Chera Meredith is working on an adventure story game for kids, so I thought of passing on some references for her via email. But then I thought others may be interested too, so here you go.
Ron Gilbert is one of the creators of the Adventure Game genre. He created one of the genre's most beloved games at LucasArts: Maniac Mansion, Secret of Monkey Island 1 & 2. Tim Schaeffer also comes from LucasArts who then went on to do DoubleFine, but i'll be focusing in on Ron.
Ron then left LucasArts to start his own company called Humongous Entertainment to specifically make adventure games for kids. This is amazing for a top A-list talent to leave AAA mainstream to pursue kids software, but he did. He made Freddy the Fish and Adventures of Putt Putt. Those characters appear in many sequels. The games were designed for pre-reading kids and utilized the new CD-Rom tech to speak all the lines.
I remember selling computers in retail at that time and whenever someone had a young family, i always ensured they got Freddy Fish or Putt Putt to go home and enjoy. It filled a real commercial need.
Studying Ron's work and life is important to anyone interested in story driven adventure games, and especially someone targeting children. Here are some references:
Interview with Ron on Sup Holmes (youtube or podcast)
Ron on a story telling panel at PAX 2007
Interview on Gamasutra 2006
A short history on Humongous Entertainment.
The entire Humongous catalog is now on Steam at cheap prices for your own self study:
These articles on character design and story telling will also likely be of value:
Game Design: Secrets of the Sages -- Creating Characters, Storyboarding, and Design Documents
Designing for Kids: Infusions of Life, Kisses of Death
Discuss mechanics and game feel for paper or electronic game design.
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A treasure trove of knowledge, thanks for the links Thomas!
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I remember Humongous games as well as Maniac Mansion 1 & 2! They were all top quality! Thanks for the links!
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