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Jake
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This thread is a place to talk about the ENTIRE GAME so if you haven't played it yet, maybe stay away!

 

☠️ YE BE WARNED ☠️

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There's another interesting line I've been thinking about, trying to decide what it means.

 

At the start of the story Guybrush tells Boybrush that he can't just change bits of what happened around, that's not how storytelling works.

 

Later, when he does a silly ending, Boybrush reminds him that he said that, and he says 'I did?'

 

It's an interesting line and I'd be interested to hear thoughts on it. To me it could mean a couple things:

 

  • Over the course of the story Guybrush has changed his mind, and decided that, actually, you can change stuff round if you like, to serve your purposes, and the game is a sort of refutation of the idea that you can't, as well as a gracious concession that the non-Ron monkey games were also perfectly valid in their own right, and that these stories don't 'belong' to anyone. Maybe even a way to give future Monkey Island creators permission to be bold, and weird.
  • Perhaps he knew this all along, and this switcheroo was the lesson that he intended to impart to Boybrush.
  • It could be seen as another 'how much of what we are looking at right now is reality?' type moment.

But I'd love to hear other reads of it.

Edited by KestrelPi
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9 minutes ago, Dmnkly said:

He was never upside down.

 

Either that or everyone in Secret of Monkey Island was upside down, and now only Bob is!!

 

... btw, a silly question. A looong while ago you had posted a tweet where you said jokingly "I know a secret and you don't", with Ron saying he had given a false secret to you. Had you read the T-shirt line at the time or were you really given a false script?

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To my mind, it is a cheeky aside, a knowing wink to teach that the rules of storytelling are malleable.
Also, it is good parental practice to teach kids the rules, then, once they have acquired them and start applying them, you also show the limit cases where you can subvert the rules for effect. As is with writing/storytelling of any kind.

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It's interesting how even the opinions on the Ron's original secret seem to differ. I've read several times now that it seems to be the T-shirt. To me, that's just a gag that refers to MI1, while the real secret is the whole amusement park. The game also hints in that direction in my mind, as the plaque that reads "The Original Secret by R. Gilbert" is on the other side and ultimately applies to the entire room.

 

Either way, I still think it's so well done, because Ron has kept his promise - AND has given us more on top of that. 
He doesn't just say "Here's the secret you've been asking for all the time. No shut up." He (or he and Dave) have continued to think about it and develop it further. 

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14 minutes ago, BillyCheers said:

It's interesting how even the opinions on the Ron's original secret seem to differ. I've read several times now that it seems to be the T-shirt. To me, that's just a gag that refers to MI1, while the real secret is the whole amusement park. The game also hints in that direction in my mind, as the plaque that reads "The Original Secret by R. Gilbert" is on the other side and ultimately applies to the entire room.

 

Either way, I still think it's so well done, because Ron has kept his promise - AND has given us more on top of that. 
He doesn't just say "Here's the secret you've been asking for all the time. No shut up." He (or he and Dave) have continued to think about it and develop it further. 

 

Yeah, my read of it is that the T-Shirt absolutely is the secret as originally envisioned, and that it was imagined as some sort of carnival-like prize similar to the other shirts in the first game.

 

It fits exactly with the general tone of irreverence in the first game and you HAVE to think about it from the perspective of the guys writing this game in 1990 when they had no idea that the secret was something anyone would care about in 3 months, let alone 30 years. I absolutely and 100% believe this is essentially the secret as originally envisioned. Of course it is. Of course it is. It's so obvious when you think about it. I'm sure that I remember someone somewhere even joking about it.

 

But like you say, it doesn't just give you it and leave you to stew on why you cared about this for 30 years. It gives you it, then invites you to think about what's really important, and how that answer might have changed over years, and the role of mysteries in the fiction we enjoy, and even whether Ron's 30 year old answer is any better or more valid than an answer he or we could come up with now. All the while setting up new things for us to talk about and disagree over and wonder about the meaning of, a process which evidentally has already started, beginning the cycle anew.

Edited by KestrelPi
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34 minutes ago, BillyCheers said:

It's interesting how even the opinions on the Ron's original secret seem to differ. I've read several times now that it seems to be the T-shirt. To me, that's just a gag that refers to MI1, while the real secret is the whole amusement park. The game also hints in that direction in my mind, as the plaque that reads "The Original Secret by R. Gilbert" is on the other side and ultimately applies to the entire room

 

Indeed, this is what is being suggested.

 

Today the secret is just this stupid shirt, not just the reward for finding the secret. But the whole amusement park, the original one, is the one ESTABLISHED by Gilbert in 1989.  which could be a word pun:

 

established in the sense of "founded in 1989" or in the sense of "decided it was THAT in 1989"?


 

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44 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

I absolutely and 100% believe this is essentially the secret as originally envisioned. Of course it is. Of course it is. It's so obvious when you think about it.

Good for you. I  just don’t. To me it isn’t obvious. To me the revelation that the secret is that it’s all an amusement park makes more sense – even back then. The T-shirt is a nice gag, but the amusement park has a meaning for the characters and everything else, all established in many anachronisms. And as I said: the plaque is a clear sign to this.

 

But in the end we might even never know for sure – and it also doesn’t really matter. It’s fun to think about, but the secret never was really important to me. Funny enough it got important to me with this game. And that’s really cool. 

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46 minutes ago, BillyCheers said:

To me the revelation that the secret is that it’s all an amusement park makes more sense – even back then.

I believe the amusement park fantasy is the original, and that is the meaning of the plaque. The tshirt is your reward for finding the secret, and is a fun callback to the three trials. I don’t think the tshirt would hit as hard without the passage of time, the pent up desire, but the amusement park fantasy thread has always been there. 

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6 minutes ago, Jake said:

I believe the amusement park fantasy is the original, and that is the meaning of the plaque. The tshirt is your reward for finding the secret, and is a fun callback to the three trials. I don’t think the tshirt would hit as hard without the passage of time, the pent up desire, but the amusement park fantasy thread has always been there. 

Ron always denied that but after Thimbleweed Park I thought https://mixnmojo.com/news/On-this-day-16-years-ago-Bill-Tiller-revealed-the-secret-of-Monkey-Island was likely actually spot on. Now I think so even more.

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Hmm, I don't feel like I really made myself clear.

 

Quote

Yeah, my read of it is that the T-Shirt absolutely is the secret as originally envisioned, and that it was imagined as some sort of carnival-like prize similar to the other shirts in the first game.

 

 

I absolutely do think the T-Shirt is part of it, and is the 'prize' as far as the secret goes, but I definitely think that the amusement park bit was always the framing device around it, I think there's enough evidence of that in the first game to make that kind of a lock when you take it all in, and the second game only reinforces it.

 

I think the only sense in which I perhaps differ is that I really do think the t-shirt was part of the plan from the beginning. They were clearly fond enough of the joke (I don't get why THAT bit is controversial when they already use that joke TWICE in the original.)

 

 

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7 hours ago, Dmnkly said:


Not trying to deny you your opinion. Just as an aside, FWIW, @Jake and I both played the game months ago. We've been stewing in it and talking about it for quite a while. I realize "recency" is relative, but speaking only for myself, my appreciation for it has grown with time.

 

One note, was posting late as hell at night after finishing the game and reading responses, as such I said YOU when I meant "we" as in MI fans in general. Not trying to single you out and on rereading I see how that might have come across. Because I am not trying to say that you are wrong for liking it, even if I do not as much.

 

Glad you loved it. I definitely did not and I absolutely did not go into the game wanting to be a negative nancy. Less than 24 hours later I am honestly liking it less the more I stew on it. Endings being endings and understanding that coming back to something 30 years later was never going to be perfect in the first place. Gilbert was in a different place in 2020 when he started this, which was also obvious even NOT reading the letter at the end of the scrapbook. Being a gurmpy old man today instead of the wide eyed kid who played MI1 likely also changes my views as well. 

 

I have trouble getting over the generally flat characters, the downright boring new islands, and the shaggy dog retread. Whether or not the ending here was always the original ending will be debated for a long time. Either way it feels cheap, not deep and not especially interesting. The lack of any great LeChuck interactions near the end bothered me too, along with the disappearance of the three new pirates. Whole lot of build up and very little payoff. 

 

 

5 hours ago, KestrelPi said:

Re: recency bias, I usually feel like I feel like I get a pretty good handle on whether I'm going to appreciate something longer term at this point in my life.

 

When I was younger I had the capacity to want to like something so much that I could go days and weeks trying to convince myself that I enjoyed it more than I did. I know that it's a tired one to bring up, but I had that kind of experience with EMI.

 

But these days I feel like just... experience helps me recognise how I feel about something sooner. Heck, if you read my reactions to it here I think it's fair to say I've been mildly critical of a few aspects of the game.

 

I know when I really like something though, I know the feeling that I get, of feeling more rewarded the more I think about it, and I get that feeling with this game.

 

I'm sorry if you or some other people aren't enjoying it in the same way - you're allowed, but rather than imply that if our judgment wasn't so clouded we'd feel like you do, could you just... Believe us?

 

I dropped an opinion. MIght be right, might be wrong. 

 

Could say much the same to you here as well. Could it be that you are so happy to get any sort of MI game that you're ignoring some fairly obvious flaws? Doesn't matter either way.

 

Recency bias IS a real thing. It isn't going away because we know about it, it's part of how our brains work as a whole. Having a new Monkey Island that is pretty good in a lot of ways is going to tickle certain parts of the brain especially with hardcore fans. And let us not forget the corrolary to it, which is if something doesn't feel right for whatever reason to a crotechty old bugger like myself, then being a fan there is also a tendency to be hyper critical. I like to think that I am not being so, but who knows? And of course that doesn't mean people who did like it will stop, or vice versa. You like it more the more you think about it, great. But I was speaking in generalities as I said above. 

 

As in, where will this be a year down the line? Two? Another few decades from now when I'm in diapers? Maybe by then I will come to love it as much as MI2, I doubt it, but it's possible. Maybe the fandom will still put it on a pedastal. But 2 days or so after release it's impossible to say one way or the other because we aren't there yet.

 

In another note: After having gone radio silent since the release announcement, apparently there was also some sort of pre release controversy of some sort that I had zero idea about which had people in teams even before release. Which is likely to make discussions nothing but sunshine and roses with  from here on out :D

Edited by bishopcruz
Somehow multiposted. No idea how it happened, but hope it's fixed.
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1 minute ago, roots said:

Did anyone else feel the nostalgia-baiting was incredibly obnoxious and overdone in RTMI? I played the original game as a child back in the day, and still felt beaten over the head with the overt callouts.

A little. I went in expecting it to a certain degree. Part of that is by design, the first half of the game is basically Monkey Island all over again, just kinda worse. The second half does go for new stuff. In the most generous reading the shallow nostalgia is part of the point, which to be fair is mentioned ad nauseum in the early half of the game. 

 

It didn't bother me as much as the more fundamental flaws did.

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Just now, bishopcruz said:

A little. I went in expecting it to a certain degree. Part of that is by design, the first half of the game is basically Monkey Island all over again, just kinda worse. The second half does go for new stuff. In the most generous reading the shallow nostalgia is part of the point, which to be fair is mentioned ad nauseum in the early half of the game. 

 

It didn't bother me as much as the more fundamental flaws did.

 

Yeah, I feel more or less the same. The meta-commentary repeatedly ruins any sense of immersion that started to build for me, and the ending is a perfect microcosm of that.

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20 minutes ago, bishopcruz said:

 

Could say much the same to you here as well. Could it be that you are so happy to get any sort of MI game that you're ignoring some fairly obvious flaws? Doesn't matter either way.

 

 

You're again implying that it's perhaps because I'm blinded by my desire to like the game so much that I might be ignoring 'fairly obvious flaws'.

 

Like I said the last time, dislike whatever you like. It's always a shame, but you're allowed. I'm just asking you not to do that 'ah, maybe you'd dislike it too if only you were thinking clearly' thing. It's a bit patronising not to take it at face value. Just believe people when they say they like it?

 

And sort of makes me think you didn't really read what I wrote (or anything else I've written in this thread, for that matter) because the whole dang point was that I know my own mind well enough by now to understand when I'm trying to like something and when I actually just like something.

 

Besides, I've made plenty of comments in this thread about the parts of this game I think are a bit weaker, and a bit stronger, and I don't feel like I've approached my comments about this game at ALL like some sort of wonder-stricken child who can't see past the haze of my nostalgia to be critical.

 

So far I've been mildly critical of some of the world building in the middle of the game, some of the character writing, some of the dialogue writing, and a few other things. It's really that just where I'm landing on it, I think the things it achieves are valuable enough and add so much to the series as a whole that I can kind of forgive it for what I see mainly as it being a little underwritten in places.

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Re: "recency bias." Anyone who plays that card clearly weren't here for the EMI release.

 

It's fine not liking the game, but claiming recency bias for the many people who did like it -- most coming from different angles and backgrounds -- doesn't sit well with me. That's all.

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(pokes head in)

 

Considering this game is giving tones of generational change and perspectives (at least in the early game, where I still am), it's an interesting experience to be sharing this first playthrough with my children. Talking to Carla, when she mentions Elaine's project, my first instinct is to have Guybrush respond to it directly and sort of help Elaine while also helping myself. But my children wanted me to change the subject back, with a "Just because Elaine's doing something, doesn't mean I'm involved" answer. If I read too much into this - and I LOVE to read too much into things - I wonder if their perspective is influenced by identity with their own life situation. My wife and I have very different jobs, and even at the house we generally perform very different sets of chores and errands. The concept of a happy couple needing to stay in separate lanes to finish unrelated tasks is probably a normalcy to them. Or who knows? Maybe they just figured the Scurvy Awareness thing wasn't important to the story and didn't want me to dwell.

 

Also my son is convinced that we're still at the end of MI2 suffering effects of voodoo tomfoolery, literally talking to ourself in the prelude, and any references to MI3 or later is due to voodoo future-seeing shenanigans, along with modern technology references which I note is common with magical beings like Sword in the Stone's Merlin and Aladdin's Genie.

 

(pokes head out)

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So, the other day I posted two things I would change about the game. Freeing Wally and having a showdown with LeChuck. Both of those are now perfectly answered for me. 

 

There is an achievement to free Wally, which I did last night and man did it feel satisfying. I had wanted to do that since Curse, my first MI game, so a weight has been lifted. 

 

With the multiple epilogues, it gave a scenario for what happened to LeChuck and Lila. Forever fighting in the pits of hell over the Secret. Knowing what they are fighting over is a T-shirt makes it all the the more satisfying. Cool way of showing how their obsession enveloped them. I realized I just wanted a bit more closure on Lila and LeChuck especially and that short epilogue does just that in spades. 

 

It also works on many levels. LeChuck was described several times throughout the series as true evil that could never be destroyed completely. So, him being enveloped by his lusts and trapped in hell fighting over essentially nothing is perhaps the perfect end for him. It also compliments the fantasy/carnival aspect well. Their animatronics are stuck in place, still after the secret, while Guybrush leaves and starts a family with Elaine. 

 

So, now I wouldn't change a thing. The game is perfect to me and just gets better the more that gets unraveled/revealed. 

 

The other epilogues compliment other characters/aspects perfectly as well. 

 

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There’s plenty about the game I don’t like or wish would have been done in (to my eyes) a better way, but pulling those things apart is infinitely less interesting to me than talking about what worked, what impact it had on me, and why. That’s an easier thing for me to say in this case because the large majority of the game worked for me, so I’m here with that attitude able to talk about most of the game, and I’m fine discarding the minority for the purposes of digging into the good bits on this forum.

 

I think too much of the critical discourse on the internet is dedicated to talking about why something failed, why something is bad, why something was a disaster, and I almost never find it interesting, because the answers are often the same (unless the story of why something failed is truly spectacular). But hearing about why something DID work, or (more specifically) what effect a work had when it passed through the brain and is filtered through the life experiences of any human being outside myself, is almost always interesting. 
 

I have sympathy for when something you’re excited for doesn’t do it for you, because that feeling absolutely sucks. And sometimes breaking down why it didn’t work is useful, and commiserating is also often useful as a way to move on from being let down by something you were hoping to like. But telling people who did like it that they’re wrong, and here’s why, is never going to do anything helpful for anyone, especially in an online context. (Maybe if we were good friends and had this conversation over lunch, maybe!)

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35 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

Hmm, I don't feel like I really made myself clear.

 

I absolutely do think the T-Shirt is part of it, and is the 'prize' as far as the secret goes, but I definitely think that the amusement park bit was always the framing device around it, I think there's enough evidence of that in the first game to make that kind of a lock when you take it all in, and the second game only reinforces it.

 

I think the only sense in which I perhaps differ is that I really do think the t-shirt was part of the plan from the beginning. They were clearly fond enough of the joke (I don't get why THAT bit is controversial when they already use that joke TWICE in the original.)

 

 

Ah, I see. It sounded different in your post or I misinterpreted it. Then we're on the same page. The idea that the t-shirt is the prize of the secret may very well have been a thought when making MI1, yes.

 

26 minutes ago, roots said:

Did anyone else feel the nostalgia-baiting was incredibly obnoxious and overdone in RTMI?

It was much, yes. But I pretty much enjoyed all of it. And I think it's totally okay for a game/movie/whatever to play this much with nostalgia – especially for this game with this story. It's always the question of how it's done. 

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28 minutes ago, Remi said:

Re: "recency bias." Anyone who plays that card clearly weren't here for the EMI release.

 

It's fine not liking the game, but claiming recency bias for the many people who did like it -- most coming from different angles and backgrounds -- doesn't sit well with me. That's all.

 

I sorta... both agree and disagree with this part.

 

I definitely experienced recency bias with EMI in that I remember trying pretty hard to persuade myself I liked that game more than I did. I've talked before about messing with subtitles and trying to see if I'd find it funnier with them on or off. And in my review of the time, I let it off the hook for a lot of stuff I later would not to. And eyeing over the Secret History, I definitely think the first impressions of that game were stronger than the eventual impressions of it.

 

But I'd caveat all that with this: recency bias works both ways, and I think it's simplistic not to include the other way it works:

 

It can make us think we like something more than we maybe eventually do, because of a desire to give it a chance, or just a deep need not to have our anticipation negated. I acknowledge this can happen, but my experience has been as I get older I get better at understanding when this mechanism is at play. I know what this feeling is, and can to some extent compensate for it.

 

But also minds don't trust the unfamiliar. I think we've seen this very clearly with the reaction to the art style which I think has trended very heavily from a lot of people being initially wary of it to people growing to like it. I don't think that's true of everyone, but that's a pretty clear trend I've seen. I haven't seen a lot of people initially say they like the art style but now they've had time to sit with it decided they don't like it. Recency can also make us recoil from the unfamiliar and the unexpected, it can make us react badly to things that wrongfoot us (see the responses from people whose INITIAL reaction to the ending was confusing or slightly negative, but have since grown to appreciate what it did).

 

I suppose my point if I had one is that I think recency can distort our view in lots of directions, positively and negatively. It'll probably take some time for us to sort out all our feelings about this game. But it's not like we're completely blindsided by recency.

 

Personally, I've had a couple of days to think about it, and I know myself well enough that I feel fairly secure in saying it'll never be my favourite MI, but it does things which I think are absolutely brilliant in the context of the series as a whole and I will always treasure it for that.

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3 minutes ago, BillyCheers said:

It was much, yes. But I pretty much enjoyed all of it. And I think it's totally okay for a game/movie/whatever to play this much with nostalgia – especially for this game with this story. It's always the question of how it's done. 

 

My issue wasn't the inclusion of nostalgia so much as the overbearing/unsubtle way it was leveraged. I'll grant that something like the Sea Monkey was a fitting use of it, but elsewhere it felt more like my copy of the game had a memberberries infestation.

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41 minutes ago, roots said:

Did anyone else feel the nostalgia-baiting was incredibly obnoxious and overdone in RTMI? I played the original game as a child back in the day, and still felt beaten over the head with the overt callouts.

 

Eh, maybe it's just that I played TWP recently, but I feel like in comparison to that, (and especially given that unlike that this was an established franchise) ReMI was remarkably restrained.

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My thoughts can't stop. 

 

I'm even starting to think that another interpretation of the Secret in some ways could be that Monkey Island is the epicenter or a convergence of multiple paths, dimensions, timelines, and outcomes. The irony is that Guybrush and LeChuck, most other characters, and us the player, were essentially already aware of this and were a part of it since the first game. They just didn't know/think it was the Secret because it didn't have a label on it like the chest.

 

Thinking further, the pirate from the first game who partially tells Guybrush LeChuck's origin said only LeChuck knows the Secret. Perhaps he did, but LeChuck himself didn't even realize he knew, hence his ignorance when Guybrush asked him about the Secret in previous games. 

 

Stan used that to his advantage to create a gaudy and clearly labeled chest to pass as the real Secret as part of a marketing ploy. 

 

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59 minutes ago, bishopcruz said:

I have trouble getting over the generally flat characters


My pet theory is that the art style (shaded and oblong Alegría/Corporate Memphis) makes perfect sense in light of the ending's representation of the world of Monkey Island. It is abstract, it is cardboard cutout, because, well...

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