My inner geek let himself out this week, and I downloaded GRIM FANDANGO, one of the few LucasArts adventure games that I missed, and a truly beautiful piece of art. (No kidding.) The world is the Day of the Dead festival meets 1930s art deco meets a Raymond Chandler novel. You play Manny Callavera, a Grim Reaper/Travel Agent who uncovers a nasty plot of corruption and murder in the Aztec Underworld.
As a kid, one of my dream jobs was a computer game designer for LucasArts. Don’t know what ever happened to that dream (I think maybe I discovered rock and roll and girls), but it all makes sense to me now why they appealed to me so much. The games are little worlds that you drop into: the art is fantastic, the stories are all smart and funny, the music kicks ass, and the greatest part is that they’re fun to play (LucasArts’ philosophy was that the player should never die, and never reach a complete dead end).
With DOOM and the massive success of the 3-D first-person shooter, LucasArts decided that dinky little 2-D adventure games with great storylines and characters were undesirable, and switched their efforts instead to lamo Star Wars games. Despite all that, there’s still a huge cult following on the net for the old games: check out the LucasArts museum, Grimfandango.net and Mixnmojo.com.