Grim Fandango took everything I love about adventure games - fascinating atmospheres, relatable characters, the kinds of quirky puzzles you’d never see elsewhere - and infused them into a noir-meets-Cinco-de-Mayo world that I genuinely wish existed. Manny Calavera’s journey from lowly reaper to world-traveling entrepreneur captivates me every time I play through it. It’s mind-blowing how quickly time can pass in the story, and how even in the afterlife, people still fret about death and the pursuit of happiness.
Year Two exemplifies what makes the game so great: chatting with the oddball characters, cheering up your bumbling buddy Glottis, or just strolling around listening to the ear-massaging jazz tunes was a treat. It also converted me into a Tim Schaefer fanboy, inspiring me to go back and play through classics like Full Throttle, the Monkey Island series, and even Day of the Tentacle. Like a cherished novel, Grim Fandango’s ending evoked strong, mixed feelings out of me: happiness to see the story resolved mixed with profound sadness that the cast I’d grown so attached to was riding off into the sunset. But, as with any good book, recapturing that kind of profound attachment is as simple as picking it back up and starting all over again.