LucasArt’s Loom is a family-friendly classic with lessons for today’s games

June 23, 2024
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Loom might be one of the most underappreciated games in the LucasArts library. This is a library in which almost every game is considered a classic: Monkey Island is endlessly quotable, Grim Fandango is a noir delight, and even The Dig has plenty of fans. Loom has always struggled for recognition in comparison.

That said, I sense a growing appreciation for Loom among people who write about games. You don’t have to look far for essays recognising Loom as a succinct, often beautiful experience that remains singular nearly 35 years after its release. For me, it also provides a bright example of how to create a family-friendly adventure that intrigues adults, doesn’t condescend kids, and is driven by a sense of wonder.

The game is the creation of Brian Moriarty, a developer who doesn’t have enough credits to his name. His skill is indicated by the fact that Loom was his first foray into graphical adventures following an early career spent working on text-based games such as Wishbringer. Wishbringer was purposefully commissioned by its publisher Infocom to be an accessible introduction to the genre, and the skills needed to strip a genre back and create something streamlined and inviting – not to mention less infuriating than its stablemates – clearly fed into Loom. You can complete Loom in two or three hours without too much in the way of challenge and with no obvious roadblocks. What Loom has instead is atmosphere. It’s transporting. It’s little wonder that Moriarty was subsequently brought on board to create the story for the Steven Spielberg-produced game The Dig, even if production challenges led to him eventually leaving the project.

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