They say, “Never meet your heroes.” Luckily, they are sometimes wrong.
With apologies to my two lovely co-hosts, I’d like to start this blog post with a personal anecdote.
Through the magic of simply switching on a microphone and yammering into the void, I have been fortunate enough to actually talk to people I used to just merely admire through their work. Two game series in particular helped shape me into the socially awkward, sarcastic bastard I am today — Sierra On-Line’s Space Quest and Access Software’s Tex Murphy.
When The Two Guys From Andromeda, Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe, called me up back in February 2012 and asked me to be part of their Kickstarter campaign for SpaceVenture, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. This week, I had that same feeling again.
Because this week’s guests were none other than Aaron Conners, Mat Van Rhoon, and Chris Jones — better known as, respectively, the writer, the 3D artist, and the man himself of the Tex Murphy games.
The history of computer games. A list of one fucking game after another leading to perfection – King’s Quest V.
We have pushed this view of history for a long time on this show. But apparently there’s another way to look at things. To put us straight, we phoned up Laine Nooney and asked her to explain what we’ve been doing wrong.
As the historian of the group, I was asked to mediate the discussion. Which was a good call, since it only took her five minutes to chastise Troels for his terrible jokes about academics. She was right to do so. And we all thank her for it.
Background music in fiction is something we tend to take for granted. That’s not to do say it’s not appreciated. It very often is. But how often do you sit down in front of a game and consider what dramatic impact the music has because it sounds exactly like it does? We’re going to return to the adventure game fan favourite DOOM yet another time for an example:
Consider what difference the music makes in the video above. Bobby Prince’s sweet metal score for the PC original has caused its share of sweaty teenage headbanging. It tells the story of a psyched lone wolf who’s out to kick ass and spit bubblegum at whatever hellish cannon fodder his boomstick should blow to bits.
The music for the PlayStation port tells a very different tale. Evil lurks around every corner. Outgunned and outmanned, you clutch your weak pistol and begin your descent through a demonic onslaught of Lovecraftian proportions, against which you have little to no hope. Sort of how I felt when I had to duke it out with the Danish public transportation system to make the episode recording in time (which I didn’t).
The latter, nightmarish soundtrack was brewed up by this week’s guest: Aubrey Hodges.
If you’ve listened all the way to the end of our episode with Tom Hall, you may have noticed he talked about having made a Commander Keen level in Super Mario Maker. We promised Tom we’d link to those levels in the episode’s blog post, and … did we remember to do that? No. No, of course we didn’t.
So, with apologies to the always-phenomenal Tom, here’s some extra content for you cool kids out there: Tom Hall’s “Keen Mario” level, as well as some bonus levels by Tom.
(Of course, you’re going to need one of those Nintendo-ish things — the WiiU or 3DS — and a copy of Super Mario Maker to play these.)
It’s sort of amazing how positive things will converge at random times. The entire guest roster for this season makes us all warm and fuzzy inside, but once in a while, a very special guest will say yes to partake in our shenanigans.
Truthfully, we admire every single person we invite to join us here, but certain guests transcend mere admiration. They’ve been with us since our childhoods. Their work is part of our respective DNA. In layman’s terms, they’re fucking heroes.
One such person is the mastermind behind the Commander Keen series, Rise of the Triad, Anachronox, and the ever-present Dopefish: Tom Hall.