DGC Ep 019: Special Guests Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer

In this final interview episode discussing recently remastered LucasArts classic Day of the Tentacle, we welcome two guests, DOTT co-leads Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer! We had a fascinating time talking with the two of them and getting their insights on what they were trying to do and where some of the decisions came from. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Production note:

Some of Brett's voice cut out during recording, and so it's been patched in during post, should capture the same sense if not the same exact words as the original recording.

Podcast breakdown:

0:39       Interview with Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer

1:01:55  Segment 2: Next time on DevGameClub!

Issues covered: long introductions of our interviewees, holding your breath for ten minutes, the puzzles you remember when you revisit a game, openness in adventure game design, the lessons of inexperience, three- and four-act structures, puzzle miasma, non-linearity and agency, "Why Adventure Games Suck," backwards puzzles, "how's the player supposed to figure this out?," pizza orgies, playtesting, usability, origin of the time travel motif and mechanic, Kerner buildings and ILM and the paradise of Skywalker Ranch, the turtle sweater puzzle and bitter tears, interface puzzles, low execution barrier, Monkey Island 2 air tube and available interface vocabulary, tiny cutthroat pool, dialogue puzzle, when a puzzle is broken, what's allowed when you use something only once vs ten times, branches and offshoots of adventure games, the adventure game headspace and how things aren't necessarily represented on the screen but in the player's head, having time to play, making systems vs crafting a few minutes at a time, sweet spot for puzzle difficulty, prequels and business realities, "I love this fucking game!," pacing in Telltale Games, "hero rooms," procedural narrative, computer-written Mozart, levels of narrative, macro vs micro, injecting the player into the story, red herrings, the obvious solution never works, guiding the player back, the mummy as helpdesk, what these gentlemen are up to today. 

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Monkey Island series, LucasArts, Humongous Games, Hulabee, Telltale Games, Earplay, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, Brütal Lëgënd, Broken Age, Tim Delacruz, Jonathan Ackley, Ron Gilbert, Noah Falstein, Gary Winnick, Die Hard 2, Gwen Musengwa, Gone Home, Infocom, Zork, Hitchhiker's Guide, Star Wars, Sierra, Republic Commando, Uncharted 4, Left 4 Dead, Chris Crawford, Clint Hocking, Hal Barwood, Peter Chan, Larry Ahern, Pete McConnell, Clint Bajakian, Jory Prum (RIP), Codename Cygnus, Pokemon, Futurama: Game of Drones.


Tim S mentions a Hamlet text adventure that's web-based 

Tim and Dave refer a couple times to them playing the game, and you can watch that on YouTube

Codename Cygnus (iOS and GooglePlay)

Futurama Game of Drones: (iOS and GooglePlay

Day of the Tentacle iOS


Next time:

Warcraft, the RTS that launched a whole universe! 

Play the first four episodes, playing Human 1, Orc 1, then Human 2, Orc 2.


@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub