Monday, 21 January 2013

What's Your Story? - Johnny Panic

It's been a while since I've done one of these, mostly because I'm starting to run out of answers! There are a lot of new readers that have jumped on board recently, so this is a call out to all of them. If you want to earn yourself 20 CAPs, or just wish to share a little bit about your adventure gaming experience and knowledge, please send your answers to the What's Your Story questions that can be found on the left hand navigation menu to

Today's responses are from Johnny Panic. I haven't seen much of Johnny in the comments just yet, but his answers show that he knows his stuff. He's also yet another talented artist on the blog, and I recommend you all go check out his work.

Johnny Panic: look a lot like Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development!

My home country is…
Ukraine. Though I moved to California when I was around 8.

My age is…

The first adventure game I played was…
The Neverhood! I saw my much older cousin playing it a couple times (I also remember him playing Grim Fandango) and I was blown away. I asked my dad for my own copy. I got it, and more! My dad presented me with a disk of pirated DOS games (in retrospect I’m impressed he pirated something in 1996) including games like the Gobliiins series, Legend of Kyrandia,the Neverhood, and many non-adventure games which didn’t really catch my interest. I played all of them, but The Neverhood most of all. The version I had was odd though, it was almost like a MST3K version of the game. The Russian translation I got replaced the main villain of the game, Klogg, with Bill Gates, and how Microsoft sucks was a running theme throughout the whole translation. Often even the beautiful graphics of the game were edited sloppily in ms-paint, though this was done minimally, usually in places writing was already present. The most change occurred in cut-scenes that had dialog, which was entirely redone. But because most of the game was silent and devoid of characters, because the music and sound was left intact, as had all of the puzzles, the atmosphere of the game was the same as in the original. I even like the Russian dialog on the tapes more than the English version. It was just much creepier.

Another game on the list I'm looking forward to. It sure looks unique!

I like my games in (a box, digital format)…
A box. Yeah, I got my first exposure to video games through a bunch of pirated files on a disk, and my later gaming adventures were also devoid of boxes. But I definitely prefer boxes! Digital is convenient, but it’s pretty dull. Every digital file is alike, and they’re not hard to get hold of, which means the games they contain are pretty disposable. These days I could download or buy for cheap a ton of adventure games a day and then play none of them. But boxes each have their own individual thing going, from the artwork to the manual to maybe feelies. And owning a box really makes you feel like you OWN the game, rather than just having a disposable file on your computer. Having said that, the ability to download some old, long out of print, expensive-on-ebay games is a godsend and I wouldn’t want to give it up.

When I’m not playing games I like to…
Draw comics. I draw a story comic about a cult and the end of the world called Floatillion, which can be found on It doesn’t directly relate to adventure games, though I take a lot of subtle inspiration from them, which will be slightly less subtle in future arcs I have planned.

I love how minimal the dialogue is in Johnny's work. His images say all that needs to be said!

The thing I miss about old games is…
Thoughtful exploration. Most games nowadays feature story and exploration, which I definitely appreciate. It’s a good direction to move in, for most games. But a lot of these games emphasize rapid exploration, with action taking the front seat. In Russian, adventure games had a different name. An adventure game was called a bradilka, which translates roughly to “wandering game.” That’s the part I always liked most about adventure games, the wandering around, exploring the world at my own pace. Modern games have this to an extent, but not to the extent older games had. I like Telltale’s games, but the individual episodes are too small to have much of that same feeling.

My favourite adventure game is…
Oh gosh, favorites are always harder to judge than firsts. Opinions change over time, after all. I’m afraid I’m going to have to be predictable here and go with The Secret of Monkey Island. It hadn’t been on my little disk of pirated games, unfortunately. I discovered it much later, either late Jr. High or early High School, after I had rediscovered adventure games again in the US. Monkey Island, along with Maniac Mansion, which I had played earlier, was my gateway drugs to the LucasArts, Infocom, and eventually Sierra adventure games, as well as many others. But all of that isn’t the reason it’s my favorite, though I’m sure I don’t have to justify myself when it comes to Monkey Island. It’s just the most engrossing game I can think of. Monkey Island 2 is the better game, in my opinion, and I LOVE the ending. But nothing in it sucks me in as much as the opening section in the original, on Melee Island. The atmosphere is amazing, they really did something special there. And Guybrush’s goals are easy to relate to, and fun to pursue. I felt none of the separation between myself and the player character as in most other games. I WAS Guybrush Threepwood and I WAS on Melee Island, trying to become a pirate. Melee Island felt at once like home and a new place full of opportunities and things to see.

Hey...I was Guybrush Threepwood!

The best thing about modern games is…
The fact that absolutely anybody can make a game and, with the wide range of tools and the support of big communities, do a pretty professional job. I hope making games will just get easier and easier. Cheap, easy indie games allow for experimentation that big companies with bloated budgets don’t think they can afford. And slightly better funded indie games hit that sweet spot where they have enough money and time to make something really substantial, but are also flexible enough to allow for innovation and uniqueness.

The one TV show I never miss is…
Game of Thrones. I’m pretty lax with watching new tv shows as they come out. I mostly let episodes pile up and then watch them all at once. But Game of Thrones is a show I try to stay caught up on. Beautiful and exciting show with terrific world-building. My favorite shows, though, are Moral Orel, Twin Peaks, and Evangelion.

I hadn't heard of this, but it sure sounds interesting

If I could see any band live it would be…
Olivia Tremor Control. I’ve seen them before, just this last summer in fact. But now that thebilldoss has passed away seeing them again is a fading dream. I would also love to see The Protomen live again, they have fantastic live shows and I hear they’re playing a song from their upcoming album now!

My favourite movie is…
Mind Game. It’s an anime film which can be best described as a high energy anime fantasia with a plot. The plot isn’t very detailed, mind you, and mostly gets out of the way of the beautiful animation sequences. But what Mind Game lacks in plot it makes up in constant imagination, incredible animation, and a good theme. It takes the arc words “Your life is a result of your own decisions” and runs with that theme for the rest of the movie. There are two scenes in particular that are almost difficult to comprehend how they could have pulled off. One consists of just the characters running inside a whale’s mouth, and each new shot is different and thrilling. It’s the best action sequence I’ve ever seen, somehow. I’m also very fond of classic films such as Sunset Boulevard, as well anything by David Lynch.

Reading about this movie makes me want to see it too!

One interesting thing about me is…
Having lived through Y2K at a young, impressionable age, I really believed that the world was going to end at the time. Especially after a creepy religious lady in the park told me that the dead would rise from their graves. However, in a classic show of shortsightedness, I wasn’t a bit worried. In fact I was looking forward to how exciting the end of the world was going to be.

If anyone else wants to send their answers and get 20 CAPs, please send them to


  1. Monkey Island is indeed a great game, and the opening sequence is also very well done. For this one, I much prefer the VGA version even if I discovered the game with the EGA. Unlike "Last Crusade", the difference between the 2 is real.

    ...mmmhh.. "pirated" is mentioned 4 times, btw

  2. Welcome to the community.

    Ah Evangelion, the anime I hate most of any one I've seen. I think the writers got to that episode where it gets into the base (air ducts might have been involved?) then ran out of ideas and started taking acid to get inspiration. Also; I wanted to slap Shinji for being so damn indecisive.

    Also that final episode with Beethoven in it? All the Canadians watching could here was

  3. Canageek, the creator of Evangelion has serious clinical depression, and was hitting one of his hard depressions towards the end of Evangelion, also their budget was entirely used up. He's tried to correct the ending several times since

    1. I felt all the emotions of Evangelion. Especially the isolation. Hugs to everyone else who's gotten through the whole thing.