The title of this post refers to the computer games I have been playing over the past few months, a hallowed series of point and click adventure games titled Monkey Island.
The first game, The Secret of Monkey Island was released way back in 1990, and its sequels came out through the 1990s, the golden age of Adventure Games.
For some reason I never played these games back then, and if I had attempted them I probably wouldn’t have finished them as they are quite hard to fathom and complicated, requiring a great deal of lateral thinking to make progress.
However, after recently playing and enjoying A Vampyre Story, I looked around for other games produced by Lucas Arts or its personnel, and found that the Monkey Island series was highly recommended by its fans, and had a cult following.
As GOG (Good Old Games) had the games at a reasonable price I downloaded the first two games – The Secret of Monkey Island and Le Chuck’s Revenge.
They follow the mis/adventures of the humorously named Guybrush Threepwood and are great fun to play. Production standards are high, replete with witty dialogue and likeable characters. They’re kind of irreverent and absurdist, the hero being an inept pirate roving the seas of a fictional Caribbean, generally trying to save his love Elaine from the clutches of the evil (and dead) pirate Le Chuck. Though Elaine is no faint hearted heroine, oft times saving herself before Guybrush can stuff it up.
Perhaps Monkey Island’s most absurd in game action is insult sword fighting. Whenever Guybrush has to draw his cutlass against an opponent, victory is decided not by sword thrusts but by who can deliver the most stinging insult.. Guybrush collects an arsenal of barbs that he can use to trash-talk his enemies into surrender. (“You fight like a dairy farmer”; “How appropriate – you fight like a cow!”) There’s also insult arm wrestling and other crazy contests such as a spitting competition and a face off where the combatants must contort their faces in original ways to win.
I’m currently playing the last game in the series, Tales of Monkey Island after completing the four previous games – which along with the aforementioned, include The Curse of Monkey Island and Escape From Monkey Island. I’ve grown addicted to the world of Monkey Island and will be sorry to finish the series having thoroughly enjoyed spending my idle time in Guybrush Threepwood’s absurd version of the Caribbean Islands.