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]

gog.com sale: all Majecso games 50% off today only

Psychonauts cover
Psychonauts cover

gog.com sale: all Majecso games 50% off today only

Our friends at Good Old Games are offering their entire Majesco catalogue for sale at a 50% discount. Now is a great time to pick up classics such as Psychonauts and the Bloodrayne series!

You can get Advent Rising, Bloodrayne, Bloodrayne 2, and Psychonauts.

Advent Rising is an action adventure game with its story by Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game.

The Bloodrayne games are classic vampire action games which later got turned into horrible movies by Uwe Boll.

Psychonauts is one of my favorite games of all time. My review for it should be coming out this week. You play the role of a boy that’s trying to become a psychic and are involved in a conspiracy to take over the world. By Tim Schafer, our friend that helped bring us the Monkey Island games, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, and recently Brutal Legend.

Bloodrayne title screen
Bloodrayne title screen

If all those games don’t interest you, you can buy selective ones for 30% off. It’s all for 50% off, or individual ones for 30% off.

If you opt to buy all of them, the total cost is $15.96.

Click here for the sale.

Psychonauts for sale on Steam for only $2

Psychonauts cover
Psychonauts cover

Psychonauts for sale on Steam for only $2

Psychonauts, Tim Schafer’s best game, only for $2 through Steam! This is one of the best platformer/puzzle games ever made. It’s one of my favorites! Must have!!!!!!

The link to get it is the following: http://store.steampowered.com/app/3830/