Thimbleweed Park-Spiritual Successor to Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island being made


 

Welcome back to 1985!

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If you played video games back in the 80’s then you might remember the classic point and click game Maniac Mansion. The game was created by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick and was LucasArts first adventure game and pretty much introduced PC gamers to the world of what would be called “2D Point and Click” adventures. Maniac Mansion was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990.

“It’s like opening a dusty old desk drawer and finding an undiscovered LucasArts adventure game you’ve never played before”.

Maniac Mansion was a huge success taking the computer world by storm and was praised for it’s use of complex puzzles, humor, engaging game-play and compelling story. It gave birth to numerous 2D Point and Click titles like “Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Zak McKracken and others”.

 

Now Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick are at it again with a new game called “ThimbleWeed Park” which is supposed to be the spiritual succesor to Manic Mansion. They have started a KickStarter campaign with a pledged goal of $375,000 and only 29 more days to accomplish it. So far their total “as of this writing” is at $109,201. KickStarter rewards include boxed editions, game soundtracks to even having your name placed in Thimbleweed Park’s phone book and actually having it used for puzzle solving!

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So why make a retro 2d Point and Click game?

“Because we miss classic adventures and all their innocence and charm”.

“They were fun and would put a smile on your face. We want to make one of those again and we want to do it right. We don’t want to make a game “inspired by,” or “paying homage to” classic point & click adventures, we want to make a real classic point & click adventure”.

Thimbleweed Park is a game for true lovers of adventure games. This is a Kickstarter for fans who loved Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island, and everything else that made that era great.  It strips away all the cruft built up over the years and is distilled down to what we loved about the genre”.

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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.

For more game details check out the kickstarter page here.

Thimbleweed Park will be available for digital download on Windows, Mac and Linux and is expected to be released by January 2015.

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ESA Honors Texas Governor Rick Perry for Supporting The Video Games Industry


ESA Honors Texas Governor Rick Perry for Supporting The Video Games Industry

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today presented Texas Gov. Rick Perry (and former Republican presidential candidate) an award for his efforts to create jobs, provide tax incentives and generally foster the growth of the computer and video game industry in the state. ESA president and CEO Michael D. Gallagher presented the award to the Governor and praised him for his “longstanding support for the industry” during an award ceremony at the historic Governor’s Mansion. The event included members from the video games industry, business leaders, and state officials.

“Governor Perry has been a true champion for Texas and for our industry,” said Mr. Gallagher. “At E3 in 2008, he made a personal pitch for computer and video game companies to come to Texas. Since then, he has dedicated his passion and energy to building the state’s global reputation as an innovation incubator and economic powerhouse, known for its creative community and cutting-edge businesses.”

Gov. Perry worked with the Texas Legislature to implement and later improve the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, which created a business friendly environment for computer and video game companies. The Texas Film Commission says that the video games industry invested $643.5 million in in-state productions between 2006 and 2009. The industry also created more full time jobs than any other moving image entertainment sector from 2007 to 2009, employing nearly 14,000 direct and indirect workers in 2009 and adding more than $490 million to the state economy.

36% of US plays downloaded games


Digital distribution becoming more common, 16% of population has ditched physical media for games entirely.

Digital distribution is increasingly becoming an accepted, and in some cases demanded, way for Americans to get their games, according to NPD Group data released today from its Exploring Digital Gaming report.

Based on a recent survey of more than 6,000 people in the US ages 13 and older, the group reported that 36 percent of the US population plays downloaded games on either a computer, console, or dedicated handheld gaming device like a 3DS or PlayStation Vita. A little less than half of that group has abandoned physical media entirely, as 16 percent said they only play digitally distributed games.

As for preferences, gamers were generally split. When both physical and digital versions of a game are available for the same price, 25 percent of respondents said they would take the digital version, compared to 30 percent who would opt for the physical copy. The remaining 45 percent were unsure of their preference.

The PC is far and away the most popular platform for digital distribution, with 90 percent of the NPD’s “digital gamers” reporting that they downloaded games for the computer. On the other hand, only 28 percent of digital gamers download games for consoles. And while two-thirds of console gamers said they download titles multiple times a year, only 14 percent do so on a monthly basis.

NPD analyst Liam Callahan said the digital movement has also driven more impulse purchases.

“Most digital players, regardless of device, don’t plan their purchases,” said Callahan. “They purchase simply when they find something they like. But primary console players do have a greater tendency to purchase at or before the time of release relative to PC players. As more consumers purchase the new consoles (Xbox One, PlayStation 4), we expect to see greater digital spending from digital console gamers as consumers indicated that purchasing these consoles will most likely increase their digital spending.”

 

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League of Legends gets World of Warcraft Veteran game designer


World of Warcraft veteran leaves Blizzard to join RIOT Games as League of Legends developer.

Greg Street

Former World of Warcraft lead systems designer Greg Street has updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect that he is now a lead game designer at Riot Games.

The Linked profile doesn’t indicate the project he is working on at Riot Games. In a post on his Twitter account, Street alluded to the change but implied it would be some time before he provided more clarification on it.

“Thank you for all the recent tweets, but I think the appropriate thing for me to do is lie low for awhile,” Street said. “I won’t vanish forever. Cheers.”

Street, also known as Ghostcrawler on the World of Warcraft forums, had been with Blizzard for nearly six years when he left last month. Prior to that, he worked at Microsoft’s Ensemble Studios as the lead game designer on Age of Empires III.

 

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NASA using Oculus Rift with Xbox One’s Kinect to control robots


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab team is testing a combination of the Xbox One Kinect sensor and the Oculus Rift headset to control robots:

Using the new Xbox One Kinect sensor, we are able to manipulate the JACO robot arm in real time. By combining position tracking from the Kinect and rotational tracking with the Oculus, we provide a first-person view for the operator. Future work will include integrating sensor array data into the scene and translating our research to the Robonaut 2 humanoid on the International Space Station.

From the research side of things, this is a great proof-of-concept to show another application of consumer technology in a research environment. This sort of thing could be applied anywhere humans shouldn’t be going but autonomous or controller-operated robots aren’t quite nimble enough to work. It could also decrease the need extra-vehicular activities during space missions or even future landings on the Moon and Mars.

 

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