Author Topic: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!  (Read 4135 times)

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Offline SJP

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Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« on: April 16, 2010, 12:45:41 PM »
Ok, I don't want this to turn into just a shameless plug or a complete nostalgic wax, but this is something that's really cool for me, and I figure this is the best place to post it...

So, one of my favorite games of all times is Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders.  I got it for Christmas back in 1988 for the Commodore 64, when I was still a mere lad, and even though it took me many a year of off and on playing to beat it (turns out I really should've just mapped out all those mazes I would wander around in), I did it without looking up clues, and just the sense of grandeur of flying all around the world just really stuck with me over the years.

Well, not too long ago, I found out that several groups had been working on fan sequels, as Lucasfilm Games/Lucasarts had never planned on making one of their own, and that one was finished and released in Germany.  I happened to catch their website in early 2009 just as they were posting up that they planned on doing a Director's Cut edition with extra stuff in it, as well as translating it with full speech into English and other languages, and were looking for voice actors.

Well, I had just gotten into doing iRiffs, and as a fan, I decided to put together a sample and see what I could do, expecting to get maybe a bit part as a Caponian or side character.

Imagine my surprise when they wrote back, saying, "Could you do Zak for us, please?"  I was floored.  To think that 20 years after I first played my favorite game, that I'd have a chance to voice that character was practically a dream come true.

So, for those of you who know that I do iRiffs, this is the reason that after Doom, it's taken me awhile to get more of those done.  This doesn't explain why Terminator: Salvation has taken forever...that's just me being lazy, pretty much.    ;)  But this has been a long process...making sure the translation from German to English sounded natural and flowing was tough enough, but I also took on the recording, cleaning up, and sending in mp3s of my dialogue...one line at a time.  I lost count of how many lines I actually did, but based on the number crunching from the lists I worked with, it was somewhere around 2000.  I'm just glad I wasn't working on Mass Effect, let me tell you.   ;D

But the reason I'm bringing this up is that it looks like the English release is right around the corner...they've just put up a new website at http://www.mckracken.net and should be putting up information about the English version this weekend (the only voice crew they mention at the moment are for the German versions, so I'm not up there yet; just saying so you don't thinking I'm lying or anything...wouldn't do that, honest!).  They've also got a partner website, http://www.fanadventures.net, which is mostly fan projects and such from other game series (and some original ones, too) and a place to recruit team members if you want to make games yourself, but unfortunately the English portion of the site is pretty dead; the German side is happenin', though, if you're unlike me and actually know some German.

Oh, one other thing...if you played the original game, keep in mind this new one is definitely less "family-friendly" than the original; there's a couple of gross-out moments, sex humor, Zak just sort of all around being a bastard, and language.  But, at the same time, David Fox and Matthew Kane, the programmers of the original Zak, also did voices in this new one in a small cameo role, and so it apparently has his blessing: their scene is actually up on YouTube here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44YhpeFrHN4.

So, yeah...it was a lot of work, and it was an all-volunteer effort, but I did get to do the voice of a childhood hero, which was payment in and of itself.  I just hope the game is as enjoyable to play as it was to do the voice for.

EDIT: Went back and actually "re-crunched" the number of lines, which I was yanking off the top of my head...it's actually closer to 5000, give or take.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 08:20:17 PM by SJP »
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Offline doggans

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2010, 10:47:24 AM »
I confess I never finished Zak McKracken.

I'm a bad LucasArts fan.

Still, that's pretty awesome! I had heard this game was a popular target for fan sequels.


Offline mrbasehart

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2010, 10:51:49 AM »
Zak McKracken was a pretty cool early adventure, so congrats on the voice "gig"! :)


Offline carlobee

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 12:58:54 AM »
Congrats! :)


Offline Thrifty

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2010, 08:31:18 AM »
I had a bootlegged copy of that game when I was a kid.  Since the anti-piracy measures in those days involved forcing you to reference the game's manual to continue, we could never go too far.  Except my brother's friend John had the manual, and we'd call him up to look stuff up.  That got old real fast, so I never did manage to complete the game until the CD remake came out 10 years later, without the copy protection.

Also, being a kid, I was too stupid to figure out the puzzles.


Offline SJP

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2010, 10:27:52 PM »
Yeah, the VISA stuff was annoying...just played my old copy on a C-64 emulator (and yes, I still have the original disks...it's backup, I tells you!) and typing in the codes gets old, especially when you are using a "joystick" control scheme instead of a mouse.

But what was funny, though the main puzzle that took me forever was
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

the really weird solve was one I didn't even realize was a puzzle until, out of the clear blue one day, I realized
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
For a long time, I figured that door was just a red herring, but then, I woke up one morning and suddenly thought that would be a good idea and tried it.  Lo and behold, it worked!  (That seems to happen a lot to me on adventure games; I don't know if it's just my brain notices things I miss while I'm awake and puts it together while I'm asleep, but "morning brainstorms" worked maybe 80-90% of the time for me...though I was always VERY disappointed if it didn't).

I also realized, not too long ago, that on the official Zak 2 forum I used the phrase "I was floored" a second time.  I didn't plan on doing that, but reading it, it sounds so rehearsed...it's true, but it just sort of sounds phony at the same time, too.  But thanks to everybody!  As far as I can tell, they're working on multiple site translations at the moment (if you know Spanish or Italian, that's apparently a plus), so if you know any of those languages at all, they could use you.
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Offline RoninFox

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2010, 10:40:55 PM »
Even though I grew up on a C 64 and we had a ton of games for it, I never played that one. Still that's a kick-ass story, congrats.
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Offline zenmichael

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2010, 05:38:10 PM »
super awesome! in an odd and somewhat related story, i was the lead voice in a video game as well! it never got released b/c of reasons that i don't even know if i can talk about, but the trailer is still floating around out there some places (i think http://www.3djuegos.com/juegos/play-video/2681/5163/space-station-tycoon/ has it, tho it's not loading here at work -- i'm assuming that's b/c we don't have the latest flash update tho. if not you can usually google it & find it decently quickly. i know gametrailers.com DID have it up....). in any case, it was a full game for the Wii called Space Station Tycoon, and though you don't see it in the trailer, i played both Shawn and his evil twin half brother Nash. It was a ton of fun. My roommate works for Wahoo!, the studio that made it (they've also made Band of Bugs and ... whatsitcalled ... Kingdom of Keflings? for Xbox Live).
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Offline Nunyerbiz

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2010, 06:38:53 PM »
Cool stuff SJP, congrats!

I also was a C64 dork growing up... altho it was a buddy of mine that owned Zak McKracken. Many, many hours after school were spent over his house playing that one. I remember not talking to him for a good couple weeks when the bastard finished the game without me being there. Putting toilet paper in the microwave to distract the flight attendant... and taking off the pipe under the sink so you could use the garbage disposal to turn the stale french bread into crumbs to attract the bird... at least I think those are things I did while playing Zak McKraken... lot of beer has been consumed in the last 22 years... but I think that's right.


Offline SJP

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2010, 08:06:20 PM »
(i think http://www.3djuegos.com/juegos/play-video/2681/5163/space-station-tycoon/ has it, tho it's not loading here at work -- i'm assuming that's b/c we don't have the latest flash update tho. if not you can usually google it & find it decently quickly. i know gametrailers.com DID have it up....).

It's working...as is the trailer for the actual gameplay.  Shame it never got released...I'm a sucker for the "Theme Park" types of games (more so than Sim City...why build commercial districts when it's so much more entertaining to make kids throw up on your roller coaster?). Voice work was nice as well...very professional, and Shawn sounded perfectly naive.

Still no sign of when English Zak will be up and running (just the voice talent, not the crew, so I'm out of the loop), but hopefully it'll be sometime soon.
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Offline zenmichael

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2010, 02:32:36 PM »
(i think http://www.3djuegos.com/juegos/play-video/2681/5163/space-station-tycoon/ has it, tho it's not loading here at work -- i'm assuming that's b/c we don't have the latest flash update tho. if not you can usually google it & find it decently quickly. i know gametrailers.com DID have it up....).

It's working...as is the trailer for the actual gameplay.  Shame it never got released...I'm a sucker for the "Theme Park" types of games (more so than Sim City...why build commercial districts when it's so much more entertaining to make kids throw up on your roller coaster?). Voice work was nice as well...very professional, and Shawn sounded perfectly naive.

i'm not really a sim-anything fan, but they were definitely doing some stuff that looked fun w/it. like, to open the boxes your new stuff came in you had to shake the wiimote to make it blow up, there were boss battles (boss battles in a sim game? yes!), etc. etc.

i played all the lucas games and don't really remember much from them except that i enjoyed them (i remember playing Loom and TRYING to kill the character just to see the ridiculous ways they'd write around it to make it ok). i was more a sierra/dynamix fan, but still, i've played maniac mansion & ZM. looking forward to this version. wooooo.

oh, also, i like that you called shawn "naive." one astute internet-er said i sounded like 'a retarded faggot.' i was like, 'enh, that's fair. pretty close to what i was going for.' heh.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 02:34:45 PM by zenmichael »
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Offline SJP

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2013, 12:14:38 PM »
Well, I posted this some time ago...and I thought the project would never see the light of day.  I hadn't heard a peep since probably 2011, and assumed the project had quietly dissolved and my voice work was all for naught.

Apparently the team has been busy.  The graphics have been redone in HD, it's being coded to work with smartphones, and apparently the dialogue I had recorded had to be completely re-synced, and from the e-mail I got from the project head, there were a lot of other things going on over the course of the year that were very difficult to work through.

But, they've got a Facebook page now, and they've been updating it regularly.  And they said a trailer with my voice work will be going up soon!  Looks like they still need a handful of English language voices though, mostly female characters.  I'd say check it out, if you're interested.
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Offline SJP

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2013, 11:10:39 PM »
I somehow missed this, but parts of the English language trailer are up.  I have to admit, for as much as I do voice stuff in riffing, it's really weird to hear Zak talking in my voice.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/2HcK9gcZN_w" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/2HcK9gcZN_w</a>
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Offline SJP

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2014, 03:37:20 PM »
All right, one last up post on this.  Serious this time.

I got word from the team head that they are still looking for someone to do the English voice for the aliens.  This is apparently the last voice needed on the project, and if you think you have an alien-sounding enough voice, go ahead and check out their Facebook page in order to find a way to contact them.  I don't know how 'promotional' stuff goes over on the forums (as in, I wouldn't say PM me about it since I don't know if that violates something obscure under the Human CentiPad clause in the sign up thing), so going to Facebook in order to get contact info ought to be enough.
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Offline Sideswipe

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Re: Holy crap...I'm Zak McKracken! 2!
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2014, 09:52:14 PM »
That's interesting, I've always wanted to give voice acting a try.

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