Beyond the Click
Image: Massimiliano Mapelli

Update [Sat 16th Mar, 2024 19:15 GMT]: Slope's Game Room, which runs a regular "Kickscammer" line of videos, has done an in-depth look at this particular campaign:

Original Story [Thu 14th Mar, 2024 15:00 GMT]: A new Kickstarter book claiming to be an "exhaustive review of the point-and-click adventure games produced by Lucasfilm between 1986 and 2000" has come under criticism recently for its use of AI art and for "pilfering" information from different sources like Wikipedia and GameFAQs.

Massimiliano Mapelli's Beyond the Click: the Saga of Lucas Adventures appeared on Kickstarter earlier this week and promises "reviews, photographs, interviews, trivia, behind-the-scenes stories, and... game solutions" to classic LucasArts adventure games. It has so far raised over half of its £4277 goal. However, as pointed out by the Italian journalist/ and frequent Time Extension contributor Damiano Gerli in a recent Twitter thread, it seems to contain more red flags than a semaphore convention.

First off, there's the design of the box, which is clearly AI-generated and features a bunch of nonsensical creatures that have absolutely nothing to do with Lucasfilm or LucasArts.

We asked Mapelli directly if the image was created with AI over LinkedIn to which he responded: "The cover is based on a original black and white hand crafted sketch, then elaborated with the help of AI. I'm planning to put this sketch and other original cartoon in the book. But this is one of the many things I'm considering."

We also asked him about some of the other issues people have pointed out, such as "the box art" for the Special Kickstarter Boxed Edition (which was originally just the same AI image slapped over the box of Limited Run Games' recent reissue of Loom before being replaced with a similar marble design).

To that, he responded: "I was searching inspiration for a design that recalls the Lucas games and I found the Limited Run box for Loom, that is very similar to the original one. Then I bought a marble texture and I've built a prototype of box, on which I've obviously put the cover picture of the book and all the other graphical elements."

Loom & Beyond the Click Comparison

As for the content itself, we're sorry to say it really doesn't get much better. As Gerli notes, sections of the book appear to have been plagiarized in part from other sources, such as a Loom walkthrough from GameFaqs and an Indiana Jones & The Fate of Atlantis plot synopsis taken directly from Wikipedia.

We sent Mapelli the images of these copied sections, to which he replied that they were of "an early draft" and everything has since been rewritten. A new sample page has also since been posted online for Fate of Atlantis, which Mapelli now claims is his own original writing.

"As you can check from the excerpts in the campaign, there's no cut-and-copy," he wrote (presumably all by himself). "It's all written by me. In the book there are a lot of personal considerations about the games. Obviously in the book there's also facts and data that can be found elsewhere, but just because they're data of public domain. As in any book, if there is a direct referral to some other publication, the quote is in quotation marks and therefore clearly visible and there's also the due reference to it."

Beyond the Click
Image: Massimiliano Mapelli

It's at this point you may be wondering how Mapelli managed to land exclusive interviews with a bunch of Lucasfilm & LucasArts luminaries such as David Fox, Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer, Steve Purcell, Dave Grossman, Sean Clark, Brian Moriarty, Noah Falstein, Michael Z. Land, Clint Bajakan, and others (as indicated on the Kickstarter). And well, the simple answer is he didn't. Instead, the book will include just a single interview, or as Mapelli calls it "a friendly chat" with an unnamed programmer from Lucas that his friend met on holiday.

Mapelli tells us, "Biographical notes about those characters will be published. However, I see that the English translation of the campaign could be misleading. I'll proceed with the correction."

All in all, the above doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the project and we feel like it's our obligation as adventure game fans to make people fully aware of these issues before they part with their cash.