The Secret of Monkey Island

It’s very difficult to write a blog that focuses on the best retro games without reminding everyone about the gaming joy that was The Secret of Monkey Island, released by LucasArts Entertainment in 1990, to rave reviews from both game critics and the gaming community as a whole.

The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island cover art.

Monkey Island was an adventure game wherein the player assumed the role of young Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate looking for the way to become one of the pirate fraternity.  The Pirate Leaders give him three tasks: Defeat the island’s Swordmaster, Carla, in insult sword fighting; steal a statue from the Governor’s mansion; and find buried treasure.  Along the way he will meet a cast of wacky characters, while finding both true love with the beautiful and intrepid Elaine Marley, and a bitter, lifelong enemy with the ghost pirate LeChuck.

The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island insult sword fighting.

The quest process is one of the great strengths of Monkey Island: non-linear story telling.  It does not matter what order Guybrush completes his tasks in, so a player never feels unduly railroaded through the plot, and can explore the game world at will.  Another key strength that makes this work is that Guybrush does not die as a result of a wrong course of action.  Even jumping off a cliff cannot do our hapless hero in, which frees the player to try unusual actions in any circumstance, just to see whether the game programmers anticipated it.  (Actually, there is one way for Guybrush to expire – and only one – in the game, which involves hanging around for longer than 10 minutes underwater.)

The Secret of Monkey Island

Guybrush Threepwood is running out of time…

The guiding force behind The Secret of Monkey Island was Ron Gilbert, who based the game’s ambience and feel upon his experience at the Disneyland attraction Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as on the novel On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers, which was the inspiration for many of the game’s characters.  He went to the point of writing a series of short stories based on his ideas for Monkey Island, which he used to help convey the spirit of game to his creative partners, Tim Schaffer and Ron Grossman.  All three used the stories as a blueprint for creating the game, and as a place marker for keeping the project vision focused.

The Secret of Monkey Island

Another tight spot for Guybrush.

The Secret of Monkey Island used LucasArts’ SCUMM engine, and the fifth such game to do so.  Players interacted with the game environment by choosing a verb and an object to interact with, and the game would provide a response.  Examples of the kinds of commands are LOOK AT, GIVE, PICK UP, OPEN, CLOSE, TALK TO, PUSH, PULL, and USE.  Part of the fun of Monkey Island is to see how many responses are programmed into the game depending on what actions you choose!

The Secret of Monkey Island

It’s the Pirate Life for me!

The Secret of Monkey Island migrated to several platforms: MS-DOS, Macintosh, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, FM Towns, and Sega CD.  It was a smash hit for LucasArts, thus guaranteeing a sequel – Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge – which was also a huge seller.  In fact, the Monkey Island franchise has had many sequels: The Curse of Monkey Island, Escape From Monkey Island, and the various Tales of Monkey Island Chapters.  Its popularity continues today with the downloadable Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition release.  Gamers just keep coming back the Monkey Island universe, a sure sign of a classic gaming franchise!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_CTE5Xx_1o[/youtube]

Ryan Modjeski: Legacy Interactive

Legacy Interactive logo
Legacy Interactive logo

Name: Ryan Modjeski

Company: Legacy Interactive

Profession: Producer

Favorite Classic Game: The Secret of Monkey Island II and Ms. Pac-Man (preferably a modded Laundromat version).

Quote: I make games.

Biot: Ryan Modjeski began his career making games as a toddler, dictating amendments to board game rules as they suited his whim. He continued his love of interactive design when he discovered Dungeons and Dragons in grade school, concocting and running elaborate imaginary campaigns for is classroom friends during recess. Writing and designing his first adventure game on spec in the late 1990’s, he has gone on to work as a designer and producer of casual, mobile and social games. He was recently a juror for the 2010 Indiecade International Festival of Independent Games and keeps a game design blog at ludicmagician.wordpress.com

Free Stuff: Every LucasArts Game Soundtrack In MP3

LucasArts Logo
LucasArts Logo

If you love great music from adventure games then you will want to check out this site to download the music from every single LucasArts adventure game!

They have the soundtrack to The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, The Curse of Monkey Island, Escape from
Monkey Island, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Day of the Tentacle, The Dig, Outlaws, Grim Fandango, Loom, Zak McKracken, Star Wars: Knights
of the Old Republic, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II.

Enjoy!

Smashing Ideas: Gamer Profile

Smashing Ideas logo

Name:Victor Allen

Company: Smashing Ideas

Profession: Associate Technical Director

“It’s hard to choose:”

Favorite Classic Game: Tempest

Quote: “Avoid Spikes”


Favorite Classic Game: Joust

Quote: “Flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap bonk”

Favorite Classic Game: Sinistar

Quote: “Beware, I live. Run Coward! ReeeeeeeeeAAAAAAAAaaaargh!!!!”


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Name: Steve Markey

Company: Smashing Ideas Inc.

Profession: Games Producer

Favorite Classic Game: The Legend of Zelda:  a Link to the Past


Quote: Probably the best incarnation of “classic Zelda.”  The balance of exploration, story and ability progression just pushed all my buttons the right way (I still giggle at the thought of firing a hookshot).   It  actually made me call that old “Nintendo Help Line”.  For hours I couldn’t find a dungeon area.   The phone “helper” casually tossed off  “Okay, push the block off the ledge, then go straight, then left, then right, then…”

“Wait! Stop. Go back.  I can… push blocks?”

“Um, yeah. You can.” *Facepalm*

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Name: Avi Mizrahi

Company: Smashing Ideas

Profession: Associate Producer

Favorite Classic Game: The Secret of Monkey Island


Quote: This was one of the first games I played where you were given the freedom to experiment with your surroundings and think ‘outside of the box’. These actions often lead to humorous outcomes and commentary from the game’s characters, and LucasArts ability to poke fun at themselves never got old. Plus, how can you go wrong with a game that consists of both Pirates AND Monkeys!

Favorite Game Dialogue:

Guybrush: At least I’ve learnt something from all of this.

Elaine: What’s that?

Guybrush: Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game.

Elaine: A what?

Guybrush: I don’t know. I have no idea why I said that.

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Name: Carrie Peters

Company: Smashing Ideas

Profession: Director of PR & Marketing

Favorite Classic Game: Centipede


Quote: Great game, fun to play and reminds me hanging out in the roller rink in the 80’s when life was simpler!

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Name: Dimitri Sevenster

Company: Smashing Ideas

Profession: Director of Finance

Favorite Classic Game: Mike Tyson’s Punch Out – Original NES


Quote: My favorite thing was the many different fictional characters/boxers from around the globe and their unique qualities that added spiritm humor and challenge to the game.

Quote of the Game: “Those are the fastest fingers I have ever seen.”   …..Mike Tyson’s standard comment when beaten.

Key Cheat Code: 007-373-5963 to skip all and go straight to Mike Tyson.  Code still seared into my memory 23 years later.   🙂