30 years of Monkey Island: grog, voodoo


30 years ago we went through incredible adventures in our attempt to become a pirate. We had before us one of the funniest works of Lucasfilm Games.

Monkey Island has turned a staggering 30 years. If you too embarked on an adventure with Guybrush on his risky mission to become a sea lion, you may have a few years of seniority on you (and gray combs). You will remember the placid feeling of changing floppy disks, turning a wheel to guess when the mustache pirate died in Tortuga and knowing how to recite the composition of the grog without a cutlet. Maybe you also gained a few diopters when playing in 16 colors? Be that as it may, the Monkey Island saga has a prominent place in our heart as a long-suffering adventurer.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Secret of Monkey Island, we are going to review a long list of design curiosities that may surprise you. Put the saucepan on your head, we start.

The true inspiration of Monkey Island

Ron Gilbert commented in an interview at that time that Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was a source of inspiration for the setting. However, it was not decisive. The Secret of Monkey Island drinks directly from the novel ‘On Stranger Tides’ by Tim Power. And from there Guybrush and Elaine were born, or the importance of voodoo.

Undetermined release date

It is difficult to set a launch date, since in those days logistics had limitations. The same team had to pitch in to pack games into the warehouse on the night shift. Tim, Dave and Ron signed a dollar bill and tossed it in a box, but they never knew who the lucky winner was. The designer places his anniversary in September, specifically on the 3rd of that month, at which time the final version was recorded on floppy disks.

Guybrush, Elaine and LeChuck’s Secret

The team used the Dpaint program to make the sprites of the characters. The file name “guy” added to the extension .brush led to our apprentice pirate Guybrush. In Elaine’s case, during early drafts she was simply listed as “the governor.” Grossman came up with a final wedding scene inspired by the movie “The Graduate,” which Ron liked so much that the governor was christened Elaine. And we ended up with LeChuck, which was a concession from Ron Gilbert to Steve Arnold, Lucasfilm’s division chief, who insisted on the name Chuck for a character in the game.


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