Thimbleweed Park Podcast #45

by Ron Gilbert
Apr 02, 2016

We spend over 30 minutes answering reader questions and David sings us a tune.

You can also subscribe to the Thimbleweed Park Podcast RSS feed if that's 'your thing'.

You can also get the podcast directly from iTunes.

- Ron

Mattias Cedervall - Apr 02, 2016 at 19:17
Thank you for being so damn kind and answering my question regarding how the hell Ransome's swear jar will work! :-)

Carlo Valenti - Apr 03, 2016 at 15:08

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 02, 2016 at 19:33
There were many unanswered questions this time, so...
with the Thimbleweed Park team permission, if granted, I will make a new podcast where the 'fake' Ron Gilbert (and this time also a 'fake' David Fox) will try to answer to ALL the questions left.
I counted them, they are 80... but I take it halfway between fun and serious things.

Waiting for permission!

longuist - Apr 03, 2016 at 06:44
I really really want to hear this. So please grant permission, please?!!! Otherwise i have to swear, but *@%^&£#~!<ö>.

Ron Gilbert - Apr 03, 2016 at 09:52
If you want to waste an entire Saturday doing your podcast, like I did editing this one, go for it.

But remember, it's easier to ask for forgiven than permission.

Ema - Apr 03, 2016 at 10:28
Is this some sort of advice for a pirate wannabe? ;-)

Anyway, are you sure asking for forgiven is easier than asking for permission?
The amout of time and effort to ask is equal, but if nobody grants the permission you can spend a wonderful saturday in some other way.

If you waste -instead- your saturday in an effort that has as the only effect to upset some people you admire, and then you also have to cope with that guilty sensation you have to apologize, and then you have to hope to be forgiven...

Well, I think that the best deal is to ask for permission in advance. And, let me add: if it is a sunny saturday on the Alps (just like the last one) with a springtime temperature and a soft and floury layer of fresh snow fallen during last night, the very best deal is if that permission isn't granted at all! :-)

Nor Treblig - Apr 03, 2016 at 10:43
Even if he upsets someone a lot of us would still enjoy it.
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"

Sushi - Apr 04, 2016 at 11:07
"It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission" is a software philosophy.  For example, instead  of first checking if a file exists before reading it, or checking if a variable exists before using it, you just do it, catch the error/exception and handle it afterwards.
so it is not so much pirate advice as it is geeky game guru Gilbert talking here...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 03, 2016 at 14:25
Far be it from me to upset someone.
I ask permission because the podcast is a wonderful gift you give us, and I don't want in any case to substitute it -- that's absolutely not my idea.
The podcast is and will remain 'your thing' without any doubt.
My goals with the podcast I'm going to make are:
- to give people an answer to their question (any kind of answer, not necessarily the correct one), in order to give a little bit of joy
- to entertain, as far as I can :-)

Thanks for your granting!

It will probably take me more than one day, but I am in no hurry.
If there is a wonderful weekend, on the Alps or in the Po valley, the podcast can wait :-)

Ema - Apr 03, 2016 at 16:01
Great Zak.

Ema - Apr 03, 2016 at 16:02
Or also "great, Zak".

Arto - Apr 03, 2016 at 18:47
Thank you Zak. I'm excited to hear if we will see a Rube Goldberg machine in game or not :)

Ema - Apr 04, 2016 at 03:38
Let's play: how many RGMs can you recall in Lucas games? I remember one (not involved in a puzzle) in M1, and one (maybe two) in two puzzles in MI2.
Can you tell which ones? Can you mention other cases?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 04, 2016 at 04:45
Ehm... RGM is the acronym for what? :-D

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 04, 2016 at 06:11
Rube Goldberg Machines

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 05, 2016 at 01:25
MI2: when Guybrush and Wally are hung over the pit of acid. Oh and when you had to search for the correct brick to push, in the old little house, using lens and mirror.
In MI1 on Monkey Island, when you have to hit the banana tree using that thing with rocks.
A RGM is a real one if there is at last an animal involved.

Ema - Apr 05, 2016 at 06:11
MI2: Ok, you're right. The acid pit was easy. The second one was much more arguable, but is the same I thoght of. This is the same reason for which I decided not to consider the rocky catapult as a Rube Goldberg machine. But maybe you're right.
The RGM I remember in MI is known as "THE MACHINE"...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 05, 2016 at 07:30
Uhm but it's not automatic, once started. Captain Smirk must control levers and other things. Isn't it?

Michael Hoffmann - Apr 03, 2016 at 17:07
Ron, I think I'm speaking for everyone here when I say we really appreciate your work for this phantastic blog and the podcasts. I enjoy each and every new entry and every new episode.

But since you have complained multiple times about your amount of work for the podcasts, I wonder if it is really necessary to have perfectly edited episodes every week. I could very well live with unedited versions. Just record and upload them and be done with it. :-)

Gffp (good feelings for posting) - Apr 02, 2016 at 23:10
Thank you guys, you're so kind and funny, it seems you enjoy working together very much.

Manimal fan - Apr 03, 2016 at 04:13
I loved Eddie Murphy as Sexual Chocolate.

Manimal fan - Apr 03, 2016 at 05:20
I actually have one question (and backers who know the answer, can also answer).

Is it okay I upload me speaking Gibberish in my phonebook call?
It said that one could only upload in defined languages, and one had to write the dialogue down. I just didnt like to hear me say stuff in enlgish. But gibberish i love

Nor Treblig - Apr 03, 2016 at 09:47
Unless you sneak in some profanity using some unknown language I think this should be fine.
Note: your question was already asked on the Phone FAQ but not answered yet:

Nor Treblig - Apr 03, 2016 at 10:10
Your question is answered in the Phone FAQ (I've somehow overlooked it):
"Can I use gibberish or some made up language?"
"Yes, that is fine, as long as it is truly made up."

Ron Gilbert - Apr 03, 2016 at 10:11
I just added it.

Nor Treblig - Apr 03, 2016 at 10:22
I wasn't sure since I think I've searched for "giberish" :-)

Big Red Button - Apr 03, 2016 at 05:51
Thank you for answering my (debugging) question to such an extent! It was very interesting! :-)
For my part, I have a little aversion to debugging since I had some lessons in programming at school (using Pascal). Although I used to get good grades for my few little programs, it often became very frustrating, probably because I was very unexperienced. It can be hard to get it working. For this reason, I've always admired everyone who developed a complete and almost bug-free engine, especially the creators of SCUMM (in honesty!).

PS: I think, Dark Chocolate would be a well-sounding name for your game engine. What would you say?

Andrew - Apr 03, 2016 at 10:09
In case you really decide to "beep" the swearing in the game, please add an option or cheat to enable heavy swearing. Or what about a special edition.

Mattias Cedervall - Apr 03, 2016 at 14:16
I want heavy swearing! It makes me feel alive.

Brian S - Apr 03, 2016 at 15:15
A question that came to me while listening to your podcast (which I listen to while I go running, gives me motivation if I tell myself I can't listen to it except while running).  Anyway, the question was - When you voice record Ransome, will you be including the "real" swear words in the script for them to read, or will the script just say "Beep"? (Beepity, beep beep BEEP).

Mattias Cedervall - Apr 03, 2016 at 23:08
That's a good question about beep.

Zarbulonian - Apr 04, 2016 at 08:30
I'd expect #@&ing %*#§s.

Big Red Button - Apr 06, 2016 at 08:20
or maybe just ***

Big Red Button - Apr 06, 2016 at 08:25
Rectangles instead of words would be an option as well, as if the words were covered.

Sushi - Apr 04, 2016 at 11:22
Hi Brian,

I take the liberty to answer that question. I think Ron mentioned it in an older post or podcast: he wants to have all the swearing in and beep it out in post-processing. That helps the voice actor too, to find his rhythm.

I would also love to get the uncensored version. And I  guess you better warn the voice actor for Ransome that 30% of his recordings is going to replaced by beeps, but still he's got to say them like he means it!

Sushi - Apr 04, 2016 at 11:30
Will the beeps be fully censoring or leave some first or last letters visible/audible (which is funnier and allows us to guess what the f<beep> you really wanted to say.)

Brian S - Apr 04, 2016 at 11:53
Thanks, Sushi.  Now that you mention it, I do vaguely remember such a comment earlier.

Peter Brodersen - Apr 03, 2016 at 16:36
How do I upgrade my pledge to receive the FBI Decoder Ring? I want it!

Carlo Valenti - Apr 03, 2016 at 18:27
Thank you all, guys! It's been great fun! :)

le Chantaux - Apr 03, 2016 at 23:00
I think it would be cool if there is some  joke in the game about computer piracy.

Mattias Cedervall - Apr 03, 2016 at 23:04
Yes, it would be cool/funny. :-)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 04, 2016 at 03:30
But this time, I hope not to end my days in jail on 1,400 m (4,600 ft) high!

Paulup - Apr 05, 2016 at 11:14
Space Quest 4 did that really well, it was something about a pirated copy of Leisure Suit Larry bringing down the whole of civilization on one planet...

Andreas (tcmsurfer) - Apr 04, 2016 at 02:50
Hey everybody,

for those who can read and understand German or who simply don't care and just want to look at the graphics, check out this Aprils fools:

For those who don't understand German: This is a online toilet for customers of this webshop. Your actions are very limited there, however you can visit the mens room and use the light switch on the left.

The text following when entering the mens room is full of jokes and hard to translate since it is quite quick. Sadly I don't have the time to provide one for right now.

@Ron/David/Gary: Ever considered HTML5 as target platform? I doubt you helped make this little prank. Reminds me of Zak a good bit.

- Andreas

Patrick - Apr 04, 2016 at 03:07
Just a quick question,  how does the terribletoybox pledge-manager work exactly? I've upgraded my pledge to include the phone book entry and finished with a paypal payment.

Now it says: order complete, Pledge +20$, Balance 30$ (in red letters).

Is that correct? As I said, I paid the 30 bucks via paypal... I also haven't got any email confirmation.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 04, 2016 at 07:16
Uhm,  I suggest you to write your issue to
support (at) terribletoybox (dot) com

Sushi - Apr 04, 2016 at 11:39
You can also play the (definitive) C64 versions of MM or Zak through ScummVM.
I checked out the FM towns version of Zak out of curiosity and even if it is graphically superior on an objective standard, I prefer the C64 graphics.

Gffp (gruesome foe fears plagiarism) - Apr 04, 2016 at 13:06
Hi Sushi, I also like the Deluxe version of Maniac Mansion, which is the first I ever played (despite C64 was the first computer I ever had but back then I was too young to look for and buy games). It's a beautiful homage to the original game. Since I played it for the first time just a couple of years ago, I was stunned on how much MM is in Resident Evil, which I played at his original release in 1997. Maybe they share the same movie references, but since I don't know any, to me there's a direct link between them.

Brian S - Apr 04, 2016 at 13:34
Your post inspired some Googling on my part, and I discovered a mashup video series (Resident Evil, redone in the style of Maniac Mansion) created on Youtube by "MajorNeese" back in June of 2010.  I had never seen this before, and now I'll have to check it out.

David Fox - Apr 05, 2016 at 03:30
I think the "definitive" version for each person must be the first one they played. That's how it's embedded in our memories.

Martin Wendt - Apr 05, 2016 at 12:33
I would love to differ and simply claim that the C64 version is always the best and quite obviously so. Then again, I did play that c64 version aeons before I peeked at Indiana Jones on other systems. So could it really be that others fail to see the truth and not judge the C64 the best? ;-)

Sushi - Apr 05, 2016 at 17:13
Or better yet:  +64!

sushi - Apr 05, 2016 at 17:26
Also +1 to David (see my comment below on how it's funny that nostalgia works that way, making the platform you played a game on first, gives it extra points, no matter what technical limitations it may have and how much better any remake/remaster/port might be, the original, or better your own "original" will always have that extra magic).
It's like the stereo versions of the Beatles records: on paper they should be superior... In practice the true fan prefers the mono (which the record company knows, as that is the more expensive one!)
Anyway, it is interesting to compare it to music. What if different media (vinyl, tape, CD,...) would sound as different as the differences between a C64, a spectrum ZX, an Atari ST, an Amiga, a PC EGA, CGA, VGA,... and people would grow up having only access to one or two?

Helge Frisenette - Apr 06, 2016 at 20:54
I think you are being too diplomatic. I, for instance, played MI on the Amiga first then the CD version and I can easily see and feel that the EGA version just feels right and captures the spirit of the game best.

Thanks for the very thorough and satisfying answer to the question BTW.

I think there will more often than not, be a definitive or canonical version of something, being it a peice of fiction a picture done in multible iterations, a product or a peice of music.
And it's interestingly enough almost always not the newest, or on the surface most refined version of that 'thing'.
Look at for example the Sony Walkman. When you imagine a Walkman you don't remember all the overblown, feature packed models from the 90's. You remember the iconic WM20. The essence of a Walkman.
In somewhat the same way Maniac Mansion, warts and all has that same feeling of being the essence of that concept.

farooq - Apr 05, 2016 at 11:33
I know right!? It has been boggling my mind just recently. I mean look at how much WESKER resembles SYD!

Gffp (genial fan-based fused porting) - Apr 04, 2016 at 14:24
Ahahah, thank you very much Brian, the videos on the page you posted show well what I meant!

Sushi - Apr 04, 2016 at 18:49
Hi Gffp (giant fuchsia  fluffy poodle?),

I saw the deluxe edition some time back and played a little bit at first but then went to seek out the C64 version, as that is the one I remember. Goes to prove how nostalgia works ( I also don't "get" how people can like the NES version).  There's also Meteor Madness in the making (a 3D -shiver- fan remake of MM, which seems to focus heavily on using Razor as a unique selling point. Except that it's free).
I saw (part of ) the mashup video too, but I didn't know the other game so I quickly spaced out on the fake horror cut scenes and zombies. It reminded me of Alone in the dark. MM always felt more cozy and like coming home. More like the mansion in the 'burbs movie starring Tom Hanks (and from the same time period)

Mattias Cedervall - Apr 04, 2016 at 21:00
The music in the NES version is really good and I like the graphics. It was the first version I played.

Gffp (giant fuchsia fluffy poodle!) - Apr 05, 2016 at 06:06
The poodle comes from the suburbs of the Burbs?
About MM and RE
There's a need to investigate a misterious mansion in order to rescue someone. That lead to the discovery that there's something bigger, an evil force that has taken control over the scientist(s) who originally discovered it. The mansion has this huge entrance room with a big stair. At the ground floor, altough at the opposite side, there's a door to a dining room with a loooong table. There's the dark room with the possibility to develop films. There is a hidden basement with secret laboratories. There's a bathroom with a bathtub and a puzzle about the water that is in it. There are different characters in a team, and you will play the adventure with controlling three of them, which actions are mutual in order to accomplish the tasks. And I could go on and on...
But the point of view, the gameplay, are completely different, as you well said before.
Alone in the Dark: I felt it was really different from MM, I thought immediately to The Fall of the House of Usher by Poe as an inspiration, there's an evil force that has taken possession of a mansion but... it is more a metaphor of individual fears, psichological insanity, and not a bio-hazard or an alien meteor...
In the end RE to me it's a synthesys of MM and AitD.
Thimbleweed park, I guess, will be more on the Poe's side, since its references are the X-files, David Lynch, and so on...With a lot of comedy in it...Which is GREAT!!!

Sushi - Apr 06, 2016 at 02:28
Hi Gffp (Gruellingly ferocious false poodle?)
(Gorgeous fuschia fluffy poodle - better than giant)

The poodle comes from MI (piranha poodles!)
About MM and RE, MM is a horror comedy, RE is just horror as far as I can see. It's the comedy element that is so wonderful. It makes you just want to play the game without caution and saving before entering a new room. Which coincidentally is another good thing as it took quite some time on the C64 with all the disk swapping to save or load the game. Getting a "Disk read error " was the real horror!

Gffp (gruellingly ferocious false poodle!) - Apr 06, 2016 at 04:41
Yes, I agree with you. I remember when I got stucked in the Melee forest 'cause I couldn't imagine I had to follow the shopkeeper, and then, looking at the tree, the system asked me to insert disk number 24 (or something like that)! That was real fear! I had a second-hand Amiga 500 and I thought something in the disk player was broken...ahahahaa... What a game The Secret of Monkey Island! And also Maniac Mansion... I talked about huge references in Resident Evil 1, that is the first chapter in one of the most long-lived and best seller series among videogames in order to remember how MM has been important as a forerunner in 1987, also in games with a different atmosphere.
That is what we wish Thimbleweed Park to do in today's world.

longuist - Apr 06, 2016 at 05:05
@sushi & gluten fortified fake puke,
RE is some kind of comedy too, especially because of the over the top acting in the FMVs and the story itself. But i don't know to what extent this was intended :)

Sushi - Apr 04, 2016 at 19:34
Also check out majorneese's pirates-of-the-Caribbean-done-monkey
-island-style trailer :
Which proves Dominic Armato has settled in our collective memory as the voice of Guybrush and it's weird to hear someone else. (Same goes for Laineypoo and Chuckie- though clearly Geoffry Rush based his performance on LeChuck-) come to think of it, we all know there are some references to the (pre-existing) Disneyland ride of the Pirates of the Caribbean in MI (mainly in MI2). But there are so much more references to the (pre-existing) MI games in the Pirates of the carribean movies (cannibals, voodoo ladies, female captains, zombie pirates, everything but a spitting contest or a grog drinking contest.) Again especially in the 2nd movie.
So perhaps *that* was the secret of MI all along :  a long-running promotional campaign for Disney who will end owning all of it ! Bwahahaha!!!!

T.M. - Apr 06, 2016 at 03:57
And here's some more fun times from youtube:

Hopefully Signor Spadoni will make tribute to TP also one day.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 06, 2016 at 05:05
You'll see soon :-)

Spadoni Production - Apr 06, 2016 at 05:57
Time Traveler???? hihihihi :D

Paulup - Apr 05, 2016 at 11:11
Thanks for answering my question!

I hope TWP has an eventual legacy like Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, etc... like people in 20-30 years time saying how they played TWP growing up and it shaped their humor, love of adventure games, etc.

Big Red Button - Apr 05, 2016 at 19:30
I hope so as well! I still wonder what happened to this genre, seeing how charming and well-known these games have been. I think that the 3D boom killed the charm of the whole genre and LucasArts, who were best-known for first-grade adventure games, is jointly responsible for this decay with Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island, which, in my opinion, were rather disappointing. They just struck a fatal path back then. Furthermore, young gamers use to prefer brutal shoot 'em up games with high-end 3D graphics, but where is the charm? So, a game like TP that catches the spirit of MM and MI, targeting younger gamers as well, is definitely overdue and I really hope that many young gamers (and all the rest) will appreciate it!

Paulup - Apr 09, 2016 at 20:04
I think Grim Fandango is a great game that was extremely difficult to sell...

With most games you get some idea of what's going on from the title and the box art (Monkey Island was clearly a cool pirate adventure with ghost pirates, etc. and Maniac Mansion was clearly something to do with people going into a mansion where there were maniacs)...

But with Grim Fandango I distinctly remember going into the store when I was about 16 and seeing it displayed prominently and having zero reaction to it because the name didn't suggest anything and the box art seemed to have lifeless cartoon skeleton things and no indication if those were the bad guys or what. I picked the box up and looked on the back and there were those blocky 3D graphics and nothing that resembled the adventure games I was used to and so I put it back down... it was about 15 years later that I got around to playing it and found out it was a great game!

Big Red Buton - Apr 11, 2016 at 12:41
Well, I don't think it's a bad game. I primarily disliked the control method that was caused by the 3D engine, some loveless settings (e.g. the ship), which were not least caused by the 3D engine, and Glottis, who used to behave too immaturely, in my opinion. It would have been a much better adventure game without these weak points. So, I found Curse of Monkey Island, which came into the market only one year earlier, to be much more convincing. For this reason, I've never understood why they decided to make Escape from Monkey Island based on GrimE as well, instead of being geared to Curse of Monkey Island, which was based on SCUMM.

Big Red Button - Apr 11, 2016 at 12:52
As they once mentioned in the TP podcast, it's much more difficult to make 3D graphics look appealing than making appealing 2D graphics and animations.

Peter - Apr 05, 2016 at 15:48
"Panama Papers" sounds like a classical point and click adventures.

Arto - Apr 05, 2016 at 16:32
Yes. There could be three trials: thievery, treasury, and... er... hidery.

Zombocast - Apr 05, 2016 at 19:39
Ron, floppy disc 3/6 says: "Disc not formatted".
I only took it out of the box once, now I have to buy the game again. #1987

Matthias Gansrigler - Apr 06, 2016 at 04:25
Hi, Thimbleweed-Team!

In the podcast, you referred to achievements on Steam and the Xbox, that got me thinking: What about Game Center on the Mac - any plans to support that?

Thank you,

John S - Apr 06, 2016 at 06:48
Hi Guys

First time commenter here. Just a quick note to say how happy I am you are creating a classic 2D point&click adventure in the vain of Monkey Island. Some of the best memories of my teenage years are playing first MI 1 and then MI 2 (I will be 40 soon! time flies). I must say I was hugely disappointed with Tim Schafer's creation "Broken Age" which I backed on Kickstarter expecting it to be something, well, like what you are doing now with Thimbleweed Park. My faith in humanity took a big hit once I started playing Broken Age. But you restored my faith and I hope you will continue making old school 2D point and click adventures after Thimbleweed Park! I saw some early previews on YouTube of Thimbleweed Park and I love it! Many thanks guys.

PS. Personally I love the SCUMM-like verb menu and inventory setup ala Monkey Island and I think it was a good choice to use it in Thimbleweed Park.

LittleStar - Apr 06, 2016 at 18:55
Hi thx for answering my questions if they will really be answered :D
Are Le Chuck and Guybrush really are Brothers? I recentley played Monkey Island and the ending was kind of surprising, and its kinda hard to believe those two guys really are brothers?
Who is your favourite character in the Monkey Island games and why?
I heard that Monkey Island 3 is not made from Ron Gilbert himself, so will there be any chance you will make Monkey Island 3 like you wanted it back then? It would be kinda interesting where the ending from Monkey Island 2 would lead to, if  a new sequel to the story would follow up, with a new Monkey island 3.
Since i´ heard that Monkey Island 3-is not the way how you wanted to create it, so i thought to make Monkey Island 3 like more in simliar way like the others 2 game were before would be kinda great, or also if monkey island 3 would get a complete whole new story plot.
My last question is the sequel where you see Guybrush and Le chucks as kids, was that just a memory of Guybrush childhoods memories?or was it just a another new trick brought up from le Chuck?
And that is why i am thinking a whole new story or game that would start with Le Chuck and Guybrush as Children would kinda be a great start for a whole new game. :)
I really hope someone answers my questions if yes, thank you.

Greetings Susanne

Nor Treblig - Apr 07, 2016 at 00:26
Here you can find at least some answers:

Susanne - Apr 10, 2016 at 20:06
Thx for the Link, but it seems like i´ve posted my questions under the wrong category so i will post ehm now..again where the will be belong hopefully and hopefully also be answered :)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 07, 2016 at 02:54

The "Answers to Unanswered Friday Podcast's Questions" podcast is online!
The 'fake' Ron Gilbert and the 'fake' David Fox are answering the questions of the last Friday Podcast:

Carlo Valenti - Apr 08, 2016 at 14:24
@Sushi: did you actually begin to play The Cave as  you wrote (if I remember correctly)?
If so, which characters did you choose?
I am enjoying the game for the first time  in the last few days, and I chose :
the scientist
the adventurer
the twins

Maybe there should be a psicological test related to the choice. :D

Nor Treblig - Apr 08, 2016 at 16:28
Yeah those twins are creepy, why did you choose them? You should talk about it with your psychotherapist :-)