Test: With Return to Monkey Island, Monkey Island has no more secrets

According to very respectable people with more cards than you Pokemon, lightning never strikes the same place twice. And yet, at the end of the 1980s, a small team of rookies in hoodies crammed into the Skywalker Ranch futuristic by Georges Lucas seems to bend the thunder to its whim by giving birth, year after year, to games all more legendary than each other. Between 1987 and 1990, these Commodore 64 sorcerer’s apprentices released Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade and, highlight of the show, Loom. In a handful of months and a few games, the cool kids from LucasFilm Games is bringing Sierra to the old days and effortlessly revolutionizing adventure gaming. Among all these prodigies, let us especially retain the two developers who interest us today: Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman. The former is a coding whiz with a fertile imagination, the latter a storyteller disguised as a programmer. Together they released The Secret of Monkey Island in 1990, an instant classic that became a figurehead of the golden age of adventure gaming. A year later, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge sealed the success of the saga before Gilbert and Grossman went on to pursue their careers in their own corner. The rest of the story is more nebulous: other teams of developers followed, three other Monkey Island more or less successful too, then one day chasing another, thirty years have passed. Adventure game fell into disuse, friend George Lucas sold LucasFilm at disney who owns the license Monkey Islandand the cool kids who, only yesterday, walked on water without even thinking about it, say to themselves that today, it could be very difficult to match their past level of excellence. As a preamble to this paper, you need to understand this: the mere existence of Return to Monkey Island is a miracle. We are not dealing with a completely ordinary adventure game. Returning to Monkey Island on their own under the Terrible Toybox banner, Gilbert and Grossman risk the comeback too many and know they are simply condemned to the exploit.

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