Meet Ron Gilbert, the game designer behind classic LucasArts adventure games like Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island. In 2014, he and Gary Winnick raised over $600,000 on Kickstarter to create Thimbleweed Park, a video game following two washed-up detectives as they explore a very strange town. Three years (and a lot of work) later, Thimbleweed Park is ready to play.
Read on for a conversation with Gilbert about the Twin Peaks and X-Files-inspired game.
What should everyone should know about Thimbleweed Park?
One, Thimbleweed Park is a classic point-and-click adventure game, but with a lot of modern design sensibilities. Two, it’s a dark-noir comedy. Three, the ending is very controversial — and I like that.
What are five things every good adventure game needs?
- An interesting world to explore.
- Interesting characters that inhabit that world.
- An interesting story about what those characters are doing in that world.
- Puzzles that inform the player about the world, characters, or story. (If the puzzle doesn’t do one of those thing things, cut it.)
- Humor is vital. Players are often asked to do weird things, and humor allows them to embrace that.
Tell us about the game’s soundtrack, which is a throwback to the wonderful sounds of ‘90s gaming.
The soundtrack was meant to evoke the feeling of TV shows like Twin Peaks and The X-Files, where the music is slow and mysterious. With action games, you want music to drive the energy, but for a game like Thimbleweed Park, the music needs to create a mood of uneasiness.
I am really bad at math, so I find everything they do one step away from being magic.
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This piece originally appeared in our Handpicked Happening newsletter, where Kickstarter creators share their recommendations for things to read, watch, and listen to.
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