Ah, Monkey Island. It has been so many years I had to check Wikipedia to find out exactly how many. Still, the memories are surprisingly fresh, perhaps assisted by the Monkey Island ring tone I've had on my phone for some years now. If the ringtone wasn't already a dead giveaway, I will freely admit to being something of a fan. I follow @lucasartsgames Twitter feed, and I preordered the Tales of Monkey Island within 30 minutes of it being announced at E3 2009. As such, I may be prone to forgive some elements of the game too easily - though on the other hand, just as likely to complain about some too readily.
For those of you not in the know, the Monkey Island is a legendary adventure game series from Lucasarts, with original Secret of the Monkey Island being widely hailed as the best adventure game ever. It launched a series of point-and-click adventure titles from Lucasarts and others and the early 90's were the golden age for all adventure titles. Then, right around the time when the first 3D acceleration came into play, (almost) all adventure games just went away. While there have been a few in the past years - Broken Sword and Monkey Island had two forays into the 3D area in 1997 and 2000, but neither quite captured the feel of the first two.
It has now been nearly ten years since a major publisher took a chance with an adventure game. Personally, I find it a bit weird that it took this long. It's hard to imagine there would not be a market for one, and given the bloated $20M+ budgets of triple-A title games consume these days, I'd imagine that publishers would be willing to try on something a bit smaller. The following is definitely dedicated enough. Still, even now Lucasarts is taking baby steps - episodic release schedule does befit an adventure game nicely, but also allows them to test the market before going in deep. Digital-only distribution follows the same - though again admittedly, this is the format that users likely prefer. I know I do.
An adventure game in short is a story-driven puzzle. In the context of the story, the protagonist wanders around various settings, picking up a huge array of items and then proceeds to figure out how to advance the plot by using the right item in the right place. A good adventure game is one where you are able to figure out which items to use where by deduction, rather than just attempting to brute force each item into every interactive object in the game. In Monkey Island the puzzles generally follow a theme of wacky (pirate) humor - using a monkey as a monkey wrench for example.
Games: Tales of Monkey Island
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