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


Welcome back to 1985!


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!



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”.


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.

8-Bit Point-And-Click Game Created By Lead Singer Will Sheff of “Okkervil River”


Okkervil River’s Will Sheff grew up playing games like Maniac Mansion and King’s Quest, and as part of the release of his band’s new album “The Silver Gymnasium,” he’s teamed up with Eyes And Ears’ Benjamin Miles to build his own point-and-click adventure. The game features basic but beautiful 8-bit graphics, a chiptunes soundtrack composed by Miles based on music from the album, and can be played in any desktop browser.

It’s an episodic adventure, with the first episode out today and new ones planned for every two weeks hence. After playing through the first episode, I got on the phone with Sheff to discuss how he came up with the idea of creating a game tied to the album, and what the process was like (full audio interview embedded below).

“I always wanted to do a video game, I’m a big fan of games and grew up playing them,” he explained. “I still enjoy playing the, and I really enjoy the ability they have to sort of play with people’s imaginations and ignite people’s imaginations and to kind of put people in a dreamlike mindspace. I never knew how to actually be able to do one […] but with this particular record since it’s very much focused on nostalgia from my childhood in the 80s and has a sort of storybook quality to it, it felt like the perfect time to try to do a game.”

Sheff said he then reached out to Eyes And Ears and connected with Miles, who had himself been thinking about making something similar to the 80s-inspired adventure title Sheff was envisioning. Miles had been considering taking a break from his day job to build that himself, but the timing was perfect and the two made a creative “love connection,” Sheff says, and have been going back and forth with the creative process around the story, graphic designs and game mechanics ever since.

okkervil-riverThe use of retro graphics and sound is a creative catalyst, Sheff says, in addition to being thematically relevant to the album’s 80s childhood inspiration. While the plot of the game isn’t tied directly to the album’s progression or anything quite so conceptual, the use of 8-bit graphics and chiptunes itself helps engender a strong creative bond between the game and the record.

“Miles would shoot me drawings and characters and the locations and we would kind of spend a long time talking about exactly what level of detail was going to be in there,” Shef said. “Because it was kind of that, ‘there shouldn’t be too little, and there shouldn’t be too much,’ and [we wanted to] find that aesthetic sweet spot.”

The choice of what is and isn’t included in the graphic depiction of characters, objects and settings is meant to help evoke a sense of somewhat eerie familiarity with an environment that’s nonetheless novel to a player. Likewise, simple, upbeat “adventure” type chiptunes compliment more somber, complex ones recorded with different tools to weave nostalgia for old-school games with a more otherworldly feeling. Hyper-realistic recorded sound effects also add an element of intentional discomfort.

For a game that’s really relatively quick, a single episode of a longer work, and essentially a promotion for an upcoming album, The Silver Gymnasium has a surprising level of depth, and definitely hits a nostalgic note for kids of the 80s. Sheff also has plenty more in terms of interesting thoughts about video games and how they affect our moods and emotions, so be sure to listen to the interview below in full to glean more.