The password I use to enter the 3DGames manager (the tool from which all our content is made) is actually a joke about Guybrush Threepwood, the charismatic protagonist of Monkey Island. I didn’t choose it, mind you; I think that comrade Álvaro Castellano took care of that many winters ago. A gesture of enthusiasm on their part, which they actually share the “old men” of the magazineSaid with all the love in the world. It is an IP with an enormous force of suggestion, and I am not exaggerating if I tell you that it is also the adventure point and click most revered of all time. More even than Day of the Tentacle or Grim Fandango.
It was released in 1990, by the way: the mere fact of going to a page as modern as Metacritic to look for its score is a sacrilegious act in itself. It’s a game that we have to talk about you, especially if you were born five years later as a humble servant. The ones from the newsroom? They do have the right to swell, to get excited and come up with the announcement of Return to Monkey Island. Watching the trailer, it is clear that it is addressed to them, in fact; from the title to the joke of the skull “Ron Gilbert told me he’d never make another Monkey Island, unless—” making fun of the hoaxes that have been revolving around the franchise throughout all this time. It turns out that the pirates really come back in the end. Momentazo where there are, listen.
I wanted to investigate this, to better understand where the magic is in the original adventures, and to see if there is a chance that a wimp like me could enjoy a two-dimensional duel of insults. Are you interested in discovering it too? Well, I’ll summarize it for you: it’s one of those worlds that mark generations, in the same way that the teenagers of the 80s will remain tied to Star Wars, the Goonies or Back to the Future until death do them part. Or the one where my fifth class professes undying devotion to Pokémon, Harry Potter, or the (ahem) Lord of the Rings cinematic universe. I doubt that LucasArts were aware of this at the time, or that they had the scope to exploit it to their advantage. but the game made a dentof course.
One has to live it to understand it. Compi Felipe Báguena explains to me that he discovered Monkey Island when he was ten years old: “I had a Megadrive and all the games were crap… platforms or giving h ****** […] It made me discover that a video game could make me To laugh out loud“Even if I have never stood up to LeChuck, I am aware of how fun the game’s tongue twisters were. Or the insult duels. In fact, I have experienced a similar humor at the hands of Tim Schafer (DoubleFine) with the much more recent Brütal Legend; and I was very struck by the ability that he had to take his jokes off the screen. He brimmed with imagination.
“Monkey Island has a special humor […] You enter the tavern as soon as it starts, and you already laugh seeing pirates spinning around in the lamps” says Alberto Pastor. “And the whole game is like that. But it also tells an interesting story with well-written dialogues full of memorable phrases“. Yep! Even without playing the game, I remember coming across a scene eons ago where Guybrush philosophizes about wood being gnawed by beavers; a way to delve into the tongue twister that all English speakers know. As if we were debating here about why tigers ate wheat, wow. It may not be able to elicit more than a smile from adults, but I suppose a twelve year old boy It would have changed his life forever because it defied the experiences found in video games of the day.
Álvaro, the boss, also spoke to me about the same thing: “he left his mark because it is probably the graphic adventure that best balances the story, the difficulty, the design decisionsartistic direction and accessibility for all player profiles.” I suspect it’s a simpler matter of charisma, but if he says so, I have no choice but to believe it. I mean, this is a point and click. It was a matter of someone making an effort to implicate the player of original ways —This one took the puzzles to the very case of the disc. Due to the vicissitudes of fate, the developers who hit the nail on the head were Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman (both back in this new episode) and my friend Schafer, who at the end of 2021 signed the wonderful Psychonauts 2 from Microsoft.
Can a son of the 90 understand the charm from Monkey Island? I see it difficult, I don’t think it fits as deep as it did at the time. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have a good time with the curious relationship between the sea lions that star in the game, and on Steam you can get the collection of remasters for just over 20 euros. Maybe it’s a good idea to give them a try before jumping into Return to Monkey Island later this year, keeping in mind that (of course) this game is for boomers. Not because it is rough or coarse, but because they are the ones who lived through that time. I think they also have the right to live it intensely.