2013: My Year In Review.

Dec 31, 2013 twenty past eleven am

I've never written one of these "year in review" posts before. They always seemed silly and the beginning of a new year is just an arbitrary milestone.

Also, it's hard to believe it is 2014. The 8 year old boy in me is disappointed that we don't have moon bases and flying cars, but I guess the Internet is pretty cool. Didn't see that one coming.

The Cave

First up is The Cave. It didn't burn up any sales records or get amazing reviews and was largely forgotten a month after it came out, but you know what? I don't care. It's a game I am incredibly proud of and the team at Double Fine did an amazing job and working on it was a lot of fun. I'll stand by the game until the end of time.

While snowboarding over Christmas, I rode the chairlift with a complete stranger who played and loved The Cave. Suck on that Metacritic.

Scurvy Scallywags

Next up is a iOS game called Scurvy Scallywags in The Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty: A Musical Match-3 Pirate RPG (actual title) that I built with my good friend Clayton Kauzlaric. Another game that wasn't wildly successful but I'm extremely proud of.

Scurvy Scallywags is Candy Crush for smart people.

While the game didn't come close to making enough money to pay for the time and effort that went into it, Clayton and I decided to port it to Android, which should be out in early 2014.

I guess one of the personal triumphs of Scurvy Scallywags is that I've been in this wretched (I mean wonderful) industry for close to 30 years and I still make games and love it. Every morning I get up and program and design and write and build something. I'm very thankful for that. Maybe I'll die poor and in the streets, but at least I get to do what I love. I'll be the one holding the cardboard sign that says "Will Design Games for Food".

Got in shape.

I lost over 75 pounds in the first half of 2013. I now run almost everyday and workout and am probably in the best shape and health of my adult life. It was a lot of work and I didn't use any silly gimmicks or diets, just exercise and completely changed the way I eat. Losing weight is really hard and I've struggled with it my whole life, but it's was rewarding and worth it.

Australia

I went to Australia for the first time and gave the keynote at PAX and made some great friends. I am terrified of public speaking, so I always consider it a win when I can stand up in front of thousands of people and not make a complete fool of myself. Or did I? Don't tell me! I did great, right? Holy crap, now I'm worried.

Snowboarding

I went snowboarding for the first time. I've been skiing since I was 6 (although not in the last 10 years), so I'm no stranger to the snow, but strapping both legs onto a board and sliding down a hill was terrifying. After four days it was starting to make sense and I was able to go where I wanted. I'm really looking forward to my next time.

I hope everyone has a great 2014. I might make a game or something.

Other people's comments:

Posted by Nathan on Dec 31, 2013 half past noon

Played both of your games this year, thanks for making them and the well-wishes for next year.

Posted by Dimitri Bitu on Dec 31, 2013 five to one pm

Congratulations mostly in losing weight! Health is the most important thing in life!
Needless to say that I hope that 2014 is the year that you will anounce that you will make a new Monkey Island game! :)

Posted by bobthebuilder on Dec 31, 2013 twenty five to three pm

Long time lurker, etc., etc.

My first adventure game was Maniac Mansion on the NES.  I was four years old.  It's OK if you silently judge my mother.  Then we got a PC when Myst came out, and I bought the LucasArts Classic Adventure boxed set.  I played Monkey Island for a whole summer.

Grim Fandango was the last adventure game I liked from the so-called golden era.  I still haven't finished Escape from Monkey Island or played any of the Telltale games (I did download a demo for Sam and Max once).  I've kept an eye on the amateur/indie communities and developers.  Some cool stuff has been made, but nothing I've felt was amazing.

Until The Cave that is!  This game brought me back to my childhood.  Beginning with Monkey Island and Loom, adventure games have been evolving to simpler interfaces.  Full Throttle replaced it with a verb coin until Grim Fandango awkwardly got rid of it altogether.

The Cave fixed everything that was broken in Grim Fandango (frustrating navigation, difficult to find hot spots, only being able to slowly move two directions in the inventory).  I disagreed with the criticism about the "platform elements" in The Cave.  I wish more people would just give it a try.  Being able to jump and run around gave me something to do while thinking about how to solve puzzles.  Controlling three characters at a time reminded me of pushing the staircase in Maniac Mansion to open the basement door, or doing the same trick to get out of the dungeon.  It also gave it some dimension.  Pushing things from a height and letting them drop down below, for instance.

Searching every nook and cranny in The Cave was a load of fun.  In a lot of games I just want to get from point A to B so I can see the next sequence and get to the game's ending, but I really sat down and savored this one.

Thank you very much for a magical game!  Happy New Year!

Posted by vili on Dec 31, 2013 twenty to four pm

1) In my experience, The Cave definitely hasn't been forgotten. Every now and then, I have a friend tell me "hey man, you gotta try this", to which I can always merrily reply "look, I told you the same thing about a year ago".

2) Yay for the Android port of Scurvy Scallywags!

3) And congrats for the weight loss!

Posted by John on Jan 1, 2014 twenty five to one am

Speech was a great start to PAX Australia - and thanks for signing my pirate wheels! Both the Cave and SS are really fun games that people fall in love with - just as with all the games you've made.

Posted by Kenney on Jan 1, 2014 ten past three am

The Cave was AWESOME.
Thanks for that!
Hope to see a spiritual new point and click Monkey Island successor from you when you have the time and money to do it on your terms!

Posted by HungryArtist on Jan 1, 2014 twenty five to seven am

Happy new year, Ron.
Here's another one who loved The Cave. I think is the most maniac-mansiony game since... well, Maniac Mansion.
And btw, it looks GORGEOUS on the PC!

Posted by Mnemonic on Jan 2, 2014 twenty five to six am

I have played both The Cave and Scurvy Scallywags and enjoyed them immensely. So... thank you! I hope to see more from you this year.

Posted by Marcelo on Jan 2, 2014 quarter to six am

I loved The Cave, and was a bit frustrated that Scurvy Scallywags wasn't on Android, please post here when that port is ready.

Posted by Diduz on Jan 2, 2014 ten past six am

I don't understand why The Cave has been so underrated. I think it's the most mature game you've ever done, full of clever and disturbing humor. I especially liked the streaming game area and the eerie atmosphere.
I also think Double Fine is doing a great job of porting the game on as many platforms as possible. They're standing by the game too, no matter what.
BTW, I'm among the Androidized grumpy gamers who're waiting for the port of Scurvy Scallywags. :-P

Posted by Kokos on Jan 2, 2014 ten past six am

Hi Ron!

Many thanks for your hard work, I think The Cave is a great game, it was great fun to play it! I'm still kind of fat-ass, but working on it! ;]

Personally I wish you (or maybe me..) good luck with Monkey Island, I really really hope you'll have an opportunity to work on MI new game, completely yours. Please mention from time to time how's going!

Have a great 2014!
Kokos

Posted by Garvin on Jan 2, 2014 five past ten am

Liar!!!!

The Cave was wildly successful to ME. Makes me so sad to read you might think this game has been forgotten a month in. I bet there are many thousand people out there, like me, who played this game religiously and with a boat full of fun.

Not many people are able to tell, that they have positively made an impact with their job on so many lives, and genuinely touched them with their creativity.

So, if you were just fishing for compliments, here's your dinner. :-)

Posted by Junior on Jan 2, 2014 twenty past ten am

The Cave is great! Only too easy if compared to old games. Or maybe I'm just too old now and was such a stupid kid back then.

Posted by Ken on Jan 2, 2014 ten past eleven am

I also loved The Cave.  I don't play games much anymore, but I stumbled upon The Cave one day when I happened to turn on my ouya, and it got me so intrigued that I looked you up and found this blog.  You deserve to be proud of it!  I've played it through almost 3 times already with my fiancee and we both love it.  Thanks for making it!

Posted by Gard3 on Jan 3, 2014 twenty five past five am

Hey, I loved The Cave.

And you are wrong to snowboard. Especially at your age, not because it will bust you up, even though it will, it's that you're limiting the high end of your snowsports experience in the time you have left on snow. I may sound like a @#$hole who's just shooting his mouth off. But I kind of have a point. And a little experience.

Thanks for letting me play on your blog this year. Sorry about the Zombie Panda Island ripoff. It was funny to me at the time.

Have a great 014.

-g

Posted by velcrogoblin on Jan 3, 2014 half past two pm

now everyone seems to LOVE the cave.

asi soon as i started the game i said "this art is incredible".
then i went on and became frustrated with some things that made the game tedious (at least to me). and i didnt like the physics.

after i finished it with the first set of characters i said. "it was ok".
and a few weeks later i couldnt stop myself from playing through it again with the rest of the characters.
now i think you made a great game. and i really like it. and i hope you continue doing things that grow on people with time.

but in the end, success came immediately when you were making it right? who cares if millions of people like it or pay for it. i can see you love what you do, and that's the only important thing here.

Posted by 2910 on Jan 4, 2014 twenty five to five pm

happy new year ron! i wish u a lot of luck, health etc.
dont forget, that u still influence people, even if ur games werent such a success u deserved!
please be there the next 40 years (lets keep it real^^). if i was a girl, i would send u tons of naked pics, just to make u happy. cuz ur great!

Posted by Cheeseness on Jan 5, 2014 quarter past six am

What a year!

Your keynote at PAX Aus was great. The audience seemed engaged, interested and ready to laugh with you.

If The Cave certainly was forgotten a month after it came out, then that's doubly disappointing - it didn't support my platform until well after that. Most of the people I talk to who've played it love it though, and I think that's probably what's most important :)

Thanks again for making time to hang out with some fans in the rain, and thanks for taking the time to celebrate The Cave and LeChuck's Revenge with us for Game Club!

Posted by Whup on Jan 5, 2014 half past seven pm

Have you noticed any differences in your programming ability now that you've got your fitness up?  My head stays a lot clearer when I'm going for regular jogs, bike rides etc.  It just seems to get foggy and easily distracted if I've had to go a few days without proper exercise.

I've worked with some very clever coders that are overweight, and it's made me wonder whether they'd be better if they got in shape?

BTW - My wife and I both love Scurvy Scallywags - I've got three more verses to go!  I've also only ever played one of the 'x marks the spot' rounds, even though I'm careful to clear out each island completely.  Is there any trick to triggering them?

Posted by Bob on Jan 7, 2014 quarter to nine am

Happy new year Ron!

Please think about making a new monkey island game, I would bet that half the planet is waiting for this.. you need to do the first two games justice and continue the story from your point of view!

Posted by Ron Gilbert on Jan 7, 2014 five to ten am

I don't own the rights to Monkey Island. Disney does. I can't make a new one.

I'm not just sitting on the game, refusing to make it. Why would I do that? It makes no sense.

Also, launching a Kickstarter to raise the money to buy it back is not a good idea without Disney agreeing to it, but Disney does not want to sell Monkey island. Maybe some day in the future they will, but they don't right now. Plus, doing a Kickstarter and raising bunch of money would only show them how valuable the game is and make them want to sell it even less.

And no, I won't make one for Disney, they would just interfere and tell me what to do and ruin the game I want to make. There is no way I am going to let someone in Disney marketing tell me what Monkey island should be, and you don't want that ether. Trust me.

I'm sorry, reality sucks.

Posted by OzzieMonkey on Jan 7, 2014 twenty to three pm

I'm surprised that not a single rich person in the world has come forward to buy the rights for you.  Oh well, I guess it's up to the first person who wins the lottery, be it you, or me, or Jar Jar. I really wish you luck in the future, Ron. If anyone deserves to have those games, it's you. Have a great 2014, and I hope you continue to make wonderful games! (hopefully not JUST for food :p)

Posted by Graham on Jan 8, 2014 quarter past five pm

Uuughh, so Disney wants to cling to Monkey Island as its undead bride. Have you ever thought about sticking it to 'em and making your game anyway? In true piratey fashion.

Posted by Bob on Jan 14, 2014 twenty five past four am

There was a fanmade game that was in the works called return to monkey island.. however disney put a stop to that straight away :(

I think maybe if Ron wants to make a similar game (perhaps do something like call it Return to Baboon Island and call the main character Mancomb Seepgood) then I would still buy it lol :)

Posted by Anti on Jan 16, 2014 twenty five to nine am

I love you, sorry.

Posted by Vhill on Jan 8, 2014 ten past one am

Cant wait for Android version of Scurvy Scallywags. I will definetly going to buy it.

Keep up the good work Ron!

Posted by uncleungie on Jan 11, 2014 twenty five to seven pm

The Cave is great! It's heartfelt, clever, and beautiful to boot. Keep making solid gold, Ron.

Posted by Bruno on Jan 16, 2014 quarter past one pm

The cave was amazing, thx for that !

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Posted by Kolzig on Jan 17, 2014 eight pm

Thank you Mr. Gilbert for the amazing The Cave.
That was a dream project to follow and to play last spring.

Also awesome to read that you and Mr. Kauzlaric are porting Scurvy Scallawags on Android, that means I will finally get to play it. :-)

Congratulations on getting in shape with your health, it's a big leap always to fix your health. Going to gym is great stuff, though I could never do snowboarding in winter, I'm horrible even in skiing even though I'm Finnish and I would be even more horrible with a snowboard.

Here's to a great 2014 and hope to see many new Ron Gilbert lead projects in the future.

Posted by Greg the robot. on Jan 19, 2014 twenty five past eight pm

Me and my friend played through The Cave today. I'm absolutely freaking out over the Maniac Mansion fan service. It was my first game ever and thusly the starting point for where my mental collection of nostalgia begins.

If anything, I just hope you know that your games make people very happy.
Thank you so much.

Posted by Yann Le Guellaut on Jan 30, 2014 twenty to seven am

Hello Ron,

First of all, thanks for all the pleasure you brought into my gamer Life. Monkey Island is my favorite game since its first release and I used to play every game you worked on. BTW Scurvy Scallywags is fantastic, spending hours on it in the Parisian subway.

ANYWAYS, Quick question about The Cave : Is there a way for a PS4 launch ?

Many thanks
All the best,
Yann

Posted by Zardog on Jan 31, 2014 twenty five past six pm

I just spent an hour playing "The Cave" with my kids on the Wii U.  For me, it was wonderful to be back in your world again, reminding me of being a kid playing "Monkey Island."  The jokes are unmistakably you ("Chuck the Flame.")  But the best part is seeing my kids working together on the puzzles, totally engrossed.  

Absolutely the best, richest game I've bought for them. I don't care what the critics said.  Thank you so much!

Posted by Robin Etherington on Feb 4, 2014 ten to six am

Happy New Year, Ron,

Let me start by saying I've been playing your adventure games forever. Well, obviously not 'forever'. Oh, this is so embarrassing. Just give me a moment.

GO NORTH.
PICK UP EXAGGERATION. CANNOT PICK UP.
PUSH EXAGGERATION. YOU'VE ALREADY PUSHED THE EXAGGERATION.
USE QUALITY CONTROL DOCUMENT ON EXAGGERATION. DOES NOT WORK.
USE SALT ON EXAGGERATION. EXAGGERATION SHRIVELS UP AND DIES.
SWEEP DRIED EXAGGERATION UNDER CARPET. EXAGGERATION HIDDEN.

That's better. Good old salt. What I wanted to say, was that your games have always been a absolute delight. To watch, to listen to, to play and to share with friends. The Cave was a gem from start to finish. My only wish was that there were ten more Cave seekers with torrid dreams I could bring to macabre life. Fantastic stuff.

I wish you the very best for the coming year - cannot wait to see what delights you bring to life.

All the best

Robin

Posted by Jim O on Feb 7, 2014 ten past eight am

Loved "The Cave" please continue to make more games like this!!!


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