Grim Fandango Nostalgia

I’ve been playing an adventure video game called Grim Fandango Remastered, driven by nostalgia. I can remember playing the first part of it 20 years ago when the original Grim Fandango was released for the PC. I just finished the game this afternoon and I couldn’t remember a darn thing about most of it.

Anyway, the main character is a dead guy, Manuel “Manny” Calavera, working as a travel agent at the Department of Death selling tickets to the newly dead who are trying to get to a kind of heaven called the Ninth Underworld. Manny’s job gets pretty complicated when he uncovers a scam involving counterfeit tickets. He loses a client, Mercedes “Meche” Colomar, an unfortunate victim of the scam, and sets off on a long journey through the underworld to right the wrong.

I think I know what happened. The original version didn’t play well on the PC we had back then. I think I just gave up, not so much because of the difficult puzzles, but because of the glitchy gameplay.

But I do remember being fascinated by the art, the music, and the Day of the Dead theme. Most experts say the game really didn’t get much of a remastering job, but I thought it was gorgeous (and so did Sena, who played along with me toward the end).

I like the story and the mystery. You interact with the characters by asking them questions, which are to some extent fed to you in order to help keep you on track. The puzzles are sometimes fiendishly difficult and I couldn’t finish it without peeking at the walkthrough.

The characters tell a story full of heroism and villainy evoking themes of altruism, loyalty, kindness, and courage in the face of avarice and cruelty. And even the good guys have flaws.

I need a good story like that now and then, especially these days.

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