Day of the Tentacle

The 1993 CD “talkie” version of Day of the Tentacle is a perfectly flawless adventure, the rarest of rare games, that which did nothing wrong. Nothing. There is no weakness in this game, no sieve. Stop waiting for the “but” because it won’t come. This is the perfect adventure game, the one adventure that brought every aspect of great adventures together and created such an enjoyable masterpiece, it almost seems to transcend the level of computer games. (give Jimmy Maher money, he more than deserves it)

This game was perfect. I was waiting on it. I have two boxes in my hands at the store in my Parisian suburbs: Day of the Tentacle and Wing Commander Academy. I love spaceships stuff but the Academy thing was a spin off and smelled like it wasn’t so great, looking at the screenshots and missions (I played it a few years later: it was a turd).

On the other hand, I had this irresistible green box with funny looking characters with a story happening at three different time periods. This sounded amazing.

And it was. I loved every single second of it. True, the puzzles were quite vague sometimes –design wise, how to make a puzzle work for a kid living in France with a quite different set of values and culture must not have been in the designers heads- but I would play and try things out until I was bored and then look up a magazine walkthrough pages to unlock the thing I couldn’t understand. I thought that “Fony” television was hilarious and inspiring. Subversion was king in the 90s.

Day of the Tentacle is one of those rare, everything-went-well cases. They had talent. The publisher hadn’t been through massive failures yet. Money was not a problem at all. There was no pressure like we have had for the past twenty years in game development. They worked their ass off, creative and accountable (polished and bug-free game!) through and through. It paid off.

Lucasfilm Games and LucasArts (same company, change of name) was probably the pinnacle of western game development. 25 years later and the game still holds well, like Batman the animated series or Animaniacs. Memories.

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