At some point in 1991, a classmate copied some floppy disks for me containing a game called The Secret of Monkey Island. One year later, I was hooked on the series and was among the first to pre-order the (at the time) alarmingly expensive Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck’s Revenge for the Commodore Amiga 600. It came on eleven floppy disks and was an absolute nightmare to load but, boy, was it ever worth it. This raises an interesting question about copyright infringement and piracy for me, as I went on to buy and play Curse of Monkey Island (on the PC), Escape From Monkey Island (on the PS2) and Tales From Monkey Island (on the PS3), as well as all the various special editions. I must have spent around £250 on the series to date…but if I hadn’t been given those first four copied disks.
The Monkey Island series consists of my favourite ‘go-to’ games because playing them literally transports me back to my childhood. I was thirteen years old when I played the first one and fourteen when I first tackled Le Chuck’s Revenge (though I was probably fifteen by the time I finally completed it. One of the main things I remember about this particular entry in the series was the fact that there were two ways to complete it: a sort of abridged version and then the massively intricate, multi-layered one containing every possible puzzle imaginable. Particularly memorable is the spitting contest in part 2 – The Four Map Pieces – which takes place on Phatt Island and sees Guybrush Threepwood choosing from a variety of disgusting, spit-themed names, including The Phlegm Master and Captain Loogie. The Island names are spectacular, too: Scabb, Booty, Phatt and – of course – Monkey Island itself.
This game also has an incredibly memorable ending that really stands out as an almost cinematic experience. The series has never really lost its magic for me. To date, there have been five Monkey Island games. These are (chronologically): The Secret of Monkey Island (1991), Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck’s Revenge (1993), The Curse of Monkey Island (1997), Escape From Monkey Island (2000) and Tales of Monkey Island (2009).