The only thing more awesome than a recent Kickstarter inspired by Day of the Tentacle is to suddenly have yet another one being pitched by Maniac Mansion’s original creators, Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, that furthermore seeks to kick it even older school! Having not only decided that it’s been far too long since they last made a game together, but also that modern gamers are too spoiled by thing like simple interfaces and detailed graphics, the duo plan for this new game to both play and look like something ancient. Thusly — with these goals in mind — the devilish duo began concocting a series of plans intended to combine wonky humor, ultra blocky graphics, and insidious puzzles into a Graphic Adventure that they would eventually begin referring to as Thimbleweed Park.
Since there is simply no way in which I could ever possibly do proper justice to Ron Gilbert’s unique style of writing, I will now defer to his own description of the titular town in which their ultra-retro Graphic Adventure game is set to take place:
Thimbleweed Park is the curious story of two washed up detectives called in to investigate a dead body found in the river just outside of town. It’s a game where you switch between five playable characters while uncovering the dark, satirical and bizarre world of Thimbleweed Park.
Lost along a dusty stretch of highway, the town of Thimbleweed Park once boasted an opulent hotel, a vibrant business district and the state’s largest pillow factory, but now teeters on the edge of oblivion and continues to exist for no real reason. It’s a town that makes you itch and your skin crawl. It’s a place no one ever looks for, but everyone seems to find.
Not far from town, Delores and her siblings are gathered at the reading of her rich uncle’s will where the backstabbing, intrigue and puzzle solving knows no end. How is this all connected to the dead body under the bridge? Good question.
At the long abandoned circus grounds, Ransome the Clown had been cursed and can never remove his make-up. How did he get into this situation? How can he get out? Does he really want to? What’s up with that dead body slowly bloating in the water? Who knows!
Meanwhile, on the 13th floor of the Edmund hotel, Franklin wakes up with no idea how he got there. But that’s not the weird part. The weird part is that he’s dead. Spoiler: He’s not the body found just outside of Thimbleweed Park. Wow! That’s confusing. Don’t panic, we’re just as confused as you are.
In order to solve this series of mysteries you’ll have to go hyper old school and construct sentences — such as: “use balloon animal with corpse” — one word at a time, all until you finally find something useful (or perhaps just profoundly wrong, both are equally good). If Graphic Adventure fans have gone fat and lazy thanks to today’s easy to use — fully context-sensitive — single click interfaces, Ron Gilbert proudly proclaims that he will make them lean and mean once with his retro interface stylings (circa 1987)! It is for this same reason that he promises that Thimbleweed Park will be as God meant for games to be seen, withCommodore 64 style pixels so large that “a family of six can live inside.”
Although some modern gamers might think that Ron Gilbert and David Winnick’s plans — which are so old school that other retro games feel like babies by comparison — to be pure folly, and yet the voting voice of Kickstarter’s community would so far disagree heavily. Already — with 16 days still to go — the project has so far raised a staggering $446k. Thus it would seem that a good deal many people agree with the duo’s plans to not simply just make a game inspired by earlier titles, but an actually retro Graphic Adventure — by the genre’s creators — minus all that modern cruft.
Here’s hoping that at least one puzzle requires you to shove a hamster into a microwave.
But wait, even more important than the fact that a new Graphic Adventure game is being Kickstarted — and furthermore by the same people whom designed Maniac Mansion — is the fact that Thimbleweed Park may even potentially end up on our very own iDevices! All that Ron Gilbert and Dave Winnick need to do — in order for this blessed reality to become real — is reach their mobile release stretch goal, which — despite being set at a whopping $525k — is currently seeming a rather likely thing to happen. Still, it wouldn’t hurt if you decided to chip in a few dollars — or perhaps even more — all in order to ensure that this goal (as well as various others) gets secured by the safest margin possible.
To that end a pledge of just $20 — or $1.57 in 1987 dollars — is all that’s needed in order for one to secure their very own launch day copy of Thimbleweed Park (sorry, PC users only). However — perhaps most important of all — is the fact that by adding just an extra $5 dollars to your pledge, Ron Gilbert has furthermore promised to provide absolution to your lingering guilt for pirating either Maniac Mansion or Monkey Island back in the day. WARNING: Ron Gilbert’s Absolution — which is void where prohibited — is only being provided for these specific games, and no other sins committed — up to and including having pirated other classic Lucasarts games — will be forgiven via this pledge increase.
Meanwhile — for those desperately seeking something more than just Ron Gilbert’s forgiveness — there is of course backer swag available to those whom donate above and beyond to this project, because it wouldn’t really be a proper Kickstarter thing otherwise. These expanded backer rewards include things such as: the game’s sound track, your name appearing in the game’s phonebook, the project art book, posters, “a fully wearable T-Shirt,” your actual likeness appearing in game as an NPC, and various other stuff. Finally, for those whom impressively donate over $10k, Ron Gilbert and Dave Winnick have promised to handcraft a plushie for you — “guaranteed to make your friends say ‘what game is that from’?” — based on any Thimbleweed Park character of your choosing!
However, be sure to act fast before Thimbleweed Park’s Kickstarter — as well as your one and only chance to ever receive Ron Gilbert’s “Guilt Absolution” — ends eternally when December 18th finally arrives.