Lost along a dusty stretch of highway, this proud town once boasted an opulent hotel, a vibrant business district, and the state’s largest pillow factory, but now stinks of a desperate longing to be what it once was.
A body has been found in the river, bloated and pixelated from the decay of a death come too soon. Agents Ray and Reyes arrive and are immediately suspicious of each other’s intentions, then a couple of pigeons show up and start talking about the signals and it only gets weirder from there.
A cursed clown, a bitter heiress, and the ghost of pillow salesmen join the story and add their own complications.
Play and switch between all five characters as you explore the vast, strange, and manipulative world of Thimbleweed Park while unraveling a dark and humorous neo-noir mystery.
Solve puzzles dreamed up by the brains of Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, creators of the original point & click adventure game, Maniac Mansion.
Coming in early 2017 to Windows, Mac, Xbox One, and Linux. iOS, Android, and other platforms will follow soon after.
Behold the latest trailer for the game to be henceforth known as Thimbleweed Park in all the lands.
I hate tutorials. I really hate tutorials. Let me just get that out of the way.
OK, now all that said, I just got done adding the tutorial to Thimbleweed Park.
Working on tutorials isn't something that I hate, it's something that actually makes me angry. Tutorials have about as much place in narrative games as they do in a movie. Can you imagine sitting down to watch a film and having pop-ups come on screen to tell you who the protagonist was and when a plot point happened?
Now, the big difference in a movie and a game is, when watching a movie you just sit there. Understanding the movie might affect your enjoyment, but not understanding who the protagonist is doesn't cause the film to stop, or move in slow motion. I will grant you that.
I think the main reason I hate tutorials is they are conditioning players to be un-inquisitive. Modern players often expect to be led through the experience, and it's starting to go beyond just the tutorial, but into the game itself. Some players don't want to explore, they want to be told where to go and what to do. They are being conditioned to do only what they are told to do.
For me, part of the enjoyment of starting a new game is figuring out what I can and cannot do. I enjoy exploring the bounds of the game. I want to feel clever when I figure out a short cut.
The problem Thimbleweed Park (and any point and click adventure) has is that it's complex. Not just in the logic, but the UI.
In the good old days, it would take 20 minutes to install the game from floppy, so to kill some time, we'd read the manual.
Today, players just jump right into the game and a large share of them are immediately frustrated when they don't know exactly what to do (I'm not talking about the puzzles, but what to click on and how).
If you're well versed in the language of adventure games, then it's quite self evident, but if you're new to adventure games, it can be a little unwieldy. Part of the goal of Thimbleweed Park is to convince a large group of people that love narrative games, but don't play point-and-click games, to give Thimbleweed park a shot. If you liked Firewatch or Gone Home, you'll love Thimbleweed Park.
But, Thimbleweed Park is a lot more complex than either of those two games and can be daunting to a new-to-point-and-click player.
For those people, I think we need a tutorial (please understand I can came to this conclusion kicking and screaming).
Since the beginning, the story of Thimbleweed Park started out in this little self-contained area, and we designed the first few puzzles to teach you the basics: opening a door, talking to someone, picking up objects and using them.
While this steps a new player through the basics early on, it's not telling you "how" to do these things and that is where a small, lightweight tutorial comes in. "This is how you open a door" and "this is how you pickup an object and use it".
How to do these thins probably seems obvious to everyone reading this blog, but if you've never played a point-and-click adventure before, it's actually not. You couple this with some players reluctance to just explore the UI and it's going to be tears all around (mostly from me when I have to go get a real job).
The compromise I reached with myself is: the tutorial will only happen in "easy" mode. If you select hard mode and dive right in, we're going to assume you know what you're doing, or you don't mind a good challenge.
I felt dirty for a day, then took a good shower and now I feel fine.
We're hoping to get a chance to test the tutorial out on casual players that have never played a point-and-click adventure. Given the circles we travel in, that's harder than it might sound.