June 08, 2012

Project Fedora

I don't know what's kept me from writing in this blog for so long! I've wanted to but just actually SAT down and done it! However, events have finally over-taken my apathy and here I am, with hopefully more updates to come!

So this update concerns the Kickstarter fund for Tex Murphy: Project Fedora. I'll start with a brief history:

The Tex Murphy series of adventure games (as a trip to Wikipedia will tell you) have been going since 1989. I'm fairly certain that means that Tex Murphy, Private Eye, is one of the longest lasting characters in computer game history and someone who should be on the all of fame alongside Mario, Sonic and the rest.

Mean Streets pushed the limits of what was available at the time. Not only did it feature 256 colour VGA graphics and 3D flying sections (with you navigating to waypoints to meet suspects or investigate locations) but it also used a process called RealSound to provide SPEECH through the PC speaker. This was unheard of before this game and would not become a regular of computer games until the mid-1990s when games started coming in 'talkie' versions on CD-ROM.

Mean Streets was centred around Tex Murphy, a private detective hired to look into the death of Carl Linsky who had just thrown himself off a bridge. You're hired by Linsky's daugher, a Femme Fatale if ever there was one. As you explore situations and avoid fire-fights, you uncover a complicated plot that shows that Carl's death was NOT a simple suicide. Whilst the user-interface leaves a LOT to be forgiven today (no mouse input, clunky controls when exploring scenes) it still created one hell of a compelling game. I remember playing Mean Streets in the work-shop outside my Dad's office in Scarborough, just enjoying flying from location to location. In many locations, if you did something 'wrong' you'd get Tex beaten to a pulp (complete with some very convincing sound effects) and that was just as much fun as playing the game properly! The 256-colour graphics (with still photos to accompany sounds) looked AMAZING at the time and really did help create a compelling game.

Fast-forward many years later and Access released Under a Killing Moon. An FMV adventure game, complete with a full 3D world for players to explore. Once again I was captivated. The jokes were REALLY funny and Tex was the kind of PI I would be. Well-meaning but clumsy and often duped. I LOVED it. Once again, Access Software was pushing the boundries of what was done at the time as it came on 4-CDs and requried a hefty PC to see it in its full glory. Thankfully, Access Software included an AWESOME set-up programme that allowed you to fully configure how the game would run and let it work on a wide variety of systems (including the old ones I had).

Access followed UAKM with two sequels and then, after the release of Overseer in 1998, all went quiet. Tex fans believed all hope to be lost. We didn't know how to feel. Lots of people (including myself on occasion) gathered at the Unofficial Tex Murphy website and waited for more. Over-time people figured out how to make the Tex games work on modern systems. Then the LOVELY people at GOG.com got involved and released ALL the Tex Murphy games already configured and with support if they didn't work.
But still nothing new.

Nothing till now anyway!

Project Fedora is a new Tex Murphy game that will be released in 2012/2013. The original crew are back together and it's looking PRETTY good from the preview videos they've put up on the Kickstarter page.

I've just pledged today because I want to help Tex solve another case. If you've not met Tex yet, find him on Gog.com - $9.99 currently works out at £6.48 which is peanuts for such a ground-breaking game.

If you do nothing else, please visit the Kickstarter and help bring Tex Murphy back!