Looking At The Secret of Monkey Island Through Ron Gilbert’s Early Design Philosophies

Looking At The Secret of Monkey Island Through Ron Gilbert’s Early Design Philosophies
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

Have you played Ron Gilbert’s 1990 adventure game The Secret of Monkey Island? That might depend how old you are, or how interested you were in point and click adventure games in 2009, when the special edition was released.

The genre has been called dead before, but with the rise of digital distribution and indie game development, adventure games have proven they’re here to stay, in one form or another.

Just before Monkey Island’s release, Gilbert wrote an article for Chris Crawford’s The Journal of Computer Game Design. The piece, titled “Why Adventure Games Suck,” detailed some rules of thumb he felt designers should consider in order to make their games more cohesive and accessible, and thus more entertaining.

In this video we’ll take a look at The Secret of Monkey Island through the lens of Gilbert’s design philosophies during the late 1980s. It’s worth noting that these rules were put on paper 30 years ago; as expected, Gilbert’s ideas have evolved since then.

For Gilbert’s more recent musings, you can follow his blog, Grumpy Gamer.


  • What’s straight-up crazy about the linked document is reading everything else that was ‘topical’ in the industry in 1989. There’s some stuff that’s the same as it ever was, there’s other stuff that’s rightfully gone the way of the dinosaurs, but all of it is a fascinating glimpse into history.

Log in to comment on this story!