Original EGA art for "room 056" in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade compared to the remastered VGA art. The original is to the left.

Lucasfilm EGA adventures
- an appreciation

The remastered editions of the old Lucasfilm adventure games are widely considered the definitive versions. But the original 16-colour EGA versions had features and qualities that are missing in the currently available remasters. In many cases, the graphics looked better before the upgrade, and in the case of Loom, one third of the game content is cut from the remaster. Even the games own creator, Brian Moriarty, calls this release "an abomination".

EGA games are most often done in a 320 by 240 pixel mode with a hardware constrained 16-colour palette. The 16-colour limitation meant that the artists had to be more imaginative, which lead to more stylized and impressionistic art. In comparison, the 256-colour VGA remasters had art that was more literal and easier to understand, but lacking in expression. And in many cases the 256-colour remaster give the impression of a rushed job, with examples of smudgy pixelwork and a tendency to jump to gradient fills to cover flat areas. As a result, we are missing out on the original artwork of computer graphics pioneers such as Mark Ferrari and Steve Purcell.

I originally started looking at the original Lucasfilm adventures as research for one of my pixel art projects. I wanted to take a closer look at the art that I remembered when I was a kid. It's getting very difficult to find a way to view the original EGA artwork. The versions for purchase online only contains the remastered VGA versions. The original releases are now considered collectors items, and can go for hundreds of dollars on eBay. Even if you can afford a copy, the original floppy disks will eventually fail. You can find unofficial copies of the games online, and emulate them with ScummVM - but that is a lot of work. And you still wouldn't be able to appreciate the backgrounds as separate pieces of art.

It would be a shame if these groundbreaking works of pixel graphics weren't readily available. I've decided to put selected pieces of the original EGA background art on the following pages, so that averyone interested in pixel art and gaming history can study them.

Some of these backgrounds featured animation, and I have tried as much as I can to recreate them. It's taken me many days of work so far, often spending hours on a single image. I have almost exclusively only done this work on the EGA versions. I will also be sharing some trivia on the games, and my thoughts on the differences between the releases.

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All copyright and credit belong to Lucasfilm Games.