Thanks to a wonderful project, ScummVM, pirate Steven and I are now reliving the days of our youth by playing the LucasArts Monkey Island games. To quote Wikipedia: “The games follow the misadventures of the hapless Guybrush Threepwood as he struggles to become the most notorious pirate in the Caribbean, defeat the plans of the evil undead pirate LeChuck and win the heart of governor Elaine Marley.”
ScummVM allows (legal) copies of many of the original LucasArts games, among others, to be played on modern technology. For instance, we’re playing the PC CD version of the games on Steven’s iMac. There are also far more exotic ports including the PSP and iPhone. (I’m not entirely sure why we’re playing on the Mac when the games play perfectly well on my PC without the need for an interpreter but that’s beside the point!)
The games have a fantastic sense of humour, cover every pirate cliche I’ve ever come across and, unlike some of the other games of that era, don’t kill the main character just for walking around the wrong corner. (Space Quest, anyone?) The aspect that they’re probably best known for is the trading insults method of sword-fighting. As well as trading blows, you have to select the most cutting insult to deliver to your opponent at key moments. Examples will undoubtedly follow when we reach that section of the game!
And in an example of interesting synchronicity, the writing credit for the insults in the first game was Orson Scott Card, the author of “Ender’s Game” that the iKnit Kniterati were discussing this evening.