When we started building Thimbleweed Park one of the basic premises was to capture the charm of our Lucasfilm (later called LucasArts, but I never got used to that name) games like Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island.
It became more than just recreating those games, but recreating our memories of those games. We remember nostalgic memories much better than they were. We remember all the good things, but forget all the bad things. It was shinier, more colorful and brighter than it really was.
When we started production and delved into the art and design, we realized we needed to match players memories of playing those games, not how they actually were. It wasn’t just about recreating 80s 8-bit art, but recreating how players remember that art, and how new players imagined it looked like.
That became the touchstone for all of our decisions. We’d have great 8-bit art, but we added dynamic GPU driven lighting. We added smooth scrolling for the screens and countless layers of parallaxing. We added a lot of special case animations, something we never had the disk space or memory for back then. We added full voice with lip-syncing. “Witchcraft!” We would have said back then.
We also looked at the design of the game and the puzzles, worked them to be challenging but not frustrating. Made sure players always had the information they needed, without giving anything away. We added notebooks, so each character has a list of tasks they need to be doing. Again, never giving the puzzle away, just a reminder of what needs to be done.
Our goal with Thimbleweed Park was to build a game that was how you remember the golden age of adventure games. We hope it’s just how you remembered them.