LucasArts – The End Of An Era

Todd Rabanus April 12, 2013 0

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Life is a crazy, winding road that leads you to places you never thought you would love to see and places that you never wanted to see, but somehow ended up there with no way to get. I’m 35. I’m not young anymore, but not old by anyone’s standards (except my daughter’s). Old enough to appreciate the past and young enough to embrace new experiences.

When I first heard of George Lucas selling his empire to Disney, I was stoked as all hell. I am a HUGE fan of the original Star Wars trilogy. So much in fact that when I first moved out of my parent’s house and started renting my own house, a life size cardboard cutout of Boba Fett stood guard in the window next to the front door. I’m pleased to say that my house was never broken into. Thanks Fettster! I was immediately heartbroken after standing in line for 12 hours just to be the first to see the abomination that was The Phantom Menace. The following two movies of the prequel trilogy left me so jaded that I haven’t watched a Star Wars film since The Revenge of the Sith.

I had lost faith in George Lucas as a director, but applauded him in handing over the reigns to the franchise to someone that could do it better. Sometimes in life you have to be careful for what you wish for. I was so preoccupied with the promise of future Star Wars films that I had forgotten about LucasArts, George Lucas’s game company. Unfortunately Disney hadn’t forgotten – LucasArts closed its doors this past April 3, 2013.

I was immediately floored with the news. It seems like everything from my childhood is crumbling around. First it was the crappy Transformers films, then the laughable excuse for a G.I. Joe film, then Nintendo Power ceased publication and now LucasArts is shutting down. That’s the moment I had my epiphany, “I’m getting way too old for this shit”.

My first introduction to LucasArts was a game that just happened to become one of my favorite games of all time, Maniac Mansion. I was never really into adventure games up until then. Sure I was wowed by MYST (as I’m sure we all were) and I played out my teenage sexual perversions, which I still haven’t gotten over,  through Leisure Suit Larry. Games like Space Quest and King’s Quest never could keep my attention, though. Maniac Mansion, along with its stellar sequel Day of the Tentacle, immediately drew me in with its vivid graphics and humor that an 11 year old boy could relate to. It is because of Maniac Mansion that I have learned never to put a hamster in the microwave and is the only reason why I know what a Ford Edsel is.

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LucasArts created a new game engine for Maniac Mansion they dubbed SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) that it used to showcase one of Lucasfilm’s greatest franchises, Indiana Jones. Coinciding with the theatrical release of the movie of the same name LucasArts made Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade. If you are a fan of the movie then I recommend it. Even better than that though was the release of Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis. Unlike the previous Indiana Jones game Fate of Atlantis was an original storyline giving fans a further look into the life of Indiana Jones they couldn’t see on the big screen.  If only they would have used the plot from this game for the fourth film.

Like the rest of the world, I was a huge fan of Doom. First Person Shooter’s were new to the scene and I thought nothing could ever be better than Doom. It was then that a friend of mine said”Todd if you like Doom then you would dig Dark Forces“. “What the hell is that?” I said. “Well it’s like the Star Wars version of Doom”. Before he could finish his sentence I was on my bike halfway to toys r us. I couldn’t pedal any faster. Remember the scene in Forrest Gump when he’s running and his leg braces start falling off? That’s exactly what my bike looked like. When I got home I don’t think I touched Doom ever again. There was no need to. I was living out my Star Wars fantasies, well not all of them but they have yet to make a game for those.

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Through the years LucasArts released other amazing games like Grim Fandango, X-Wing Series, Secret of Monkey Island, and Knights of the Old Republic to name a few, but the last few years haven’t been too kind to the company. Games like Fracture, Star Wars Pod Racer, and Kinect Star Wars had me questioning the future of a company that I had once considered to be pioneers of the art….And then came E3 2012 and my socks were blown off by a trailer for Star Wars 1313. SW1313 stars a bounty hunter navigating the Coruscant underground searching for presumably bounties. The game even made my list of must games in 2013. Now it looks like this game has been cancelled and that’s a dang shame.

Disney I’ll say it again, “I’m getting too old for this shit”.

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