How frequent were sword fights between pirates

When pirates learned to scold

“A rubber chicken with a snap hook, what might that be good for?” Asks Guybrush - whose name was actually only intended as a placeholder - into the room. The absurd riddle is one of many that has to be solved in "The Secret of Monkey Island" published in October 1990. With attention to detail and a weird sense of humor, the game quickly found its way into pop culture.

Objects usually have to be used with, on top of and in each other - if you combine them correctly, you will learn more about the story. In the end it is necessary to defeat the ghost pirate LeChuck in order to save the governor Elaine Marley, who does not at all correspond to the role model of the “maiden in need”. Ultimately, the chicken has to be combined with a cable - it is one of the simpler head nuts that the players in "Monkey Island" are waiting for.

Lots of colors, lots of games

The early 1990s were a particularly important time for computer games: for the first time, the majority of computers were not only able to display tables and texts efficiently, but also conjure up 256 colors on the screen at the same time. The often crude graphics of the 80s gradually gave way to detailed pixel art - this was a turning point for the gaming world.

"Monkey Island", developed by a subsidiary of the former "Star Wars" film studio, was one of many adventure games that made use of the new possibilities - together with titles like "Sam and Max" and "Maniac Mansion", all of which are now Have cult status. Because the mouse was primarily used for control - also a novelty of the late 80s - the term "point and click" became established for such games.

Insults instead of cuts

The fact that "Monkey Island" is still remembered 30 years later is also due to the fact that the game was not taken very seriously. For example, instead of a realistic depiction of violence, the befitting sword fight is carried out with insults. So if the other person opens with “You fight like a stupid farmer”, then there can only be one answer: “How appropriate. You fight like a cow. ”That sounds like a coat-and-sword movie with Errol Flynn - just one of the game's many cultural borrowings.

Often, however, “Monkey Island” also plays with clichés and the expectations of the players - but the illusion of the pirate world in the 17th century is deliberately disrupted. For example, when you get lost in the forest and suddenly find a coin operator who leads to the Lucasfilm hotline and advertises other titles in the studio.

In addition, “Monkey Island” does not save with catchy sayings, to this day the universally applicable distraction maneuver “Behind you, a three-headed monkey!” Is remembered. The recipe for grog presented in the game - it contains battery acid, among other things - is probably better known to fans than the actual ingredients of the alcoholic hot drink.

Only one of four sequels as defined by the inventor

Admittedly, the commercial success was soon considered with a sequel, written and developed by the same team as the first part: Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossmann were primarily involved. Gilbert left the studio after part two - the series was continued with a new team, but not in the spirit of the inventor, according to Gilbert. There were four parts in total up to the year 2000, another sequel was released in 2009, since then it has been quiet about the series.

A bit of "Pirates of the Caribbean"

This is also due to the fact that the "Star Wars" studio Lucasfilm was bought by Disney in 2012 together with the associated game studio. However, Disney of all places plays a very important role in “Monkey Island” - because the idea for the game actually comes from one of the amusement parks. There was already a “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction there in the late 60s, decades before the films - including island idyll and ghost pirates.

The developer Gilbert formulated the basic idea of ​​his game as follows: "I want to live in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' attraction," as he said in an interview in 2012. At least a few moments in the series are also clearly inspired by the Disney attraction.

Disney holds on to rights

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” films are of course also based on the attraction. Parallels quickly become apparent between the protagonists Will Turner and Guybrush Threepwood. Not only Gilbert himself sees similarities to the game: Several articles on the web deal with parallels between games and films - which did not exist in the common template. Of course, none of this is confirmed and could just as easily be a coincidence.

In any case, Disney sticks to the rights of the game series, a request by Gilbert to hand over the rights to him in order to develop a "true" successor to the series, have so far not been heard. Even Disney itself will probably not rely on a confusingly similar looking game with an established pirate film franchise.

Developers started their own projects

In addition, the classic "point and click" adventure games were declared dead at the end of the 90s - today they live on mainly in the form of elaborately designed blockbuster games with budgets of millions. The often absurd and difficult to solve puzzles have been replaced by a stronger focus on storytelling, the charming pixel graphics have been replaced by 3-D graphics, which are increasingly difficult to distinguish from reality.

The developers themselves have remained true to their genre for over three decades: Gilbert recently developed “Thimbleweed Park”, an adventure game in the style of the late 80s, Schafer founded his own company and in 2015 earned the first part of his game “Broken Age “good reviews. While fans continue to wait patiently for a sequel, the original has not lost its charm 30 years later - and since it is still available on platforms like GOG and Steam, a new generation can practice insult fencing - or steal away inconspicuously: "Behind you, a three-headed monkey! "

Florian Bock, ORF.at

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