Can we talk about the Thimbleweed Park Intro?

I would like to open this topic with a little “Intro” to give context:

There is very little in TWP that I found dissatisfactory, I am of the belief that it is one of the finest examples of the Point and Click genre, If not one of the best ever made.

So believe me when I say I do not pass negative judgement on TWP lightly. Though even to call this “negative judgement” is too crass, this is merely an observation of mine and a critical analysis of why I came to this conclusion.

On that note, this has been something that has been on my mind since the release of the game and I would like to open a discussion to the forum, to see what others thoughts on it are.

I am specifically talking about the Intro and what is, in my opinion “missing” from it.

Here we go.

It has all the hallmarks of a great Lucasfilm/arts P’n’C opening:

  • A “cold opening” on some images to set the tone, time and place. Which here is done more subtly than previous games, but by doing so ramps up the maturity, suspense and mystery of what is about to unfold.

A dark audio “boom” displayed along side the year

A radio tower top ominously clicking on and off

A lock and chain eerily swinging in the low wind

A Thimbleweed Park sign, with a single bullet hole, removing another number from the population, to also show their will be some humour amongst the dread

A “Part One” screen set to another audio cue splashes on the screen and we are introduced to the game

  • Shortly after we are plopped into a short gameplay section, to not only give us a safe small area to learn the controls and how the game works, but also to build out the narrative to setup the rest of the events surrounding TWP, and it’s many mysterious characters and events.



But it is not entirely safe as a mysterious figure lurks in the shadows, ending this short gameplay section

  • We are greeted two lines of blue text and silence, to round off the “cold opening” section. These simple lines solidify the note of Intrigue and dread surrounding the events which just unfolded before us. Leaving us in the perfect place for the game to kick off:

  • following a brief moment of silence as “Part Two” hits the screen with another ominous audio cue

  • Here we are dropped into the game for real as the image fades in, so does the “Intro music” and our first duo of characters take a moment and then begin to talk over it.

So, you have probably read over this and enjoyed reliving it in picture form and are wondering to yourself:

“Wait… what’s wrong with that DangerousLee?”

“It’s a great intro and sets up the game perfectly.”

And I agree, but it is missing one thing, a “credit sequence”

Right there in between those “blue lines of text” and that “Part 2” screen. It was the perfect place for a title sequence set to the energetic “Main Theme”

Nearly every Lucasfilm/arts game had one, with near identical structure, but why not here in TWP?
(I have provided just some examples below)

You might think to yourself “that’s an extreme nitpick” but being honest I don’t think it is.

There is something about how those title screens are the crescendo of all the cold opening build up, you get to sit back for a moment and reflect on the narrative setup, revel in the beautiful music that is being pumped through your speakers, and get to see the names of the auteurs whom have brought this game to your screen, Plus you get a big bold game Logo splashed in your face, usually it hits on the first beat of the musical melody.

There is something vigorous about it, and satisfying. It builds up my excitement to play the game.

It certainly is part of the “charm” of the older titles.

With all that in mind I feel the TWP intro falls flat, all the cold open “build” in anticipation, and it just has the intro theme lightly in the background as the characters talk over it. It feels wrong, and does just fall flatly. That is why I feel the intro was missing something, and could have been more effective with an opening credit sequence.

Though I must also say, I am acutely aware that Ron, Gary and David, most certainly would have talked about this and whether or not to put one in. Be it budgetary, tone setting or time constraints, I can see why it would be left out, in order to give every other aspect of the games design and implementation the full time and proper budget it deserves, furthermore I think it is very evident that the game is of a very high quality, because of expert use of time, creativity and budget.

Anyway I wanted to bring this to the forum and are interested in other peoples thoughts regarding it?

If Ron, Gary or David could also weigh in that would be amazing.


I never thought about it, but… you’re right.

After “Or how much it would change us all”, a short credits roll with the TWP theme (which, to reconnect with the music topic, would have helped in making the soundtrack more memorable) would have been perfect.

I think that it has to do with the fact that credits roll in movies have been moved from the beginning to the end of the experience, and this might reflect in games too.



Quite possibly!

Yes, now that you make me think of that, I exactly asked to Gary: did you do some special graphic art for the (opening?) credits or you handled them more movie like?

And the answer is (if I remember well) that the credits will be at the ending, in a way similar to a movie, which is a thing that reflects the more mature and dramatic experience of the game (compared for example to some cartoons from Disney - and the LucasFilm games themselves - in which the opening credits interact with animation).

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Very sad, but in someway understandable.

To hear what Gary answered, check out the podcast at 8:15

Gary: “The answer there is we did not do any special graphic art opening for the game. There’s a number of things we did there using screens that we had, sorts of setup. But as far as credits goes, those just roll at the end of the game more movie-like.”


So, tell me again why you are here…

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I agree with Guga: After watching the intro sequence there was something missing. I don’t need credits at the beginning, but the “pace” of the intro was too fast IMHO.

I agree… when I think of Monkey Island the very first thing that pops into my head is the opening screen with the great art of the island and the piratey music… it really does a lot to set the mood and give a “wide shot” of the exotic location before we zoom into the gameplay.
A little bit similar is Machinarium, with the shot of the entire robot city thing from a distance…

TWP does this a little bit with the opening menu screen, but it is somehow less dramatic… the main theme isn’t there to give a grand introduction, and the shot is more like a general hiking trail scene, it doesn’t grab you in the same way.


That was my first thought, too. It’s likely because in the old days only the principal people involved were listed, whereas now it’s absolutely everyone involved and that would take too long.

But TWP could’ve done both, I guess - main people listed at the beginning and the rest at the end.

I loved the intro to Maniac Mansion (it’s probably my favourite) but for TWP I think it works as it is. It would be pretty long otherwise.

I also think that by not having opening credits it feels more real, or more immersive, which fits better with the meta aspects of the TWP story. Opening credits would take me out of that and remind me it’s just a game.


You should check out the intro for Zak McKracken! For the time that is pretty epic and consist of a surreal and foreboding dream sequence.


I definitely need to play this now.


Listen to @David himself telling you what you can expect in this game:


Another possibility would be an intro like the one in Indy IV.

For me it’s the opposite. :wink: Opening credits have also a dramaturgic effect: After the thrilling opening and the introduction of an/the important character(s) the credits allow the player to think and to “process” the watched scene. This missing pause took me out of the game for some seconds.

So with a look at the end of TWP it has to be credits. :wink:

If you don´t get uber exicited between minute one and two please see a doctor, you may suffer a bad case of cynisism.

This has also been copied multiple times among them Transformers: The Movie and Star Trek: First Contact


But weren’t you watching what happened next? Were you literally sitting there thinking, oh crikey, where are the credits? :wink:

Better play it first, to not spoil things!

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Okay I can only list the points mentioned in the “fan” letter. They don´t really spoil anything and not even all of them are even correct.

  • Eastern religions, meditation
  • African witchcraft, magic
  • A medium, a spirtual guru, a religious devotee
  • A person converts to an eastern religion
  • A superior guardian race of Anicient Ones
  • One religion over all of time, and all the world
  • Communication by aliens through dreams
  • Out of body experiences, mindlinking with animals
  • Changing of conciousness
  • Mind over matter, telepathy
  • Mental telepathy

My favorite fan letter (and I think my only fan letter I got while I still worked at Lucas).


It seems really like a window into an era. Like that way that game somehow got involved into that craze that now has been dubbed “Satanic Panic” that was a big thing in the 80s and 90s.

And it is really relieving to hear the audience laughter at parts where that person is clearly nothing else doing but bashing other religions and believe systems than their own.

Too bad I couldn´t tell you how much I loved the game back then, because I and my family would have! :slight_smile:

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