Zak McKracken video trailer (1990)

Look at this video: it’s a trailer of Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders.
David Fox said that he is 98% sure he didn’t make it at that time, and probably it was a demo shipped with the game.
I’ve never seen it before.


Oh great, that´s why I didn´t find it the last time I looked. It´s listed as a trailer! Actually it´s a non interactive demo, there was also one for Maniac Mansion (and also an interactive one, there might be one for Zak too but I´m not sure).

Dave gives a house tour very similar to Alfred Hitchcock in the original Psycho trailer:

I would ask if this was an intentional hommage but there is probably no way the answer is gonna be no, even if it really wasn´t.:wink: (edit: Just checked again there is no way it wasn´t, the similarites are just too great even down to Dave/Hitchcock peeking into a room and then deciding not to go inside!).


I see with pleasure that the aliens are actually assessed as “mindbenders”.
You were right, Zak.

The story of Maniac Mansion is that the three guys in charge at Lucasfilm (Ron, Gary and David) worked on the game inside the George Lucas’ ranch. It was their office. For months and months, trying something never seen before. And the Mansion is freely inspired by that very real ranch.
Here is a picture:

Even the rooms were inspired by the real rooms of the ranch.
Here another familiar room:

Now, maybe was George Lucas himself who was inspired by Hitchcock to build his Mansion. I really don’t know.


Yes it certainly inspired parts of the look. But like Monkey Island wasn´t only inspired by the Pirates Of The Carribean ride, it is almost never only one thing.

Right and the the hat is called the “Party Hat” from now on! :roll_eyes:

And the family in Maniac Mansion is actually called “Schwartz” (I bet you didn´t know that).

At 0’45" Zak says: “The bad guys in this story are the Alien Mindbenders”.
I ask for native English people: strict grammatically speaking, what is the meaning of this sentence?

Thank you. Help a poor mad to become less ignorant… :blush:

Alright I offer you one final option for an agreement, if you disagree I´m out for good.

Look at this solution:

Name: The King
Race: Caponian
Class: Alien Mindbender

But since all my argumentation is disregarded outright by you guys anyway feel free to also igore this:

Probably a floppy disk demo of Zak shipped either to the Lucasfilm Games Fan Club members, or maybe given away at a trade show like the Consumer Electronics Show, or maybe shipped with another game. It was never a video trailer at the time since there was no YouTube back then.


Maybe it’s that “Mindbenders” that makes the interpretation more difficult. Let’s just pretend it was “Alien Killers”. Everybody calls them “Alien Killers” because they are just that and those interested in their race know also that they are Caponians.

I also meant to make an analogy to the Klingons. You can call the Klingons just as well The Warrior Race.
Because of course that´s what they are, just like the Caponians are Alien Mindbenders.

But if I´m that far off I´ll refer to the Vulcans as “The Alien Logicians” from now on.

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OK, pink skin.

You´re making a sport of “missing the point” aren´t you?


I think that we should find an example of a class of people who is actually called that way. For example, everybody called the evil aliens “The Visitors” but that wasn’t the name of their race. So, it would be “Zak McKracken and The Visitors”. Is that correct?

On the other hand, we don’t know who created this Demo. If it wasn’t David Fox, then can we consider it’s contents “canon” ? :slight_smile:

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I think they´re called that by people who don´t know much of anything about them right? The Caponians are called Caponians by the Skolarians (the good aliens) who also refer to themselves as The Ancient Ones. But I guess I should call the Skolarians the “Alien Device Builders”…

The aliens in “Aliens” have taken to be called Xenomorphs by the way.

Anyway excuse me for being racist towards fictional alien races!

Why of course Zak walking on top of the Sphinx is totally part of the game!

To me it appears to be a classic case of clutching at straws, but that really is just me…


Every human calls them “the visitors” and the name of the race of the aliens is never revealed in any of the series. My point is that “alien mindbender” is a convenient descriptive name attributed by the invaded race just like “the visitors” was in that other fiction.

The example of the Andorians calling the humans “pink skins” is only in part an analogy for “alien mindbenders”, because in this case the expression “pink skin” was sometimes used as a racial slur.

That’s an example of a name that comes from the physiology of the specie. It’s a bit like calling some animals “chameleons”.

Yeah well than it´s not a very good comparison is it? A better coparison to the Visitors would be the Night Of The Living Dead films. All people refer to them as “those things” originally they were even refered to as Ghouls, because that´s what they were. Over the time however the term “Zombie”(or without the “e” at the end as you write it in italy) has become adopted and only because the people don´t know much about them their expression hasn´t caught on to the way that you would call the Walking Dead a “Those Things Show”.

And yes it´s also not an ideal comparison because the zombies don´t have a name for themselves at all.

When introducing yourselves to another alien race when traveling to another planet do you say “hi, we´re astronauts” or “hi, we´re humans from planet earth!” ?

I have no idea how good the comparison is, but they are both names coming from a description. “The visitors” just means “those who came to visit us” and “mindbenders” meaning “those who bend human minds”.

I think that “those things” might also fit in this kind of analogy but it’s less descriptive of the beings. “Zak McKracken and Those Things” is more vague. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think there is a big difference between how the aliens would present themselves and how they are described by an invaded race that doesn’t know how to call them. Names like “mindbenders” or “the visitors” probably exist because the invading race doesn’t explicitly reveal their name.

But, to reply to your question, I would introduce myself as a wannabe space pirate.

I´m beginning to think you´re actually agreeing with me, you just don´t know it yet! :stuck_out_tongue:

Of course there is always the more vague term in the title and later in the story the more common term is revealed. Like in Zak McKracken where the actual names of the alien races are revealed very late in the game.

Oh, I got a better example!

The Ringwraiths from Lord Of The Rings are revealed to be called the Nazgul. And more commonly so from that point on. But feel free to call them Ringwraiths. Robert Plant also seems to be prefer that term!