Get McKracken

Games I beat in 2015 - #15: Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders

Maniac Mansion was one of my earliest obsessions. I even watched the show which even thinking about now sends shivers up my spine. But I did it because how much I loved the game. I tried to find everything I could within the game contained on that floppy disk. It wasn't all fun. The deaths were terrifying and made me wish for surgery to remove the memories from my brain. But I love the game, beat it many times and regret that I do not have a copy of it at the moment. The Day of the Tentacle remaster better still have it buried in there. Anyway, love it.

And while cracking into Zak McKracken was a delightful trek back to those feelings, I don't know if I would have the patience for Maniac Mansion now if it was my first time or if Zac McKracken was complicated enough to bring it to another level. I kept a guide by my side the entire time I played it. I didn't want to run out of money or kill a character accidentally and find myself having to go back to a far back save, or worse, start over. And I almost did, as I sent Annie on nearly one too many airplanes and nearly ran her out of cash. The airplane travel and cash card mechanic was almost as annoying as actual air travel.

There were several points where no guide could help, except for they did as they reminded me to write down certain things so that I wouldn't forget them when needed later. Randomly generated codes and the like are interesting for keeping the player on their toes, but if they are not sure they need to be en pointe, that can be mighty costly. That is a great struggle to going back to older games. It's not that they ask far too much, it's that many games ask things differently. Finding a code that the character themselves remembers has made many of my notes pointless but even today I found myself confronted with a num-pad in Metal Gear Solid 4 and thought "Wait. I was supposed to write that down."

But guide in hand, shameful as that may seem to Adventure Game Veterans, I reduced potential stress and still was able to pat my own back for the ability to solve some puzzles. It was a grand experience and reminded me of days long past, but also sparked some thoughts into what we could still do today.