It’s the age-old story.
Metro-sexual boy washes up in Caribbean, wishes to become pirate. Get’s laughed at by real pirates. Finishes menial tasks for said pirates in order to prove himself. Does not prove himself as they’re a bunch of assholes. Get’s into fight with proper bad-ass pirate for some reason blah blah blah.
Here’s some spoilers for you: The REAL story of this game is your character Guybrush Threepwood’s not so secret raging teenage hard-on for Elaine Marley – the Governor of Mêlée Island. She’s pretty, smart, athletic, holds a seat of power, and sounds like a scullery maid from the East End of Victorian London – what’s not to mess your pants over?
Guybrush’s advances are just as awkward as his name. Convoluted and uninspiring.
He does however have two things going for him:
First, he is naïve enough to mount a rescue plan when she gets abducted by evil ghost pirate LeChuck. His raging lust for the first attractive woman he has ever seen drives him to adventure against a seemingly unconquerable enemy.
Second, LeChuck – despite his own raging ghost hard on for Elaine – is both a ghost, so cannot actually fuck anything (is it in yet??) and is an incredibly ugly and a grotesque monster man.
Now I’m sure she’s had bad boyfriends – you know, the dumb and muscly sea-jocks who drive a fast boat and she just knows she can change – so LeChuck wouldn’t be the biggest stretch for her (get it? Stretch?? Phnar phnar) especially if it involves her not dying/becoming a fucked-up ghost thing. But even so, given the choice, surely our not so-swashbuckling nerd of a hero stands a good chance of winning her round. If he can rescue her that is…
it was a simpler time with simpler people. With simple 2-ply toilet tissue to wipe up the sex messes.
Anyways, at this point all the other pirates on the island turn out to be complete pussies and refuse to help rescue her. Ok that point isn’t entirely true – Guybrush does manage to assemble a crew comprising of a grumpy lesbian sword master, a fat tattoo’ed guy with a hook hand (imagine trying to wank with that thing?) and a random Hispanic he broke out of jail who now feels obliged to repay him.
Now all you need is a dodgy boat you get from a salesman who looks like Pee Wee Herman’s Dad and you’re off on an exciting rescue mission to Monkey Island. But all your so-called rescue crew do is sunbathe. They are joyless, boring and most likely impotent. So I’m guessing they’re all married already (har har).
When I first played this game in the early 1990s I was just a little young to be getting bulgy pants at pixelated ladies – but I’m betting most of LucasArts customers were in that 15-30 age range. And most were male too judging by the themes of the games the studio made. How many girls wanna play nerdy pirate adventures? Maybe today, when every other person is a different gender than the last or whatever – but not then, it was a simpler time with simpler people. With simple 2-ply toilet tissue to wipe up the sex messes.
It’s the oldest trick in the book, just as Guybrush is prepared to work his way through tedious obstacles to get to the hot girl who probably won’t fancy him we, the young male throbbing with uncontrollable pocket rockets are compelled to do the same – even if we don’t consciously realise it.
Is it worth it in the end? Well Guybrush does get the girl, I mean, they leave together so I’m guessing he got to get marley with her e-lane – but this ain’t Leisure Suit Larry so we don’t get to see it.
In later games we discover they got married, they split up so she could focus on her career, they get back together, fall out and argue a lot about where it all went wrong and get back together again. It’s all the obvious narrative devices you see in fiction to re-create the romantic chase. If they just lived happily ever after, the thrill of trying to get the girl would be gone – they would just be as boring as any other couple and as players we’d have nothing to motivate us.
And this ain’t just true of this game, it’s how it works in DOZENS of gaming franchises. Let’s list some:
Link and Zelda
Zelda is a classic prick tease if we ever saw her. A Princess in need of rescue by a hero, Link also happens to be a young man clouded by naivety and his own carnal lusts. Despite the countless times he rescues her and her kingdom she keeps him firmly in the friend zone – guaranteeing horny and inadequate nerds will keep coming back for more every time.
Mario and Peach
This is the exact same scenario as above except much creepier as Mario is clearly a paedophile. The fact that the fat old fuck also pushes psychedelic drugs makes him even more dangerous. Maybe Bowser is the actual good guy here? Like the bouncer in a club protecting the pretty young lady from the Italian creep high on mushrooms who keeps inviting her to dance. I’ll let you decide…
Master Chief and Cortana
Again, this is the same as the other examples, only without the clear cut 80s charm. It’s been replaced with modern, dystopian shades of grey. A complex and annoying love story full of angst and self-loathing that’s suitable for the fucked-up masses of today. But at least she’s got a great pair of digital tits! She got digital implants just for him you know.
Anyway, let’s wrap this up.
You see, they can say LucasArts games are just amusing puzzle adventures. And this is true, from that boring middle-aged sexless perspective. But to the young men of the 90s, this game wasn’t something to do with monkeys, pirates or whatever – it’s that the whole puzzle thing was an excuse to chase the super-hot pixel girl and spread not so secret love spunk all over your boxer shorts!
That, my friends, is the true secret of Monkey Island… Z