Maniac Mansion creators re-uniting to Kickstart a new adventure

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Remember Maniac Mansion, one of the earliest of LucasArts’ adventure games? If you do you’ll have fond recollections and no doubt a deepseated respect for the legendary creators Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick. There’s good news for fans who’ve been wondering what Gilbert’s been up to since he left Double Fine last year: the pair have just teamed up again for a Kickstarter campaign to fund development of a new adventure title in the same vein, called Thimbleweed Park.

Maniac Mansion was one of the earliest LucasArts adventure games, and one of the best of the era with its multiple protagonists, hilarious dialogue and ingenious puzzles. The game Gilbert and Winnick want to make follows the formula incredibly closely, right down to the late-80s low-res graphics and classic LucasArts verb-driven adventure game interface.

That’s because they’re not pitching a game they want to make with modern tools using ideas from way back, they’re making one that could have been made back in the day.

The Kickstarter page says “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.” That’s good news for anyone who really misses the humour and spirit of older games.

Thimbleweed Park follows the story of five playable characters: two washed-up detectives who must investigate a dead body found in a river, a woman related to another dead guy, a cursed clown and finally, a ghost. But not the ghost of the dead guy from the river. Yup, sounds like old-school LucasArts craziness to me.

Should this sound like something you’d like to play, the starting donation that will get you anything other than a “Thank you!” from the team is $20, so R220 or so. Donating at higher tiers earns you rewards like “Guilt Absolution!” for pirating Monkey Island or Maniac Mansion as a kid ($25), getting your name into an in-game phone book that’s used in a puzzle ($50) and a photo of all the goodies you COULD have had if you donated at higher tiers ($100).

The goal Gilbert and Winnick are trying to reach is around R4 million ($375 000), and there are 29 days to go before the campaign ends. At the time of writing they’ve already raised $110 000 so things are looking good.

Check out the project’s Kickstarter page for more info.

Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.