Monkey Island - Why I Can't Live Without This Particular Piece of Junk 30 Years on
GameOn Magazine|Issue 135 - January 2021
30 years later, Gary still can’t forget this classic.
Gary Sheppard

Thirty years on, we still don’t know what the titular secret that Monkey Island holds actually is. Original co-creator Ron Gilbert suggested in a Reddit AMA back in 2017 that it is “Guybrush is a banana”, but some have suggested that he might not have been being serious. It’s unclear why they think this. Either way, with the game stuck in copyright limbo since Disney’s purchase of everything that wasn’t nailed down, it might be some time before we learn. But after all this time, why do we still care so much?

The Secret of Monkey Island wasn’t the first point-and-click adventure, nor was it the first to be released by the now-legendary Lucasfilm Games. It was, however, the first from the combined minds of Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman, and Tim Schafer. Whilst the first two Monkey Island games were the only titles on which all three of these great adventure creators worked together, they would go on to create many games working together in various permutations over the years and all three have gone down in history as pioneers of the industry.

The genre was just starting to take off at the time of the first game’s release, and indeed at the time, it was only a moderate success, selling in the region of around 100k copies eventually, a large number of which were in Europe rather than the company’s US homeland. Had the second title not been in development before the release of the first, we might never have even had multiple games, so thank Sherman for Lucasfilm’s dedication to sequels. Despite critical acclaim, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (the first title released under the LucasArts banner) sold even worse, with only around 25,000 copies, although a number of extra units were shipped later on with the release of an enhanced CD-ROM version.

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