The Den of Slack

Tales of Monkey Island postmortem in Game Developer’s May issue

A few months ago, Telltale was offered the chance to do a Tales of Monkey Island postmortem in Game Developer, and they asked me to write it. The article appears in the May 2010 issue which is going out to subscribers now and will be available for purchase soon. I received sample copies on Friday—it turned out great!

In typical postmortem fashion, the article outlines five things that went right with Tales of Monkey Island’s production, followed by five things that went wrong. The “went rights” include telling one big story broken up into five chapters (rather than five little stories strung together, as Telltale had done with previous episodic games), striking a good balance between favorite Monkey Island characters and new ones, and of course working with legends like Ron Gilbert. The “went wrongs” delve into scheduling issues, the little problem of many of the secondary pirates looking very much the same, and that old favorite: feature creep.

It’s a good read if you’re a Monkey Island fan and/or if you’re interested in how episodic game development really works… and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it. (Of course, I had lots of help from members of the Monkey Island team—guys like Dave Grossman, Mark Darin, Mike Stemmle, Dave Bogan, Derek Sakai, Will Armstrong, Matt Hansen, Eric Parsons, Jake Rodkin, and surely others who I’m blanking on at the moment.)

The issue also includes a Monkey Island “playthrough” by Ron Gilbert and a sort of horrifying collection of crunch stories from various anonymous developers. My advice: buy it, read it, and then store it in plastic for the next fifteen years so you can lovingly pull it out and read it again in a fit of Monkey Island nostalgia.

Update: As of May 5, the issue is available for purchase in PDF format, for the low price of $3.95. Just saying.


  1. Is Game Developer available in the UK? I’ll assume not since I’ve never seen it here (although I’ve never sought it out, either), but it never hurts to ask. I’d definitely like to read this article.

  2. I don’t know, but they sell digital copies on their website (the May issue is supposed to go up tomorrow), or you might be able to find it on eBay.

  3. It doesn’t look like the kind of magazine you’d find on a newsstand. It’s one of those CMP magazines intended for technical professionals. It looks like your choices are a $99.95 annual print subscription to the UK (ugh) or $3.95 for a PDF single issue. I suggest you use a throwaway E-mail address if you order one. I’ve never been able to get off a CMP E-mailing list once on it.

  4. I’ve seen Game Developer in a few bookstore magazine sections. I don’t know if that’s only the case in places like San Francisco, but who knows.

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