Al Emmo and The Lost Dutchman's Mine
 
Interview with Britney Brimhall 
by Danyboy
August 11, 2006

 

Al Emmo is a work of fiction, although it is based loosely on the real life legend of The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine.  This authentic tale of mystery involves a German prospector named Jacob Waltz, later oddly referred to as "The Dutchman."  According to history, a Mexican family by the name Peralta had claim to a rich gold mine located in the Superstition Mountain range.  After the Peralta's were massacred by the savage Apache Indians, Waltz took ownership of the mine and often visited town showing off his excavated wealth.  While on his deathbed, Waltz revealed hints to a dear friend as to the location of the mine, yet even after all this time, the mine's official location remains a mystery.

Al Emmo is a stranger in an even stranger place.  Being middle aged and still single, Al makes an incredible journey from New York to the Wild West in an attempt to make his parents proud and bring home a bride.  Arriving at the run down train station in the dead end town of Anozira, Al is disappointed to see he's been rejected by his would-be mail-order bride.  Not wanting to disappoint his parents with an empty handed return home, and seeing that there is no return train for a week, Al sets out on a mission to find a bona fide woman to call his own.

Al sets his sights on one of the few eligible and respectable women in town, the buxom and beautiful saloon singer, Miss Rita Peralto.  Having nearly every man in town after her, Rita is skeptical of the typical male's proclamation of affection and is definitely hard to get.  Additionally, her late parents left her with the family home, which she will soon lose due to her financial state.  She is working hard to keep afloat and has little energy for flippant men.  Al has his work cut out for him, convincing Rita that he is the man worthy of her attention and trust.

To make things all the more futile, Antonio Bandana, a strapping and debonair royal from Spain has arrived in the town of Anozira as well.  Unfortunately, he has also set his sights on wooing the attractive bar singer.  Under these circumstances, Al's quest for Rita's affections begins.  As he travels through the land of Anozira, Al slowly starts learning more about the town, Rita, and his royal rival.  In addition to delving a bit into Antonio's private life (in an attempt to discredit him), Al also learns valuable information about the past of Rita's family and the lost treasures her father was attempting to locate.

Through thorough investigation and interaction with both the town's population and the local indian tribe, Al ultimately locates the mine, which doesn't just contain the fabled lost gold, but also the truth about the disappearance of Rita's father..."

 
Introduction:

Britney Brimhall is Chairman & CEO of Himalaya Studios, LLC.  She cofounded AGD Interactive and released two critically acclaimed remakes of King’s Quest I and King’s Quest II.  She is now concentrating on original classic style adventure games and is gearing up to release her first original title, “Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine”.


Who is Al Emmo and why is he looking for the lost Dutchman's mine?

Al Emmo is a middle-aged man from New York who sets out west to find a wife and make his parents proud. During his adventure, he learns of a mysterious lost mine, which if found, can help (and hopefully even impress) the woman he fancies.

Can you give us more details about this mysterious Dutchman's mine?

The Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine is a real life legend.  After playing “Al Emmo”, players can literally go on an adventure to the Southwest and search for the actual mine!  The mine in “Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine” is loosely based off of this real life story.  In the game, it is rumoured to be haunted, and contains vast quantities of riches!

What kind of woman is Al Emmo looking for?

Al Emmo cannot really be picky—although, it’s safe to say he’d prefer a woman with two eyes, two legs, and hair.  Lucky for Al, he found more than he’d ever bargained for in the town of Anozira.  The most eligible bachelorette has brains, beauty, sensitivity, kindness, and a good work ethic.

Except for the fact that we are going to be looking for the perfect woman in the game, what other tasks will we be doing?

Planning dates, mixing drinks, shopping, running errands, going on rescue missions, spelunking, exploring, code breaking, adventuring, having fun…

Can you give us a small bio for some of the characters we will encounter during our journey?

There are over 25 unique and zany characters in the game.  A handful include:

Antonio Bandana, the self proclaimed royal from Spain who is staunch competition for Al.  He has his eyes set on…

Rita Peralto, the fiery singer at Kevin’s Saloon.  Next door to Kevin’s Saloon, you will find…

Koko, the cosmic pharmacist and entrepreneur who runs the local general store.


Which came first?  Did you want to make a humorous game, and then chose this topic, or did you have the topic and then chose to give it a humorous treatment?

I knew I wanted to make a humorous game. I chose a setting and characters, and developed the storyline from there.

Since Al Emmo isn't much of a sex symbol, can we expect some funny stories about how he deals with the opposite sex?

I think so.  I always felt Al would be a great choice for a main character, because by being an ordinary guy, he’d face additional interesting and humorous challenges while on his quest to win the heart of his love interest.  A lot of guys have actually written to me, telling me that they can relate to Al, and enjoy the game because of this.

Will Al Emmo find more than he was looking for?

Most definitely!

Will we be using any weapons such as a gun in the game?

You’ll have some items in your inventory that could be used as weapons, yet you’ll have to use your thinking cap to utilize them.

Can you tell us about some of the locations we'll be seeing?

You’ll find a variety of beautiful landscapes that represent the different regions of Arizona, from the red rock country and canyons of the north to the typical Saguaro filled deserts. You’ll have the chance to explore an old western town, an Indian reservation, caves, and more!

It is a very stylistic design, with a strong western flavor, but why have the characters show so little movement?  Was this a design choice or one restricted by financial reasons?  Were they actively trying to mimic the old Sierra style?

I never actually considered their movement to be restricted, and haven’t heard this opinion from anyone until now.  We have taken special measures to ensure that the game has the feel of a classic style adventure game.  In most classics, NPCs had limited movement, and the main player was the one with the largest variety of animations.  “Al Emmo” is similar to the classics in this regard, yet still includes a huge amount of interesting and complex animations.

What about the puzzles?  Are they challenging?

The general consensus is that they are challenging, yet logical and not so difficult that they are impossible to solve without a walkthrough.  Most people have been pleased with the difficulty level.

Is there something else in the near future for Al Emmo?

A trip to Disneyland?

Without spoiling anything, what is your favorite part of the game?

I like the characters (especially Koko) and the sentimental moments in the story and soundtrack.  I also am really pleased with the voice acting!

Can you talk a bit about some of the people working on the game?  I heard that we might be familiar with some of them.

A lot of our team members worked with us on previous projects at AGD Interactive.  For instance, Tom and Dianne Lewandowski, the husband and wife team from Quest Studios, have created an incredible soundtrack for “Al Emmo” and have also volunteered on our AGDI remake projects.  Daniel Stacey, a school teacher by trade and the plot writer for “King’s Quest II VGA”, created most of the witty dialogue for “Al Emmo”.  Company co-founder, Chris Warren, has been working diligently on the “Quest for Glory II VGA” remake and played a major role in the creation of the “King’s Quest VGA” remakes.  For “Al Emmo”, he worked in management and as the lead programmer.  Even Stijn van Empel and Sean Nichols, two AGDI volunteers, have contributed significantly to the “Al Emmo” project, offering assistance in scripting, server management, and with the online store.  We also scouted out additional workers, like Charles Hutchings, to help us with 3D animation.  Additionally, we brought a number of interns, such as Chris Pavia, on the team to assist with 3D models and animations.

Who's behind the idea of the story of this game?

I wrote the original design, and over time, it was revised significantly by Chris Warren, Daniel Stacey, and myself.

What do you hope we're going to say about the game after finishing it?  Is there a future for Al Emmo in another game?

I hope that everyone is left with the same wonderful, nostalgic feeling of playing a classic adventure game, and is looking forward to the next installment.

Will we be surprised at the final outcome of the game?  Is there a definite ending?

Yea, I definitely think players will be surprised with the ending.  Although the game is a complete story, we’ve definitely left room for a sequel.

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