So just about a year ago, I boldly stated that I’d solved the secret of Monkey Island. In truth, all I did was finally get an ingame joke that had gone over my head all these years. But this time, I mean it. I think I’ve actually discovered something significantly game-changing about Monkey Island that I’ve never seen discussed elsewhere.
First, some backstory. Yes, the original game was called The Secret of Monkey Island, and yes, the game revealed that the ghost pirate LeChuck had been hiding out on Monkey Island, which could, clearly, be considered the island’s secret. But the series creator, Ron Gilbert, has claimed that there actually is another, greater secret—one meant to be revealed in the trilogy’s never-created final chapter.
“But Bilge,” you say, “you’ve gone daft. There’s no ‘never-created’ third chapter. After The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, we had The Curse of Monkey Island, and then Escape from Monkey Island, and finally Tales of Monkey Island. And besides all that, in Escape the secret of Monkey Island was clearly revealed to be that the giant monkey head was actually part of a giant monkey robot.”
“You’ve done your homework,” says I. “And you’re correct on all counts, but you’re forgetting one important detail. Ron Gilbert wasn’t part of those further releases, meaning only the first two of the series are OG Monkey Island. Everything that followed was more of an extended alternate timeline, and doesn’t reflect Gilbert’s vision for the true trilogy—or its secret. In fact, he’s even said as much in interviews.”
“Good point,” says you.
So, what’s the true secret of Monkey Island? Some days I feared we might never know. I did have hope a few years back—albeit briefly—when Gilbert announced the release of a non-Monkey Island pirate game called Scurvy Scallywags. It’s a fun match-three type game that revolves around the quest for the Ultimate Sea Shanty. I’d thought that just maybe Gilbert had pulled a sneaky and made this the “secret” conclusion to his Monkey Island trilogy. But no such luck. I’ve played the game through, collected all the verses for the Ultimate Sea Shanty, and aside from one very over-powered feather duster, narry a single Monkey Island reference was to be found.
So, back to square one, with little-to-no hope of learning the secret. BUT… then I made a discovery that blew the lid off the whole affair—the final piece of the enigma that is Monkey Island. Yes, it’s big. Yes, it’s devious. And yes, Ron Gilbert has pulled a sneaky. Perhaps the greatest sneaky of all time. Continue reading