PROLOGUE. On this fateful Towel Day we witness the release of the long-awaited Point&click remake of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by James Spanos (aka Dualnames).
What follows are abridged transcripts of the philosophical dialogs conducted with Spanos that took place during the last week before the release (Which means they’re really HOT right now! – almost like the game itself).  So read them!

Important Note!
These unorthodox rants may turn out to be just the thing which will clarify Spanos’ previous great study on the topic of remakes. And what’s even more thought-provoking, the various topics have been separated into aptly-titled chapters for reader convenience.

Igor Hardy: So for the first question… Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came upon AGS.
Igor Hardy: Of course I’ll be editing all this later to make it look cooler 😉
James Spanos: Oh, wow, this interview starts now? Okay, well, it was Christmas of 2006
James Spanos: almost Christmas actually.
James Spanos: So I was at my village, having no computer to work with and nothing to do at all. So I did the next best thing I went and got 6 pc games magazines. One of them had an article about how to make your own adventure games with a small tutorial on how to use AGS 2.72
James Spanos: So I thought it sucked, and download it, along with a couple of engines, that I didn’t like at all, and I only was left with AGS
James Spanos: (you may cut this down)
Igor Hardy: Aha!
James Spanos: As for me, well, I’m more boring than the story just told. I’m just a guy who lives in Greece, I’m very fond of sci-fi in general, I’ve been in computers for a great time, and if you really want to meet me and talk more about my greatness the AGS IRC room is okay.
James Spanos: Next question!

Igor Hardy: How many AGS game projects and AGS related activities have you been involved in so far?
James Spanos: Oh, god!
James Spanos: I’ve been involved in dozens of activities and countless game projects 😉 . I’m having great fun with working on Michalski’s The Cat Lady interface, same as Downfall, which will probably be updated with NO bugs this time, hopefully, and somewhat updated interface, I’ve also worked with JimReed on a game, he’s probably abandoned (yes, I’m looking at you mister). I’ve worked with SSH and IndieBoy on a MAGS entry, and it was a very funny game, though it didn’t won. I’ve also worked with bicilotti, the single greatest man ever, and that’s an understatement. As for activities, I’m hosting the MAGS, and joined twice so far, and I’m always into fort-nightly competitions every once in a while, also I’m so into background blitzes lately, and well, I’m with anything as long as it’s fun.
Igor Hardy: What about the AGS Blog? How could you forget about the AGS Blog?
James Spanos: oh, I forgot about the blog
James Spanos: damn me.
James Spanos: I don’t think I’m bringing actual news most of the times, but I’m trying to do things my way. Sometimes it works, sometimes people hate me. It happens I guess. The blog is still SSH’s and I don’t think I’m actually bringing more attention to it than SSH (Andrew MacCormack [ed.]). Plus I can never make the good titles he’s making. I’m trying to make my posts fit his style, and that explains the random pictures and occasionally the random titles. My favorite things are the Interviews. All of them contain questions that bugged ME about those great guys. The reason why Calin (Leafshade [ed.]) was the first, is that he had some attention towards his face, and he’d be 96% to agree into doing it. Then after several interviews, I gained enough prestige to interview m0ds :D.
Igor Hardy: You even gained enough prestige to interview yourself at one point.
James Spanos: oh, that was just chosen by the pole.
Igor Hardy: Cool, a magic pole!
James Spanos: I think people wouldn’t expect us to go for it.
James Spanos: So they went totally random
James Spanos: I was totally surprised I had to interview myself, and that was definitely the hardest interview ever.

Igor Hardy: So what is it exactly that compels you not only to keep making new freeware games, but also to take part in all of these events? – surely there is a lot of work involved.
James Spanos: MAGS isn’t at all a lot of work. At least not after you get used to how things need to be done. It’s really easy, and you just need to look out for some certain days, that’s all. It’s all about motivation and time. If those exist or at least the first, there’s nothing to stop you back.
Igor Hardy: And where comes the motivation from?
James Spanos: Randomly.
James Spanos: I say, don’t bother with the why, it just works somehow so make the best of it!

Igor Hardy: So, you said you’re really fond of sci-fi. Does it carry through to your tastes in adventure games? Which sci-fi adventure games are the best you played?
James Spanos: It doesn’t really carry through. Unfortunately. Most of the games are done waaay to technologically based and stupidly difficult for no reason. I’ve yet to meet a cool one. I haven’t played Starship Titanic. I guess only the Space Quest series are the ones I actually liked.
Igor Hardy: (pssst… and hitchhiker…)
James Spanos: hitchhiker was terribly difficult
James Spanos: though a great game.
Igor Hardy: so, no serious sci-fi games appeal to you?
James Spanos: Planetfall for sure as well.

Igor Hardy: What was the main reason you wanted to remake Hitchhiker?
James Spanos: Well, I was in depression for a great while, and well, nothing d’get my out of that situation. And then I read HHGTG
James Spanos: I’ve always though it’d be great to make a game about it. And so we did.
Igor Hardy: So you’ve read the book before playing the original game actually?
James Spanos: yes.
Igor Hardy: What is your favorite part (or scene) from it?
James Spanos: Okay, my favorite scene is definitely when Arthur and Ford are in the pub in the first book, and Ford says that he’s not from Guildford, and Arthur just says “Has the world always been like that or have I been too wrapped in myself to notice?” It’s definitely a reference to my own lifestyle, as though I really want to be outdoor I’m just so moody to leave myself.
Igor Hardy: But about the game… do you think it holds up today? If someone is not afraid of Interactive Ficiton in general that is.
James Spanos: The problem with the original is it can be really frustrating sometimes. I tried to make the game totally forgiving, by separating it into two modes. The easy mode being the one for newbies and it’s made specially to be enjoyable not just make you break your TV screen or just turn you off from the game. Hopefully, people afraid of the IF games will try this one.

Igor Hardy: Tell us, who is the guy behind Hitchhiker’s music? Where did you find him? And where did the Vangelis-like style came from?
James Spanos: The guy behind the Hitchhiker music, is some Finnish guy, famous as Panu Talus or AnalogGuy. We started talking for a long while on MSN, then we both realized we have the same passion for Vangelis, and one thing brings the other, and we had agreed to do the music. That pretty much sums it all up.

Igor Hardy: What kind of people are Grim, SSH, and Indieboy to work with on a game? Please describe each separately. 🙂
James Spanos: Grim is a very talented guy, that can draw and really get a good graphic style as well as a very creepy and disturbing story, but as he will often tell me, can’t code his way out, he’s very prompt to replies, and generally a very swell guy. SSH and Indieboy are great, SSH being the chief, and he really did a good job organizing the rest of the team.
Igor Hardy: So these guys really don’t have any flaws, or do you just prefer to keep them secret?
James Spanos: They don’t have any. Seriously.

Igor Hardy: Don’t you think it is a bit too easy to get an audience for your game when you are doing a remake, a fan sequel, or some other kind of spin-off for a popular IP? I mean, your Hitchhiker game could even get mentioned on this site: !
James Spanos: Yes, it’s easy, but not always, I mean it depends on the work you plan to put into something. And how much will you consider the thoughts of the fan-base. A lot of fan games are made or announced, but they don’t get the same attention (not inferring that mine is superior or inferior under any opinion). I personally expected much less interest in my game when I started off, and seeing 25 replies within 8 hours, just got me very surprised. The game is a personal favor to myself, and trying to please the fans is secondary.

Igor Hardy: What are some of the best AGS games that have the best chance to addict someone to the AGS scene?
James Spanos: The Barn runner games. Seriously, they’re very fun and wayyy addictive! I’d also suggest Permanent Daylight, and the Chzo Mythos Games by Yahtzee, also Limey Lizard and the Infinity String are great too.

Igor Hardy: You have an interesting visual style for your games, especially noticable in the sci-fi titles (lots of rectangular and pointy objects, blocky starships). Is there anything in particular that inspired it? Another World perhaps?
James Spanos: Funny you saying that, Another World is one of my favorite games in terms of everything, and in fact I try (mostly failing miserably I guess) to copy its style. I find the lack of detail, simple, yet expressive shapes to leave space to imagination in sci-fi based games, and doing the animation through rotoscoping in Another World was definitely one of the best ways to do that.

Igor Hardy: Now with the production of Hitchhiker coming to an end, have you been thinking about another big dream project? Or maybe you don’t want to do anything that demanding for a while?
James Spanos: I am going to go with something on the serious side of things. Me and some great fellow, have had the game planned as it is, and we’re farely amazed of what’s been accomplished in terms of story and gameplay. It’s been put on hold for now, but I’ll start working on it after the 25th.
Igor Hardy: sounds intriguing
Igor Hardy: Tell us some more. What genre of fiction you’re doing it in? Surely, this isn’t top secret.
James Spanos: It’s a horror game, but not the one you expect it to be. I think horror games and movies really fail, because they try to force fear, with scary monsters and popping things, but what really gets people scared is expecting for something to pop out, not the thing itself. The game I’m working on with Grim (Remigiusz Michalski), though we’re both quite unsure on its future, is about a guy that just goes to his brother funeral. But it’s more than that, trust me.

Igor Hardy: In 2009 AGS games had seen some pretty spectacular achievements. There were several commercial, quality games released, including: Blackwell Convergence, Downfall, Enter The Story, and Time Gentlemen Please. Also, 2 AGS games were nominated for IGF Awards. Also also, the first ever AGS games have been ported to browsers. Finally… MAGS did get some media coverage! 😀 Yet I keep also reading in media reviews that AGS is an outdated engine. So what do you think the future of AGS and AGS-made games will be like?
James Spanos: That’s a hard one. Well, people keep complaining about how AGS is outdated and how the forums aren’t what they used to be anymore. I say from personal experience, that these are the best forums ever and that we may complain that AGS is outdated, but we forget Colourwise, a puzzle game made with AGS won an Eegra competition prize, and that Time Gentlemen Please ruled the Steam for a while, out-selling Assassin’s Creed! The AGS engine was always and will be always considered out-dated, though it’s not always true. But I doubt AGSers will stop breaking the space-time continuum to make miracles with it. As for the software, Chris Jones is aware of the fact that the resolution needs to be increased, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I’m sure however if this community holds and supports like it has so far, nothing can get it down.

Igor Hardy: Describe in one sentence all stages of your evolution as a game designer from 2006 to this day.
James Spanos: Well, it took a lot of games and efforts to get what I’ve been doing wrong. I always did something code-wise cool, but that doesn’t make a game good. People always complained on my graphics back in 2007, so I went and just did my best effort on graphics and music, something based on Space Quest. The game was praised for the graphics and atmosphere. And that’s all.
Igor Hardy: Which game was that?
Igor Hardy: Also, it was supposed to be all in one sentence.
James Spanos: Starship Poseidon (find the thread if you don’t believe me people liked the graphics) So I was baffled, though happy I’ve proven to myself I can do it. So I’d go different the next time. I’d put much more effort to make an enjoyable. And then came Winner’s Don’t Do Drugs, which had some glitch, and then came Towel Day, my pride. The only game I’ve put some true greatness into. If it wasn’t for the panel, I wouldn’t have done it.
James Spanos: not sure I can in one sentence. Give me an example.
Igor Hardy: Example of one sentence? OK.
Igor Hardy: Veni, vidi, vici.
James Spanos: 😛
James Spanos: bad puzzle design, acquiring graphic style, focusing on enjoyability.
Igor Hardy: That’s perfect!

Igor Hardy: And for the final question… Why did that sexy, covered in blood lady in Starship Poseidon leave the hero to die in the mutant-zombies infested exploding ship and launched the escape pod before he could get in? I remember she said something like “I’m sorry, but it had to be done”.
James Spanos: That was indeedy the most utterly unexpected question. Yes, she left him to die. I had worked on Starship Poseidon 2 taking part where the first left off, but I abandoned that idea, along with abandoning the idea off taking what I had and put in the first to make a more complete game.
Igor Hardy: But why did she leave him to die? And why did she give him excuses knowing full well he will die? I must know or the scene will haunt me forever!
James Spanos: She’d leave him to die because she’d have to save herself. And she panicked and pressed the button by accident. She screamed she was sorry, but due to the isolation our hero failed to listen. Rather stupid I know.

No more reading! Download the game! NOW!