In a recent interview with IndieGames.com Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick (the famed creators of Maniac Mansion) opened up about their new creative venture, Thimblweed Park. Up until now little was known about the creative direction of the game, it’s influence, or even it’s plot. On the merit of it’s creators, a handful of strange screenshots, and a promising Kickstarter trailer Winnick and Gilbert were able to quickly exceed their $375,000 goal. The game currently sits at $463,968 with 14 days left in their fundraising campaign.
My personal first introduction to the work of Winnick and Gilbert was actually via the NES port of Maniac Mansion. With my stunted adolescent 12 year old brain, every puzzle was pure random experimentation. Despite this, no matter where I tried to take the game experience, Winnick and Gilbert were already there five steps ahead of me waiting to blow up that goddamn hamster.
From then on, Point and Click games were a genre. I went from thumb mashing NES platform hopping to brainy ass PC games. I devoured them all, from Police Quest to Full Throttle with Gilbert and Winnick’s work always having a special place in my heart. So when I heard about the successful funding of Thimbleweed Park I was stoked. Oddly though, Thimbleweed didn’t seem to tie in or relate to any of their previous titles despite the aesthetic similarity.
Clearly there was a murder mystery element in play but the other game footage seemed disconnected. However, much in how Maniac Mansion was a comedic pastiche of horror movie tropes Thimbleweed Park seeks to genrify an even broader set of reference. From the interview with IndieGames, Gary explains, “The way Maniac Mansion is a parody of the B horror genre, Thimbleweed’s a send-off of Twin Peaks and the X-Files, with some True Detective and a dash of Stephen King thrown it.”
“The inspirations for Thimbleweed Park that Gary mentioned are all a little dark and we’re planning on poking some fun at that,” adds Ron.
As for the storyline, Gary had more to say, “The initial storyline revolves around two detectives called in to investigate a body discovered on the outskirts of town. As the game progresses you’re introduced to three other characters: Ransome the clown, Delores, and Franklin. Each is dealing with their own interconnected story arc, but as you play through, the storylines and characters begin to intersect.”
Everything from the premise to the aesthetic seems like a perfect fit. The material is rich with references that seems to fit perfectly with the sensibilities of both Gilbert & Winnick. Though nothing is a sure thing, I personally can’t wait to see how this game shapes up.