If you’ve ever watched the ‘Star Wars’ films, then you probably know about LucasFilms. It’s the production company founded by George Lucas that’s been responsible for franchises like ‘Indiana Jones’ and, of course, ‘Star Wars.’ However, you might not be as familiar with LucasArts, the video game company Lucas established in the ’80s. For three decades, it produced some of the best adventure games ever made, and they’re still memorable to this day.
Released back in 1990, ‘The Secret of Monkey Island’ was a point-and-click graphic adventure game that was beloved by critics and gamers alike. It followed the adventures of Guybrush Threepwood, a hopeful would-be pirate who spent his time solving puzzles and chasing love while battling a vengeful ghost. The game was highly praised for its humor, as well as its stunning graphics and glorious soundtrack. What’s more, it was so impressive that it even spawned a whole franchise. There have been five main games released now in total, most of which have been critical hits.
To help produce their adventure games, LucasArts developed an engine known as SCUMM – Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion. One of the titles this helped create was ‘Loom,’ another release from the ’90s that sold poorly but received great acclaim. It was a graphic adventure that strayed from the norm by using music to progress through the game. Rather than having the character collect items and use them in the environment, the player instead influenced their surroundings through the use of an instrument. It was a revolutionary mechanic at the time, hence why it got such rave reviews.
The Fate of Atlantis
Given the popularity of ‘Indiana Jones,’ it was inevitable that the franchise would produce various video games. This included the 1992 release ‘The Fate of Atlantis,’ a point-and-click adventure game that saw the protagonist searching for the titular city. The game was so popular that it won numerous awards, and people now consider it an essential title in the genre. We can see why, what with its varied gameplay and captivating narrative. You can always rely on the ‘Indiana Jones’ series to tell a good tale, even if the stories are a bit out there.
Sam and Max
Sam and Max, aka the Freelance Police, weren’t an original creation by LucasArts. The duo existed in comic books for several years before George Lucas’ company got his hands on them. However, while they might not have been born at LucasArts, the company certainly helped make a name for these crazy characters. Their video game debut in 1993 brought great acclaim for its voice acting and graphical quality, as well as its gameplay. Solving puzzles with both logical and outrageous solutions had never been so fun before, and that charm hasn’t gone away.
Day of the Tentacle
The first game ever published by LucasArts was ‘Maniac Mansion,’ a graphic adventure that utilized horror film clichés to tell a compelling story. It was a critical hit, and spawned a 1993 sequel in the form of ‘Day of the Tentacle.’ Produced with a more cartoony art style than its predecessor, the follow-up is now considered one of the best video games ever made. Praised for its humor, animation, writing, and voice acting, there was a lot that LucasArts did right with this title. Evidently, they knew a thing or two about making great adventure games.
Although LucasArts ceased producing games after it was acquired by Disney, at least the company’s legacy lives on in these unforgettable titles.