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A melancholy happy trails to LucasArts


A look back at one of our Favourite Game companies:

Disney shuts down internal game development at LucasArts gamers of yesteryear all cry on April 3rd 2013. Any console gamer post Dreamcast or Mac user post Mac OS Classic - ask who....?

Read on to find out more.
LucasArts was formed in 1982 and its internal game development was shut down by Disney April 3rd 2013. LucasArts Film stuido owned by George Lucas (see something called Star Wars). Lucas wanted to expand his brand to other areas of entertainment so he coopertaed with Atari and begain making games.

LucasArts first game was called Ballblazer which was an one-on-one sports type game sort of like soccer. The basic objective of the game is to score points by either firing or carrying a floating ball into the opponent's goal. The game takes place on a flat, checkerboard playfield, and each player's half of the screen is presented in a first-person perspective. It was released orginally for Atari home consoles of the time but ported to many other platforms such as the Apple ][.

LucasArts would go on to become a major player in the Graphic Adventure genre. In 1987 LucasArts went on to release Maniac Mansion. While this was not their first Adventure game, (See Labyrinth: The Computer Game released a year earlier) it is certainly the one that most people remember. The game was published in house and released on several systems such as the Apple ][, IBM PC, Amiga, and Nintendo.

Maniac Mansion was critically acclaimed; reviewers lauded its graphics, cutscenes animation, and humour. Reviewers and other developers have considered its point-and-click interface revolutionary; the system has led competitors to adopt similar interfaces. The game went on to spawn a TV Series that last 3 seasons and the release of a sequel Maniac Mansion II: Day of the Tentacle in 1993.

In 1990 LucasArts released The Secret of Monkey Island  - It takes place in a fantastical version of the Caribbean during the age of piracy. The player assumes the role of Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who dreams of becoming a pirate and explores fictional islands while solving puzzles. The game spawned 3 sequels.

Monkey Island - removed dead ends and player deaths. The so called "dead ends" scenarios were always frustrating when you played for several hours only to learn you forgot one item 4 hours earlier in the game so the game became unwinnable.

In 1991 Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was released. 1992 saw a cd talkie version. The story was written by Hal Bradwood and is so good that it would have made a fantastic Indy movie. The plot is set in the fictional Indiana Jones universe and revolves around the eponymous protagonist's global search for the legendary sunken city of Atlantis. Sophia Hapgood, an old co-worker of Indiana Jones who gave up her archaeological career to become a psychic, supports him along the journey. The two partners are pursued by the Nazis who seek to use the power of Atlantis for warfare, and serve as the adventure's antagonists. The story is set on the eve of World War II in 1939. It went on to sell over a million copies.

1993 and 1994 saw the release of two great Star Wars Flight Sims X-Wing and TIE Fighter respectively. Both were revolutanary for their time and classic to this day.

X-wing: Players assumed the role of a young pilot in the Rebel Alliance and were given the opportunity to pilot the titular X-wing, as well as the Y-wing, the A-wing and eventually the B-wing starfighters.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter is the sequel to Star Wars: X-wing and the first Star Wars video game ever set on the side of the Galactic Empire.

Sam and Max was released in 1993 for dos and in 1995 for Macintosh. The game is absouletly ridiculous but a blast to play. For those that do not know series creator Steve Purcell describes them as: Sam and Max are a pair of overzealous crime fighters. They call themselves Freelance Police because it gives them some unspecified license to do whatever they want. Sam is a six foot dog in a baggy gray suit and sharp fedora. Max is a three foot naked rabbity thing who sometimes packs a German Luger somewhere on his person. They roll through the streets in a smoking 1960 DeSoto Adventurer painted to look like a black and white squad car searching for wrongs to right, innocents to defend and jelly-filled sugar donuts to devour.

1995 Full Throttle was released. LucasArts based the world of Full Throttle in a bleak industrialised future around an enigmatic anti-hero, with an original and compelling story. Ben, leader of outlawed biker gang the Polecats, is soon embroiled in a devious executive’s corporate ambitions, and forced to clear his name against a backdrop of murder, betrayal and lots and lots of motorbikes.

1998 saw the release of Grim Fandango. Grim Fandango is a dark comedy neo-noir Windows adventure game released by LucasArts in 1998, primarily written by Tim Schafer. It is the first adventure game by LucasArts to use 3D computer graphics overlaid on pre-rendered, static backgrounds. As with other LucasArts adventure games, the player must converse with other characters and examine, collect, and use objects correctly to solve puzzles in order to progress.Grim Fandango's world combines elements of the Aztec belief of afterlife with style aspects of film noir, including The Maltese Falcon, On the Waterfront and Casablanca, to create the Land of the Dead, through which recently departed souls, represented in the game as calaca-like figures, must travel before they reach their final destination, the Ninth Underworld. The story follows travel agent Manuel "Manny" Calavera as he attempts to save Mercedes "Meche" Colomar, a newly arrived but virtuous soul, during her long journey.

Critics praised the game but it sold poorly. LucasArts went on to release Monkey Island 4 in 2000 but begain cancelling several of their other games. The Sequels to Sam and Max, Full Throttle, Fate of Atlantis were all cancelled. In 1998 advenutre gaming was all but dead.

The 2000s saw several Star Wars action titles and racers. Along with many Lego Games. However most of the old magic that made these old cult classics were lost. Many great designers went on to form their own companies.

So with the annoncement of the clousure of LucasArts it is a sad time for all who had fond memories of the once great company. On the other hand it is not much of surprise Disney closed LucasArts, as their last title was Kinect Star Wars was and was not exactly a hit.

Regardless of the practicalities, we can still remember the company fondly and many great games can be still be found on our fourms here: http://portingteam.c...tro-game-ports/

Farewell, LucasArts you will be missed.


12 Comments

It sad to see another gaming company that once made good games be closed :(
But i guess disney will just license out development of former Lucas arts games  to other game developers .

Quote

The 2000s saw several Star Wars action titles and racers. Along with many Lego Games. However most of the old magic that made these old cult classics were lost. Many great designers went on to form their owncompanies.
Most of the old magic wasn't really gone till more like 2005 , Star wars Battle Front games and star wars lego games were actually pretty good .
Nice tribute. I will always remember them for their top-notch adventure games, not their Star Wars titles.
give me star wars battlefront 3 or give me death!
Did you know that Telltale (the makers of my favorite game of all time, The Walking Dead) consists of many LucasArts employees?
I won't care Star Trek was always better! :P

apdonato, on 22 April 2013 - 02:39 AM, said:

give me star wars battlefront 3 or give me death!
I Choose death. (To Star Wars! [Before disney destroys it.])

ghostmatrix101, on 24 April 2013 - 09:49 AM, said:

I won't care Star Trek was always better! :P

I Choose death. (To Star Wars! [Before disney destroys it.])
i don't care! let it be bad, as long as they release modding tools for it, the community will make it good!!

XxLAZERZWillxX, on 22 April 2013 - 06:51 PM, said:

Did you know that Telltale (the makers of my favorite game of all time, The Walking Dead) consists of many LucasArts employees?
Yes, and without those employees, we wouldn't have seen the likes of the new episodic Sam & Max or Tales From Monkey Island, both games I yet to play.
I was scared of this.
Im thinking they might be trying to purge the "lucas" name from all the star wars stuff. My guess is they might relocate some of the employees to their game developers, and then start making star wars games using the "Disney" name.
Good article. Loved day of the tentacle on the classic environment.
Guys guess what, recent news came out that Electronic Arts (EA) have bought the rights to star wars games and The BattleFront series has been given to DICE the makes of Battlefield. Don't expect any starwars games soon but know this there will be more star wars games
I miss LucasArts. Day of the Tentacle was my favorite.