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Encyclopedia > Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
A screenshot of Zak McKracken, Enhanced EGA PC version.

Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders is a graphical adventure game, originally released in 1988, published by LucasArts (known at the time as Lucasfilm Games). It was the second game to use the SCUMM engine, after Maniac Mansion. The project was led by David Fox and was co-designed and co-programmed by Matthew Alan Kane. A screenshot from Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. ... A screenshot from Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. ... The Altair 8800 was among the first microcomputers to be affordable by an individual, although it initially lacked peripherals and memory. ... Adventure is a genre of video games typified by exploration, puzzle-solving, interaction with game characters, and a focus on narrative rather than reflex-based challenges. ... 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... LucasArts is an American video game developer and publisher. ... Lucasfilm Ltd. ... SCUMM stands for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion and is a scripting language developed at LucasArts (known at the time as Lucasfilm Games) to ease development of the graphical adventure game Maniac Mansion. ... Maniac Mansion is a graphical adventure game originally released in 1981 by Lucasfilm Games (now known as LucasArts). ... David Fox is a multimedia producer, best known for his early work on LucasArts games, most notably Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. ...


Originally released on the Commodore 64, it was later ported to the Amiga, the Atari ST, and DOS with EGA graphics. There was also an enhanced version released for both the Commodore 64 and DOS. The final version of the game was for the Japanese FM Towns computer system. It featured redrawn 256 colour graphics (based on the original version's) and a high quality digital soundtrack. The Commodore 64 is the best-selling single personal computer model of all time. ... The original Amiga 1000 (1985) with various peripherals The Amiga is a family of personal computers originally developed by Amiga Corporation. ... The Atari ST is a home/personal computer that was commercially popular from 1985 to the early 1990s. ... Instructions on how to use the directory command. ... The Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) is the IBM PC computer display standard specification located between CGA and VGA in terms of graphics performance (that is, colour and space resolution). ... The FM TOWNS (also spelled FM-TOWNS, FM Towns and FM-Towns) system is a Japanese PC variant, built by Fujitsu from February 1989 to Summer 1997. ...

Contents

Storyline

The story is set in 1997, which means about 10 years after its production. In the game's 'future', all transactions are made via debit card (named CashCards in the inventory) and TVs, though the size of modern real-life home theaters, are bulky and have large infrared sensors. Digital Audio Tapes are still a medium of music recording. 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A debit card is a plastic card which provides an alternative payment method to cash when making purchases. ... See TV (disambiguation) for other uses and Television (band) for the rock band European networks National In much of Europe television broadcasting has historically been state dominated, rather than commercially organised, although commercial stations have grown in number recently. ... Image of two girls in mid-infrared (thermal) light (false-color) Infrared (IR) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than that of visible light, but shorter than that of radio waves. ... Digital audio tape can also refer to a compact cassette with digital storage. ...


The plot follows Zak (full name Francis Zachary McKracken), a writer for the National Inquisitor, a tabloid newspaper; Annie Larris, a freelance scientist; and Melissa China and Leslie Bennett, two Yale University coed students, in their attempt to prevent the nefarious, alien Caponians (who have infiltrated society in the guise of a phone company) from slowly reducing the intelligence of everybody on Earth using dial tones. A freelancer or freelance worker is a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... “Yale” redirects here. ... Coeducation is the integrated education of men and women. ... TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company A telephone company (or telco) provides telecommunications services such as telephony and data communications. ...


Luckily, the Skolarians, another ancient alien race, have left a defense mechanism hanging around to repulse the Caponians, which just needs a quick reassembly and start-up. Unfortunately, the parts are spread all over the Earth ... and Mars. Adjectives: Terrestrial, Terran, Telluric, Tellurian, Earthly Atmosphere Surface pressure: 101. ... Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the solar system, named after the Roman god of war (the counterpart of the Greek Ares), on account of its blood red color as viewed in the night sky. ...


The game was heavily inspired by the many popular theories about aliens, ancient astronauts and mysterious civilizations. The many places visited in the game are common hot-spots of relevant literature, like the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, Lima, Stonehenge, Atlantis, a space cadillac with Elvis (really an alien) and eventually the Face on Mars. The general New Age feeling is very obvious since players will meet also gurus and a shaman who hold secret knowledge of everything, as well as help convert an airport-housed bum to become a Hare Krishna. ... This is about the polyhedron. ... Nickname: City of the Kings Location within Lima Region Coordinates: Country Peru Region Lima Region Province Lima Province Settled 1535 Government  - Mayor Luis Castañeda Lossio Area  - City 804. ... For other meanings of Stonehenge, see: Stonehenge (disambiguation) Stonehenge is a henge, a Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monument located near Amesbury in the English county of Wiltshire, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Elvis Aron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known as The King of Rock and Roll, or as just simply The King, was an American singer who had an immeasurable effect on world culture. ... Mars Orbital Cameras 2001 image of the face The Face on Mars is a large feature on the surface of the planet Mars located in the Cydonia region, thought by many to resemble a human face. ... New Age describes a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture. ... Guru - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... The shaman is an intellectual and spiritual figure who is regarded as possessing power and influence on other peoples in the tribe and performs several functions, primarily that of a healer ( medicine man). The shaman provides medical care, and serves other community needs during crisis times, via supernatural means (means... Hare Krishna Mantra in Devanagari. ...


All this is no accident. David Fox, the lead designer and programmer, intended to make a more serious game. While designing the game, he spent some days with David Spangler, noted new age writer, before Ron Gilbert persuaded Fox to increase the comedy angle.[1] David Fox is a multimedia producer, best known for his early work on LucasArts games, most notably Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. ... David Spangler is an American spiritual philosopher and self-described practical mystic. ... Ron Gilbert is an American computer game designer, programmer, and producer, best known for his work on several classic LucasArts adventure games, including Maniac Mansion and the first two Monkey Island games. ...


Fighting Piracy

Zak McKracken has an extensive code system put into the game to fight video game piracy. Whenever Zak or Annie have to leave the United States to go to an international destination, a "Visa code" is required (it is not required to re-enter the United States). This visa code consists of putting in four different images into a keypad that is consistent with one in the games instruction booklet. Prior to putting this code in, the game will dictate which four images to put in (ie. it will say Section 5, C16, and you put the four images that are given to you in the book). If the images do not match the ones in the program, it will state that it is an incorrect entry and the number of times you have gotten an incorrect entry. After 5 incorrect entries, Zak McKracken gets put into pirate jail and the game is over.


Trivia

  • In Maniac Mansion a red herring chainsaw can be found, but it has no fuel; in Zak, chainsaw fuel can be found, but not a chainsaw.
  • There is a poster advertising Maniac Mansion in Lou's Loans merchandise store in San Francisco.
  • Razor and the Scummettes, Razor's band from Maniac Mansion, are the band playing the song Inda Glop Oda Krell on the Digital Audio Tape (until it is recorded over).
  • The three girls in the game are named after the programmers' other halves.[2] For example, Annie Larris was David Fox's wife's maiden name and the character's appearance was inspired by her looks. Similarly, Leslie Edwards (Leslie Bennett in game) was Matthew Alan Kane's girlfriend, who also worked as a major playtester during the game's production.
  • Each time Leslie's helmet is taken off, her hair is a different colour. This is likely an in-joke referring to the real Leslie Edwards, although its background remains obscure to the public.
  • Two of the shapes made by the yellow crayon are David Fox's initials.
  • Zaire is mentioned as an airline destination although in reality the state of Zaire was dissolved on May 17 1997.
  • The 'words of power' (Gnik Sisi Vle) that mend the crystal in Stonehenge read 'Elvis is king' backwards.
  • Zak's phone bill at the start of the game is $1138, in reference to George Lucas's THX 1138. $1138 is also the balance of Melissa's cashcard (until you spend it on tokens for the Tram)

Maniac Mansion is a graphical adventure game originally released in 1981 by Lucasfilm Games (now known as LucasArts). ... Look up red herring in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Maniac Mansion is a graphical adventure game originally released in 1981 by Lucasfilm Games (now known as LucasArts). ... Adjectives: Martian Atmosphere Surface pressure: 0. ... This article is about the city. ... Digital audio tape can also refer to a compact cassette with digital storage. ... Annie Fox is a book author. ... For other meanings of Stonehenge, see: Stonehenge (disambiguation) Stonehenge is a henge, a Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monument located near Amesbury in the English county of Wiltshire, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. ... It has been suggested that Amanda Lucas be merged into this article or section. ... THX 1138 was George Lucas first full length movie. ...

Fan sequels

The FM Towns version had 256 colour graphics which were reused for some fan projects.

In the absence of an official sequel (and a very low likelihood of one ever appearing), numerous Zak McKracken fans have turned to designing their own sequels to the cult game. The first one to reach completion was The New Adventures of Zak McKracken by "LucasFan Games", containing graphics from the Japanese FM Towns 256 color version, country-specific backgrounds from King of Fighters and some original art. The original release was notorious for containing a somewhat perverse ending. However, the ending was soon changed. That sequel is very short and fairly limited, compared to what the two other fan sequels in production promise to be; Zak McKracken Between Time And Space, which was planned to be released at the end of 2005, and Zak McKracken and the Alien Rockstars, which is planned to be released sometime in 2007. At least one other fan sequel is said to be in production, but those are the major ones. Image File history File links Zak256. ... Image File history File links Zak256. ... The FM TOWNS (also spelled FM-TOWNS, FM Towns and FM-Towns) system is a Japanese PC variant, built by Fujitsu from February 1989 to Summer 1997. ... The King of Fighters ), or KOF for short, is a fighting game series by SNK that debuted in 1994. ...

Zak McKracken Theme

The Zak McKracken Theme originally composed by Matthew Alan Kane is a popular song for remixes and reinterpretations. Among the artists who have made cover versions of it are The Dead Guys, Puffy64, DJ Lizard, Razor and the Scumettes and the German band Gl├╝ckswald.


See also

Before concentrating almost exclusively on Star Wars titles, LucasArts was known for their point-and-click adventure games, nearly all of which received high scoring reviews at the time of their release. ... SCUMM stands for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion and is a scripting language developed at LucasArts (known at the time as Lucasfilm Games) to ease development of the graphical adventure game Maniac Mansion. ... ScummVM is a multi-platform stack-based virtual machine which was originally made to allow one to play LucasArts adventure games that use the SCUMM system on platforms other than those for which they were originally released. ... Maniac Mansion is a graphical adventure game originally released in 1981 by Lucasfilm Games (now known as LucasArts). ... Ron Gilbert is an American computer game designer, programmer, and producer, best known for his work on several classic LucasArts adventure games, including Maniac Mansion and the first two Monkey Island games. ... David Fox is a multimedia producer, best known for his early work on LucasArts games, most notably Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (830 words)
The first one to reach completion was The New Adventures of Zak McKracken by "LucasFan Games", containing graphics from the Japanese FM Towns 256 color version, country-specific backgrounds from King of Fighters and some original art.
The Zak McKracken Theme originally composed by Matthew Alan Kane is a popular song for remixes and reinterpretations.
Among the artists who have made cover versions of it are The Dead Guys, Puffy64, DJ Lizard, Razor and the Scumettes and the German band Gl├╝ckswald (http://www.glueckswald.de).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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