Doesn't TWP feel more '90es than '80es to you?

The main reason to me is the theme and ambiance.
TWP is light years far away from the striking colors of the 80es burst. It is dark, and settled in a town pervaded by slump and depression.
Its cultural references (aside from adventure games) are Twin Peaks and X-Files, which both came out in the nineties and helped to set a (o were inscribed in the) mood for that time span.
The music, as many of you observed, isn’t so eightish, it has a more mature, less electronic late nineties (or even early 2000s) sound.
And don’t forget the graphics style, which is declaredly inspired to the 90es style.


It’s an interesting question and not really something I’ve thought about in depth until now.

When I think about it the game doesn’t instantly evoke an 80s feel for me - but then again it doesn’t make me think 90s either.

The setting of the town and eerie things that go on give it a ‘stuck-in-time’ feel - but to me it’s no specific time. It just feels like a small, humble town cut off from the rest of America.

I kind of feel the same about Twin Peaks and The X-Files. Yes, they were made in the 90s so naturally carry some of those traits in the costume design and that sort of thing, but in terms of the characters and stories they could occur in any modern time period. When they say TWP is based on those shows I think it’s more the paranormal/eerie/quirky style (and the characters) they’re referring to rather than the time setting.

And just because those shows were made in the 90s doesn’t mean they strongly exhibit a 90s style. They just happened to be made then.

I also think a video game is more difficult to place in time than a TV show because it’s animated, and because it’s static, rather than filming different parts of the world that we would recognise and be able to distinguish different eras. We’ve never seen the town of TWP before so there’s no way to gauge that.

I think the only way the game would stand out as being undeniably 80s is if it was filled with tonnes of glaring 80s tropes and memorabilia. There obviously are some, but it’s not drenched in it. I think that’s intentional. Time is perhaps a bit irrelevant by the end of the story anyway as we know.

To conclude my lengthy diatribe, I think it was loosely set it 1987 as a homage to that adventure game era, but it’s not an 80s-themed game as such.


Exactly, and probably that’s functional to the plot.

Yes, but they are so iconic that the mental link is immediate. At least, for me.
X-Files, Friends, Baywatch are very different shows. Different themes, different styles. But you immediately link them to the nineties, you can’t help that.
If the game has a strong reference to such an explicit icon of the 90es, it is difficult not to get it.

I think that a lot changed during development. In the first sketches, TWP should have been a project linked closely to MM. Same graphic style for charachters, similar art for backgrounds. Simple locations, much simpler art. And with an inferior budget.
The first intention was to make “a new classic adventure”, as if you find it “forgotten in an old drawer”.

During development, things changed, and the game became something different.
Not “a new classic adventure as it WAS back then”, but “a new classic adventure as WE REMEMBER they were back then”.

I think that they kept 1987 as the main setting just as intended at first, but the more I think of it, I see TWP as a new game “90es style”.

And I’m not disappointed at all about that. I think it was a right choice.
It is difficult to me to imagine the '80es without 16 or 32 colors graphics or C64 sounds.
Even if TWP -as it is- would have been impossible to conceive and develop in the nineties, during the gameplay that feels plausible, so it doesn’t break any suspension of disbelief.

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So you mean from now on, anytime there will be a show with a male and female FBI agent working as a team, it will HAVE to be nineties because that’s when X-Files was done?

I dont’ think I have written such a thing.
Anyway, the inspiration from X-Files and Twin Peaks was explicitly cited by @RonGilbert at the very first times of the project, if I recall correctly.

Well, I think the way references work is partially objective, partially personal, especially when they are loose and mild. The elements of every narration talk the ones to the others, in ways that not even who placed them can foresee. Every narration (by words or by drawings, and adventure games like these have both) is fully immersed in a complex system of references that exists beyond the personal will.
For that reason I think the verb “feel” used by Ema is very consistent to the topic. Still there are major references that, since they are shared by a considerable part of the population of an area, can help to define a certain temporal feeling.
For example: as for me “No quarter” triggered references directly to the story (phone calling), general ones (a love relationship, arcades), and something outside the fourth wall (game design). But still I didn’t know the Led Zeppelin song and what triggered in other forumers.


Change that…like…yesterday!


Great Scott!
“No Quarters” by Steve Kirk is my favourite TWP song.

Nice even this one, though.

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Now, after the premise above, if I had to place TWP in a realistic way in the '90s, well I would do that without problems, but I would say the early '90s (as Someone said).

As for music… that’s a more difficult question. Music isn’t properly a description, but it still has recognizable signs, such as particular instruments ans sounds and so on. Despite I was born in the mid '80s, I can’t really say to be able to catch an authentic '80s sound of my own. It’s more what I listened to, many years after. I can’t find a better way to express what I think than this passage from PiecesofKate:

Also, as @FormosaFalanster said, there are some sounds that my mind refers also to seventies (probably due to music tastes of Steve Kirk, too), a certain use of guitars and the bossa nova like sound of elevator (despite bossa nova is earlier, but I think it spreaded widely in the seventies).


When I first the opening theme with it´s feedback I instantly thought of early 60s surf music.

The Twin Peaks music that is closest to some of the backround stuff of Thimbleweed (in fact I believe no one would find it jarring if you´d right out swap it) is this:

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For the first one, I feel the same. For the second reference… strangely I find it more light and playful than the background stuff in TWP, I associate that Twin Peaks sound (first time I hear it) naturally more to Sam and Max hit the Road.

Yeah, that’s true. I guess if the player watched those shows (like a lot of us did) it ‘takes them back’ to the 90s.

I meant to say as well that while I don’t put it firmly in any era, if I had to pick I probably would say it feels more like the 90s than 80s. But I think a lot of that is based on my own experiences and more about what the 90s means to me than things they put in the game.


That might explain why it’s a bit ambiguous.

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For me it feels absolutely timeless. There are no cars, prominent personalities or other landmarks of that era included on a regular basis where you could judge that it plays in the 80s. Streets, bridges, creeks, bodies and houses look the same as today, Ray even has a cell phone.

Yes, it features some connections, new Coke and some more stuff, but it does that occasionally and not build entirely on it.

The most integral part of the story related to the 80s to me is the C64 computing/floppy/programming part that spins around Delores, but that’s very marginal in comparison (just two rooms with such computers) and after all could be easily replaced by a DVD and a modern desktop computer.

I think, TWP has the same recipe and ingredients that make MM, MI and all the other Lucasfilm/LucasArts adventures of that era timeless classics. It features a timeless story with timeless interface (at least in my opinion) and therefore creates a timeless and unique atmosphere. It’s some kind of steampunk fiction that can not be located to some specific time since it is fictional. After all, we learnt anyway it is just some gigantic computer game. The 80s are just the setting and starting point and basically chosen as a reference of the origin of the genre. I totally forgot about that by playing and was only remembered here and there.

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Bowie had switched over from his '83 happy pop Let’s Dance sound to that “early 2000s” sound by '86 or so, and I would say Michael Jackson’s '87 Bad also has it. That’s what it more or less evokes to me, as someone “from” the late '90s and early 2000s. It sounds very little to me like, say, Garbage, Limp Bizkit, Eminem, The Offspring, Korn or for that matter late '90s Bowie + Trent Reznor. (Just trying to sketch a quick picture of the kind of sound I associate with the late '90s/early 2000s.)

But sure, it’s not '80s Depeche Mode synth, except maybe that No Quarter song. :stuck_out_tongue:

A cell phone that definitely doesn’t evoke a post-2000 feeling. :wink:

Can you imagine Delores wearing “The Rachel” and collecting pogs?