Dossier

Tim Schafer

Tim Schafer

A few brütal setbacks have failed to deter this comedy auteur.

By Gus Mastrapa • March 30, 2012

Dossier is a survey of one game maker’s creative output—an attempt to tease out the themes that emerge over the course of a video game career.

It takes more than a good track record to convince 80,000 fans to give you more than $3 million. When Tim Schafer used Kickstarter to fund the forthcoming Double Fine Adventure, he benefited from decades of goodwill earned not only for making funny and beloved games, but for doing so with a compulsion for originality, a passion for art, and a certain wholesomeness. 

Play a Tim Schafer game, and you’re going somewhere different. Whether it’s the Aztec-inspired noir afterlife of Grim Fandango or Psychonauts’ summer camp for psychic kids, Schafer’s games seem to answer the unbounded promise of video games in a way that makes other games feel horribly generic and unambitious.

And, yeah, Schafer is a funny guy too. He has a wry humor that feels sharp enough to cut. But though his gags can go dark, they never break the skin. Schafer’s talent for writing extends beyond mere quips—the guy has spent the last 20 years crafting some of the best stories in video games. Pulling that off takes more than a way with the pen.

Early Collaborations

The Secret Of Monkey Island

The Secret Of Monkey Island

Tim Schafer cut his teeth in the trenches of Lucasfilm Games at the dawn of the adventure-game genre’s golden age. After paying his dues as a playtester, Schafer’s first break came during the production of the 1990 point-and-click adventure The Secret Of Monkey Island. He and programmer/writer Dave Grossman were allowed to write a script around the plot, scenarios, and puzzles that designer Ron Gilbert had already conceived. The pair’s words wound up coming off cheekier than originally expected. Monkey Island was originally planned as a fairly strait-laced tribute to the Disneyland ride Pirates Of The Caribbean and the fantastic pirate novel On Stranger Tides. But the gags stuck and wound up setting the quirky tone for the series, now beloved for its anachronistic jokes and lighthearted sentiment.

The game’s most memorable sequence finds hero Guybrush Threepwood facing off in a duel against a reclusive sword master. The game, more about exploration and puzzle solving than combat, can’t manage arcade-style sword fighting. So rather than use brawn, Guybrush must cultivate an arsenal of stinging insults to throw his opponent off guard. (Most of the creative team re-united for 1991’s Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge which, oddly, never saw Threepwood setting foot on Monkey Island.)

Headliner

Day Of The Tentacle

Day Of The Tentacle

Schafer and Grossman were given leadership roles in the design of Day Of The Tentacle, the follow-up to Lucasfilm’s genre-shaping 1987 adventure game Maniac Mansion. And Schafer’s fingerprints are all over Tentacle. With a visual style influenced by cartoons and a time-travel plot that sees a chubby roadie hang with America’s founding fathers, it’s easy to draw a line from this early part of Schafer’s career to his more recent games. If The Secret Of Monkey Island is quirky, Day Of The Tentacle is totally off the wall. Puzzles are ridiculously contrived and very tricky, but they are sewn into a world that’s so colorful and well-dressed that the game manages to entertain even when the player is stymied. A good part of the player goodwill revolves around just how silly the puzzles were. One particularly involved quest has you prank George Washington with an exploding cigar, trick Thomas Jefferson into making vinegar out of a bottle of wine, and rope Ben Franklin into using his kite to charge a battery.

Full Throttle

Full Throttle

Full Throttle, Schafer’s most under-appreciated game, is relatively sober when considered next to Day Of The Tentacle. It’s the story of bikers in a near future who unravel a plot to kill the founder of the beloved Corley Motors Company. The game’s lead, Ben, is square-jawed and spare with his words. Schafer’s writing proves more than capable of weaving a yarn about tough men and truly wicked villains. And his guidance of the game’s design assures that there’s not too much tonal dissonance. Full Throttle’s goofiest moment happens when Ben uses a bunch of wind-up bunny toys to clear a mine field. The rest of the game is played close to the vest. And the tone works. Schafer can do serious. 

Schafer’s confidence was catching. The artists, voice actors, and musicians who Schafer wrangled to paint Full Throttle’s dusty dystopia stretched their legs and expanded expectations. The cast—one of the first in the games industry to include professional actors—stars a who’s who of animation aces, like Mark Hamill as the baddie Adrian Ripburger and Maurice LeMarche (doing his “Brain” voice) as the henchman Nestor. But the game’s visuals are particularly affecting, rendered and animated in a lovely, detailed 2D with rudimentary 3D models of motorbikes and other heavy metal tastefully injected into the image. When Ben’s tires squeal, they kick up clouds of pixel dust and meticulously animated flaming tracks. Just as Full Throttle’s plot dwells on the death of an American classic, it’s hard not to look at the game as the last, dying gasp of a particular kind of video game art. Over the next decade or so, chunky, polygonal 3D character models would come into vogue, crowding out the tradition of pointillist pixel drawing.

Grim Fandango

Grim Fandango

Schafer embraced the 3D future in big way. 1998’s Grim Fandango, the game many consider to be Schafer’s masterpiece, paints an afterlife populated by Mexican Day Of The Dead skeletons. It’s damn clever the way Grim Fandango sidesteps the uncanny valley by tearing the skin off of all its characters. Protagonist Manny Calivera is a cylindrical skull stuffed into a sharp suit, his face a simple grill of black teeth and empty black eyes. But even today, it’s hard to find a video game character so well drawn. The thick, weary accent of actor Tony Plana sells a lot. 

It’s the way that Schafer weaves the character into the detailed world that makes Calivera work. The best, subtle character moment happens in the early moments of the game, when we’re learning about Manny’s gig as a soul collector. He looks like a badass with his scythe and cloak. But we learn that he’s really a Fred McMurray schlub when he shrugs off his shroud and steps down from a pair of stilts. Manny Calivera is a shrimp. And he winds up caught in a web of deceit way bigger than a guy of his stature should expect to untangle. Across four years, players see Calivera through fixes, set-ups, and jams, culminating in the kind of happy ending that noir chumps rarely ever merit. It all feels earned.

Big Headaches

Psychonauts

Psychonauts

As cool as Grim Fandango is, it was a commercial flop. Some view it as the last nail in the coffin of the classic adventure genre. But the game was a victim of the times. With development budgets swelling, thanks to the complexities of beefy PCs and more powerful home consoles, publishers grew more risk-averse. Offbeat, low-concept games became harder to sell in a studio system that perceived its audience as hungry for action.

Rather than give in, Schafer found a way to adapt without abandoning his creative urges. In 2000, Schafer split from LucasFilm and founded his own studio, Double Fine. Some of the Grim Fandango team came with him. The fledgling studio pinned their hopes on 2005’s Psychonauts, a lively game about a summer camp for psychic kids. On paper, the game is a traditional platformer. The main character, Raz, jumps across crevasses and navigates complex spacial puzzles, the way Mario and many other game mascots have done for ages.

On this familiar framework, Schafer and company were able to hang adventure-game-style storytelling, cramming the game with the kinds of conversations that Tim Schafer had become known for. But the traditional form of the platformer—usually divvied up into an array of isolated, unique worlds—also proved fertile ground for Schafer’s imagination. Rather than explore physical spaces like deserts or death factories, Raz uses his mental prowess to dive into the thoughts and nightmares of others. These voyages include one excursion into the psyche of a conspiracy nut. His world is a suburbia twisted into knots, suspended in the sky and crawling with trench-coated agents who recite their civilian cover stories in an unconvincing Dragnet deadpan. Co-writer Erik Wolpaw, responsible for much of the color in this sequence—“The Milkman Conspiracy”—would go on to pen the equally skewed Portal for Valve.

Microsoft pulled out of a Psychonauts publishing deal in the 11th hour, leaving an opening for fledgling publisher Majesco to exploit. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Psychonauts had a difficulty finding an audience. The game was a hard sell to begin with, and Majesco had no idea how to wring profits from an oddball product. This would become a recurring theme in Schafer’s career.

Brutal Legend

Brütal Legend

Brütal Legend (2009) would be Schafer’s most ambitious and most divisive game. It was a star-crossed project from the start. After production on the game was underway, Brütal Legend’s publisher, Vivendi Games, was acquired by Activision. The Guitar Hero juggernaut devoured the smaller Vivendi, canceling many projects—including, it was rumored, Brütal Legend. After a short period of doubt, Electronic Arts stepped in to help finish and publish the game, at which point Activision engaged lawyers to stymie the efforts of its biggest competitor. Brütal Legend found itself torn between two corporate parents and was lucky to survive the dustup. 

It turned out, though, that Activision’s gut was right. The game sold poorly; the public didn’t want a strategy game about heavy metal starring Jack Black. That’s on the public. Because Brütal Legend is a heartfelt homage to the head-banging musical genre. And despite some rough edges, it’s a surprisingly accessible entry point into a game genre—real-time strategy—that intimidates many.

The idea is that Eddie Riggs, a rock ’n’ roll roadie trapped in a fantasy world torn from the front of metal records, could use his leadership skills to lead an army. But in practice, the game’s “Stage Battles” feel disconnected from the rest of the game, which behaves more like an open-world action game akin to the Grand Theft Auto games. Audiences who weren’t already scared away by the super-authentic soundtrack were turned off by the notion that they’d be forced to micromanage troops with an Xbox controller. 

Those who stuck with the game were privy to a video game fantasy world unlike any other—a place with the soul of metal coursing through its characters and landscapes with a crazy vibrancy. With a dream cast of legends like Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford, Lemmy, and Rob Halford and an exquisitely curated soundtrack the game rippled with authenticity. But the homage isn’t slavish. Schafer’s trademark imagination, inspired by the music of his adolescence, shines through. Among Brütal Legend’s many killer metal flourishes, the best is perhaps the simplest: black panthers that shoot lasers from their eyes. 

Experimentation

Costume Quest

Costume Quest

In the midst of the grueling Brütal Legend development cycle, Schafer sought to give his team a break from the grind. During what was dubbed the “Amnesia Fortnight,” Double Fine designers were invited to forget their heavy metal problems and come up with prototypes for something new. The two-week excursion wound up being extremely fruitful, resulting in a handful of smaller downloadable games. The first product of the Fortnight was the lightweight but delightful role-playing game Costume Quest, spearheaded by ex-Pixar employee Tasha Harris. The game views Halloween through the lens of nostalgia, but it does so with clear eyes and the self-sufficient heart of the latchkey kid. 

Stacking

Stacking

Pivoting from ’80s nostalgia, Stacking presented players with longing for a time most of us never knew: the Great Depression. But it’s the game’s conceit, more than its setting, that makes it so interesting. All the game’s characters are nesting matryoshka dolls. Players control the tiniest one, a scamp named Charlie Blackmore. The kid takes over the bodies of others and gains their skills by hopping into their hollow insides. Stacking, like all Double Fine games, is buoyed by clever writing. Here Schafer’s team uses wit to both skewer and soften the sting of nettlesome issues like child labor. 

Iron Brigade

Iron Brigade

The most “hardcore” of Double Fine’s downloadable offerings is Iron Brigade (originally entitled Trenched until a trademark dispute forced the name change—yet another corporate headache for Schafer to endure). Set in an alternate history, the armies of World War I must fend off a science-fiction threat. Players pilot “mobile trenches”—giant robots piloted by disabled soldiers. The action sees players collecting resources in the midst of battle, building new armaments on the fly and fighting off waves of enemies while trying to protect their home base. The game’s fiddly customization and square-jawed affection for mid-20th century men’s magazines make it the most conventional entry in Schafer’s production oeuvre. But it’s not hard to see the gung-ho soldiers in Iron Brigade as heirs to Full Throttle’s macho legacy. 

Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster

Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster

Even more out of character (at least at first blush) is Double Fine’s first foray into licensed games. Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster is a children’s game in which kids use the Xbox 360 Kinect motion sensor to play mini-games with Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Grover. It turns out that the pairing of Schafer and Sesame Street are a good fit. Where most games (and TV shows for that matter) aimed at kids are somewhat soul-crushing, Once Upon A Monster manages to be quick, clever, and likable. That’s because Schafer has an instinctual understanding of the Sesame Street voice. Cookie Monster’s snack obsession, Grover’s high-strung cadence, and Elmo’s unabashed purity all feel just as they would on TV. But here, kids play alongside their favorite puppets rather than watching them from the couch. 

Double Fine Happy Action Theater

Double Fine Happy Action Theater

Double Fine’s most recent offering is another downloadable game using Kinect controls. And it is the biggest diversion yet for Schafer and his studio. Double Fine Happy Action Theater is a collection of mini-games with only the barest thread of a theme. There’s no story wrapping these games together, just the loose retro motif of a dimly lit playhouse. The games are pared down. Many eschew scores and win conditions for the mere fun of standing up and moving your limbs around. One game uses the Kinect camera to fill a real-time image of your living room with pigeons who will perch on your shoulders, couch, and even your pets (if they hold still long enough). Another casts you and your family as monsters rampaging through a city. Even amid these sparse trappings, it is clear that Schafer can’t resist a little humor by way of the written word. Another mini-game sends a gout of molten lava flowing across your living-room floor. Become submerged in the stuff, and you’ll earn an achievement. It’s a one-off gag that continues a long tradition of movie references that can be traced all the way back to the Monkey Island days. The text on the achievement reads, “I know now why you cry.”

Required Reading

  • 1. The Secret of Monkey Island: Available as a download on consoles and via Steam this early adventure game is worth playing for the classic adventure-game humor; download Monkey Island 2 for the enlightening creator commentary track from Schafer and Ron Gilbert.
  • 2. Full Throttle: Out of print and somewhat unloved by Lucasfilm, this gem is happily had for a song on eBay and from other online traders. Be sure to download the fan-written ScummVM software to help the game run on newer computers.
  • 3. Grim Fandango: Also hard to come by and unlikely to see a re-issue soon. This game is a little tricker to install and play, but the hard work of fans insures that the game can still be experienced. Look for the ResidualVM software before attempting to install.
  • 4. Psychonauts: A PC re-release on Steam ensures that nearly anyone can experience this quirky gem.
  • 5. Brütal Legend: Though maligned by many, Brütal Legend is a worth playing for its tightly knit universe and surprisingly deep multiplayer. Those who are curious will want to hop into matches sooner rather than later. Electronic Arts has a bad habit of shutting down sparsely populated servers.

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

  • http://shadowfilter.blogspot.com Xenomorph

    Nice article. Best of luck, you guys. I hope the site thrives.

  • CivilizationHasFailed

    This is a great off-shoot for AV Club and a chance for it to finally take games seriously. This was a cool article.

  • AuroraBoreanaz

    Even though I contributed to the Double Fine Kickstarter, it appears that I have a lot of catching up to do on Schafer’s list.  I loved the Monkey Island series, Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle, but haven’t played any of them since!  I need to remedy that!

    • Dikachu

      I need to replay Full Throttle… again.  I’ve only played through it like 10 times, but it’s been years.

      • LauraBow

         It’s funny, I remember the screenshots from each of those games so vividly, except – I didn’t remember them being so pixel-y.

        I really wish I could be unemployed for a year, so I could secretly replay all my favorite PC games (these and Sierra’s Heroes/Kings/Police/Space Quest games).

        • http://sarapen.ca/ Sarapen

          Ain’t nothing stopping you from playing after work. I remember how at school I’d continually be obsessing about what I’d try as soon as I got home. At least it’s not Civilization, you’re guaranteed to play through until dawn at least once.

        • TheAngryInternet

          you can blow through Full Throttle (even on the first play) in about the same time it would take to watch an episode of Fringe or whatever — it’s crazy short

          don’t get me wrong, it’s still great, but I’ll always remember the magazine review (can’t remember which one, it’s been over fifteen years) that declared “a mildly retarded chimpanzee could beat this game in a single afternoon,” which was pretty much dead on

      • The_Asinus

        I’d forgotten all about Full THrottle, but what I did remember was Sam (or max? The dog. Ack, I forgot which was which) riding that motorcycle in one of the Sam & Max cartoons with big, ripped arms. Max asked, “Where’d you get those arms?” and Sam says that they’re rubber prostheses he bought from a magazine. I completely recognize that screen shot, but I always think of Sam on it.

  • chrisbarton303

    Psychonauts is my favourite of Shafer’s later titles. It’s unique,
    brilliant and accessible, even though some of the gameplay feels like a
    standard platformer from the early-mid ’00s. Grim Fandango is a
    masterpiece, but some of the puzzles were just a bit too obtuse for me – I
    couldn’t get through it without an online walkthrough!

  • TheSensitiveGhostOfSethPu

    I’ve been meaning to try Grim Fandango for 10+ years, this article may just get me to track down a copy and check it out.

    • Drunken Superman

      Same here, as well as Full Throttle.  Day of the Tentacle was one of my favorite games of all-time, but also one of the last graphic adventures I invested time into.  The family computer started struggling with newer games and I spent more time playing multiplayer games in college.

    • Drew Martin

      Just installed it last night on my computer. Found a torrent on Demonoid and used the launcher (
      http://quick.mixnmojo.com/software/grim-fandango-launcher). It runs best in fullscreen and can crash, so save often. Have fun!

  • Steven Chambers

    FATHER TORQUE! 

    • Dikachu

      MEIN BIKE!!!  *tumbles into cactus at 90 mph*

  • http://profiles.google.com/ali.p.schroeder Alison Schroeder

    Does anyone know if the downloadable Monkey Island still supports MT-32s? I could just look, but it would be great. Monkey Island had great MT-32 synth music.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3dB0qEcG20

    • The_Asinus

       It would be pretty cool if they’d leave the legacy sound support in– but even the CD-ROM release of Secret of Monkey Island had dropped the MT-32 support. It looks like the special edition has updated graphics and the 256 color CD-ROM graphics, so even if they kept it as pure as the CD-Driven snow, it wouldn’t have MT-32 support (or any MIDI, for that matter).

      I just tried to find the old floppy version online after I threw together a retro system– getting an MT-32 to work *can* be a headache. Sierra games, par example, really want you to have an MPU-401 in intelligent mode for MT-32 support, though there patches that will work around that so it will work with a Creative card.

      I don’t know about Lucas Arts games, but I do know that trying to run GM off of my AWE32 to support my SCB-55 (I think, it’s an SC-55mkII on a daughter board) leads to hanging notes and crashes in Tie Fighter. I’ve used my MT-32 with Tie Fighter and it seemed to work okay, but since the game just basically remaps the MT-32 as a GM device, it sounds sort of crappy, but it didn’t have the hanging note problem.

      Oh shit… I started down a tangent there– I’m just basically trying to say that supporting old hardware would be a PITA. I guess they could sell it as a “use at your own risk” sort of thing. I do like MIDI music for certain games. It would clash with something like Far Cry, but for more cartoony games it’s perfect.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JXOE627FD7TSA4GYFUYQHP7UTA Gabbo

    So this site is a Spinoff of a Spinoff of The Onion or something

    • http://profiles.google.com/ali.p.schroeder Alison Schroeder

      And I can’t log in with my AV Club credentials. Do I have to remake them or am I just doin’ it wrong? And yes, that is what she said.

      • BuntlineSpecial

        I had the same issue.  I had to register a Disqus account, then link that to my AVC account.  But act quickly, before the threat level reaches Midnight.

        • Dikachu

           I did too… and now my AVClub account is kind of fucked up.  Good show.

        • The_Asinus

           Ugh. I’ll just keep them separate and stop worrying about it, then. I know who I am… I just need to find my avatar.

  • BK0077

    I’ve spoken with apes more polite than you.

    • http://twitter.com/WillGarroutte WillGarroutte

      How appropriate, you fight like a cow.

  • shroat

    Tim Schafer is among the most brilliant auteurs in video games. All his games have been funny, weird and delightful. And not video-game funny. Actually funny.

  • colliewest

    Brutal Legend sold 1.67 million copies across Xbox 360 and PS3. I know it was a big budget game but for something so outside the norm that is amazing. How many copies would have made it a success?

    I suppose this is the reason Double Fine seem to be doing much better working on a smaller scale. The original Monkey Island sold 200 000 copies and that was considered a success.

    Schafer and Ron Gilbert always make the point that the desire for adventure games never went away, it just stayed the same while the industry got huge around them.

    I’m really excited about the Kickstarter project because all of a sudden it didn’t matter that only 0.0015% of the world’s population cared if Schafer made another point and click. We could send him $15 and sit back and watch it happen.

  • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Luke

    “1. The Secret of Monkey Island: Available as a download on
    consoles and via Steam this early adventure game is worth playing if
    only for the enlightening creator commentary track from Schafer and Ron
    Gilbert”

    Secret of Monkey Island’s re-release didn’t have a commentary track. It just had abysmal new art and kind of annoying voicework. It’s still definitely worth playing for those who never have, though (I’d personally turn off the new graphics).

    MI2 had commentary by Schafer, Gilbert and Grossman, which was pretty good. The new art was also less amateurish, but still couldn’t hold a candle to Steve Purcell’s original work.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gus.mastrapa Gus Mastrapa

      You’re totally right. Will make that correction too. I replayed all the games in a week or two and it all started to bleed together. Will do a better fact check on my next Dossier. Promise.

    • BK0077

      The voice work was a bit grating at times, but I thought the new art was cool, especially since it was so easy to toggle back and forth between the original and the enhanced.

      I was also surprised at how comfortably they modded the old inventory/command system. It made the game easier, but also pretty modern in feel.

      I’d love to see someone do this for more LucasArts and possibly Sierra games.

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

         The interface tweaks were pretty cool, especially for playing it on a console, except that they made one of the puzzles (the grog puzzle) almost unwinnable.

        But that “art,” good gravy. The original Secret of Monkey Island (the 256-color version, anyway) had some of the best graphics of any game at the time, and had some of the best art direction (courtesy Steve Purcell) of any game of any time. Replacing it with that gross, sloppy, dollar-store cartoon artwork was a travesty. Even apart from subjective stuff like style, several of the backgrounds were unfinished, with elements that simply weren’t fully painted, blatant copy & pasting, or actual holes through which you could still see the pixel art that had been painted over.

        The whole thing made me so mad. So much disrespect to one of the games that MADE that company. And I was super nervous about them touching Monkey 2, which is probably my favorite in the series. They did a better job of that one, thankfully, though the art was still a bit of a downgrade (it certainly wasn’t the horror show the first one was, though).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003104945907 Ellie O’Brien

    I loved playing Secret of Monkey Island and Day Of The Tentacle growing up, very nice to know who the man who brought me such joy is.

    (I am Bawdy Irish Strumpet at the AV Club BTW).

  • tylerjaymartin

    I found a typo:

    “Brütal Legend (2005) would be Schafer’s most ambitious…”
    Brütal Legend came out in 2009, not 2005.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gus.mastrapa Gus Mastrapa

      Thanks for that. Will make the correction.

  • jfudge

    I really liked Costume Quest. I hope DF does more games like this.

  • Swadian Knight

    I’ve had Costume Quest on my play list for a while now, and now I think I’ll finally cross it off my backlog.

    Unless I end up reinstalling Psychonauts or Full Throttle. Again.

    • dreadguacamole

       Do try it. It’s almost noxiously cute, in a very direct way – as opposed to Psychonauts, which had a lot of very mature concerns under it’s colored candy coating.

  • Aymanut

    This was really good article, it looks like this will be a great site.

  • planetoffinks

    I’m gonna have to disagree. This article read like someone summarizing Tim Schafer’s wikipedia page and I’m not sure what the reason for its existence is. There’s no new point of view or way of thinking about the dude, just a straight list of the games he’s made.

    • planetoffinks

       I mean I guess if he had tons and tons of games, and people needed a guide to getting into him, an article like this would be helpful. But he’s made only 7 full length games in 22 years. A list of which ones to try isn’t really necessary.

    • Juan_Carlo

      That’s the first thing I thought too.  What, exactly, is the point of this article?  Schaffer is like one of the most beloved figures in gaming, so if you are going to write yet another article about him best bring something new to the table.  As you say, this read like a wikipedia page.

  • http://twitter.com/martintsang Martin Tsang

    I thought Jack Black played a character named “Eddie Riggs”?

    • Shain Eighmey

      That was the idea, but pretty quickly into the game it becomes very clear that Jack Black is playing Jack Black. 

  • Mike D

    I loved Grim Fandango, but I was fairly young when it came out (15 or so). I’d love to revisit it, but my mac is a tad old and didn’t run the install I found very well.

  • Shain Eighmey

    To me, the real problem with Brutal Legend was the open world part of the game, as it almost felt tacked on and empty. The game was definitely at its best when it was being closely steered as an action/adventure/RTS, but the good bits quickly lost focus when the game more or less just said “Alright, go entertain yourself for a bit! We’re tired.”

    Still, it made me realize that Tim Schafer has a great deal to offer games, but perhaps big budget productions aren’t the right environment for him. 

  • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM

    I am sorry to say that the only Tim Schafer game I’ve managed to beat is Pyschonauts (which is one of my favorites)

    every adventure game I try, Lucasarts or otherwise almost always ends in me getting stuck, having to check Gamefaqs, getting stuck again, checking Gamefaqs again, it’s a vicious cycle until I eventually get bored and give up (constantly going between Gamefaqs and the game gets old)

    I’m just terrible at the puzzles, I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is

  • William Hume

    Very well written article perfect offshoot for the A.V. Club