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The RetroBeat: 30 years of Monkey Island



This week, The Secret of Monkey Island turned 30. Monkey Island is one of my favorite video game series, and Secret started this beautiful franchise.

The Monkey Island games are point and click adventures. You focus on exploring and solving puzzles, and you control your character, the would-be pirate Guybrush Threepwood, by pointing and clicking on the world. This is a style of play that LucasArts made famous back then, especially in the 90s.

The Secret of Monkey Island is fun too. Man is it funny The dialogue is a big part of the experience. The islands you explore are home to a range of amusing characters – like used boat seller Stan and a random pirate who sells another LucasArts game, Loom. Talking to them is crucial in solving puzzles and moving the narrative forward. Guybrush is a constant chatter, even if he̵

7;s not talking to anyone, as he can make comments and observations about the environment around you if you spend your time clicking every corner of each area. His success helped establish LucasArts as an adventure game powerhouse, an area that Sierra Online dominated with successful franchises like King’s Quest and Space Quest.

I stumbled across The Secret of Monkey Island. The day of the tentacle was my first LucasArts adventure. I picked it up at a local game store by chance because I liked the art of boxing. I fell in love and soon discovered the demo for The Curse of Monkey Island, the third entry in the series. After playing this masterpiece, I went back and played the first two games.

And I could happily play them all again now. You’d think such narrative games wouldn’t be a good way to repeat playthroughs, but the Monkey Island titles are clever and amusing enough that I like to relive them every few years or so.

Above: I love these pixels.

Photo credit: Steam

Play it again

Thanks to the spectacular special editions we received in 2009, this is very easy for the first two Monkey Island games. They revised the original graphics, upgraded the music and added voice output. At the time, I loved seeing these classics with new art and, as you know, actual language work. Now I’m happier to play the original versions. These sprites may be old, but I still think they’re beautiful.

Fortunately, the special editions contain the original recordings of each game. You can even switch between the two with the push of a button. You can find the Monkey Island special editions on Steam for $ 10 each.

I can use this anniversary as an excuse to play The Secret of Monkey Island again. Heck, I can go ahead and do the entire series again.

In the coming weeks, I might have a story or two that should include some details about The Secret of Monkey Island’s development and history. Today I just want to make a glass of grog one of the best games ever made.

The RetroBeat is a weekly column that takes a look at the past of games, delves into classics, new retro titles, or explores how old favorites – and their design techniques – inspire today’s market and experiences. If you have any retro style projects or balls that you would like to send me, please contact me.


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