This Day in Gaming History: ‘Grim Fandango’ Takes Us On the Trip of Our Afterlife

Grim Fandango

18 years have passed since LucasArts took us on a surreal trip through the afterlife with Grim Fandango. The instant classic was an ambitious venture from the get-go.

Grim Fandango
By 1998, the adventure game genre was becoming stale as new exciting 3D capable systems such as the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64 dominated the video game market with Resident Evil and Super Mario 64. Hot off of his work on the biker adventure Full Throttle, Tim Schafer had a unique idea that would inject new life into the fading genre.

Grim Fandango, as the project would be called, was a story about Manny Calavera, a travel agent working in the Land of the Dead’s Department of Death. His job was to escort the recently deceased to the underworld, where they would make their final journey to the afterlife. Things take a turn when Manny discovers widespread corruption happening within the Department of Death and finds that his job and ultimate destiny are at risk.

Grim Fandango
The look of Grim Fandango was inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead imagery, as well as film noir influences like Casablanca and Chinatown.

The adventure is played through a third-person perspective with a focus on puzzle solving and collecting objects. Since the game lacks any kind of HUD interface, the player must rely on clever hints to point them in the right direction. These clues include Manny turning his head towards an object of interest or speaking to certain characters in a level.

Grim Fandango
Grim Fandango‘s interesting plot and eye-catching visuals have made it a popular game for gamers and source of inspiration for other games. It’s continued popularity even led to a fully remastered edition released in January 2015.

What is your opinion of Grim Fandango? Are there any other adventure games that deserve mentioning?

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Eric Hall2687 Posts

Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his biweekly "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.


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