Greatness in Games

What makes a great game? It certainly takes a degree of technical excellence. Although the graphics and sound have to be of a high enough quality to be appealing, what is truly important is a cohesive aesthetic. A great game needs to be absent of game-breaking bugs, too. However, there are two things that really separate certain game from others: is the game enjoyable, and is the game meaningful? These are two very different things, so let us give them both a close look.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Tim Schafer and Double Fine

Lady Geek Girl: Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen! It’s Wednesday again and you know what that means—yep, it’s time for another Web Crush Wednesday! Let’s check out this week’s Web Crush with my pal and our newest writer, Al!

Aperigren: Actually, I prefer Perigren to Al… don’t call me Al.

Lady Geek Girl: Right, cool, no more calling you Al, got it!

Aperigren: Who remembers adventure games? They used to be the norm, whether it was a game about pirates or a screwed up love triangle.  First, it was based on text – “search bed,” we would type. “You found a used condom! You put it in your pocket,” it would excitedly return. Then, technology allowed us to simply click the bed and then add the used condom to our inventory. For some unknown reason, these adventure games seemed to die off in favor of games featuring actual movements and actions.

Still, some of the old point-and-click adventure games are very dear to many of us. Sam & Max Hit the Road for example, remains as a significant beacon of joy from my past. It seems the need for critical thinking and careful observation in games has gone, and I think on such things as relics from days past. What I remember most is the humor in such games. The Secret of Monkey Island remains to this day as one of the funniest games I’ve ever played. Strange how almost all of the humor came from only one man….

Lady Geek Girl: I’ll be honest here, I not that big of a gamer. I love video games, but my experience is limited due to my mother depriving me of them when I was much younger. Since meeting Al here though, my video game knowledge has increased, and my desire to play has grown.

Aperigren: My name isn’t Al, Little Geek Girl.

Lady Geek Girl: What did you just call me!

Aperigren: What? Nothing, Little Nerd Person, let’s just move on.

Lady Geek Girl: You aren’t allowed to call me that! I’m Lady Geek Girl, supreme emperor and ruler of this blog.

Aperigren: Forgive my insolence, tiny dork thing.

Lady Geek Girl: Wha… no one ever speaks to me that way. That’s… that’s… awesome! You have guts! I like you! I think you’ll fit in just fine here.

Anyway, it helps that Perigren here has played on one of my greatest weaknesses—my obsession with cool people. Yep, once I like someone I become a screaming crying fangirl. I mean hell, that’s basically how Web Crush Wednesdays got started! And all it takes to get me interested in playing video games right now is Tim Schafer.

Tim Schafer is the genius behind such games as Grim Fandango, Pyschonauts, Brutal Legend (my favorite!), and Once Upon a Monster. Tim Schafer started out working as a video game developer for Lucasarts. He got the job by sending a comic of himself interviewing for and getting the job at Lucasarts, immediately making him the coolest person ever. Later, he was denied a job at Atari (who is probably kicking themselves right now), but Tim went on to success by starting Double Fine Productions in 2000. He’s a writer and designer of games, as well as a fan, making him the sort of developer fans really enjoy and relate to. He is also the only one to date who has effectively handled Cookie Monster.

Released Oct. 11, 2011, Once Upon a Monster is about a storybook world full of your favorite monsters from Sesame Street as well as some new ones that need help with their problems. This video is when Tim Schafer first pitched the idea to the Cookie Monster. I love how Tim handles Cookie Monster! Most people in every other video I have seen never know what to do when faced with Cookie Monster’s love of cookies. I love that Tim’s response is to shrug and devourer the cookie in the same manner as everyone’s beloved monster. Tim Schafer is a man with a good sense of humor and his games reflect that in spades.

Aperigren: So Tim Schafer, comic genius, is the man behind years of fantastic humor and witty dialogue in some very significant games. Sadly, Tim just can’t survive by making bank for himself and Cookie Monster. He misses those old point-and-click adventure games. The problem is that he and Double Fine can only develop a game; they can’t fund it. Unfortunately, no publisher will take the risk of funding a new adventure game. So, enter, a website designed as an avenue for creative people to appeal to the masses for funding! Tim Schafer and Double Fine’s adventure game project has been up for a couple weeks now. He set his funding goal at a meager (in video game standards) $400,000. A day after posting, he was already up to $1 million. So, click the link and check it out. Backers are being hooked up with a pretty nice deal, and you can become a backer until March 13. To help you understand why this is so awesome, I’ll leave it to Tim Schafer and his appeal for funding.

Long live adventure games!