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09 September, 2015

Happy Birthday Guybrush! Ron Gilbert Celebrates 25 Years of Monkey Island

Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert waxes lyrical about how Guybrush Threepwood came to life some 25 years ago.

Could it truly be? Has it really been 25 years since the world was first introduced to Guybrush Threepwood, mighty pirate, in The Secret of Monkey Island? Well, close enough, according to legendary creator Ron Gilbert over on his Grumpy Gamer blog, stating he isn’t quite sure if the game hit stores in late September or early October of 1990.

In celebration of reaching this milestone, Gilbert gives a rather fascinating insight into the development process and how The Secret of Monkey Island came to be in our hands. The blog is well worth a read, if only to see how the world of game development has changed so remarkably over the past two decades. The source code itself resides on four floppy disks (see picture below). Yes, floppy disks! I dare say many of you reading this haven’t seen a floppy disk in your life.

Or check out the process for how games were manufactured back then:

“When the release candidate passed testing, it would be sent off to manufacturing. Sometimes this was a crazy process. The builds destined for Europe were going to be duplicated in Europe and we needed to get the gold master over there, and if anything slipped there wasn’t enough time to mail them. So, we’d drive down to the airport and find a flight headed to London, go to the gate and ask a passenger if they would mind carry the floppy disks for us and someone would meet them at the gate.”

I can’t express my amazement at this process better than Gilbert when he says “can you imagine doing that these days? You can’t even get to the gate, let alone find a person that would take a strange package on a flight for you. Different world.

Also read: The Top 10 Best Pirate Games of All Time

Also read: Could We Ever See Another Monkey Island Game from Ron Gilbert?

Towards the end of his blog, Gilbert mentions that one of the things he is most proud of in life is being involved with Monkey Island. But he doesn't say it in a self-serving, boastful way. Rather, he says it in such a way as to convey his genuine thankfulness at being involved with something that has touched so many people's lives. And we couldn't agree with him more.

Thank you Ron for introducing us to the wonderful character of Guybrush Threepwood and the universe of Monkey Island. The world is a far better place for having the insult “Oh yeah, you fight like a cow!”

Stephen Mitchell

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