Inspiration from a Higher Place

Posted by Alex Lee on 2 February 2009 | 116 Comments

Tags: Apple IIGS coffee table book, Lucas Arts, Lucas Film Games

At 36886 feet, 868 kilometres per hour and over Indonesia to be precise.

You see, stopping in Singapore on the way back from travelling through the U.K., France, Switzerland and Italy en-route back home to Australia, my girlfriend Bronwen discovered a very impressive book at a very impressive bookshop within the confines of the three terminals of the very impressive Changi airport: ‘Rogue Leaders  - the Story of Lucas Arts' by Rob Smith is a retro gaming coffee table book with all the dirt on each and every one of the usually great games to come out of this great gaming company.




Of course, the only Lucas Arts game to come out for the IIGS, or at least back as it was known in 1991, Lucas Film Games, was Pipe Dream. But I've sung the praises of Lucas Arts classic adventure games, which would be perfect gaming fodder for the IIGS (if only someone would write an interpreter for our favourite platform).

Not only that, but when I ditched the IIGS back in 1995 for a Power Macintosh 7100, and was happy to be able to play new games again (I was such a shallow creature!) Lucas Arts games were among the cream of the crop: Rebel Assault I and II, X-Wing, Full Throttle, the Dig, Dark Forces and so on. It's also a little known fact that the Mac versions were usually better than their PC originals, including graphics twice the resolution. It was a bit like the IIGS versions of Sierra's adventure games being the best and that the extra money we plonk down for our Apples was being justified. Fine and dandy until Apple's financial woes in 1996, and Lucas Arts decided to stop developing Mac conversions of their newer works, as the Mac was surely to die (I hear cheers from some and boo hisses from others) and not make them enough money.

But getting back to the BOOK: as I flip through the pages during my flight it becomes more apparent how nice a surprise it is: despite the turbulence! I subscribe to Retro Gamer magazine and regularly visit the SCUMMVM site and there was no mention of this book being on its way. Given that it was printed in China, perhaps Singapore, being of closer proximity, received copies of the book first? The book even includes details of Lucas Arts latest game ‘The Force Unleashed', which was just released in time for Christmas 2008.

It's exactly in the style of how I hope to accomplish my Apple IIGS coffee table book, mostly in its approach to design, however Rogue Leaders has access to a lot of working concept sketches and interviews with staff, which alas my book will not concentrate on. But it's inspired me somewhat, as the layouts I'd created so far, to be honest, were crap and I know it can be done better. I've been trying to avoid sub-standard presentation, as existing books devoted to the Spectrum and C64 respectively have...less than good looking layouts. We're Apple people! We expect good design and glossy pages! We love being lied to by our favourite fruit company!

Work continues on the ‘What is the Apple IIGS?' coffee table book. Remember you can help

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