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Introducing Monkey Island to The Next Generation


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Bit of a random thread but I'm just curious. With Return to Monkey Island approaching soon, I've decided that I would like to introduce the Monkey Island games to my younger cousin. Obviously, however, there is a generational gap, and the games that the youth of today are into are of a different nature to the games that many of us we were into back in the day in terms of "casual" gaming.

 

I was curious if any of you have introduced Monkey Island (or any of the LucasArts, etc. adventure games) to your children/younger relatives, and what their reaction was if so. Were they interested? Did they want to keep going? Did you begin with the Special Edition or the classic version of MI1? Part of me wants to go with the classic mode of MI1, but I fear the pixel art, retro music and lack of voiceover might not give them the best first impression! So I'm leaning more towards the Special Edition and toggling back to Classic Mode occasionally, just to give them an idea of "what it was like in the olden days!"

 

I was 12 when I first played and fell in love with the games, and my relative in question is slightly younger than that now. I definitely gravitated towards the more cartoony style of Curse/Escape at the time, though I did appreciate the art in the first two games for their time periods. I'd love for my cousin to have the same reaction that I did but I remain cautious and slightly anxious that they won't! Just curious to hear if any of you guys have had similar experiences/thoughts. Cheers!

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MI 1 Special Edition: Toggle back to classic when doing the mugs of grog puzzle.

 

With my wife, I introduced her to the series with CMI, but we started on Lite mode. After seeing how fast she was blazing through it but also missing out on some of the fun puzzles with humor and more storyline, I decided she needs to pause and start over.

 

I also made thsee fill-in-the-blanks Insult Swordfighting papers for her to play along with and keep track of her progress.

 

 

 

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Not a new generation, but I did get my girlfriend to play them, and she occasionally will say "let's play Monkey Island" out of the blue so I'll count that as a success. I think she wants to get Return for her Switch when it comes out. I got the shock of my life when she was able to immediately solve the underwater puzzle without a moment's hesitation (note she'd never heard of the games before, so she had no prior knowledge of how to solve puzzles, she just did it).

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I've met a former co-worker's son last weekend. This dude, at 11 years old, is making instructional youtube videos for Minecraft, I kid you not. He was asking his father once what software he uses for video editing. He got the name, made the research himself, and now edits his videos himself. We got him talking about streamers and streaming, youtubers and youtubing, and we couldn't stop him, literally couldn't stop him until his dad sent him to bed. During the few waking hours he doesn't spend on his PC, he's playing his Switch in the living room.

 

So I say to him: "I'm looking forward to Return to Monkey Island! It's also coming out on the Switch apparently."

 

Shrugs. 😔

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I was going to say, young kids don't really care about graphics. They just enjoy what they enjoy. I have 9 and 6 year old nephews who are obsessed with Minecraft, so i's not like they're not used to blocky graphics.

 

As much as I dislike the artistic choices made in MI1SE, its worst crime was making the interface so difficult to use, especially in some of the more tricky puzzles. I've seen youtubers go into it as their first adventure game and take like 30 minutes to apprehend how the verbs and interface work, because it's all so obfuscated, it's infuriating.

 

If it were easier to set up the ultimate talkie edition, I'd suggest that. It's a decent compromise.

 

In the end it depends on the kid though. I think probably a lot of us were advanced readers for our age, liked books, were perhaps on the geekier side of the spectrum. Original flavour Monkey Island might still hit with someone like that, even without speech. Especially if they've never seen a game like that. I remember when I first saw it the thing that really made me want it is that it hadn't occured to me that games could be like that. As in, funny, and dialogue heavy and not based on dexterity. It felt like I'd found a whole world of possibilities for what might be fun in games. I think that can still happen for the right type of kid.

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What other games does your cousin like? Are you introducing them to Monkey Island because of your own nostalgia, or because it's a game that fits your cousins tastes?

 

Theres nothing wrong with trying to broaden their taste, of course. But they're gonna have their own tastes, and it wouldn't be fair to impose on them.

 

So ask with an open mind, and take no for an answer. Don't be pushy if they refuse. Its OK if they don't want to play it.

 

In terms of graphics, just show your cousin some screens and ask what graphics they want to use. Its for their sake after all. Do play a version with voice acting, though. Unless your cousin just really hates voice acting for some reason. The VO work really elevates the dialogue.

 

You could also just slip a bunch of your retro games on their PC as a gift and see if they go for it. Why not give them a copy of your entire retro collection, even. If they want it, of course. I got some of my games as a kid from hand me downs, and I didn't mind that.

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Thanks for the responses, everybody! (Sorry for delay, busy week!)

 

Yeah, there's no definitive timeline/plan of when to do it yet, and introducing them to MI wasn't something I'd planned this time last year (i.e. it belongs in the past, gaming has moved on, blablabla) but now that Return is coming, its something that I want to at least attempt now.

 

They're mostly into Minecraft at the moment, actually, just like Kestrel's nephews. I was never much of a gamer growing up, but my brother was playing them on his computer when I was 12, and he gave me his copy of the first two MI games when I became interested in seeing how it played. Then I got CMI/EMI shortly later and totally fell in love with the series. (I actually played them all simultaneously, which was a weird way to go about it, true, but it meant I got to get a taste of them all faster!) Then after a year or so, I'd located all of the LucasArts games!

 

And yeah, for all its' flaws, I'd be leaning more towards starting with the SE of MI1 over classic mode (switching back to classic occasionally, of course, to give them a taste of the olden days!)  The main thing that holds me back from that idea, though, isn't even the occasionally iffy voice direction or weird visuals, but the control scheme, which is probably more awkward than the 19 year old game it was "improving!"  I'd probably be totally fine with the first SE being an introduction to MI if it used the MI2SE interface and had voiceover in the classic mode. (I'll also remember to increase the subtitle speed (through classic mode) to remove the weird pauses between dialogue.) 

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It was already mentioned but I’ll throw another vote to the Ultimate Talkie version. It’s a fan edition but it’s very popular, essentially adding the new audio to the original graphics, plus some minor improvements here and there.

 

I’d be tempted to just go with MI2SE in enhanced mode as it’s a fine update, much more so than MI1SE.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, the Ultimate Talkie Edition would be a nice compromise (I haven’t used it since it came out, actually, maybe it’s worth looking into!) Only issue with that approach is there’s no way back to the SE visuals once the game begins. (I await the collective reply from the forum of “...and?!” 😝 , but I just hope the pixels alone are not enough to put them off!)

 

I know MI2 has an Ultimate Talkie Edition as well, but honestly, short of a few very small things, I’m perfectly happy introducing somebody to MI2 through the SE. And that’s a sign of how well that remaster turned out, in my opinion, when MI2 is already as good as it is and I don’t have issue introducing new players to it through the Special Edition. Which, as you can tell, I’m more iffy about with MI1.

 

(MI2 Ultimate Talkie Edition doesn’t include the remastered soundtrack, right? I figure remapping the iMuse transitions would be a nightmare, but would be glad to know if there is one!)

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Having watched various plays on YouTube I'd say the reaction to the SE's visuals runs the whole gamut from 'the old art is so much better' to 'I can't play this with the old art' and everything in between.

 

But people are more likely to be positive about the new art if playing for the first time - probably because it doesn't have the weight of nostalgia and expectation behind it. The new art is fairly unpopular with fans mainly, I think, because for most of us is just doesn't really seem to evoke the aesthetic of the old games, and nor does it seem to respect that at the time SoMI was state-of-the-art.

 

So I suppose there is a bit of a risk of projecting our attitudes of the SE onto people who aren't looking at it through up to 30 years of baggage, yet I can't help but want people to at least know how the original looked and felt and have an appreciation for it. It's just perhaps... a selfish want. If the SE is what makes people play the game, then the SE is good enough. They can always visit the original if they're interested to.

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Thanks for the thoughts. Yeah, that’s kindof how I’m seeing it too. I think new fans/players were mostly positive about the first games’ remastered visuals.

 

On a similar point, where I’d be happy introducing people to MI1 through the Classic Mode included in the Special Edition as it practically is the original, unaltered game, MI2’s Classic Mode in the Special Edition is a different story. Broken soundtrack/iMuse, some amended lines, no vertical scrolling, loading screens, etc.

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6 minutes ago, fentongames said:

Yeah, the Ultimate Talkie Edition would be a nice compromise (I haven’t used it since it came out, actually, maybe it’s worth looking into!) Only issue with that approach is there’s no way back to the SE visuals once the game begins. (I await the collective reply from the forum of “...and?!” 😝 , but I just hope the pixels alone are not enough to put them off!)

 

I know MI2 has an Ultimate Talkie Edition as well, but honestly, short of a few very small things, I’m perfectly happy introducing somebody to MI2 through the SE. And that’s a sign of how well that remaster turned out, in my opinion, when MI2 is already as good as it is and I don’t have issue introducing new players to it through the Special Edition. Which, as you can tell, I’m more iffy about with MI1.

 

(MI2 Ultimate Talkie Edition doesn’t include the remastered soundtrack, right? I figure remapping the iMuse transitions would be a nightmare, but would be glad to know if there is one!)

 

In the case of MI2 I'd actually prefer someone played through with the remastered graphics - I think the sprites are pretty good, for the most part, and the backgrounds are pretty faithful to the spirit of the original game, and given the problems with both translating iMUSE to pre-recorded tracks and the botched instrumentation of the MT-32 recordings, I think the MI2:SE music is much better in special mode than old mode.

 

The voices I could take or leave. I like most of them okay, but dislike Largo's voice, think Guybrush's parents are way overdone in a way that sort of ruins the song, and think Elaine needed better direction to get her attitude in this game right.

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I think the best idea would be to show the person you're introducing the series to a screenshot of both original and SE and let them decide. FWIW I got my girlfriend to play the Ultimate Talkies but a lot of that had to do with her laptop not being up to playing the SEs at a reliable speed.

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