Monkey Island Revived!


Guybrush Revisited + DOS Goodness

PC Gaming has evolved over the past 20 years or so.  Back in 1990, LucasArts (then called LucasFilm Games) created one of the best adventure games of all time: The Secret of Monkey Island.  Back then, the studio had a stream of hits with Indiana Jones, Day of the Tentacle, and the Sam and Max franchise.  Other studios were making huge profits with these adventures, such as King’s Quest and Phantasmagoria.

Sadly, gamers lost interest in this type of gameplay somewhere in the mid-nineties, about the same time as 3d-acceleration and the PlayStation One came onto the scene.  Strange coincedence.

Monkey Island had several Sequels.  Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge was released in 1991 and was probably the most groundbreaking as it included SoundBlaster support, which introduced us to the most catchy video-game theme of all time.  There was no “voice” support, but later LucasArts adventure games (like Loom) were “talkies” where every last piece of dialog was reproduced in 16-bit sound.  These “enhanced” games came on CDs and took more space than most hard drives had at the time.

The Insanely-catchy Monkey Island Theme Music

In 1997, The Curse of Monkey Island was released.  Technology had finally caught up, and was a full “talkie” game with vastly improved VGA graphics, and could only be played via Windows 95 (no more DOS versions or DOS emulators required).  The last game, Escape from Monkey Island was released in 2000, and was unfortunately the nail in the coffin not only for the franchise, but for the graphic adventure genre.

Within the past three years, TellTale made a risky move and revived the adventure-puzzle genre with the Sam & Max franchise, which has been insanely popular.  From a classic gamer’s perspective, it is very satisfying to know that there was nothing wrong with these games, it’s just that they weren’t marketed properly.  I had the pleasure of meeting with TellTale’s CEO right before the first release, and I knew this would be an industry-changing event.

The success of the new Sam & Max games allowed TellTale to make successes of other franchises, including HomeStar Runner and Wallace & Gromitt.  Now the game studio is reviving one of the best adventure games of all time in their new series: Tales of Monkey Island.  It is also satisfying to note that some of the programmers of the original Sam & Max and Monkey Island games (such as Dave Grossman) are involved in the new series.

Not only are new adventures coming, but the original DOS (and Windows) games are being released for Xbox 360 and PCs!  The compilation is titled The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition.

On the next page there’s lots more information about the new games, screenshots, concept art, and a downloadable trailer…