New Games Are Nothing to Write Home About, But 20 Year Old Games Still Rock

I recently played Loom. Perhpas you remember the game? More than likely, no you don’t. It was a LucasArts Adventure game, made after Maniac Mansion using the SCUMM interface, and is considered to be the Holy Grail of adventure games. Hard to find, almost impossible to play if you do find it.

Originally published on DOS floppy disk with EGA graphics, it was also released for Amiga, Atari ST, FM Towns and Macintosh. It was re-released on CD-ROM in 1993 with VGA graphics and a full voiceover soundtrack, with new dialog written by Orson Scott Card. Now, if you’re lucky enoguh to find an abandonware site that still has downloads and had working downloads, it’s still halfway impossible to find it. Lucky me.

I didn’t have to go through all of that as I still owned it’s re-released version – though it was lost in a pocket dimension in my closet from 15 years ago. Damn. That’s old… old in terms of games and computers. I played it. And finished it, same day.
Yes, it is a short game, and I know I won’t be going back to it again for a little while, until I need a distraction from school and life for a couple of hours. But it still remains one of my favorite games, for a few reasons.

1.) Easy interface. No typing or timing needed, no inventory to thumb through, no thousands of command buttons “push” “pull” “talk to” just point, click, and interact.
2.) Interesting story line. It’s simple. It’s easy. Yet it’s engrossing. For a game that takes about 2 hours knowing what to do, it has an elaborate myhtology behind it, wonderful voice acting (there are very few games that can actually beat this game at voice acting), and well written dialouge which is serious, and yet whimsical when it needs to be. The ending is one of those “oh” type endings. Not sad, not happy, but not bad. And it’s compltely worth the time playing it.

You are Bobbin Threadbare (Monkey Island fans might remember the line from the first MI: “I’m Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother?” “You’re mother was a swan”) orphaned child of the guild of weavers. Weavers see the pattern of life, and always talk in terms of patterns and looms, etc.. In order to do anything, you must manipulate the loom – which is both real and metaphysical. You construct “Drafts” 4 note songs to open, close, dye, turn straw into gold, etc… And you have to save the world. Well – you have to, but the quest goes on more like “You have to follow this flock of swans” and you get involved in saving the world.

You meet the guild of glassmakers, who always talk about clarity, the shepherds, who talk in terms of flocks, and the blacksmiths, who talk in terms of strength and power.

Also, the clerics – who have been rather in the shadows the past age or so, you meet 2 who are not at all what clerics are supposed to be like – but they may or may not be the exception.

The graphics are, obviously, dated. But, for a game that came out in 1990 (previously 198.. whenever) the graphics were good. LucasArts (then Lucasfilm Games) always maintianed a level of quality in their games graphics. Not cutting edge, but current, and good.

The music isn’t very much a part of it (at least on my verison) You only hear it during cutscenes (again, on my version). However, it’s good enough to capture the mood – in fact, the music is excellent for that reason as it is all classical scores.

If you can go and find this game, do so. It’s short. It’s simple. But it also makes you think, and is just a very good game. Especially in a day and age where good games don’t exist much any more. This was made back in the day when companies put a lot of thought into the game they were going to make.

Such a good game.

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