Ripburger, You're Dumber Than Dirt!

Last update on Nov. 11, 2013.

Ripburger, you're dumber than dirt!

Well. I'm not much of a gamer, even less so these days, but this still kinda sucks. Enough to compell me to bitch a bit about it and drown in nostalgia, at least. 

Not that it is going to change much. Really, it's been at least a decade since the studio did anything remotely interesting, and most of that was outsourced to other developpers anyway, so Disney's plan to hire other studios in order to keep making money with lame star wars games won't make the situation any worse. 

But still, this name means quite a lot to me. However small the "gamer part of me" might be, it has been pretty much defined by these guys. 

I was about 12 years old whan i got my first computer, and i was a die hard star wars nerd at the time. The only thing i could think of back then was that i was finally going to be able to play, not video games, but STAR WARS video games, and the first thing i did was to borrow the one some friend had been telling me about for almost a year. 

 The game was jedi knight, and i had a blast. Even though it shows its age, it remains a great shooter, and i think the main reason why i'm often bored with FPSes is probably that they're often just not as good as this one was, star wars theme or not.

I later played a lot of other star wars games, and a lot of them were great. I wasted countless hours dogfighting TIE interceptors in Rogue Squadron or X Wing Alliance (I always thought Luke Skywalker was way cooler in his ugly, orange pilot suit than in his jedi robes), crashing speederbikes in Rebel Assault (man, that level was a PAIN) or trying to invade Coruscant while hopelessly defending my naval shipyards on Sullust in the weird but great in its own way Rebellion (I wish the later Empire at War series had borrowed more from this one). 

But the star wars games are not the ones i remember the most from Lucasart. Not even close. Because, and this still amazes me, the studio which was created with the obvious goal of cashing in as much as possible on the star wars brand actually bothered, a long time ago, to make games taking place in other galaxies. And at that time, they were the kings of point & click adventure games, which to this day remains my favourite genre. (Calling them kings is certainly subjective, knowing that i barely played any Sierra (their main competitor, as far as point & clicks go) game of that time, but for some reason those never felt "right" for me, while i dearly love every single Lucasart adventure title).

The first one i played was Monkey Island, and while it had to grow on me (it was already quite dated at the time, and well, what good could it be, not being about star wars ?), in the end it certainly had me hooked (haha - sorry :(). The series is pretty much the definition of a great adventure game, and the second episode, LeChuck's Revenge, might even be the greatest game of all times (It definitely has the greatest videogame soundtrack ever. Period. I still plan on doing a surf cover of LeChuck's theme someday, and this one quite often pops into my head for no reason at all. If only half of the lame covers of Mario's theme out there could be replaced by any title from MI2's soundtrack, in full MIDI glory, the world would be a better place. Amen). 

I then played most of their other adventure games: Sam & Max Hit the Road, Indiana Jones & the Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle (a nice article about this one can be found here), Full Throttle (this post's title is its opening line, and for some reason i've always loved it. No idea why), Grim Fandango... They were all great. None of them took themselve very seriously (Sam & Max and Day of the Tentacle being almost pure cartoon whackyness), but they all had great writing, and while some puzzles could be insanely hard, most of them were hilarious. 

Those game represent the company's golden age. The star wars titles they would release at that time were just as great, and often quite innovative. But at some point (about the time the prequel movies were made - surprisingly), a copple of things happened. First, they got scared of their own franchises. They completely stopped working on anything that wasn't star wars. Sam & Max and Full Throttle both got their sequels canceled at the end of developpment, because of "unfavorable market conditions", and the studio became what it had thankfully avoided at its begining: Nothing more than one part of Lucas' huge merchandising industry, focusing on making as much money as possible and ignoring any idea which wasn't already assured to sell because of the star wars brand. And most importantly, it just seems that they stopped caring. The games which came out along the phantom menace were pretty much awful, as most of the ones that came afterwards (exceptions, like Knights of the Old Republic, were developped by other studios - in this case Bioware). I pretty much stopped caring as well about that time (okay, a bit later, because back then i was still too young and stoopid and actually enjoyed the new movies - Yeah, i'm ashamed, but i got better.) 

So, yeah, it's been at least ten years since Lucasart was dead. As i said, the news won't change much. But it's a name i kept associating with their past greatness, and i pretty much grew up with their best titles, so it feels a bit like an old pal just died, and i felt like rambling a little about it. 

As for this blog's activity, i really haven't done much lately. I keep telling myself i should get back to it but kinda let it die again. Figured this would be as good an occasion as any other to at least post a little something. As usual, we'll see if it sets a trend or not. 

EDIT: I keep wanting to edit this post. I feel it doesn't really do the event any justice. But whatever. I'll just post a link to the much better article that inspired me to write this one, which i forgot to post initially: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/04/04/rip-lucasarts-a-personal-obituary/. The discussion in the comments is quite interesting too. Lotsa people feeling pretty much the same way.

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  1. watanuki.la.coocan.jp on 02/18/2015 4:47 a.m. #

    Fried Chicken And Gazoline - Ripburger, you're dumber than dirt!