30 years of The Secret of Monkey Island

My beloved The Secret of Monkey Island is now 30-years old. Since being released back on 15 October 1990, it has grown become one of the most well-known and loved point-and-click games and is often cited as an inspiration for modern adventures.

Regular Later Levels’ visitors are likely to know why I adore this title and how much it has influenced my gaming habits over the past three decades. That’s why I’m celebrating Guybrush Threepwood’s birthday today with a tag post that any pirate would be proud of! Whether you played back in the 90s or have only recently discovered it, everyone is invited to answer the prompts below and share their love for The Secret of Monkey Island. And if you haven’t played it yet: what are you waiting for?

How did you first come across The Secret of Monkey Island?

The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island, Guybrush Threepwood, Elaine Marley, pirates, monkey, swordsI was lucky enough to receive an Amiga 500 from my parents for Christmas when I was nine-years old. My dad spent most of the morning trying to hook it up to our television before asking me what I wanted to play first; and I pointed to a box showing a mysterious skull surrounded by a ghostly ship, fierce-looking pirates and a young swashbuckling hero. The rest of that day was spent exploring Mêlée Island and meeting the other characters, all of which blew my young brain because it was as if the books I’d been reading had come alive on screen.

What’s your happiest memory of the game?

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, prison, jail, Otis, Guybrush, pirates, cells, candlesMy granddad got roped into playing with us on that Christmas day and we came to the section where you need to break Otis out of the prison cell so you can add him to your pirate crew. We struggled with the puzzle for a while before my dad and granddad eventually drifted away. I was so proud of myself when I managed to figure out that you needed to use the various mugs scattered around the Scumm Bar with the grog on my own– something had clicked and it was like I finally understood what the game wanted of me.

Who’s your favourite character?

The Secret of Monkey Island, Elaine Marley, woman, pirate, face, Guybrush ThreepwoodMy favourite character from the entire series is Murray but, if we’re sticking to the original title for today’s post, then Elaine Marley comes a very close second. Guybrush can be a bit of an idiot sometimes and it’s the poor Governor who has to put up with that crap. If was she who saves the day in The Secret of Monkey Island before her partner comes along, mucks it up and manages to defeat LeChuck through sheer luck – and I think that makes her worthy of being a playable protagonist in her own game.

What’s the best location in the story?

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, map, top-down,  Mêlée IslandAlthough it’s not really a location in itself, the scene I liked most as a kid was the moment you were given access to the top-down map of Mêlée Island. It felt as though the whole island had suddenly been opened to me and I was so certain that places other than the obvious landmarks were concealed within the trees, that I spent ages searching every path for hidden entrances. I loved the part where you had to follow the Storekeeper through the map and into the forest to track down Carla.

What’s your favourite puzzle?

The Secret of Monkey Island, video games, Guybrush, insult-swordfighting, piratesLucasArts perfectly captured the cerebral nature of the point-and-click along with comedy in a puzzle which let us express our inner-pirate: insult-swordfighting. Guybrush must track down opponents on the roads of the map mentioned above and challenge them to a duel, picking up new insults and testing out collected responses to build his repertoire. The formula is then mixed up when you take on Carla when you can’t just reuse the same lines and if you end up being good enough, you’ll be rewarded with an ‘I beat the Sword Master’ t-shirt.

Which is the most confusing item in your inventory?

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, voodoo, dead, head, eyeballs, Navigator HeadForget the rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle – for me as a kid, the most confusing item was the Head of the Navigator. I appreciated the How to get Ahead in Navigation pamphlet pun but was a little grossed out by the fact that Guybrush would have to carry around a wrinkly face wrapped in an eyeball necklace. It did prove to use useful though: without the Navigator, I’d never have found my way through the underground lava maze on Monkey Island and then been able to turn myself invisible to hide from the ghosts.

Give us your favourite quote from The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, pirates, Guybrush, Carla, leather jacketMy favourite line has to be ‘I’m selling these fine leather jackets.’ This originally came from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989 when Indy tries to talk his way out of danger and then went on to be parodied in every Monkey Island game afterwards. Guybrush uses it in the first title when he greets non-player characters (NPCs) and in the sequels to try and get himself out of trouble. It’s now a quote that I occasionally throw out myself when I’m not sure what to say!

What’s your favourite soundtrack from the game?

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game,  Mêlée Island, night-time, stars, skyIt’s hard to pick just one track; I immediately want to go and play a point-and-click whenever I hear any of the music from The Secret of Monkey Island now. The opening theme is probably the most memorable and easiest to recall though, and I’ve always like the Scumm Bar and Voodoo Shop themes too. I think they’re excellent at capturing the atmosphere of their locations and the characters within them – you’d immediately know what sort of place you were in without even seeing where you were.

What’s the most memorable moment in the game for you?

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, fight, yak, Governor's MansionAfter getting past the piranha poodles outside Elaine’s mansion, you’re confronted by the evil Fester Shinetop. The great thing about this battle is that it takes place in another room you can’t see so all you can go on is sound-effects and imagination. Verbs appear in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen as though Guybrush were selecting them himself, and I thought him ‘using a stapler on the tremendous dangerous-looking yak’ and ‘using gopher repellent on the gopher horde’ was hilarious when I was a kid.

Do you own any Monkey Island merch?

home, picture, LeChuck, Cave of PixelsWhen we went to the London Gaming Market in early 2018 (back when you could attend a physical event and COVID-19 wasn’t a thing), I came across the stand for Cave of Pixels and immediately snapped up two of his works. The bead-art pictures of Guybrush and LeChuck have hung on our hallway walls since. At some point we’ll be creating a dedicated gaming space at home and I’ll move the frames into there, and I’d love to be able to pick up an additional one of Elaine to finish the trio if it’s ever made.

Has The Secret of Monkey Island shaped your gaming habits in any way?

genericI’ve adored point-and-clicks since first playing The Secret of Monkey Island 30 years ago. It showed me back then that the kind of stories I thought only existed inside of books could be brought to life through a video game and inspired me to go on to try other adventures. The genre remains my favourite to this day and is the one I find myself returning to most frequently. You could definitely say that Guybrush and the rest of the crew turned me into the gamer I am now – and gave me a lifelong love for wannabe pirates.

Create your own swordfighting insult!

“Being around you is as tedious as using the WordPress block editor.”

Got a good comeback for my insult above? Then leave your response in the comments below! And if you’re looking for more Guybrush goodness, why not join us over on Twitch tomorrow from 15:00 BST for The Secret of Monkey Island 30th anniversary stream. Bring your three-headed monkey along – he’s going to love it.

Creative Christmas: mistletoe kiss

The Creative Christmas collaboration is still going strong, and our brave group of bloggers is almost halfway through 12 video-game-related questions based around a loose festive storyline. After answering yesterday’s challenge about video game soundtracks for party playlists, here’s what we’re up against next:

The party is still going strong and you find yourself conveniently positioned under the mistletoe. Which video game character would you call over for a cheeky kiss?

My answer

There are indeed some very well-designed (ahem) video game characters that appeal to plenty of gamers in the digital-crush stakes nowadays. Lara Croft, Samas Aran and Jill Valentine have long been adored by the community; and Nathan Drake, Geralt of Rivia and Jacob Taylor are all viable candidates for a bit of eye-candy. It could therefore potentially be extremely tough choosing someone to have a little Christmas smooch with.

What we need to do is choose someone who’s ready to wage battle against anyone who crosses their path, yet is still sensitive and caring. Somebody who has a hard exterior shell to protect themselves and their loved ones, but is ready to sweep you off of your feet and show you how amazing you are. A hero who has been saving the world for years and smouldering sexily all the time while doing so.

And that person is: Guybrush Threepwood.

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, Guybrush Threepwood, pirate, man, surprised

Ok, I know that for regular Later Levels visitors that answer will come as no surprise whatsoever; and for those new to the blog it will sound like a bit of a weird choice. Granted, this wannabe pirate isn’t your typical video game hunk. But I have plenty to thank him for and a kiss under the mistletoe this festive season would be a good way to show him how much I appreciate him.

It was Guybrush who got me into video games as a kid, after receiving an Amiga 500 for Christmas one year and choosing The Secret of Monkey Island to be the first title I played on it. My dad and I spent the day going up against dangerous-looking yaks in the governor’s mansion and insulting buccaneers by telling them they fought like cows; and we even managed to rope my granddad into helping us with the grog-mug puzzle.

I’ve written on the subject before so won’t say too much more here, but I think that’s the real secret of Monkey Island. It can show a nine-year old girl that magical worlds do exist and enable a dad to spend time with his daughter. It can convince a granddad to get involved with something he wouldn’t usually be interested in. And it can give a blogger a lifelong love of the adventure genre and the opportunity to meet some amazing people.

EGX, video games, expo, event., gamers, Kim, Pete

However, this festive liaison under the mistletoe wouldn’t be so much a ‘smooch’ but more an ‘appreciative peck’. Guybrush may be the pirate who stole my heart all those years ago but there’s only one man who receives all my Christmas kisses. He gives me so much support, makes me laugh, keeps me grounded – as well as plays video games with me – and I don’t know what I’d do without him.

Other answers

🎁   Thero159 from A Reluctant Hero
👪   Joey from AlunaRL
🎅   Athena from AmbiGaming
❤   ClanGeek
🦌   Morgan from Fistful of Glitter
🎄   Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog
🦃   Nathan from Hurricane thought process
🎮   LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release
🤞   NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog
🎉   Dan and Jon from nowisgames.com
🎁   Chris from OverThinker Y
🎶   Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie
❤   Brandon from That Green Dude
🦌   The Dragon’s Tea Party
🎄   The Gaming Diaries
🦃   Kevin from The Mental Attic
👗   The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

The Creative Christmas collaboration is open to everyone and further details can be found in this post if you’d like to join in! Tomorrow’s question: You’re woken from your drunken haze by another frantic call from Santa, who’s worried he’s not going to make all his deliveries in time. Which video game item or vehicle would you recommend for him?

Blogger Blitz round one: Mail Delivery

Round one of the Blogger Blitz competition, hosted by the lovely Ian over at Adventure Rules, started last Monday. Congratulations to LightningEllen and sponsored video game character Lightning Farron for winning the Retail Rumble challenge in the first match!

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, Guybrush Threepwood, pirate, man, surprised

The next takes place today and features yours truly with Guybrush Threepwood and his sarcastic wit by my side. We’ll be going up against Luke from Hundstrasse and Claire Redfield in a battle called Mail Delivery: who can deliver mail the fastest while fending off Cerberus, the three-headed hound of Hell?

You can find out more about the Blogger Blitz on the Adventure Rules site or by checking out my post from last week. There’s nothing more to say except good luck to Luke and thank you to Ian – and let battle commence!

Mail Delivery: my answer

We all know there’s nothing pirates love more than a big mug of grog in the Scumm Bar followed by a drunken brawl. But there’s something that can make that beverage a little tastier and get the party started quicker: an upbeat sea-shanty! So grab your tankard, poor yourself a drink from the kitchen while the cook isn’t looking, and join me in a rowdy singalong.

*clears throat*

To the tune of SpongeBob SquarePants (sorry but it’s the only sea-shanty I know):

Who’d make a great mailman, from the Isle of Mêlée?
Guybrush Threepwood!
A master of sword-fighting, thievery and treasure-huntery!
Guybrush Threepwood!
Sorting the mail is a job he’d do well,
Guybrush Threepwood!
Even when chased by the hound from Hell!
Guybrush Threepwood!

A risk postmen face is getting lost and confused
Guybrush Threepwood!
But not so the case for this awesome dude!
You know how this goes!
He looks at his map to find his way around
So you get your mail, all safe and sound.

And if off the route, our hero does stray
Don’t panic ‘cos help isn’t too far away!
He’ll pay a quick visit to the Voodoo Lady
For advice and a doll that looks rather shady

Next up is handling that Cerberus mutt.
It looks like a dangerous challenge but
Three-headed creatures are nothing to fear:
Just like that monkey, they soon disappear.

Guybrush saved petals from his time on Mêlée
So give him some meat and his plan’s underway!
Just like those damn poodles at Elaine’s big old house
Cerberus sleeps, as harmless as a mouse.

The biggest challenge is ahead of him yet:
That Redfield’s a clever one, on that you can bet.
But the dreaded LeChuck was no match before,
So handling this foe is just a small chore!

Forget the root beer, he needs a way to distract…
Something to give him the edge in this match…
Guybrush draws his sword, takes a big bow…
Then politely tells Claire that she fights like a cow!

In the resulting confusion, he makes his escape
And miles of headway in front it creates!
With his mailbag, map and rubber chicken in hand,
He delivers the mail all over the island.

To make sure that Redfield stays in the dust
Using the Voodoo Lady’s doll is a must.
Some carefully-placed pins, a stab here and there…
And that’s the last Guybrush sees of the dastardly Claire!

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, Blogger Blitz, competition, pirate, mailman, Guybrush Threepwood,, lookout

But if that fails and he has to move fast…
What will give his speed a quick blast?
The answer is simple, and it’s one clever trick:
Just pull out your mouse and then double-click!

Guybrush Threepwood,
Guybrush Threepwood,
Guy-brush… ThreepWOOOOOOOD!

“I’m Guybrush Threepwood, mighty mailman!”

Good luck, Luke!

I know I’ve gone a little over the top with the Monkey Island references here, but if you’re going to do something you may as well do it properly! Still, I’ve provided links in my answer above to help those judges who may not have played the games already so it makes a bit more sense.

Be sure to check out Luke’s answer on Hundstrasse later today. He’s a very talented writer and an extremely worthy competitor, so I’m feeling rather nervous indeed… he’s a bit of a legend and a thoroughly nice bloke who deserves your follow. The results of this match will be announced over on Adventure Rules on Friday and you can stay up to date on the Blogger Blitz competition by following Ian on Twitter and Facebook.

Blogger Blitz: let battle commence

Drumroll please… pthe Blogger Blitz competition is officially underway! Hosted by the amazing Ian from Adventure Rules, this event is taking place over the next couple of months and will see eight writers battle it out in a series of one-on-one challenges. Their aim: to prove that their sponsored video game character is a true hero who deserves fame and adoration.

The rules

Blogger Blitz is a single-elimination, blind-draw tournament where the order of events and competitors going up against each other are decided randomly by drawing names from a hat. Once their challenge has been set, they must each publish a 500-word post on why their video game character would come out on top. A panel of five talented judges will then read the articles and determine which blogger made the better argument in favour of their protagonist.

The winner will be announced on Adventure Rules and go through to the next round! But that doesn’t mean it’s all over for the writer who lost out… Ian has mysteriously said he’ll be revealing more about that in the future.

My sponsored character

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, Guybrush Threepwood, pirate, man, surprised

In a totally-surprising-and-not-at-all-expected turn of events (ahem), the character I’ll be sponsoring is Guybrush Threepwood. This witty and competent (read: sarcastic) swashbuckler is the star of the classic Monkey Island adventure series and inspired nine-year old me. I’m feeling confident about my choice: not only has he faced off against the dreaded zombie pirate LeChuck on a number of occasions, he knows plenty of insults and doesn’t fight like a cow.

Round one starts today

Round one matches are taking place today and on 07, 14 and 21 August 2017 and you’ll be able to review the results on Adventure Rules on the Friday following each date. First up are NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog and LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release, who have sponsored Indiana Jones and Lightning Farron respectively.

The other lovely competitors taking part are: Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog; Luke from Hundstrasse; Lodestar_Valor from Lodestar_Valor’s Gaming Blog; Terri Mae from Sheikah Plate; and The Well-Red Mage. You can find out more about these gorgeous people, their sponsored video game characters, the lineups and judges by checking out Ian’s post here

My first challenge: Mail Delivery!

Here’s my first test: “Two competitors race to deliver mail in a typical suburban neighbourhood, but there’s a twist – Cerberus, the three-headed hound of Hell, is right on your heels! You want to convince the judges that your character will be able to fend off Cerberus while still delivering mail the fastest.”

And as if that wasn’t challenging enough, I’ll be going up against Luke from Hundstrasse who has picked Claire Redfield as his fighter! We’ve seen from his tweets about the question of the month that he’s a master of subtlety and subliminal messaging, so I’ve definitely got a battle on my hands…

Good luck to all of the competitors and thank you to Ian for hosting the Blogger Blitz! Keep up with the competition by following Adventure Rules on Twitter and Facebook.

Well-equipped for the zombie apocalypse

Physics students from the University of Leicester worked out that it would take only 100 days for zombies to take over planet Earth. With a hypothesis that a member of the undead army has a 90% chance of turning a human and they’d each find at least one person to munch on a day, they predicted how long the population could hold out using an epidemiological model that describes the spread of a disease throughout a population.

A mere 300 humans would remain alive and uninfected at the end of the 100-day period and I wouldn’t mind betting that the majority of these would be gamers. I mean, we’ve had plenty of experience dealing with the apocalypse in video games so what better training? The lovely The Dragon’s Tea Party kindly nominated Later Levels for the Sunshine Blogger award at the end of April, and asked her nominees to share the video game character and three items we’d take into the zombie apocalypse.

Character: Guybrush Threepwood

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, Guybrush Threepwood, pirate, man, surprised

I know what’s going through your head: “Kim’s a big fan of Monkey Island, so this answer is really predictable.” But think about it: Guybrush is the original zombie slayer! He took on the fearsome LeChuck with nothing more than a bottle of root beer and still came out on top. Some may say his victory was nothing more than an extremely fortuitous accident; but I’d feel much better during an apocalypse with someone with experience of the undead around. Plus there’s the advantage of yelling ‘look behind you, a three-headed monkey!’ whenever you need to quickly escape from a tricky situation.

Item 1: laptop

No self-respecting blogger would be caught in an apocalypse without their laptop. How else are you going to inform the rest of the blogosphere about what’s going on in your corner of the chaos – as well as continue to manage your social media and rack up those views on YouTube? Of course, there’s the small issue of keeping the battery powered after the electricity is cut off. But until then, at least you’d get to binge-watch zombie movies on Netflix in order to pick up additional survival tips.

Item 2: medkit

As Kevin from The Mental Attic rightly pointed out to me last week, every zombie video game features a medkit as one of its items. I’m therefore pretty certain I’d need one in times of an apocalypse although I’m not entirely sure why: I’ve not yet had to face an undead hoard in my life (although some of my work colleagues could possibly be considered as such), but I’m under the impression that even a minor bite would be fatal and not having a medkit would be the least of your worries. Video game logic can’t be wrong though, surely?

Item 3: Ethan

Ethan, sword, fight, scowl

Playing Dad Quest during the Gamely Giving marathon stream last month taught me one very important lesson: your child can be a lethal weapon. Surely this applies to stepchildren too so I’m taking mine into the apocalypse with me. Some may say it’s cruel to drag a nine-year old into such a dire situation but not so; Sundae Month’s title shows is that a child is an indestructible force of nature and able to destroy an object within seconds, particularly when you give them level-up attacks such as ‘shank’. The zombies wouldn’t even stand a chance.

In the original study mentioned at the start of this post, only a small number of the population were left alive over the duration of the zombie apocalypse. But a more hopeful follow-up study revealed that we could prolong the survival of the species by killing off the undead and having babies: we’d become less likely infected over time as we grew used to the risks and more able to deal with them. You’ll be pleased to know the students worked out that, under these conditions, it was feasible for the zombie virus to die out and for humans to survive.

Guybrush Threepwood and the items above might just give us an advantage. Which character and objects would you choose?

The real secret of Monkey Island

At the end of last month, the lovely Ian over at Adventure Rules ran the first Charming and Open event. For an entire week he invited readers to ask him questions in connection with video games, tabletop games and blogging but there was one catch.

In return, he could ask them a question of his choosing and both parties had to answer honestly! It was such a great idea and a number of us jumped on board. Mossaica asked how him felt games should handle falling off ledges while Luke from Hundstrasse asked him to reveal his gaming guilty pleasure; head over to the Adventure Rules website to check out more of the great posts published as a result of the event.

The quandary I put to Ian was: if you could visit any would within in video game, where would you go? He chose to take a vacation to the city of Rogueport and surrounding areas from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Who wouldn’t want to play some games at Don Pianta’s Pianta Parlor in Rogueport Proper, catch a fight at the Glitz Pit in Glitzville and watch the waves at the Keelhaul Key beach? Of course, you’d have to deal with occasional malevolent spirit and a bunch of undead pirates, but a stay at Poshley Heights would more than make up for it.

The question I was asked in return was this: what is The Secret of Monkey Island, and what are your memories with it? It’s a lovely one to answer. This post (and all the nostalgia contained within it) is dedicated to Adventure Rules.

What is The Secret of Monkey Island?

Let’s start at the beginning: the original The Secret of Monkey Island was a point-and-click adventure developed and published in 1990 by LucasArts. It takes place in the Caribbean and is set in the age of piracy, centering around a naive young man who dreams of becoming a pirate. Guybrush Threepwood’s ‘razor-sharp wit’ gets him out of some risky situations and his unique ability of being able to hold his breath for 10 minutes saves him from watery death.

The first game in the series begins when Guybrush arrives on Mêlée Island and is told he needs to seek out the pirate leaders at the Scumm Bar. They give him three trials to complete – Sword-Fighting, Thievery and Treasure Huntery – but when returns to claim his rightful place as a bucaneer, he discovers that everyone has vanished. The evil ghost pirate Le-Chuck has raided the island and kidnapped the beautiful governor Elaine Marley while he was busy! It’s left up to our hero to save the day so he heads to the fabled Monkey Island to track down his nemesis’ secret hideout.

The Secret of Monkey Island spawned four sequels, three of which were the work of LucasArts and the latest which was released in 2009 by Telltale. There’s one character who pops up throughout the series who’s worth a mention in his own right. Murray the skull may have had his skeletal-body blown to pieces by a cannon but instead of letting this tragic accident hold him back, he turned it into the opportunity he’d been waiting for: to become a demonic overlord and conquer the land of the living. We could all learn a few valuable life lessons from Murray.

What are my memories of it?

When I was a kid, my dad wanted my younger brother to get into coding and bought a Commodore 64 to encourage him. He really wasn’t drawn however; it was beating up the baddies in Double Dragon and rescuing Tina in Wonder Boy that caught his attention more than lines of code. For me though, there was something fascinating about all those words and numbers that seemed like jibberish but could do magical things, and eventually the Commodore fell into my hands.

My dad then decided he wanted to upgrade to an Amiga 500 when I was nine-years old and the only way to get mum’s seal of approval was to say that the purchase was for me, to further my interest in computers. That saw me excitedly unwrapping it on Christmas day and us spending most of the morning hooking the new machine up to the television. Being asked what I wanted to try out first was obviously a big decision for a little kid so I carefully looked through all of floppy discs before making my selection: it was a box with a a mysterious skull in the centre, surrounded by a ghostly ship, fierce-looking pirates and a young swashbuckling hero that caught my eye.

We’d never heard of The Secret of Monkey Island before but after slipping the floppy into the Amiga, my young life changed. My nine-year-old mind was entirely blown after realising that worlds I thought only existed inside of books could be brought to life through a video game. My dad and I spent the rest of the day going up against dangerous-looking yaks in the governor’s mansion and insulting pirates by telling them they fought like cows; we even managed to rope my granddad into playing with us when we came up against the grog-mug puzzle.

Bonus question: what’s the real secret of Monkey Island?

That day begun a lifelong love of gaming and a childhood crush on Guybrush Threepwood. I’d played other games previously on the Commodore 64 and NES but it was The Secret of Monkey Island that I first played for myself – I mean, all the way through to the end and without a lot of help – and the adventure that made me a fan of video games. At one point as a kid I even wanted to work for LucasArts and get into animation; that was until I realised that I have no artistic talent whatsoever, but the dream was alive for a few years.

Even to this day my go-to genre is adventure. Every now and again I’ll try out something different with a little more action and lately, the charms of the robotic monsters in Horizon Zero Dawn have caused me to spend almost 50 hours in Aloy’s gorgeous-looking world so far. But it’s the point-and-clicks I always return to and hold a special place in my heart. The Gaming Teacher recently asked whether the games we played as children define what you play today and I think that’s definitely true in my case.

The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, Guybrush Threepwood, pirate, man, surprised

During last year’s GameBlast event with the Gamely Giving team I actually played The Secret of Monkey Island and my stepson Ethan joined me half-way through. I’d never shown it to him before, thinking he wouldn’t be interested due to the lack of weapons and explosions, but surprisingly he was captivated – and ended up taking over my part of the stream.

I think that’s the real secret of Monkey Island: it can show a nine-year old girl that magical worlds exist and enable a dad to spend time with his daughter. It can convince a granddad to get involved with something he wouldn’t usually be interested in and play a game. It can explain to a ten-year old stepson that video games don’t have to be all about guns and violence, and can contain an element of humour. And it proves that all you really need to defeat an evil zombie pirate is a bottle of root beer.