The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

Like movies and comics, games almost force you to constantly look in the foreground, at the characters and moving parts whizzing past your face. Focus solely on what's in front of you, though, and you'll miss some of a game's best bits: namely, what's in the background.

And few developers' backgrounds were as memorable as those of Lucasarts, the premier adventure game developer of the 1990s. From Fate of Atlantis to Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max to Monkey Island, every screen of Lucasarts' adventure games wasn't simply a way to present puzzles, it was a way to capture the player's imagination.

The company's switch to 3D graphics in the late 90s, with games like Grim Fandango, marked the end of these "cartoony" 2D backgrounds, as textured landscapes took their place.

In the gallery above you'll find a selection of some of my favourite, from the games listed above as well as stuff like The Dig and older Lucasarts titles such as Loom and Maniac Mansion. To see more - we're talking 604 pieces in total - head here.

Oh, and the images are all displayed at their native resolution, which in those days was a lot smaller than 1920x1080. Which explains why they're so damn small. So you won't be able to make wallpapers out of them. Sorry!

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

You can contact Luke Plunkett, the author of this post, at plunkett@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games

The Eye-Popping Background Art of Lucasarts Adventure Games