AVAST THERE, LANDLUBBERS! Prepare yeselves. I’m about to pillage your poop deck. With a big, girth-y, black… eyepatch. On my eye. You thought I was gonna say ‘dildo’, right? For shame. No, we’re here to talk about Monkey Island. It’s fangirl time.
The Monkey Island games hold a place very close to my heart – it was the second adventure game I ever played (preceded only by 1996’s Freddi Fish: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse.) The Oregon Trail gateway drug of PC games tossed me into a cesspool of wasted hours, hunched over the keyboard as I quested and puzzle solved my way to carpal tunnel, near-sightedness, and a grossly high WPM.
The Curse of Monkey Island (the third installment in the Monkey Island series) found its way into my hands back in the year 2000 in a desperate attempt to find something a little more challenging (and a little less for pussies) than Rockett’s Secret Invitation. It was love at first click.
Monkey Island is a humorous self-referential series about a man named Guybrush Threepwood, who washed up on shore one day with no memories and only one goal – to become a mighty pirate. His adventures send you careening and buccaneering through the Caribbean, encountering trials, tribulations, and an unforgettable cast of characters (one of my favorites of which is a tough-talkin’ jerk of a skull named Murray). One of the most self-aware games I’ve ever played (Guybrush breaks the fourth wall on the regular, and even spouts such gems as, “Goodbye, cruel adventure game!”), Monkey Island is also consistently funny due to the brilliant writing and endless one-liners.
One of the most appealing aspects of the series is that it’s a game that has a protagonist with a personality. Unlike many of the more popular games of today, Monkey Island does not rely on a bland, muscle-bound, gruff, weapon-toting hero through which the (likely obese) player can live vicariously – instead, Guybrush is very much his own person, and an extremely likable one at that, much in part to the voice talents of Dominic Armato. It should also be noted that Guybrush is singularly responsible for my taste in men. Thin, witty, and with a sense of humor.
The series order is as follows: The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, The Curse of Monkey Island, Escape from Monkey Island, and Tales of Monkey Island. Debuting in 1990 and continuing (with agonizing years-long hiatuses in between) ever since, the series has experienced a revival due to the collaboration of LucasArts and TellTale Games on Tales of Monkey Island in 2009.
An updated version of first game was concurrently developed and released the same year as The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. For those who want to get into the series, I’d recommend downloading it on LucasArts.com, Xbox Live Arcade, or the Playstation Network. Insult sword-fighting, evil demon zombie ghost pirates, Carnivals of the Damned, steel drum music – it’s all just good, piratical fun!