Originally Posted by hplikelike
For those of us who grew up on HE, what was it like working on those games? How was the transition from a teen/adult audience to a children audience? and how did you convince people that it would make money? and how exactly did HE "die"?
Working on Pajama Sam (and Freddi Fish, which I also did once) was really fun - as was Moop and Dreadly at Hulabee a bit later (same basic set of people, different company name). I never intended to write children's games at all, by the way. I'd been freelancing around a bit, and had done some work with Ron Gilbert that was intended for Humongous's emerging grown-up division (Cavedog). He called me up one day and said, "Look, I know you don't generally do kids' games, but we've got this idea for one that's a bit weird, and I think it would be good for your sensibilities. Want to write it?" I wasn't up to anything special at that time, so I said sure, I'd give it a shot.
Pajama Sam. And it was really fun to do! I liked writing for an audience with a young sense of play. The thing to remember is that kids aren't any less intelligent than adults are, they just have less knowledge and less context for things, so you have to explain a bit more. I learned how to get puzzles to hint themselves effectively on repetition while working on those games. I have a bit of a soft spot for cuteness, and I also liked slipping in all the humor that was intended for the parents who'd be playing the games with their kids. Before I knew what was happening we'd done several more titles, and all of a sudden I was known as a children's author - which is fine, but it was a pigeonhole I was starting to feel until I hooked up with Telltale four years ago.
As for convincing people it would make money: Fortunately, I didn't have to do that. Ron did. And apparently, he did a good job. And it did make money; Humongous was doing quite well until Ron and Shelley sold the studio about five years in. That was pretty much the peak of its success. I know they even wanted to try to buy the company back at one point to try to turn it around, but wound up leaving and starting Hulabee instead.
True fact: It was Tim Schafer who suggested the name "Humongous Entertainment."