Game Club Episode 4: Grim Fandango

November’s game for the Game Club podcast is Grim Fandango!

I’m excited to get a chance to play. Give us your thoughts as you play along either by discussing here or sending us an email at Can’t wait to hear from you!

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Oooh, one of my favourites!! They released the remastered version recently, I played about halfway through but I got stuck. I’ve never managed to actually finish it but it’s such a cool game. The new version is great, they give you the option to disable the “tank controls”.

If you are a PC player, you can grab the game as part of the weekly Humble Bundle for the next couple days. It is slightly cheaper than the actual cost and you get six other games with it.

I played through this game in its entirety for the first time just a few years ago. It might be my favorite Lucas Arts adventure game, marred only by a sub-optimal (but still totally ok) interface.

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Looks like gog has the PC version on sale right now too. You can grab it for $5.09 here: Grim Fandango Remastered on

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This remastered version is fantastic. Upgraded graphics and music (without departing from the original) and, most importantly, death to the tank controls! This version da best.

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Ah, Grim Fandango. Such fond memories. Probably one of my all time favourites… Manny, Meche, Glottis, such great characters, such a great adventure, such a great story. I still have the original box somewhere. I think soon after this the adventure game genre sadly dissolved as other genres (e.g. FPS’s) gained popularity. Only recently has it been reborn in various guises (although today’s efforts seem to be much more episodic released interactive movies).

I’m not sure how well recreating the pure old-school adventure style works today though. I thought Tim Schafers Broken Age was ok. It had nostalgia value, but was frustrating in many ways (just the shear amount of running backwards and forwards and repetition).

I recently played the remastered version of Grim Fandango on my PS4. I think I was looking forward to it too much and expected too much. It looked fantastic, and I really did enjoy it, but I couldn’t help feeling somewhere a little bit disappointed. Not sure why, maybe the original represented a time and a place, discovering things for the first time, puzzles were new (and not frustrating, like they seem now), and the story was untold.

So, have we moved on in terms of what we expect from games? Possibly. Not always for the better though.

I still hold the original in such high regard, for all the reasons given. It set a standard at the time as a game which represented the peak of adventure puzzle based gaming. It was a without a shadow of a doubt a 5 star game, but playing it today (remastered), for me it didn’t shine as bright (ie 3-4 star).

…I’m sure many people will disagree!

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EDIT: [Apologies, sincerest apologies, I forget my manners. This is meant to be about Game Club Episode 4: Grim Fandago and I’ve posted an indulgent rant about modern adventure gaming and a shameless plug. I get carried away sometimes. Sorry! Feel free to delete my post, I won’t be offended.]

I agree with so much of what you’ve stated in your comment above that I have very little to add!
I must say that I too was very disappointed with Broken Age, for a variety of reasons. Part of the charm of old adventure/puzzle games was the frustration. It took me over a year to beat Hugo’s House of Horrors because it was a time before the internet, and you would just have to keep trying things until you finally broke through the puzzles. Today’s audiences don’t have patience. In Broken Age, the puzzles were way too easy. And I absolutely detested the art style, but that’s just a personal preference.

Do not fear though! Some developers are still carrying the torch. Wadjet Eye Games have been quietly releasing charming little classic adventure games for the last couple years. Have you dabbled in Primordia? It’s a wonderful beautiful little game that brought me immediately back to the old days of point-n-click adventuring. I don’t think they have a place in the AAA market any more, I think indie devs need to be the ones to make these and do them properly. I don’t think 3D is necessary, and disasters like Gabriel Knight 3 and Monkey Island 4 have shown this (although Grim Fandango is one rare example of 3D adventure/puzzle done well). Although, countering my previous statement, there might be are cool puzzle games on the horizon like Cyan’s upcoming Obduction and also The Witness from the developer of Braid. And I guess things like Portal could be shoehorned into the genre, but I don’t think that really counts… it’s too distant from the original formula.
I think puzzle/adventures are making a bit of a comeback, and as the indie market expands I think the genre will continue to evolve, I don’t think it’s dead. But yes, I think it’s up to little teams.
For example, a little team (me) recently made a prototype of an adventure/puzzle game myself! If you would like to play it my friend here below shall assist you:

“Hello there! Download “Strange Future Alpha 0.1” at ."

As this is a Grim Fandango thread I’ll try and keep my reply brief…

Primordia - just added to my wishlist. I think I’ll really enjoy it.
Obduction and The Witness - look amazing!
(absolutely loved Braid. Occasionally I play a platformer for a change of pace. Didn’t like the look of Braid when I first saw it, but thought I’d give it a go as I was determined to play all the games from Indie Game the movie. It just sucks you right it in, it’s a real beautiful gem of a game. Even bought the sound track, most of which is by cellist Jamie Sieber).

…agreed. I don’t think there is a mass audience for these types of games. For the big studios they’re just too much of a risk. So they become a labour of love for the Indie Dev.

Would love to play your Strange Alpha. Any idea if it’ll port to Mac OSX? (…may have to try a “wineskin” wrapper or something).

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I would be honoured if you played my game! Only a little handful of people have tried it. There’s 3 alternate endings. Ok, so I just spoke to my mac friend he said “I got it working in WineBottler but it took a lot of fiddling”. Sorry but I don’t even know how to turn on a mac, but I hope that helps and I hope you can get it going. :smile:

…gave it my best shot with WineBottler (I’m a porting noob and always use ports made by others), but unfortunatley couldn’t get it to work. I’ll dig out on old Windows laptop, when I get my hands on one, and run it from there, when I get the chance. Cheers.

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I know it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in USA and all, but we plan on recording the podcast this weekend. If you want us to talk about something in particular in the game, let us know here soon!

Thanks Peter, looking forward to listening to the podcast when it’s aired. Posted my views earlier / above (my first post in this thread), so won’t repeat. Happy thanksgiving (bearing in mind we have nothing remotely similar back here in old “Blighty”, ie UK, England …only rain, fog and more rain).

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This episode went live this morning!

Let us know what you think!

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Excellent listening, thought all the comments were spot on. A great synopsis for what was once a great game. You’ve just reminded me again just how frustrating and annoyingly random the puzzles were. I too ended up resorting to a guide to ease the frustration this time round (god knows how I managed back in '98). I don’t think I’ll be revisiting the Land of the Dead again though, so farewell Manny Calavera!

Day of the Tentacle, by the way, I thought was thoroughly enjoyable when I replayed a few years back (think it runs really well under DosBox).

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I look forward to the remaster or whatever is coming. I loved Maniac Mansion on the NES and never played Day of the Tentacle. I have always wanted to.

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Just did a quick google for the remaster of DOTT, the screen shots look amazing. Shame it’s not being developed for the iPad, I think a lot of these older games (e.g. the Longest Journey) play quite well on hand helds like the iPad, and the game quality makes them shine head over heals over an otherwise increasingly overpopulated casual market.

Small error in my post… I played DOTT using ScummVM (not DosBox) on my Mac a few years back. It did a reasonable job of smoothing out the jaggies, so if people can’t wait and can get there hands on the original then that’s always an option, but it’s no where near the quality of what this remastered version looks like.

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I know we did this episode a little while ago, but I wanted to point out that Grim Fandango is free this month on PS+ (which is the best purchase I’ve ever made). If you’re a subscriber, go download it, then listen to this episode.