From Monkey Island wiki
Ron Gilbert is a game designer and the project leader for the first two games in the Monkey Island series. He is also considered to be the primary creator of the series, though the games were a co-operative effort between himself, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman.
Ron Gilbert was born in La Grande, Oregon, United States in 1964. He is the son of David E. Gilbert, a well-known astrophysicist and professor and the former president of Eastern Oregon State College.
He became interested in games when he was 13 years old thanks to a Texas Instruments TI-59 programmable calculator his father, David, used to bring home. That calculator included a game. It was a simple game, in which the player had to guess the location of a battleship by entering the coordinates and the calculator would answer if the player was high or low. But it wasn't the game itself what captured Ron's attention as much as how this simple calculator was capable of taking decisions and react to his choices.
Another thing that made him approach the gaming world was a film, Star Wars (1977). The combination of programming technology, which allowed gamers interact with characters and situations, mixed with his love for telling stories, like that of the aforementioned film, were the main reasons that made him start making games.
The impact of Star Wars and his love for telling stories was so big that Ron Gilbert, at the early age of 14, and his good friend Tom McFarlane made a couple of films on a Super-8 camera. The first film they shot in 1978 was Stars Blasters, it was directed by Ron Gilbert and acted by his friends Tom McFarlane and Tom Lang. In 1979 they filmed another movie Tomorrow Never Came, acted by Ron Gilbert and Tom McFarlane; it was directed by Ron Gilbert.
In 1979 his parents purchased a NorthStar Horizon home computer. At the age of 15, he took his first steps on game programming. He used to study and analyze games for hours, capturing in his mind every frame of the layout of games like Donkey Kong, Pacman, Asteroids, Space Invaders or Robotron: 2084, taking notes of every detail and then trying to replicate them on his computer. Once the games were replicated he would start doing experiments with them, adding changes. He also used to look at Atari 2600 games' advertisements in magazines, then imagined what the game was like to play and tried to make them on his computer. Once the games were finished he used to bring his friends home to test the games and tell him what did they like or did not like.
Gilbert began his professional career in 1983 while he was still a college student by writing a program named Graphics Basic with Tom McFarlane. They sold the program to a San Francisco Bay Area company named HESware, which later offered Gilbert a job. He spent about half a year at HESware, programming action games for the Commodore 64 (C64). None of them were ever released; the company went out of business. Shortly thereafter, Gilbert joined Lucasfilm Games, which later became LucasArts. There he earned his living by doing C64 ports of Lucasfilm Atari 800 games.
In 1985 he got the opportunity to co-develop his own game for LucasArts together with graphics artist Gary Winnick. Maniac Mansion was about a dark Victorian mansion populated by a mad scientist, his family and strange aliens.
Gilbert created a scripting language that was named after the project it had been written for, the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, better known as SCUMM. The technology was used in all subsequent LucasArts adventure games, with the exception of Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island. Despite being an internal production tool, the SCUMM acronym became well known to gamers since a location in The Secret of Monkey Island, the SCUMM Bar, was named after it.
Gilbert created many successful adventure games at LucasArts, including the classic The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge.
Humongous and Cavedog
In 1992, he left the company to start Humongous Entertainment with LucasArts producer Shelley Day.
While at Humongous Entertainment, Gilbert was responsible for games such as Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and the Backyard Sports series. Many of these games continued to use an offshoot of the SCUMM engine. In 1995, Gilbert founded Cavedog Entertainment, Humongous's sister company for non-kids' games.
Gilbert was the producer of Total Annihilation and worked on a game called Good & Evil. Widely regarded as his pet project, Good & Evil was said to incorporate many different themes and gameplay styles. The game was previewed by several publications, but the project was cancelled when Cavedog closed down in 1999.
As of 2005, Ron Gilbert was independently designing an unspecified new adventure/RPG game, which he was pitching to publishers.
In May of 2007, Gilbert began to collaborate with Hothead Games on Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, a game based on the webcomic Penny Arcade.
He runs a blog called Grumpy Gamer offering humorous game industry commentary.
On 9 January 2008 he announced a new game entitled Deathspank Episode One: Orphans Of Justice. Little however, is known about that at this point.
Gilbert was consulted extensively by the Telltale Games team while they made Tales of Monkey Island (2009). He is credited in all five episodes of the game as "Visiting Professor of Monkeyology". According to Michael Stemmle, Gilbert contributed "truckloads" of ideas for Tales, although he did not mention whether any came from his original plans for Monkey Island 3.
- Ron Gilbert on Wikipedia
- Ron Gilbert's complete biography - Published on January 31, 2010 at Youbioit
- Interview at World of Monkey Island
- Personal blog
- Developer BIO at Moby Games