Nice moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of a few of our favourite gaming recollections.
The Secret of Monkey Island
Developer: Lucasfilm Video games
There’s an article collection I really 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 couple of 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 seems to be prefer it’s made out of strong gold, and tosses him off a pier into the ocean. On this scenario I’d proceed to drown instantly. However The Secret of Monkey Island makes use of this scene to inform a minimum of 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 typically 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’ve got forgotten all about that setup. Right here Monkey Island is delivering a punchline a couple of joke it made on the very starting of the sport. Guybrush actually needs to be a pirate, and when the pirates answerable for who will get to be a pirate ask if he has any particular expertise, Guybrush says “I can hold my breath for 10 minutes!” Ha! Besides, as we study 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 determine find out how to 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 flooring 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. Once you click on on every one you’ll be able to simply really feel the writers toying with you. “Looks 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 a variety of gadgets. Possibly one in every of them will lastly be helpful! However no. You’ll be able to’t reduce 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 possibly you’ll be able to choose up the idol? Simply choose it up, like every other merchandise? What the hell, proper? So that you strive it, considering possibly you’ll be able to drag it to inside attain of a type 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. With the ability to maintain all types of things large and small in your pocket wasn’t simply an “inventory system.” If these gadgets gave the impression to be magically disappearing right into a weightless, infinite void, then that is precisely what was occurring.
This puzzle resolution is so elegant, so excellent, occupied with it nonetheless makes me mad with envy. Nevertheless it’s the form of second that lingers with you, as a result of it makes you concentrate on the entire remainder of the sport—and possibly different video games, too—differently.
That is a superb joke.