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Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.



What is this?

Grim Fandango is an adventure game directed by Tim Schafer and released by LucasArts. Initially released in 1998, it was the first adventure game by LucasArts to use a 3D engine and despite the change in controls and some mechanics, it plays pretty much like their earlier releases. Despite this game being regarded as a commercial failure upon release, it won many awards, was highly regarded by critics and to this day is regularly regarded as one of the best video games of all time. It's one of my all-time favourites,

Grim Fandango is set in the Land Of The Dead and we play as Manny Calavera who is a travel agent at the Department Of Death, our job is to sell travel packages for newly deceased clients on their journey to eternal rest. The game is split into four acts, each of them set on November 2nd and plays out over four consecutive years. It combines a lot of elements of film noir and Mexican culture.

I'll be playing the remastered version of the game which features improved textures, audio and a fully orchestrated soundtrack. The team also worked with people who made fan-made of the original game to incorporate them into the remastered version including a different control system, a point 'n' click style interface and various patches & graphical improvements

LP details

I aim to upload at least one video a week and I will be recording commentary live as I play. No spoilers please, if you need too then please use the appropriate tags.

Let's Play: Grim Fandango - Remastered
















Bonus Videos
Year One - Additional Scenes & Dialogue
Open Mic Night - Manny's Poem
Rusty Anchor
Year Two - Additional Scenes & Dialogue
Year Three - Additional Scenes & Dialogue
Year Four - Additional Scenes & Dialogue

Rocket Baby Dolls fucked around with this message at 19:36 on Feb 9, 2021

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EricFate
Aug 31, 2001

Crumpets. Glorious Crumpets.

Real professionals use tank controls only.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.

EricFate posted:

Real professionals use tank controls only.

I did that for the first time over twenty years ago and got the achievement for doing it once again five years ago. You've seen at least one of my previous LP's, I have no idea where you got the idea that I was any kind of professional...

Assistant Manager Devil
Sep 17, 2007

I canne has cîsebœuf?





Excellent, this is one of those games that I think is an all time great conceptually but don't really like playing, even in the remaster. Will enjoy watching without actually having to deal with it myself.

Hwurmp
May 20, 2005

I LIKE TO MAKE VAGUE THREATS TO PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE I AM TOUGH GUY. P.S. ASK ME ABOUT THE TIME A GIRL BEAT ME UP IN GRADE SCHOOL. HER NAME WAS SUZIE SHE DREW A BIG WEINER ON MY FOREHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Still some of the best writing in games.

Samovar
Jun 4, 2011

I'm not a hero...





The comment about the suit of cards is absolutely en pointe.

OutofSight
May 4, 2017


Considering how obscure some adventures like "Journeyman Project" or "Chronomaster" are (at least to me), Grim Fandango seems almost mainstream. Been a while that i played it and while i own the remaster on GOG i never had to time to revisit the game.

Got the console controls and non-existing UI-feedback any better?
I remember you had to look at Manny' neck and press the "investigate key" to somehow find out with which objects or scenery you could interact or what those are. There was no text like in Monkey Island 4 to tell you what exactly are you looking at.

Assistant Manager Devil
Sep 17, 2007

I canne has cîsebœuf?





OutofSight posted:


I remember you had to look at Manny' neck and press the "investigate key" to somehow find out with which objects or scenery you could interact or what those are. There was no text like in Monkey Island 4 to tell you what exactly are you looking at.

I hated that so much back in the day, I can't even remember if I stuck with the game to the end. Fundamentally I don't think the 3D style works as well as 2D point-and-click, but if MI4 had one thing going for it, it was that text at least making it playable.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.



Manny's bad day is just getting worse and he decides that he's going to do something about it. Although, getting back at colleagues while frustrated and stressed may not be the most ideal way to handle things. For better or worse, Manny's day is going to get a lot more interesting...

OutofSight posted:

Got the console controls and non-existing UI-feedback any better?
I remember you had to look at Manny' neck and press the "investigate key" to somehow find out with which objects or scenery you could interact or what those are. There was no text like in Monkey Island 4 to tell you what exactly are you looking at.

I prefer the tank controls over camera-related, that might be more out of nostalgia and how I've always played the game before now. If you do play with keyboard or controller you still don't get any text notifications, it's still in the old way of Manny craning his neck to show that something can be interacted with. The mouse controls make navigating the game a lot easier as you can use the cursor to find the interactive hotspots as well as navigating around each location.

Assistant Manager Devil posted:

I hated that so much back in the day, I can't even remember if I stuck with the game to the end. Fundamentally I don't think the 3D style works as well as 2D point-and-click, but if MI4 had one thing going for it, it was that text at least making it playable.

The 3D style was a response to changing technology and the dying days of the original era of adventure games. Grim Fandango was one of the first 3D adventure games and the first on this level, as much as there some things that didn't work there's a lot that they got right. Monkey Island 4 expanded on some mechanics more and made things a little more accessible, but between the two I believe that it doesn't hold up as well as Grim Fandango.

Adventure games suffered a lot with the 3D transition. The sales figures behind Grim Fandango and Escape From Monkey Island were one the driving forces behind LucasArts cancelling the Full Throttle and Sam & Max sequels, they just felt like the market for adventure games had disappeared. The development and release of Simon The Sorcerer 3D crippled the developers completely. King's Quest: Mask Of Eternity and Gabriel Knight 3 didn't fare well and after Sierra was sold, the studio was laid off alongside Al Lowe and Scott Murphy. Subsequently, Leisure Suit Larry 8 and Space Quest 7 were cancelled.

It was not a good period for adventure games in general, but those that had taken the leap did so with some very unfortunate consequences.

Rocket Baby Dolls fucked around with this message at 15:00 on Dec 18, 2020

benjoyce
Aug 3, 2007
Swashbuckler from Meleť island

Can't wait until we get into the scrimshaw parlour in Rubacava and listen to the Hungarian ramblings of Toto Santos.

Assistant Manager Devil
Sep 17, 2007

I canne has cîsebœuf?





Wow....I forgot how weird the "living" look. In retrospect it feels very much like something you might see in Psychonauts, which makes sense. (Tangentially relevant, I'm convinced Psychonauts would've been an all-timer if it had been made as a LucasArts-esque adventure game, instead of the mostly ho-hum/aggravating platformer we got)

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Watching an LP of this game is basically the perfect way of experiencing it, and experienced it should be. Did the early 3D adventure genre ever work well? The extra dimension seems to add nothing to the game.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.

anilEhilated posted:

Watching an LP of this game is basically the perfect way of experiencing it, and experienced it should be. Did the early 3D adventure genre ever work well? The extra dimension seems to add nothing to the game.

I just think that they were a bit ahead of their time. It was a new avenue for a lot of companies and everyone went down their own merry pathways.

I think that LucasArts did get a lot right with GF and MI4 with the limitations of the new engine. They kept to the same kind of format of previous adventure games but in a 3D world, they kept things simple and it worked all the better for it.

Sierra changed the mechanics for Kings Quest 8 by introducing combat, but they also pretty much stripped the identity of the series completely out of it too. I haven't played Gabriel Knight 3 but I know that it will forever live in infamy.

Simon The Sorcerer 3D... a game that I LP'd a couple of years ago. The writing and voice acting were good but it couldn't save the gameplay. The game world was pretty big but most of it was filled with nothing, you'd have to run an unnecessary amount of distance to reach places of interest until you unlocked fast travel. It was marred with some frustrating puzzles and stealth segments. It wasn't fun to play at all.

I haven't played Broken Sword 3 in over fifteen years but I remember enjoying it at the time. Apart from those drat puzzles involving pushing objects around a maze type grid.

Edit: I need to watch my MI4 LP as I think my brain has blocked out some puzzles. I'm remembering that boss battle at the end and I can't remember if it was just lovely mechanics or terrible puzzle design.

Edit 2: I've just remembered, it was terrible puzzle design. That puzzle was absolute wank!

Rocket Baby Dolls fucked around with this message at 13:27 on Dec 19, 2020

Nidoking
Jan 27, 2009

I fought the lava, and the lava won.


I think what you need to remember about the 3D transition is that software developers, in general, have less control over what they're doing the larger the company they work for is, and that a lot of management has no idea what product they make or how it's used in the real world. Sierra, in particular, were in the middle of a buyout that left them with little creative control. This was also the era when multiplayer was shifting from something nerds did by gathering a bunch of computers in a basement and running a DOOM server to a core aspect of games. The original Team Fortress came out at about this time. If you haven't witnessed a CEO reading a glowing review of a game totally unlike anything they've ever made before and suddenly deciding that their company needs to drop everything they're doing and make THIS thing instead, then I don't know what games you've been playing. 3D was the thing every game had to have, and if they could cram multiplayer in as well, then Quest for Glory V might have made more sense than it ultimately did. (Anyone remember when it was going to be an actual race against other players to complete the objectives? Anyone remember Quest for Glory V?) Lucasarts, to their credit, largely kept the adventure game sensibilities that they were famous for, but the 3D part really got in the way. There's no reason Grim Fandango needed tank controls. Escape from Monkey Island, in my opinion, just suffered from a diminishing pool of good ideas, but the 3D style didn't help it in the least. Sierra just buckled completely, to the point that, according to an article I read some time ago, Roberta Williams pretty much threw her hands up and left the Mask of Eternity team because it wasn't her game anymore. They got producer credit for games like Half-Life, Power Chess, Hunter Hunted, and the early You Don't Know Jack games. I don't think anybody really wanted most of that, but management saw diminishing sales and customer dissatisfaction not as a signal to reverse course and start making games the way they used to, but as a sign that adventure games were dead. Insert relevant Who Killed Hannibal meme here.

To be honest, it's not that far from what Myst almost did to the graphic adventure game scene a few years earlier. Suddenly, FMV and logical mechanisms were the thing everybody had to do. At least those aspects still supported adventure games, when done right, and Sierra didn't lean too hard into them. I think Lucasarts ignored that shift completely.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Nidoking posted:

If you haven't witnessed a CEO reading a glowing review of a game totally unlike anything they've ever made before and suddenly deciding that their company needs to drop everything they're doing and make THIS thing instead, then I don't know what games you've been playing.
Not adventures, but point taken; I do remember this trend from strategy games where early 3D also did nothing but look horrible. Still, what I find interesting is that adventure games have mostly come full circle - it's probably because today they're usually released by small studios, but they seem to have avoided the demand for "realistic" 3D (barring stuff like Sherlock Holmes) and can, in this day and age, make do with stylized or straight-up retro graphics. It probably helps they aren't really considered AAA material anymore.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.

I do feel bad for Adventure Soft as they were only a small development team. The third Simon The Sorcerer game was pretty far into development but nobody wanted to pick it up as it wasn't a 3D game. The switch to 3D engine meant a complete redesign and rewrite of the game and added a further eighteen months onto development time. The original publisher for the game pulled out at the last minute as Hasbro decided to sell themselves to Infogrames and after two years in limbo Adventure Soft decided to publish the game themselves. By this time it was too late as the game upon release was already dated. The decision to move to 3D crippled the company and they said that moving to 3D was a mistake.

Nidoking posted:

There's no reason Grim Fandango needed tank controls. Escape from Monkey Island, in my opinion, just suffered from a diminishing pool of good ideas, but the 3D style didn't help it in the least. Sierra just buckled completely, to the point that, according to an article I read some time ago, Roberta Williams pretty much threw her hands up and left the Mask of Eternity team because it wasn't her game anymore.

You've put things into more perspective and thank you for clarifying more surrounding Sierra. I still remember playing Kings\Space\Police Quest games on the Atari ST and hearing the news on the cancellation of Space Quest 7 many years later. It was surreal knowing that a company famous for a lot of quality of adventure games would no longer be investing any further in them.

I do agree with there being no use for tank controls in Grim Fandango, they only used them because it was popular in other games at the time. Schafer did say later on that it didn't work for adventure games.

anilEhilated posted:

Still, what I find interesting is that adventure games have mostly come full circle - it's probably because today they're usually released by small studios, but they seem to have avoided the demand for "realistic" 3D (barring stuff like Sherlock Holmes) and can, in this day and age, make do with stylized or straight-up retro graphics. It probably helps they aren't really considered AAA material anymore.

I think that it's helped now that we have access to a games market that doesn't revolve stocking what's mostly in the charts. I think Nidoking put it well with "a CEO reading a glowing review of a game totally unlike anything they've ever made before and suddenly deciding that their company needs to drop everything they're doing and make THIS thing instead". It's always going to be this way and for better or worse, these companies are looking for the short term pay-checks. The adventure game audience never went away, at least I can buy a digital copy of "The Curse Of Monkey Island" to download and play when I want too. There have been a lot of solid adventure games released this past decade or so which deserve a lot of credit for keeping the genre alive.

I've inadvertently been discovering how the 3D adventure game is being kept alive within the past few months or so.

ArchWizard
Mar 27, 2009

There's the Roy I know and love.


I hope Glottis doesn't get punished for modifying the car or driving us around, since he's apparently the only person in the game who's happier now thanks to our actions.

Samovar
Jun 4, 2011

I'm not a hero...





Gods do I love the Mesoamerican-Art deco aesthetic.

MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012




Looking forward to this. I read about Grim Fandango when it was first released in the 90's and absolutely loved the concept and setting, but didn't have the money to buy it, then when I saw the Remaster (and bought it), I just bounced off the adventure game bullcrap.

Kibayasu
Mar 28, 2010



Hurley is exactly the kind of rear end in a top hat I can enjoy.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.



In this video, we meet our hero and find out why he busted us out of confinement. Hopefully, he can aid us in our search for Meche and help us locate Glottis, wherever he may be.

Lulti
Nov 27, 2016


The way some lines have absolutely no pause between is rather jarring after playing the original release for many years. Especially that last part with Clottis cutting off his own wailing.
Some game were never meant to be played on super fast computers, which was true way back when with the forklift.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.

Lulti posted:

The way some lines have absolutely no pause between is rather jarring after playing the original release for many years. Especially that last part with Clottis cutting off his own wailing.
Some game were never meant to be played on super fast computers, which was true way back when with the forklift.

That was me clicking too soon, twice, thinking that I was back in control. I apologise, I didn't think it was bad enough to re-record the entire segment again.

Edit: I've added a note to the video description. I made the same mistake earlier in the video and did re-record a segment because I missed a line entirely. Perhaps I should have re-recorded this one.

Rocket Baby Dolls fucked around with this message at 22:07 on Dec 22, 2020

Nidoking
Jan 27, 2009

I fought the lava, and the lava won.


I probably never poked around this game enough to find some of the great lines. So much I missed. But I'm sad that you didn't use the Robert Frost balloon on the pigeons before using it in the correct way.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.

Nidoking posted:

I probably never poked around this game enough to find some of the great lines. So much I missed. But I'm sad that you didn't use the Robert Frost balloon on the pigeons before using it in the correct way.

I'll be going back through and recording more footage at some point. I'll make sure to include this.

If there are any optional stuff that anyone wants to be certain that it makes it into the main play through then please say. Make sure to spoiler tag it though. I'm playing this with a guide and working from my memory, it's been five years since I last played this and my memory isn't that great.

Bootcha
Nov 13, 2012

Truly, the pinnacle of goaltending


Grimey Drawer

quote:

Sales and Gaming Trends of the 90's and Early Aughts

I can really only speak for the space-sim side of the industry, but there's a bit of crossover with adventure games.

Quite simply, the late 90s console market share flood changed a lot of things in gaming. DOOM might have re-prioritized what games publishers and devs made, but the PS2 and XBox made everyone change where they wanted a product placed. And there were products that simply could not live up to the expectations of not just the publishers, but the customers as well. Space sims, adventure games, and grand strategy were not games that made the financial or accessible translation over to console. It sounds weird to say adventure games were inaccessible, since they're probably the most general public accessible genre outside of the puzzle genre (and it can be argued that adventure games are a subset of puzzle games, being a narrative logic puzzle in addition to math/pattern puzzle mechanics). However, adventure games were attempting to explore the space offered by 3D graphics, and found themselves struggling to fill that space with narrative drive, detail, and distraction, where as other games and genres didn't have that issue because of the adrenaline-fueled desire to move forward to the next map/mission/action piece. In addition, the demographic of gamers on the PS2/XBox consoles did not cater to pre-teen youth software to any measurable degree. Coupled with the adventure game demographic growing up (and out of the demographic), the writing was on the wall as to the old business model.

In hindsight, it could have been possible for an adventure game producer like LucasArts or Sierra to latch onto Nintendo as a more family-friendly-oriented platform for that genre (Domino Hurley in Super Smash Bros, imagine), but that would have required both convincing Nintendo to share some stage time with western influences (which at that time they weren't terribly inclined to do) and requiring a CEO who could keep their scope of operations in check. Neither of those things were in great abundance in the late 90's and early Aughts.

Nidoking
Jan 27, 2009

I fought the lava, and the lava won.


Counterpoint: They DID port a number of adventure games to consoles. The Maniac Mansion port to the NES at least seemed to be popular enough to enter the collective consciousness. Sierra's titles didn't fare as well, but I don't think the NES was up to the task of running King's Quest V very faithfully. It might have handled the first game about as well as the Master System did. I'd have liked to see some of those games on the SNES. The PS1 got ports of at least a few adventure games - I want to say the first Discworld game or two, and wasn't Blazing Dragons PS1-exclusive? So the partnership was there. They just didn't capitalize on it, or failed trying.

The 3D Lucasarts adventures were pretty clearly made for the PS2 generation, though. That's the platform I first played Escape from Monkey Island on. I think we can all agree that it was outside influence that drove them in that direction, and it didn't really work out.

Samovar
Jun 4, 2011

I'm not a hero...





Rocket Baby Dolls posted:

I'll be going back through and recording more footage at some point. I'll make sure to include this.

Yay

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.



In this video, Manny & Glottis make their way through the petrified forest in an effort to reach Rubacava. Were they in time or will they be facing a long wait for Meche? This video is the end of the first act.

Bonus Videos
Year One - Additional Scenes & Dialogue

I didn't try everything on everyone and everything else but did try out a lot of things. There were a couple of singular lines of dialogue that I missed out as they were fairly generic. If there is anything that I've missed out, let me know and I'll make a compilation at the end.

All timestamps are in the video description:

BLAM!, Additional Dialogue With Eva, Additional Scenes At The Hut, Additional Dialogue With Domino, Look Out Be-Dough!, An Unmarked Card, Manny & Meche's New Relationship, Additional Rooftop Scenes, Additional Petrified Forest Scenes.

Assistant Manager Devil
Sep 17, 2007

I canne has cîsebœuf?






Boy do I remember the first part of this one. Glottis's pretend-driving schtick is a really good character gag, but it sure gets old if you're stuck on that parts obtuse puzzles for an...embarrassingly long time. Like Crying Baby Mario levels of annoying.
At least it really picks up right afterwards when you run into the other characters, that part's well done.

Samovar
Jun 4, 2011

I'm not a hero...





In the additional scenes vid - how the heck can you get Manny to blow up??!?

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.

Assistant Manager Devil posted:

Boy do I remember the first part of this one. Glottis's pretend-driving schtick is a really good character gag, but it sure gets old if you're stuck on that parts obtuse puzzles for an...embarrassingly long time. Like Crying Baby Mario levels of annoying.
At least it really picks up right afterwards when you run into the other characters, that part's well done.

There's certain elements of the petrified forest that I like. But for the puzzles alone, it's the area that I always used to dread.

Samovar posted:

In the additional scenes vid - how the heck can you get Manny to blow up??!?

Type in 'blam' at any point in the game.

Kibayasu
Mar 28, 2010



Those air hoses definitely could have used some cartoon air bulges in them or something.

So are flaming beavers something in Mexican/Aztec myths or should I just stop thinking about the phrase flaming beavers

Angry Lobster
May 16, 2011

Served with honor
and some clarified butter.


Demonic flaming beavers are scary.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.



This video is the first part of the second year. Manny has settled into Rubacava and seems to have made a name for himself, Glottis has settled down and is joining life but there still hasn't been any sign of Meche. Maybe tonight's the night?


Kibayasu posted:

Those air hoses definitely could have used some cartoon air bulges in them or something.

So are flaming beavers something in Mexican/Aztec myths or should I just stop thinking about the phrase flaming beavers

Angry Lobster posted:

Demonic flaming beavers are scary.

I actually spent some time looking up beavers in ancient central American cultures and I couldn't find a single thing. There are plenty of mythical creatures and horrors to read about, but no beavers.

Samovar
Jun 4, 2011

I'm not a hero...





That elevator going up the cliffside is the scariest elevator I've seen, and I've used a paternoster for Christ's sake.

cambrian obelus
Sep 14, 2010

I've never seen a French woman before!


Soiled Meat

Rocket Baby Dolls posted:

I actually spent some time looking up beavers in ancient central American cultures and I couldn't find a single thing. There are plenty of mythical creatures and horrors to read about, but no beavers.

Beavers never made it to central america, they're only found north of the mojave desert in NA. Can't make myths about an animal you don't know exists.

Cloud Potato
Jan 8, 2011

"I'm... happy!"


Kinda surprised you didnít look at the moon when you were by the Limbo. Itís one of my favourite bits of the entire game.

Rocket Baby Dolls
Mar 3, 2006

Normally I don't make aesthetic criticisms in other peoples' homes, but that rug looks like a beaver exploded. If meat is murder, then that rug is at least a severe beating.

Cloud Potato posted:

Kinda surprised you didnít look at the moon when you were by the Limbo. Itís one of my favourite bits of the entire game.

I'm sure that I can make a slight detour in another update as we will be passing by there at least once. If not, I'll make sure to include it in a bonus video.

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Kibayasu
Mar 28, 2010



Such a change in scenery and tone but it feels like we're on the doorstep of leaving already.

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