You People Really Need To Shut Up - Why Jumping To Conclusions Ain’t Useful

"SOTW maybe Shadows of the...????”
"Or 'Screen of the Week'?"
"I see...yours is more likely"
From one of the many wild guesses after LucasArts started releasing E3 previews

I've belittled fan creations enough for the time being, though I reserve another special place in my apparently dark and bitter heart for fan art. It's not the zenith of insanity that fanfic is, nor the illegal slap-dash jobs that fan games are. It's bad, but at least it's the one fan creation that there is the most minimal of hope for. More about that another time. Let's focus on the actual 'community' of LucasArts fans this time round. In particular (for this article) the way that members of said community like jumping to conclusions. As E3 approaches and LucasArts release more tidbits about their upcoming titles, certain members of the community get into a frenzied state, posting wild guesses and irritating conclusions based on what may sometimes be nothing more than a miniscule square image. But before I continue, I'll write a quick explanation of my first two articles. If this really is the 'advice of a total prat' as one comment said, then great! At least you know it's advice, and may I say, advice worth following.

Someone, I forget who (and I don't really care), called me a 'troll with a column'. I've never thought of myself in such high and mighty terms as a columnist. This is simply a Monkey Island website; and I just write these articles for a simple combination of reasons; I don't like a lot of the results and creations of the LucasArts gaming 'community' and I like mouthing off. Another forgettable person said I don't have to read fanfics if I hate them so much. Correct, and you don't have to read this article if all you're going to do is complain that I'm an aggravator with a keyboard. If you're going to sit and read any of my articles, before posting any response, I ask you to follow one simple guideline. Take issue with what I'm writing, not the fact that I'm writing it in the first place. If that's your only dispute, disappear and go and write your fanfic or boot up that beta version of your own Grim Fandango spin-off. So this time the focus is on fan speculation, and that can conveniently be broken into five basic categories of irritation.

First of all, there are the Star Wars haters. I plan to complain about these people in greater detail in a future article. Not because I'm a diehard fan of George Lucas' space saga, but because the LucasArts fans that immediately dismiss any game with the Star Wars tag share a common characteristic – they're all irredeemably annoying. Star Wars is the biggest money spinner for LEC, they can make money off almost anything they license so long as it ties in however tenuously with the galactic adventures of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and some actor nobody ever sees in movies anymore. Sure, some of the games might be nothing more than cheap, poorly made and irritating gimmicks made with the hope of getting a lot of profit for not much effort (Rebel Assault, Yoda Stories), but others have been excellent (X-Wing Alliance, Dark Forces). As with the rest of their output, LEC make some good, some bad. Just because it's Star Wars is no reason to write some moaning diatribe about how the company's lost its credibility. Especially when you turn round and drool like a fanboy on heat when there's even the whisper of a sequel to one of their adventure games. Oh, and if you've got a problem with me liking Dark Forces, shut up.

Secondly, you get a similar group of whining pains that bemoan the 'death of adventure games', not matter how much of an over-used cliché it may be. These people are usually the same fickle collective that went into overdrive around the time the first news of Escape From Monkey Island was announced. Before the game was made public, and other E3 titles from that year were being revealed (up until then, all Star Wars: Episode I games), the droning masses were typing messages like "Oh great, more Star Wars. LEC as it once was is DEAD!" except with more spelling mistakes and hyperbole. Then when the game was finally announced, the same complaining fools were falling over themselves to celebrate the return of adventure games (when exactly did they go away?). Finally, after the game was out, they get bitter and start picking holes in the exact same game they were praising non-stop until its commercial release. A few months later, they're back to saying adventure games are well and truly deceased. Then the rumours about Full Throttle 2, or Maniac Mansion 3, or any other sequel begin and the circle of stupidity starts over. If anyone ever refers to LEC President Simon Jefferey's supposed promise of a "50/50 balance of Star Wars and original titles" as a irredeemable pledge to make more adventure games once more, then they have the joy of knowing they're head of the idiot squad. And by the way, just because they're not made by LEC, adventure games are still being made.

The third group can quite simply be summed up as the "know-nothings". But because I like typing, I'll write more. They're the ones who jump to conclusions about what game LEC are releasing based on such overwhelming evidence as a scrap of an image. When LEC recently had a small red cloth-like garment as a mystery image, the bizarre guesswork began. People seem to have an urge to not keep their insane ideas to themselves. Instead, you get to read through such wild guesses as Grim Fandango 2 (also know as the worst idea imaginable) or Monkey Island 5. No, really, someone thought it was a piece of Guybrush's clothing. It's annoying, and ninety-nine per cent of the time it's pointless, as the conclusions drawn are just plain wrong. These people have a collective lack of patience and excess of dullness. However, they're not as bad as the similar, but far more infuriating, fourth group. If you thought spending time with any of the first three would be as enjoyable as hitting your head against a brick wall over and over, think again.

What is this new level of frustration? It's people who draw conclusions on what the game will be like based on the same sort of minimal clue. They feel some desperate need to critique tiny scraps of information for no apparent reason. When it was announced Escape From Monkey Island was coming out, apparently it would be the greatest game ever. Then it was announced the game was going to be keyboard only. Suddenly the game was atrocious. Even though the people complaining had never played it or seen a preview of it. Apparently these whining people have some sort of foresight that lets them make wildly incorrect predictions about the quality of a game based on something that couldn't possibly hint at that factor. It's tied in to the eccentric quirk of the people who leave feedback on this site and The International House of Mojo, where Star Wars games are dismissed as generally being bad simply because they've got the name in the title. If you're going to criticize something, wait until you've had a chance to experience it. I've read lots of feedback on various LEC fan sites, and believe me I have the headache to give me enough right to criticize it.

Finally, there are the people who search for more clues about forthcoming games. These are probably the most harmless people; they simply want more information about a game that they want to play. However, some of them take examination to a new – and meaningless – level. Nothing is spared. Again, to over-use Escape From Monkey Island as an example, sound files, graphics and even lines in the original Monkey Island game were analyzed as giving possible hints to the plot of the fourth game. I'm sure Ron Gilbert was really planning ahead to a fourth installment of his game when he sat down to write the original. The feedback on news items at either The International House of Mojo or the Scumm Bar consisting of speculation or general LEC-bashing is worthless. If you've got something to say, by all means go ahead. If not, and you're going to be type mindless conjecture, please, don't. To stop you guessing what the conclusion to this article is, I'll sum it up for you in two convenient words: shut up.