn't include as many of the rules of the Back to the Universe as its immediate predecessor, it's still important to understand how this film works as well.

Like the second film, Back to the Future Part III begins immediately where the last film left off. Doc had sealed the DeLorean up in a cave, written Marty a note informing him that he is working as a blacksmith in 1885, and left it with the post office to be delivered 70 years into the future.

Marty enlists the help of the Doc from 1955, as the DeLorean from the cave is in bad condition and needs to be fixed with 1955 parts. However, Doc notes that the hover equipment is damaged beyond repair and the DeLorean will probably never fly again. Upon reaching the location, they find Doc's tombstone in the cemetery and are surprised to learn that the date of his death is only one week after he sent Marty the letter.  They go to the library and find a history book that proves that has a picture of Doc, taken in front of the clock of the clock tower, before it was finished being built, in 1885.  They take a picture of the tombstone, which states that Doc was "shot in the back by Buford Tannen over a matter of 80 dollars".  It also states that the tombstone was placed by Doc's "beloved Clara". Both of them have no idea who Clara is, but ultimately decide to proceed with the plan set up by the Doc from 1985, with one alteration.

The younger Doc and Marty decide to go against the wishes of the older Doc, who wanted Marty to go directly back to 1985 and leave him in the Old West. Marty instead intends to use the DeLorean to travel back to 1885 to bring Doc back home. Doc gives Marty his second silly disguise, and he takes the DeLorean time machine back to the old west. Of course, things don't work out as planned.

Upon arriving in 1885, the DeLorean winds up in the front of a group of Native Americans who are being chased by the United States Cavalry. Marty ends up driving the DeLorean into a cave before the Native Americans or the Cavalry can notice where he ended up. He finds that the gas line is leaking due to a strike by an arrow, but before he can attempt to fix it, he's chased out of the cave by a bear. Marty hits his head and is found by his great, great grandparents.

Upon entering town Marty takes the name of "Clint Eastwood", and then proceeds to embarrass Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, who chases Marty with his gang, catches him, and strings him up on a noose to hang him.  Marty is rescued by Doc, who shoots the rope from which Marty is hanging with a homemade sniper rifle.  Buford informs Doc that he owes him eighty dollars for a horse that he shot after the horse lost a shoe that Doc had put on the horse. Doc refuses to pay as Buford never paid to have the shoes put on the horse in the first place. Marty then informs Doc that he will be killed by Buford in a week due to the fact that Doc didn't pay him the money.

Doc also learns of the damage to the time machine, but Marty seems unfazed as he is under the mistaken impression that the Mr. Fusion nuclear reactor that Doc used to convert garbage to energy can be used to power the DeLorean. Doc corrects Marty, as he explains that the Mr. Fusion is only used to power the fusion generator of the time circuits in place of the plutonium that it previously used. The DeLorean itself still uses a standard combustion engine to run and needs gasoline in order to function.

Several test runs of ideas ranging from using alcohol to fuel the DeLorean, to pulling the DeLorean with horses, fail. Doc then decides to instead use a steam locomotive to push the DeLorean up to eighty-eight miles per hour. They learn that a train will be coming by the morning that Doc is supposed to die and decide that, although it is cutting it close, they should be able to make it if they head right to the train and avoid Buford.

However, Doc and Marty soon find a woman whose horses have been spooked by a snake and is about to head into the ravine.  Doc saves her and discovers that she is Clara Clayton, a school teacher. They fall in love at first sight, which Doc had originally passed off as an impossibility for his scientifically oriented mind. Marty tells Doc that the ravine is known in 1985 Clayton ravine. It was renamed from Shonash ravine after a teacher fell into it and died one hundred years earlier. Doc realizes that Clara was meant to die in that ravine, and is concerned that he had changed history.

In the previous timeline, before Marty went back to get Doc, Doc had volunteered to pick Clara up at the station. That gave them a week to get to know each other and led to Clara making the epitaph on Doc's grave when he died.  In this timeline, however, Marty's appearance caused Doc to forget to pick her up, which led to the snakes spooking the horses as they did before Doc traveled to 1885. However, Doc rescued her, leading them to fall in love as they had in the timeline before Marty arrived.

Clara tells Doc that she hopes that she'll see him at the Hill Valley Festival.  Doc states that she will, and both he, and Marty, as "Clint Eastwood", attend the festival.  While there, Mad Dog Tannen smuggles in a gun, which has only one small bullet that is said to take a week for the injuries to kill a man. Doc realizes that this is where he died, so he purposely keeps facing Tannen. As Mad Dog is about to shoot Doc, Marty uses a Frisbee brand pie tin to knock the gun out of his hand, causing the bullet to merely graze Doc's hat.

Mad Dog calls Marty "yellow", which gets at his weakness, which is to never allow anyone to call him chicken. He agrees to a duel on the day of the train's arrival, assuming that they will be out of there by then. However, Doc points out that it is possible that the train might be late. Marty's great-grandfather is disappointed in "Clint", and tells him the story of his brother Martin who was killed by a stabbing because he would always do foolish things simply because someone called him a coward.

Later, Marty points out that the picture of the tombstone no longer states that Doc died, so he assumes that their plan will work.  However, Doc points out that if the future was already written, it doesn't make sense for the tombstone and the date of the death, as well as for the picture itself, to still exist. Doc tells Marty that the future still is being written, and it is still possible that Marty will be the one to be killed on that day.

Doc and Clara fall even more in love when it is revealed that they both share a love of science, with him being a scientist and student of all sciences, and her loving science since her father gave her a telescope as a child.  They both also love Jules Verne novels, as his words were what inspired both of them to be interested in the pursuit of scientific knowledge.  Doc decides that he wants to take Clara with them, so he tries to tell her the truth.  She thinks that he is abusing her love of Jules Verne to make lies to break up with him, and tells Emmett that she never wants to see him again.

Doc gets depressed from his heartbreak and goes to the saloon to pour his heart out. The patrons at the bar find his stories of the future humorous, and when Marty arrives, on the day of the duel, he thinks that Doc is drunk. Marty convinces Doc that they need to go, and Doc drinks the whiskey in front of him.  He then passes out. The bartender tells Marty he only had one drink and is known for not being able to hold his liquor.

The bartender gives Doc a drink to make him sober, and everyone waits for Doc to wake up. Marty then hears Mad Dog Tannen outside and discovers that it is now "Clint Eastwood" who is stated on the photograph to die. He tries to sneak out the back, but Doc, who had awoken from his drunken sleep, is captured by Mad Dog. Doc tries to get Marty to leave and save himself, but Marty can't leave his friend behind.

Marty goes out to face Mad Dog but drops his gun telling him that he won't fight. Mad Dog then proceeds to shoot him and cockily walks up to what he thinks is "Clint's" dead body. However, Marty had taken a door from a stove, and used it as a make shift bullet proof vest, as he had seen in a Clint Eastwood film shown at Biff's Pleasure Paradise in Back to the Future Part II. Marty then knocks Mad Dog Tannen out, and the lawmen proceed to arrest Tannen and his gang.  At this point, the picture now just shows grass, which means that the future hasn't yet been completely written (possibly indicating that Doc plants the tombstone at some point in order to make sure that Marty arrives in the past to prevent a paradox).

Wearing bandanas over their mouths like outlaws, Marty and Doc hold up the train and claim that it is a science experiment.  They disconnect the engine from the other cars and drive it up to the DeLorean, which is already on the unused portion of the tracks. Doc has prepared his own type of presto logs, which are color coded to get hotter and make the train go faster once it reaches certain speeds. Marty is in the DeLorean from the start, and Doc plans on catching up once the logs reach a certain level.

However, Clara, who learned that Doc was torn up about their breakup, and discovered Doc's model DeLorean time machine in his workshop, had jumped from her horse to the moving train.  Doc is just moving to the DeLorean when he hears the whistle blow.  He sees Clara and goes back to rescue her. However, at this point, the DeLorean has passed the point of no return, and it's too late.  Marty slides the hoverboard back to Doc, and he safely glides away with Clara in his arms.  Marty then successfully goes back to 1985, as the train in 1885 crashes in the ravine.

The DeLorean crosses the now completed bridge across the ravine, which is now named "Eastwood Ravine". Marty hears a train whistle and jumps out of the DeLorean just before the collision.  However, the DeLorean is broken into pieces by the train.  Marty states that Doc has gotten his wish, as the DeLorean has been destroyed.

Marty then goes and gets Jennifer, who at first thinks that everything was a crazy dream.  However, once they reach Marty's classmate Douglas Needles, he tries to coax Marty into drag racing him by calling him chicken.  Marty then pretends to comply, but backs up, as, after the advice given by his great, great grandfather, he has learned to not be intimidated by bullies any longer.  Marty sees Needles narrowly miss a Rolls-Royce and realizes that he would have hit it. Jennifer then realizes that it wasn't a dream and pulls out the fax she took in the future.  She sees the message that Marty has been fired become faded until it is erased.

Marty and Jennifer go to the train track to look at the wreckage of the DeLorean, and they become sad that they will never see Doc again. At that moment, Doc appears in a steam-powered time train. He and Clara now have young sons, Jules and Verne. Doc had previously come back to the 1980s to pick up Einstein and had traveled to the 2010s to have the train hover converted. Doc and his family then leave to the past, and the original trilogy comes to a close.

However, the story is continued in Back to the Future: The Game, which takes place six months after Doc leaves Jennifer and Marty in 1985 in his time train.  The story is certainly a fun one, but it takes its cues from the second film in terms of confusing moments.

But first, we'll take a detour towards IDW's comics, as they explain a lot of mysteries from the films.

Back to Part II

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Kathy Rain Demo Is Available Now

Kathy Rain, an upcoming adventure game by Clifftop Games, now has a demo available from and Steam. The description for the game definitely sounds like this adventure game is one that should be worth playing:

Kathy Rain tells the compelling story of a strong-willed college girl with a knack for detective work (and a Harley) who returns to her hometown after being gone since childhood. Set in the 90’s, Kathy starts investigating a local mystery and the legacy of her recently deceased grandfather. As she follows a trail of clues he left behind, questions emerge… What was Joseph Rain really looking for that night all those years ago? What turned him into a mere shell of a man, confined to a wheelchair? What secret did a suicidal young artist take with her to the grave, and why are so many people in Conwell Springs going mad? The truth is dark and sinister.

The game is due out for Windows and Mac on the fifth of May. You can pre-order it at a 10% pre-order discount from, Steam, or Humble Bundle.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Red Thread Games Making Codename: Svalbard RPG

Red Thread Games, the creators of Dreamfall Chapters and the upcoming first person horror survival adventure Draugen, received a grant from the Norwegian Film Institute.

The game which received the grant is tentatively titled Codename: Svalbard. It is an RPG that has a female protagonist, and is set on the island of Spitsbergen. In the game, climate change and global warfare lead to a destructive nuclear winter. Generations later, what is left of humanity tries to rise again to rebuild civilization.  The key to the Earth's future lies beneath the ice, on Svalbard.

Codename: Svalbard is and RPG that will be able to be played with one or more players.  No release date has yet been set, but it will be released after Draugen, which won't begin full production until Dreamfall Chapters has completed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

King's Quest Episode 3 and Michonne Episode 3 Released

I'm back from PAX East. I'll post about my experience at the show in a bit, but for now, I'll catch up on some of the releases that have happened lately.

The Walking Dead: Michonne, the miniseries by Telltale Games that reveals what happened to the character of Michonne during the period when she left the group in the comics after the events of All Out War, is now complete, with yesterday's release of episode 3.

Also receiving its third episode yesterday was King's Quest, the official ninth game in the series, by The Odd Gentlemen.  This episode, Once Upon A Climb, tells the story of how Graham saved his future wife Valanice, who is also Gwyndolyn's grandmother.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Double Fine Will Be at PAX East this weekend

Double Fine will be coming to PAX East this weekend. They'll be at booth #6123 showing off Day of the Tentacle Remastered and Headlander. They'll also have three Double Fine Presents titles, Gnog, Gang Beasts, and Everything. A new title will be shown at the show as well.

They'll also be selling merchandise at the show, including the Raz and Two Headed Baby Pinny Arcade pins, and a new special edition game bundle box. The bundle contains 10 games, with 10 game cards drawn Jon Magram and Melissa King. The game cards can be seen below (click to see them in a larger size).

I'll also be volunteering at the Double Fine booth at PAX East this weekend, so if you're at the show, come by and say hello. :)

Telltale Games Humble Bundle

Update: 4/19 10:45PM: Two more games have been added to the bundle: Jurassic Park: The Game and Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.

Telltale Games are now in a Humble Bundle. For $1 or more, you can get Back to the Future: The Game, Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, Poker Night at the Inventory, Puzzle Agent 1 & 2, and The Walking Dead: Season One. If you pay more than the average (currently just over $8), you also get The Walking Dead: 400 Days, The Wolf Among Us, Poker Night 2, and Tales from the Borderlands. Finally, if you pay more than $12, you'll also get Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead: Season Two.

Note that all of these games are redeemed through Steam only, as there is no DRM-free option available. There is about a week left to pick this bundle up, and there are hints that more games will be added to the package soon.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Choices-and-Consequences Game Review: Minecraft - Story Mode Episode 4

Telltale has been using Minecraft: Story Mode to try out new ideas, and the pacing of the series is no exception.  There is still one more episode to go in the season pass, but with this episode the Wither Storm story line is wrapped up in a satisfying, yet emotional conclusion.

As the episode begins, Jesse's gang and the Order of the Stone are both dealing with the effects of the events of the last episode.  Everyone has to team up with an unlikely ally, and in the process Jesse learns more about the Order than anyone had before, outside of the Order themselves.    The previous episode broke out of the mold of the traditional losers turned heroes story line, but this episode completely turns expectations on its head.  The story of this series has never been presented better than it is here.

Thankfully, the game play also manages to live up to the standards of the story.  There are some interesting puzzles, and the action sequences are quite memorable.  There are also some choices and consequences here that make a noticeable difference in the final moments of the game. There are quick time events, of course, bur as with the rest of the episodes in this season, they are balanced by the excellent hit counter based directly controlled combat system.  The only drawback in the game play is a maze half-way through the episode, which is not puzzle based, but trial and error based.  It's a small maze, and it doesn't last long, but it's a shame that they didn't use a puzzle to solve the maze, as they showed they can do it well in Tales of Monkey Island.  As it stands, the maze just feels like a way to artificially extend the play time.

The presentation is once again excellent as well.  The new locations are quite interesting, and as usual the blocky graphic style fits the retro 1980s feel that was the inspiration for the story.  The music once again also manages to capture that feeling fantastically.  The voice actors are also on the top of their game in this episode.  As this is the conclusion to the storyline, we get to see more of characters that haven't appeared much in the season.  These characters stand right up against the main cast, which is a testament to the skill of the voice actors.  Some of them even get their personalities and backstories more fleshed out in this story, which also helps the game not feel as one-dimensional as it did in early episodes.  This may be a family friendly story, but as Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures showed previously, Telltale can still deliver a fantastic story and interesting characters in a family friendly environment.

The fourth episode of Minecraft: Story Mode is a surprise early ending to the Wither Storm story line, but it is handled quite well.  The story is the best in the season, delivering plenty of surprises, and fleshing out characters, giving the whole game more depth than was evident early in the season. There are also some choices and consequences that have a noticeable effect in the story. The music, puzzles, and art style all continue to shine, and the voice actors give some of their best performances to date.  The only drawback is a maze that feels like it is there just to artificially extend the play time. Thankfully though, the maze is a short one, so it doesn't detract from the rest of the game, which is fantastic.  Telltale has used Minecraft: Story Mode as a testing ground for new ideas, and they have succeeded.  It's certainly their most diverse game in the modern era, and possibly the most diverse game they've ever made.  It's well worth experiencing the story of Jesse's group and the Order of the Stone.

Final Verdict:

4 out of 5