Oh Man, Thimbleweed Park is a follow-up to Maniac Mansion!
Some people might regard the title of this article as a spoiler, but it's not really. You find this out about 30 minutes into Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick's Thimbleweed Park.
It about made me fall out of my chair.
I followed Thimbleweed Park's development from a bit of a distance. It started as a crowdfunding project a few years ago. Ron Gilbert wanted to make a new adventure game in the style of the old adventure games he'd made years before.
It wasn't the first time a classic game design luminary had made this type of pitch.
In fact, my mind immediately went back to the Double Fine Adventure, a famous early Kickstarter game success. When that project got a ton of extra money...its scope and visual design were greatly expanded, and I personally thought that the final product lacked most of the charm of the classics it was supposed to be inspired by.
So I approached Thimbleweed Park with a little skepticism...though I totally loved what little I managed to see. They actually kept the public absurdly up-to-date with its progress, through various blog posts and podcasts.
Truly, this was the spiritual successor to the old SCUMM games from Lucasfilm that I had been waiting for. It came out in March...and I didn't get around to buying it right away. I was busy with other stuff excuse excuse etc. In the time since launch, the game has received a boatload of extra free content, which is pretty amazing.
Because I followed the game from a distance, I knew the official line that this game would be a spiritual successor to the original Maniac Mansion. I knew it would share a similar art style, interface, and mechanic of switching between different playable characters.
I could never have anticipated that characters and plot elements from that classic franchise would show up in this new game.
And it's so tremendously cool.
I've only played about 90 minutes of the game so far, and already it's one of the best gaming experiences I've had this year, and in a long time. I should have bought this game at launch, and I'll probably buy the console versions now in order to make amends and help support this phenomenal thing. It really is like a game that dropped, fully-formed, out of about 1996 and into now.
If you've ever liked an adventure game, you owe it to yourself to play Thimbleweed Park. If you've never played an adventure game, and you don't have the patience to check out the classics, this seems like a wonderful place to start. It captures all of the charm and clever design of old computer games with just enough modern polish to feel like a new thing.
Thimbleweed Park is exactly the game I've wanted for well over a decade, and I am beyond thrilled that it exists. I would tell anyone who listened to me that I wished Ron Gilbert would make a Maniac Mansion 3...and now he totally has.
Now if only Disney would let him have Monkey Island back...