Nice moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of a few of our favourite gaming recollections.
The Secret of Monkey Island
12 months: 1990
Developer: Lucasfilm Video games
There’s an article collection I like on Vulture referred to as The Nice Bits, wherein comic John Roy breaks down what makes jokes from comedians like John Mulaney and Maria Bamford actually masterful. That is my tackle a Nice Bit, a few completely executed joke within the Lucasfilm Video games point-and-click-adventure The Secret of Monkey Island. It is most beloved for its insult swordfighting, however my favourite second comes shortly after that, when goofball hero Guybrush Threepwood has his first encounter with ghost baddie LeChuck.
LeChuck, in disguise, ties Guybrush to a “fabulous idol,” which appears prefer it’s made out of strong gold, and tosses him off a pier into the ocean. On this state of affairs I’d proceed to drown instantly. However The Secret of Monkey Island makes use of this scene to inform no less than three extraordinarily good jokes in a single display screen.
As a substitute of panicking and drowning, Guybrush simply walks round casually on the seafloor, tethered to the fabulous idol sunk into the sand. This can be a callback. Nice punchlines usually begin with a setup or little bit of element that appears throwaway at first, after which they layer on an increasing number of components till you have forgotten all about that setup. Right here Monkey Island is delivering a punchline a few joke it made on the very starting of the sport. Guybrush actually needs to be a pirate, and when the pirates in command of who will get to be a pirate ask if he has any particular abilities, Guybrush says “I can maintain my breath for 10 minutes!” Ha! Besides, as we be taught hours later, he actually can.
Guybrush is not freaking out as a result of he can survive on this underwater scene for 10 minutes, at which level he’ll really drown. The builders really made an alternate ending for letting Guybrush drown on this scene, and that is humorous too, however most gamers will work out escape by then. This second recontextualizes Guybrush as far more succesful, and fewer of a poser, than he initially appears.
The second joke is simply basic visible humor. Scattered round Guybrush on the open ground are a knife, a ‘lethal meat cleaver,’ a sword, a hacksaw, and a pair of ‘razor-sharp scissors,’ all able to severing the rope holding Guybrush down. However he cannot attain any of them. Whenever you click on on every one you’ll be able to simply really feel the writers toying with you. “Seems to be sharp,” Guybrush says of the hacksaw. “VERY sharp,” he says if you click on on the scissors. However they’re all ineffective.
You look via your stock. Guybrush has loads of objects. Perhaps considered one of them will lastly be helpful! However no. You’ll be able to’t lower the rope with the shovel. The staple remover does not assist. The answer is someplace on the display screen.
There’s just one factor you are able to do, but it surely’s silly. Ridiculous. However perhaps you’ll be able to decide up the idol? Simply decide it up, like another merchandise? What the hell, proper? So that you attempt it, considering perhaps you’ll be able to drag it to inside attain of a kind of sharp objects. However Guybrush simply casually sticks it in his pocket prefer it’s a pleasant seashell.
This might need been the height of videogames as a medium. I imply, there have been a couple of extra good video games for the reason that yr 1990, however what an ideal second. Monkey Island casually established that it was taking part in by the foundations of its personal actuality. Having the ability to maintain all kinds of things huge and small in your pocket wasn’t simply an “stock system.” If these objects appeared to be magically disappearing right into a weightless, infinite void, then that is precisely what was occurring.
This puzzle answer is so elegant, so good, excited about it nonetheless makes me mad with envy. However it’s the sort of second that lingers with you, as a result of it makes you consider the entire remainder of the sport—and doubtless different video games, too—otherwise.
That is a superb joke.