Ep. 6 Pete Armour and the SCUMM of Monkey Island

Spoiler Alert: It’s a monkey wrench! You find a banana to put on the metronome to hypnotize the monkey to put in your pocket to take to the waterfall to use on the valve as a “monkey wrench.” *puff, puff* Oh, you don’t have monkey wrenches in your country? Mm okay, that may throw a spanner into the works… Pete Armour and Frank get pretty far into the weeds of The Making of Monkey Island (30th Anniversary Documentary).

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The Video Game History Hour music is Blippy Trance by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/



Wed, 11/11 11:14AM • 1:12:35


monkey island, game, ron, bit, ega, mark, maniac mansion, guybrush, people, adventure games, colors, puzzle, ron gilbert, artwork, play, adventure, dithering, mccracken, pirate, pirates


Frank Cifaldi, Pete Armour, Video Game History Foundation

Frank Cifaldi  00:00

Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Video Game History Hour, presented by the Video Game History Foundation. Every episode we bring in a special guest, typically someone who has done an extensive amount of research and has a story to tell us. My name is Frank Cifaldi, I’m the founder and co-director of the Video Game History Foundation. Kelsey Lewin’s out on assignment. That’s not actually true. I don’t know what I meant by that. Our guest today is Pete from the YouTube channel, onaretrotip. His recent video, “The Making of Monkey Island,” offers an extensive look at the making of 1990’s The Secret of Monkey Island by Lucasfilm games.  Which many – including myself would say – finally solidified the design of the point click adventure, at least as it was represented throughout the 90s and maybe early aughts. It also happens to be one of my favorite games ever made. So this should be a pretty easy show for me. Pete, welcome to the Video Game History Hour!

Pete Armour  00:54

Thanks for having me!

Frank Cifaldi  00:56

Yeah!  So this is actually a pretty interesting episode of the show because typically we just bring on someone who has done work totally unrelated to anything we’ve been up to. And all we kind of have to do is kind of ingest it, read it, watch it, take notes, and then have them talk. But it so happens that the both of us happen to have recently done some extensive making of the Secret of Monkey Island work. For those who are listening who don’t know, we did a live stream called The Secrets of Monkey Island, where we had creator, Ron Gilbert, talk us through what we had discovered from the Monkey Island source code in our archives. Actually, their working title was The Making of Monkey Island and then your video landed so…

Pete Armour  01:52


Frank Cifaldi  01:53

Robbed! Yeah, so this should be kind of fun, because I’m pretty sure I saw your name go by in chat. I think you were there live?

Pete Armour  02:02

Oh, I certainly was, yes. 

Frank Cifaldi  02:04

And I’ve watched your video twice. So we’re peers!

Pete Armour  02:09

Yeah, I’m a big, big fan of what you did. I thought it was absolutely fantastic. 

Frank Cifaldi  02:14

Oh, thank you very much!  I appreciate that.  So let’s start talking about Monkey Island. And I would say that any conversation about this game has to start essentially the way your video started, which is a conversation about SCUMM.  Can you kind of go through what SCUMM is and maybe what it did that other games in the genre didn’t do at the time?

Pete Armour  02:41

Well, yeah, it’s kind of the evolution of just how the adventure games were played back in the 80s, really, and the interface used to play them. So going right back to when I was a kid, and over here in the UK is a big kind of eight-bit computer scene. So things like, we have this thing called the BBC Micro, which was commissioned by actually by the BBC and made by a company called Acorn.  And it was very primitive, about four colors on screen.  And as a result of that, it was really heavy on the text adventure. So had loads of these, you know, text adventures where you are just literally typing in commands, like “go north” and “hit the troll with a sword” and the like. And as good as those were, it would be frustrating at times, because half the time it was guesswork.  You weren’t given a list of verbs or commands that would actually work. So you’re just kind of typing in random commands and hoping that one of them hits, you know?  And I think later games in the 80s, and even later text adventures, kind of tried to combat that by having a more rigid set of commands. So you kind of knew what you were doing a bit more. And that then evolved obviously, Sierra evolved with things like King’s Quest where although you were still typing commands, you could actually move the protagonist around the screen and if you clicked over here on the screen, then your guy on screen would actually walk over there.  Rather than writing, you know, “walk left.”  And then pretty obviously, it was Maniac Mansion. So another another Ron Gilbert game, Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick Maniac Mansion, brought in this SCUMM, which is Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, which Ron hilariously forgot on your live stream.

Frank Cifaldi  04:50

I mean, he definitely knew but I think, you know, putting him on the spot in front of 1000 people might have caused some some nerves in that moment! [laughter]

Pete Armour  05:00

And then yeah, what that interface essentially was, was some icons on screen, or I suppose words on screen. And they were a set of verbs, that the whole game, and the whole of the gameplay was contained within that selection of verbs. So you knew that you could click on one of those verbs to then interact with the characters and the environment, and this, that and the other. And then there was a couple of games that use that, you know, same SCUMM interface between then and Monkey Island, like Zak McCracken [And The Alien Mindbenders] and, you know, the Indy Last Crusade adventure. But I think Monkey Island kind of was another step up for that interface. And, you know, it was quite a bit, it seems really like a small change now. But back then it was huge that you could actually click on a command, like, “pick up,” and then when you hovered over an environmental object, it would actually show on screen, like “pick up rubber chicken” with a pulley in the middle sort of thing, you know, or “pick up jar” or whatever it was. And that just made, that small change just made the whole experience of playing these adventure games so much more intuitive, I think. 

Frank Cifaldi  06:31

Yeah, I think so too. And it just, it’s such a natural evolution of the typing interface, right?  Where it would be, you would type in “pick up rubber chicken,” and and it would, well, hopefully understand that, right? Because sometimes it doesn’t quite understand what you mean. But I think for me, what it streamlined the most from those older adventure games is what in Maniac Mansion was the “what is” verb, which allowed you to just kind of move your cursor over the screen, to look at any objects that could be interacted with. So for example, if you’re playing a purely text adventure, you might be in a room and you might have to type something like “look around,” it’ll be like, “well, there’s a table and a chair, and etc.” And they might have to be like, “look at table” and then and, and see if there’s more context for the table.  Might even be like, you look at the table, and there’s a picture frame, and you have to type “look at picture frame.”  But with this contextual hovering that you did with Maniac Mansion, initially actually on a joystick on the Commodore 64, you could just kind of move the cursor over the entire screen and anything that could be interacted with, that was an object in SCUMM would would display the name of that object, so he then you knew you can kind of do a mental inventory quickly of everything in the room, and go from there.

Pete Armour  08:06

It’s almost like the difference between playing an adventure game with a blindfold on and off, you know?

Frank Cifaldi  08:12

Yeah, absolutely.  And, like, having it described to you as opposed to just seeing what’s in front of you. And I mean, not to say that this was the first graphical adventure. I mean, you mentioned King’s Quest, right?  And in that game, you know, you might be able to see the table and walk over to the table and type “look at table” but you didn’t know every item that could be interacted with unless you one-by-one tried to interact with anything on the screen that looked like it might be a thing.   I would say the other half of SCUMM is not the interface so much as the scripting language. And this is maybe where my experience can come into this conversation a little bit more. So as you said that what SCUMM stood for was the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion. (Did you notice I had to hesitate for a second there?)

Pete Armour  09:09


Frank Cifaldi  09:09

I almost lost it! You know, the SCU part, “script creation utility.”  It’s something that Ron came up with sort of mid-development within Maniac Mansion.  He was hard-coding everything in 6502 assembly, and just realizing, “This game is never going to get done if I don’t have a scripting language that does some of this hardcore coding for me.”  So it actually, you know, delayed the project quite a bit.  But came up with this fairly intuitive scripting language that would go on to be used in all of the Lucasfilm games after this, where an engineer who’s scripting the game can fairly intuitively type things like, “say actor guybrush quote,” and then what he says, as opposed to coding that in assembly.  Which opened the doors to newer, fresher engineers being able to to work on these games that maybe couldn’t have done the assembly language against the metal coating that Ron was doing. 

Pete Armour  10:24

Hmm, it’s interesting. I don’t really know much about that side. And it was fascinating to watch you kind of go into the background on the live stream of how that script creation works. And you manipulated it, didn’t you, and add “I want to be a salesman!” into the, you know, the Three Pirates chat. 

Frank Cifaldi  10:49

And you saw the scripting and was it sort of intuitive to you? I mean, you could kind of read along with what I was doing, right?

Pete Armour  10:56

Oh, yeah. I mean, I think it looked like something you could you could suss out with a little bit of playing around. 

Frank Cifaldi  11:04


Pete Armour  11:05

And pretty much rewrite the whole game with a little bit of time.

Frank Cifaldi  11:09

Yeah. You know, I think that’s a good segue into talking about the team that put this game together.  And your video, The Making of Monkey Island, I can’t recall having seen anything that really talked about the entirety of the team. So can you kind of go through quickly, sort of the roll call of the core people involved here?

Pete Armour  11:36

Yeah, sure. So, I guess, Ron Gilbert was the creator and, you know, lead programmer, I suppose you’d say. And it was kind of his baby. Then you had Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer, who were quite new at Lucasfilm, who would go on to create Day of the Tentacle among other things.  And they were quite new. And they they were what Ron called SCUMMlet. So they were part of this of SCUMM University. And he got them to play around with the SCUMM interface. And he was given some assets from, you know, Steve Purcell and whoever, and they would kind of play with them and manipulate them and kind of make things happen within it.  So they were the kind of the main three involved with actually the programming and the story and everything. Although I will say, that it seems to have been quite a sort of collaborative, open process. So although I say, you know, they were the main three involved with the story, the programming everything, it seems that a lot of people were involved with the story beyond that.  Like, you know, the artists weren’t completely separate to the story and the talk about the characters and everything.  It seems to be have been quite a, you know, a collaborative thing.  So I guess they’re the main three.  And then you’ve got Gary Winnick, who worked with Ron on Maniac Mansion. Now, he didn’t necessarily work on Monkey Island, but he was head of the art department at the time. So he is in the credits. But I’m told he didn’t directly work on Monkey Island. Then you’ve got the artists.  So you’ve got Mark Ferrari, who did background art. And Mark had done all the background art for Loom. And he also did a lot of the artwork for Zak McCracken. Then you had Steve Purcell great creator of Sam & Max doing background art and animations. And you know, it’s interesting, because neither of them, you know, sort of “computer art guys” because that wasn’t a thing that existed back then. So that you know, Mark was an illustrator and Steve was, like, a comic book artist, you know.  And then you had Mike Ebert who did the other third of the backgrounds So pretty much all the backgrounds were split between Mark, Steve Purcell and Mike Ebert.  And then you had doing the animations I believe Steve Purcell, Mike Ebert and then [Martin] “Bucky” Cameron did the the animations. And then Michael Land, obviously, soundtrack.  Great soundtrack. And that’s kind of… you know, there’s a few disappointments not getting certain people for the documentary because I kind of had to work with who was willing. But yeah, I was quite disappointed not to get Michael Land’s input really for the music, that’s a shame. So I guess that’s kind of the core team for Monkey Island, I’d say.

Frank Cifaldi  15:02

Yeah, and what I hadn’t realized as someone who is not only a fan of these games, but someone who knows a lot of the guys you mentioned in real life personally, and has talked to them a lot about the game, like I didn’t really realize what a collaborative process that this was between sort of, you know, design/engineering, Ron, Tim and Dave, and then like the art department.  I didn’t realize that, for example, sometimes Steve or Mark would just draw something into the background, you know, their assignment would just be like draw the scene, right?  Draw an island scene.  And Steve might just draw something funny in the background, and that would inspire the designers to make that an interactive part of the game, which I thought was really cool.

Pete Armour  15:59

Yeah, I agree.  I think the epitome of that is the Sierra death scene puzzle, you know, where Guybrush falls off the cliff. And Dave said that exactly that, that he received the art. And obviously, they’ve been told, you know, draw a cliff side. And they receive the artwork and Dave looked at it, and it looked like there was kind of a little crack where the cliff should maybe fall away. And he thought at the time, “Is this like, a puzzle that they haven’t told me about? Or did I miss an email or something?”  And it turned out, it was just how the artwork looked. So then he, you know, he spent time animating that falling away and made it into this joke and it ended up being that kind of Sierra death jokes, which was always one of the best jokes in the game.

Frank Cifaldi  16:45

And, actually, I do feel like a lot of the inspiration for Monkey Island comes from Ron’s frustration with Sierra games that do things like that. And yeah, I mean, you know, kind of explain – because he did such a good job in the video – explain to us that sort of Sierra design by death, I guess, like, sort of teaching through frustration and how Ron Gilbert in particular just wasn’t a fan of that approach.

Pete Armour  17:23

Yeah, I think they’ve put it as, “Sierra like to revel in death.”  Which I found funny. But yeah, I mean, it was just so easy to die.  And I think they were big against the frustration of dying. But I think the main thing for them when developing Mokey Island was that, the Sierra games were just… the deaths were just so unfair. So rather than feeling like you’ve earned that death, like, you know, “I’ve done something wrong,” or “I shouldn’t have done that, I shouldn’t have walked there.”  It was more of just a case of trial and error with Sierra.  So you’d just be walking up an innocent set of stairs and then something bad happens on the stairs and you’re dead.  Or, you know, there’s just numerous… Or like you cross the road and you get run over by a car, where you could never have known that would happen unless you’d played it before. So I think that’s the main thing they wanted to avoid of it being unfair. And obviously, in the end, they went to the extreme and made it so that you couldn’t die or pretty much couldn’t die. You know, you had to work very hard to die in Monkey Island. So I think that just that frustration of, you know, these unfair deaths really was something they wanted to avoid.

Frank Cifaldi  18:46

Yeah. And in fact, as you mentioned in the video, Ron published a sort of manifesto in – what was it called? – the Journal of Computer Game Design, I believe it was, literally called “Why Adventure Games Suck.”

Pete Armour  19:03

 Hmm.  That’s interesting. I mean, they’re all very good rules.  Although, a couple of rules I did notice, I meant perhaps there are some Lucasfilm adventures did write their own rules down the line…

Frank Cifaldi  19:13

Not the Ron ones but… Well, past Monkey.

Pete Armour  19:17

I think maybe Monkey Island 2 might have… Purely because what one of the rules is the “puzzles have to make sense.”  I think Monkey Island 2 might have been sort of straddling the line of making sense some time. 

Frank Cifaldi  19:21

Wait, let me guess the the Monkey wrench?

Pete Armour  19:33


Frank Cifaldi  19:36


Pete Armour  19:38

That’s funny because m onkey wrenches is not a thing in the UK. 

Frank Cifaldi  19:43


Pete Armour  19:43

And obviously, as came up in the documentary that, you know, the Lucas adventure games did so much better in Europe for whatever reason. And so the monkey wrench really isn’t a thing in Europe. It’s very much an American thing. I mean, I don’t even know what we’d call it. We just call it a spanner, I suppose, like an adjustable spanner, maybe?  So, that kind of leap of, “it’s a monkey wrench.”  I mean, when Monkey Island 2 came out, I would have been like 11 years old. So I definitely wouldn’t have put two and two together, on that, you know!

Frank Cifaldi  20:20

Well, I can tell you as an American who played Monkey Island 2 not technically as an adult, maybe 18?  I knew what a monkey wrench was.  That puzzle still didn’t make any sense. 

Pete Armour  20:25


Frank Cifaldi  20:35

I didn’t think like, I need a wrench. There’s a monkey that exists somewhere. So let’s backtrack just for a second: explain this puzzle. What was it, you have to…?

Pete Armour  20:49

Shutting up a water valve, wasn’t it or something like that? 

Frank Cifaldi  20:51

Yeah, you have to shut off a water valve that’s actually causing a waterfall. And then to get behind the waterfall, you have to shut off the water and there’s a valve clearly coming from the ground. And it’s fairly clear to the player that those two things are related, I’ll give him that. But you don’t have a tool in your inventory to shut off the water valve. And the solution to the puzzle is, elsewhere in the game on another island in a bar, there is a monkey playing a piano following a metronome.  A metronome, of course, being a thing that takes back and forth to keep your timing on the song. And I’m spoiling this puzzle because it’s a bad puzzle, I don’t care if you’ve not played this game before!  You’re going to thank me for having this one. 

Pete Armour  21:03

It’s been long enough.  If they haven’t played it, it’s their own fault.

Frank Cifaldi  21:48

What you’re supposed to do is, you find a banana elsewhere.  You have to put the banana on the metronome, which then hypnotizes this monkey. And now that the monkey is hypnotized, you can pick up the monkey and put it in your pocket. And if you look at your inventory screen, the monkey’s limbs happen to be arranged somewhat like a wrench. And that is your clue that the monkey can be used to adjust the water valve. Yes, I agree. That’s a pretty bad puzzle.   Although I’ve never played…  so Monkey Island 2 introduced a feature where you can do an easy mode. I don’t know if easy mode addresses that puzzle or not.  I imagine it must.

Pete Armour  22:33

I can’t remember, actually, if easy mode does remove that or not.

Frank Cifaldi  22:38

I just can’t bring myself to play it on easy mode.

Pete Armour  22:42

Yeah, I mean, I don’t see the point you want “the full monkey” as they called it, or whatever it was.

Frank Cifaldi  22:47

The full monkey! 

Pete Armour  22:50


Frank Cifaldi  22:50

But yeah, I agree, that’s a that’s a particularly egregious puzzle.

Pete Armour  22:54

But yeah besides that rule, he had some good rules in that “Why Adventure Games Suck.”  Like, I think one that was, “the player must have a clear objective.”  Which is actually quite a revelation for adventure games because you were kind of bumbling around not knowing what you were doing and just trying everything most of the time. Whereas in Monkey Island, quite unusually, actually, straight away you get this three, the three tasks from the Scumm Bar. And that, Dave even said, maybe that was too soon in the game.  You know, let you let you kind of walk around a bit and this, that and the other, before kind of throwing you into that, but I liked it!  I thought it was a great opening to the game.  You walk into town. First thing you see is the Scumm Bar all lit up. And obviously, I’d imagine most people would go in there walking past. And then suddenly, you know, you’re on the quest of being a pirate. It’s great.

Frank Cifaldi  23:55

Yeah, I think I agree with you that you know… I take it we’re both pretty big fans of the Secret of Monkey Island I think we’ve both probably thought a lot about how the game sort of onboards you.  And, you know, something that Ron talks about really often is the intro, right?  Where Guybrush, the protagonist of the game, comes out of nowhere and he talks to the lookout by the fireplace just at the very beginning of the game. And he says, “Hi, my name is Guybrush Threepwood and I want to be a pirate.” And that’s the entire story. That’s all you need. You don’t need more backstory than that. And then when you’re given control, pretty much the first thing anyone does, as you said, is goes into the Scumm Bar and starts talking to pirates. And eventually, through very clear clues through any pirate you’re talking to, gets led to these particular pirates in the bar who give you your three objective to become a pirate, and then you’re off!

Pete Armour  25:03

Yeah, one thing Ron said to me that I thought was funny but very accurate, was he said straightaway, when Guybrush says, “I’m Guybrush Threepwood, I want to be a pirate,” he’s telling you, “I don’t know anything about this.”  Which is just that simple phrase, I just thought that’s great. You know, he is telling you, “I don’t know anything about being a pirate, and nor does the player,” and that’s a big thing for Ron, I think. And he said, one of the big influences with that was On Stranger Tides, the novel. vAnd I think he was kind of in a bit of a, you know, a bit of confusion over where to go story-wise at the time.  And he’d read that book and the protagonist in that book is someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing, either. So I think that was such a stroke of luck, because it changed the game so much, because there’s this great mechanic of – as Ron puts it – that the player is learning along with Guybrush. So as Guybrush is learning about all these things in this world, and how things work and how to do this, that, and the other, the player is learning at the same time.  So it just made, you know… I think it built that connection with Guybrush that much more. And it’s part of what makes him such an endearing character because, I mean, people love an underdog anyway. And you know, he’s very charming.  But just the fact that while he’s learning, you’re learning with him. I think that was a huge part of the of the character, and probably a huge part of why the game has stuck with people for so long.

Frank Cifaldi  26:53

I think I agree with that. Yeah. And it’s, you know, there’s literally no backstory for Guybrush, you know?  He is just this being that comes into existence when you start the game, who just has no history at all. There’s there’s no backstory at all to the guy. He’s just you in this world and your goal together is become a pirate. I think that’s brilliant.

Pete Armour  27:20

Yes, it was stroke a genius, really.

Frank Cifaldi  27:23

So you mentioned a Ron’s influence of – partially at least – from from the Tim Powers novel, On Stranger Tides. I think we should backtrack just for a second to talk about sort of the evolution of where this idea came from.  So Ron, as you mentioned,  co-created and developed Maniac Mansion with Gary Winnick and David Fox.  The next SCUMM game after that, Zak McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders was, you know, almost a spiritual sequel to Maniac Mansion in a lot of ways.  And then Ron, right after that pretty much, started trying to figure out what his next adventure game might be. He had a few ideas and one of them was this pirate concept.  And can you kind of explain from your interview where that came from?

Pete Armour  28:25

Well, Ron seems to sort of have this aversion to fantasy, so he wasn’t really into fantasy stuff. And to make an adventure game, he didn’t really want to go into making fantasy… or, you know, a fantasy theme. And then he kind of came to this realization that pirates is kind of bordering on fantasy, really. I mean, when you think of pirate games, or pirate movies, it is kind of like a fantasy role playing thing, isn’t it? Without the, you know, elves and dragons, and this, that and the other. So I think it was just a theme that really appealed to him that wasn’t fantasy or like traditional fantasy. And also, I th ink… Well, I know he was a big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney. But I don’t know if that was just part of the inspiration for the theme or once he came to pirate theme. Was that an inspiration for you know, this, that and the other? 

Frank Cifaldi  29:35

Right, and I kind of wonder that about the computer game, Sid Meier’s Pirates! as well, which he was a fan of at the time. 

Pete Armour  29:41

Mm hmm. 

Frank Cifaldi  29:43

Monkey Island was just a straight-up rip-off of Sid Meier’s Pirates!  We can go home, we’re done with the podcast.

Pete Armour  29:47

Yeah. I suppose.  [Laughter]

Frank Cifaldi  29:52

[Laughter] Um, yeah. So like you said, he kind of landed on this pirates theme. He had a couple other things he was pitching around at the time.  One of them, interestingly (I don’t know if you’ve seen this one on this blog), was called The TimeFly. Have you seen that one?

Pete Armour  30:07


Frank Cifaldi  30:08

That was a time travel adventure game where you were kind of bouncing between three time periods and your actions in one time period would then change, you know, the the futures ahead of you, which…

Pete Armour  30:24

That’s interesting considering…

Frank Cifaldi  30:26

Yeah, isn’t it?

Pete Armour  30:27

Considering that, you know, that came to fruition shortly – oh, that would have been shortly after he left, wouldn’t it?

Frank Cifaldi  30:33

Yeah, and actually, it’s something that he actually thinks may be his one contribution to Day of the Tentacle was just kind of giving them that idea before he left, which is, which is kind of… 

Pete Armour  30:47


Frank Cifaldi  30:49

 But you should track that one down, if you’re if you’re not completely sick thinking about this game yet, because part of the design actually is a pirate island.  He’s almost kind of, like, developing both of these ideas at the same time, which is kind of fascinating. But yeah, so he sort of had this… So what they would pass around at the time, internally at Lucasfilm Games, were, they just called them one-sheets. They were they were descriptions of a game concept that would… I can’t even I can’t quite tell if it was formally or informally? But these things were just passed around to all the –

Pete Armour  31:28

Well, knowing Lucasfilm at the time, I don’t think much was formal.

Frank Cifaldi  31:32

Yeah, I think that’s very true!  [laughs] I don’t think they had one-sheet approval meetings or anything like that.  But everyone in the company was encouraged to come up with game concepts. And a lot of those actually, surprisingly, have survived.  Aric Willmunder, who, as you probably know, was the sort of co-engineer of SCUMM with Ron, has a lot of those. Noah Falstein, who was one of the designers there, I think, mostly known for Fate of Atlantis at this point. He kept a ton of these as well. And it’s really interesting to see that you see a lot of game concepts just coming from every possible department in the company. And one of those that Ron had written that he passed around was what he called Mutiny on Monkey Island. I know you read that one.  Do you recall the sort of plot that he had?

Pete Armour  32:29

Vaguely, because I did actually put it up on screen in my doc.  But I know that originally it was going to be Governor Fat was, like, the antagonist?

Frank Cifaldi  32:43

Right. And the protagonist, I think, more importantly, was this seasoned-but-washed-up pirate who wanted to recapture his former glory. And to your point here that it was the Tim Powers novel that that solidified that. It’s interesting to be able to put this timeline together now because you have this document from, you know, maybe early 1989 that he wrote?  (Of course, Ron Gilbert didn’t date anything, which makes our jobs as historians much more difficult.)  And he was actually interrupted by Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and sort of shelves Monkey Island.

Pete Armour  33:23

Yeah. So it’s about nine months, I believe that he… kind of gap. So he was, you know, he started thinking about Monkey Island in the kind of nine months gap. So it did make me wonder what would have happened without that gap? It may have been a very different game.

Frank Cifaldi  33:37

Yeah, I think it would have been a very different game. The design at the time, for sure was more inspired by Sid Meier’s Pirates! in the sense that there was… the journey from Melee to Monkey Island was a sort of RPG loop, where you boarded ships and fought pirates to gain their resources to then, you know, go sell on islands, to get money to buy more cannonballs to then go fight more pirates. So I think, you know, it would have been a very different game. Had he been able to proceed in 1989. And I really doubt it would have been nearly as memorable as it ended up being. 

Pete Armour  34:20

Mm hmm.  I know they were gonna have, you know, like ship battles, sea battles and everything in there.

Frank Cifaldi  34:28

Yeah. And I and I suspect that it would have been, you know, the combat would have probably been similar to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. And I don’t know if you’ve tried to fight people in that game, but I wouldn’t call it fun.

Pete Armour  34:43

No, I mean, yeah, I mean… I think fighting in any respect doesn’t seem fun in the in the context of an adventure game like Monkey Island.  And obviously not counting the insults or fighting, you’re not actually fighting. You know, you’re not commanding the sword in that instance. 

Frank Cifaldi  35:08

Yeah, so what they ended up doing, of course, in the Secret of Monkey Island, was replacing that sort of aactioney fighting that they had in Indiana Jones with insult sword fighting.  Which was much more in the spirit of an adventure game, right? Because you’re you’re basically solving dialogue puzzles by learning insults and responses and building those up. And I thought that was a pretty clever way of using the dialogue choice mechanic of Monkey Island.  Which, by the way, maybe doesn’t get mentioned often enough when talking about the Secret of Monkey Island, because that’s the first game using the SCUMM engine – and maybe for adventure games in general, although I’m sure someone can dig out something obscure from before this – that sort of branched out dialogue. So if someone says something to you, for example, when you talk to the three pirates in the SCUMM Bar, they ask, “What do you want, boy?”  And you can choose one of three responses, and they’ll respond differently, depending on what you chose. And I think that really opened up not just Monkey Island but the way that adventure games proceeded after that point.

Pete Armour  36:30

It was great. Because rather than playing this adventure game and going, “Well, I think that’s the right question I’m going to ask them?”  You would just click something, because, “Oh, my God, that’s funny!”  You know?

Frank Cifaldi  36:44


Pete Armour  36:44

 And you wanted to see, “What are they going to say back to me if I say that? That’s hilarious!”  So I mean, I still do it now when I play it and I know what I’m supposed to be doing. But you just click all the funny lines, because it’s fun, you know?

Frank Cifaldi  36:57

Yeah!  And for me playing that the first time, I think it took a long time playing that game for it to sink in for me that any choice I make, I’m not going to get hurt by it. You know?  Like, if I choose the funny line of dialogue, the game still gonna loop back around to actually keeping me on track and telling me the information I need to solve the game.

Pete Armour  37:22

Yeah, you have you haven’t missed your window. Which, of course, would be the case in a lot of games.

Frank Cifaldi  37:31

Yeah, Sierra’s staple wasn’t just the death, it was also the leaving you in limbo, because you forgot to pick up the thing three hours ago off the table and now you’re stuck forever.

Pete Armour  37:42

Yeah, that’s just… that’s just brutally unfair.

Frank Cifaldi  37:48

Something that I think makes this game really special from a development perspective ties together a lot of the things we talked about, which is that… Well, actually, Ron – I don’t remember if this was, particularly in your video or not, but he certainly said it before – Ron considers the development of this game almost like “improv game development.” Because not only were people collaborating and sort of making each other laugh, it was, as you mentioned in my stream, it was really easy to just throw a joke in the game to script it and and build the game and test it and see if it works. And I think that the sort of freewheeling feeling of this game, it just feels like improv comedy in a lot of ways.

Pete Armour  38:44

I think Mark said that nobody there knew what they were doing because the rules of play hadn’t been written back then. And also, something that Ron said was, yeah, they would kind of try lots of things.  And if something would work, they just say, “Yeah, let’s do more of that!”  And they kind of go down that route and it was really experimental.  And like, you know, even things like Guybrush getting his name just comes from one of these little conversations they’re having, and it just pops up.  And it’s just these things seem to happen all the time where just by chance, from them all getting together, whatever department they were in just sort of brainstorming or chatting and these things popped up, they’re made into the game, and made the game really special.

Video Game History Foundation  39:41

Yeah, and another thing that kind of comes from this approach is… A ctually, one of my favorite examples is the puzzle to steal the governor’s idol because, as you recall, the three things you have to do to become a pirate in this world: you’ve got to master sword fighting, you got to master treasure “huntering,” and you have to master thievery and you have to steal the the idols from the governor’s mansion. And in the initial designs, what’s actually written on paper for them to work from the puzzle there was kind of involved.  There were four rooms in the governor’s mansion and it was something… Like, one of the rooms had ants in it, and you had to, like, put down (I don’t even know!) like, sugar or honey or something.  You had to lead the ants into another room so that they would do something, etc, etc, to get this idol. And I think Dave Grossman, who was in charge of that puzzle, I think just kind of jokingly suggested, “What if instead of doing all this, Guybrush sort of opens a door and disappears behind the scenes, you as the player don’t even see what he’s doing?” And there’s this suggestion of this really elaborate puzzle solving going on behind the scenes.  Which ended up being one of the funniest moments in the game, because you see, your verb/noun interface doing things, right?  Like, Guybrush will pick up, you know, a pair of wax lips and give it to a moose or something I don’t even remember…  You just see this sort of comedic scene play out with no graphics at all.  Really elaborate, strange puzzle solving. And then Guybrush just comes out of there with the idol and that’s, that’s the thing. And Dave suggested something like this jokingly, I think, and Ron was like, “That’s hilarious!  Just do it!” And then that’s just kind of how this game came together.

Pete Armour  41:54

Yeah, it’s great. It was interesting on your stream to see kind of a bit of, you know, what was planned for that puzzle beyond what actually ended up as.  But I’m so glad it ended up that way because it is so funny!  And it just sums up their sense of humor, I think, that they can make you laugh out loud without actually showing – you know, it’s essentially, you’re looking at a wall and there’s just text popping up!  But it is still funny today. I mean, 30 years later, it’s still hilarious. And that’s just a testament, really, to the to the writing and the senses of humor that those guys had.

Frank Cifaldi  42:32

Let’s switch departments here and talk about the art some more. I really appreciated in your video hearing more from Mark Ferrari, because we don’t really get to hear him talk about his work in these days as much as I would like.  What Mark sort of spearheaded there is this notion of dithering to make the 16 color palette of the game look like it had more colors in it actually did. Can you without visuals kind of explained to us how that worked? 

Pete Armour  43:18

Um, so, I guess if you imagine it like a chess board, you know, it’s the easiest kind of  mental cue for people.  If you had a chessboard and you have the black and the white squares, then you that’s what kind of you can do with dithering. So if you have two colors, say a blue and a green, and you checker board dither them like that, then you can make the appearance or the illusion of extra colors. Especially, you know, because the pixels are very small, and they might be out in the background and what have you. I mean, a great example of that is straight away the start of Secret of Monkey Island when you come down the cliff and you’re walking along the dock there and there’s the sky and there’s this sea and everything. And there’s a lot of dithering there. And it just makes the illusion of more colors because the original Monkey Island was, you know, 16-color EGA. And as Mark puts it, there were sixteen horrible, useless colors. Whoever invented the EGA palette obviously wasn’t an artist because they they do look rather rather grim. 

Frank Cifaldi  44:36

“We don’t we don’t need skin tone in a palette!” [laughter]

Pete Armour  44:41

So yeah, I mean, what what happened was, that Mark had been brought in and I think the first game he worked on was Zak McCracken – or maybe he might have done bits and bobs here and there?  But you know, his first sort of meaty project was Zak McCracken.  And if you look back at that game, it is very much sort of solid blocks of color. So I believe the way that the kind of the memory or disk space was was used up was, every time if you scan across the line of the picture horizontally, every time the color changed it would kind of register a bit of data.  And obviously, floppy disks are just under one-and-a-half meg.  Didn’t have much space.  So Mark came in and he’d been doing a bit of this dithering artwork. And they said, “Oh, no, no, you can’t do that! Because every time it goes across the checkerboard and that color changes!” Which for Mark was like every pixel or every other pixel that’s taking up space, and we just can’t do it.  So for Zak McCracken, he had to use solid color. So he’s got lines of different colors, but it has to be one solid vertical line. So if you look at the skylines in Zak McCracken, it’ll be different colors, but solid lines of those colors, fading. And, I mean, Mark conveyed it very apparent that he wasn’t a fan of that from an artistic standpoint, which is understandable.  And then the next thing he did was Loom, so Loom between… In fact, it actually came out in 1990, same year as Monkey Island.  But Loom between Zak McCracken and Loom, Mark managed to kind of lay a trap for the guys at Lucasfilm, which led to Ron and the team making so that they could actually compress this artwork, this dithered artwork, which was previously not possible, you couldn’t compress it. So obviously compressing it would take up less space. So then for Loom, they could use this dithered artwork. And then obviously, that was kind of I mean… it’s hugely impressive artwork, Loom!  And Mark said that a lot of people thought it was VGA, and it won loads of awards for the art and this and the other.  But I think, from what he learned from that process, he really got to demonstrate in Monkey Island. So Monkey Island was just, you know, absolutely stunning dithered EGA artwork. And Mark kind of used the the tricks he’d learned with that.  But going back to what I said about him laying a trap, which is obviously an interesting little tidbit, was he said that at one point they, because they weren’t allowed to hang around skybrook Skywalker Ranch on the weekends, so they had to go home and work. So they’re allowed to take their computers home. And Mark had taken his home. And he done whatever work he needed to do. And he thought, “I’m going to draw a nice dithered image,” you know, just because he wanted to.  And he drew this beautiful sort of, you know, night scene with water and a sky and the sunset and whatever else, which actually ended up being the inspiration for that first bit in Monkey Island where you’re walking across the dock. That scene is pretty much a reiteration of that original drawing he did.  So he goes back to work on Monday, and he gets this image. And when he goes to lunch, he just puts that image on his screen, and just kind of say, “Look, we could be doing this! Why are we doing this solid color EGA stuff, we could be doing this?” You know, a little bit of a protest. And he said he came back from lunch after about an hour and a half. And Ron was arguing with with you know, whoever else was there?

Frank Cifaldi  48:52

I think it was Steve.

Pete Armour  48:53

Oh, yeah, I believe it was Steve. Yeah.

Frank Cifaldi  48:56

Yeah. And that lead is I’m figuring out, “Right, we have to do this.”  And that it just sort of forced his hand, right?  Like it kind of forced Ron and probably Aric Willmunder to go back and just figure out like, “OK, we HAVE to have dithering. How do we compress this in a way where we’re not going to increase the production cost of this game?”  And by the way, we should mention that the reason compression is so important is because you’re shipping on floppy disks, right? And if I remember right, Secret of Monkey Island shipped on six five-and-a-quarter floppy disks. And any additional disk is just adding to the production cost and eating into the profits. And I think that even at the start of the project, they sort of had already put a hard limit on how many discs they could afford to put in the box. So you know, compression was no laughing matter.  To get all that art in the game, you had to get it compressed.

Pete Armour  49:58

I always wondered because I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen in person the five-and-a-quarter inch version. But I mean, when I was a kid, I had it on Amiga and that was four discs. And I believe that, you know, the 3.5 floppy version on PC was four discs, but Monkey Island 2 being eleven discs I always wondered… Was it the cost of floppies production or something came down?  Or is it just that they had more money? Or I don’t know, but…

Frank Cifaldi  50:26

I don’t know either actually, come to think of it. But yeah, it’s a something that I found really interesting from that conversation with Mark Ferrari about dithering is that, once they were allowed to use dithering for their artwork, suddenly all three background artists had their own unique styles and you could tell the difference between them. And it was almost a problem!

Pete Armour  50:55

Yeah, and it’s interesting because like… it’s not mentioned as documentary, but in the full interview with Mark (which is about two hours long, which I’ll upload this week because Mark Mark loves to talk. That’s the great thing. I just kind of let him go. And he’s, you know, he’s got these great stories and a lot of it had to cut out, unfortunately).  But yeah, he was saying that with Thimbleweed Park, they kind of had to teach Octavian Navarro, who was one of the artists that worked on that, they kind of had to teach him to kind of look a bit more like Mark’s art style because they wanted all the backgrounds to look the same.  So it was, yeah, like you said, when they when they started dithering for the Monkey Island artwork, suddenly Steve, Mike, and Mark’s artwork all look completely different! So the way they combated that issue was to just assign people different areas. So Mark did all this, what he called Melee Village, you know the first area of the game there. So it kind of all looks the same, because it’s done by Mark. And then Steve did a lot of the Monkey Island and the Monkey Head and this and the other, and he did the the the Lava Underground and what have you. I think Steve kind of gravitated towards doing the unusual, the quirky or funny stuff, you know, from an artwork perspective? And then Mike Ebert, I think he did the act where you’re on the boat? I’m not sure what else he did.

Frank Cifaldi  52:28

 Yeah, I would think maybe the Ghost Pirate Ship doesn’t really look like the other two to me, but that’s just… I’m guessing. But yeah, it’s something and yeah, the way they address that issue was to kind of give them their own sections in the game, like you said.  So, you know, Monkey Island itself is mostly Steve, Melee is mostly Mark, etc.  And I actually do think we should point out for, for people who are listening, I imagine that actually, most people have never seen the version of the game we’re talking about. So the game as we’re talking about it, it was developed in this 16-color EGA palette. And this is right at 1990. When most IBM users were actually switching over to VGA compatible systems, which up the palette from 16 to 256 colors, which probably seemed like infinite colors to these artists at the time. And that EGA version of Monkey Island, you know, it was the original.  It was the one that Mark and Steve and Bucky and all them drew. As far as I know, it had that initial printing in 1990. And has not been available for 30 years. The VGA version is what most people have seen. And that was actually, not to demean the work I think they did a great job, but it’s actually different artists, you know, painting over that original work.  And I think if, like us, you know, you at home, really want to sort of understand Monkey Island on this on this fundamental level of where decisions came from and everything, I highly recommend it. I highly recommend actually looking at this original EGA art because I think that’s where a lot of the visual decisions for what they couldn’t couldn’t do in this game came from.

Pete Armour  54:33

Hmm, absolutely. And, I mean, it’s worth mentioning the Amiga version, because I think that the Amiga version was kind of in between somewhere. It was more than 16 colors, but it was nowhere near 256.  I’m sure somewhere in between them. It might have been 32?

Frank Cifaldi  54:52

So it’s 32.  So what they did was they took the VGA 256-color art and compressed down to 32 colors.

Pete Armour  55:02

Wow. So yeah, that’s that’s kind of an interesting journey to get there. Like, take the EGA art, draw over it, and then downscale it to get the Amiga version. But, to be fair…

Frank Cifaldi  55:13

Yes, tape the movie off the TV and then dump it on another tape or something. Yeah.

Pete Armour  55:17

Yeah.  But to be fair, the Amiga version looks absolutely fantastic. And when I play it now I played the Amiga version, mostly. I do play, mostly played the VGA version on PC, or if I’m in my game room where I’m sat now, I could play the Amiga version on my CRT, you know. And that’s another thing, actually is mentioning CRTs, that Mark said that back then with the dithered artwork because people were using CRTs that kind of had a natural blur, it made the colors look even better than they do now.  If you were to play the EGA version now on like a really high def TV?  It wouldn’t look as good as it did back on on the kind of blurry CRTs, which blended the colors for you a little bit on screen. 

Frank Cifaldi  56:06

Yeah, and also, I think a lot of people don’t understand that an EGA monitor, much like a game console, like a Super Nintendo or what have you would actually skip every other line. So you would get these black, blank scan lines between every line, which also kind of contributes to fleshing out the way that game looks.  Your brain sort of fills in the gaps in a lot of ways to make the art look more vibrant than it actually is.  Which is something that, you know, without really extensive video filters, you can’t really replicate on a monitor display at all.

Pete Armour  56:51

Well, yeah, I’ve actually got a very fancy, expensive scanline generator and upscaler in here which does exactly that!  So I know that, you know, that’s a huge part of authenticity for a lot of people.  Especially arcade guys, like people who are really big into the old arcades. Stuff like scanlines is a huge deal.

Frank Cifaldi  57:14

Or keeping an actual CRT in your house like like I do.

Pete Armour  57:17

Yeah, I’ve got a I’ve got a B&O CRT here that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I absolutely think that CRT is vital setup really for up for the old stuff.

Frank Cifaldi  57:28

Yeah. Unfortunately, I agree with you.  So let’s talk about you for a minute and and sort of the process that went into this. I mean, well, where did this come from? Like, why did you go down this this journey of making this video?

Pete Armour  57:47

It was it was kind of almost an accident. That kind of… it’s just I have these ideas. And then this snowballed out of control to the point where I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m in this, there’s no turning back.” 

Frank Cifaldi  58:01


Pete Armour  58:01

So I had this idea that, you know, this is the 30th anniversary this year. And I, you know, I’ve been working all year.  But I’ve been working from home a lot. So kind of in a bit of downtime, I work on video ideas, or this, that and the other. And I had it in my mind, it’s the 30th anniversary, it’d be great to do something. And at that point, it was nowhere near making of Monkey Island or anything. It was just like, “I’ll do something for Monkey Island’s anniversary,” you know?  And I started doing research on stuff. And I thought it would be great to make a video on like, how it came about and this and the other. And then I just kind of thought… “I should just contact some of the guys involved.” And you know, they’ll say no, but then at least then at least I can say, “Well, I tried that.”   I think I contacted Ron first. And Ron was just like, “Yeah, sure.” And at that point, I was like, “Oh my God.  Ron said yes. So there’s hope for everyone else!”  So I kind of got started getting really excited. And then yeah, Dave and Mark came on board pretty quick. And this is, it must have been back in sort of June that I started thinking about the idea because I think I interviewed Ron and Dave in July. And then Mark couldn’t do the whole of August, nor could I because we both were really busy. So I didn’t do Mark until September. And then Steve Purcell, he kind of talked to me over email. Hence he’s voiced, quote unquote, by an “actor.” I say actors just, you know, one of my YouTube mates over in the States. 

Frank Cifaldi  59:49

Yeah. Got the accent, right.

Pete Armour  59:52

Yeah.  And then Orson Scott Card, again, I kind of spoke to his wife first and then he answered my questions over email. But yeah, I kind of did the interviews, and I wasn’t actually indending to even use the interviews, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just kind of thought, “Look, I’ll get what I get and then I’ll just worry about what I’m going to do afterwards.”  And the interviews were so good that I think after I did Ron’s, and Dave’s, I was like, “Actually, I could… I should probably use these, them talking, right? You know, rather than an hour of me talking. It’d be great for people to hear.   Because, you know, what?  I did the interviews, and they were telling me stuff that I’d never heard before. And I think that some of the stuff that came up in that documentary that I did, and a lot of the stuff that you guys did, has never been heard before publicly, which has been a great month for Monkey Island fans. And they’re telling me this stuff, I’m thinking, you know, “I’ve researched every single corner of the internet I could find on Monkey Island, and having been a fan of it for 30 years. I think I know it all, and they’re telling me stuff that I know, I’ve never heard.” So I’m thinking, “Oh, my God, Monkey Island fans might really like this, because they’ve never heard it before.” So I thought definitely I’ve got to use the guys’ actual voices in the thing. So then that’s when it became “The Making of Monkey Island.” I thought, I’ll call it “The Making of Monkey Island and they can talk about how they made it and everything.” So I think I missed the trick a little bit with Ron and Dave, with their interviews, just purely because I didn’t know where I was going with it. But by the time I got to Mark’s – because I had the whole month of August pretty much off because I was just busy with work and this and the other – by then I kind of really knew where I was going. So I knew exactly what to ask Mark. And also, you know,  you hardly need to ask Mark, he’s really forthcoming with information and a really nice guy. So it was just fascinating, really.  But it was it’s disappointing not to get certain people involved who would love to have had kind of some input, even a small amount of input from Tim, that would have been great. Because he’s kind of you know, another pivotal person.  And the other artists, obviously, Martin Cameron passed away unfortunately. But Mike Ebert I would have liked to have got a bit of input from and as I said earlier, Michael Land.  I mean, music is such a huge part of it for me that I felt that was kind of a big gap in it. But you know, you work with what you’ve got. And I think it came out all right.  I was pretty happy with how it turned out, so.  Response has been great, like, you know, overwhelming response from from people into Monkey Island, so that’s nice.

Frank Cifaldi  1:02:58

So, did you have any, you know, challenges, disappointments, etc. Other than, you know, well, obviously, Bucky Cameron being no longer with us, a huge disappointment.  But you know, any other setbacks in your research or production?

Pete Armour  1:03:19

I don’t know. I mean, it’s easy to say in hindsight, because there’s always things that you look back on and you’re like, “Oh, God, I could have done that better.” Or, you know, I could have done this and the other. So like, when I look back at it, although I was hugely proud of how it turned out, there’s so much stuff I would change now.  I think major disappoints is like I said, just not getting everyone involved.  It would have been absolutely… it probably would have ended up being, you know, far too long if I had got everyone involved, to be fair.  But just.. just yeah, would have been nice.  But don’t think any huge hurdles that were really like, “OK, I’m gonna have to change tack here,” because I didn’t really have anything I was aiming at. So there weren’t any stumbling blocks because I was kind of just winging it. You know what I mean? 

Frank Cifaldi  1:04:11


Pete Armour  1:04:11

So yeah, I don’t think any real sort of stumbling blocks.  Although I suppose the one kind of thing that was a bit of a panic was because I interviewed Mark really late, and it was in August sometime. It might have even been late August. And then what I did was like some kind of, I must have looked like an absolute maniac to outside observers, but I had so much stuff on paper.  Because there’s only so much you can fit on a couple of computer screens, you know?  So I had all this paper all over the floor of my living room. And what I did was, I would listen to the interviews I did with the guys several times and then I’d make points and number them so like, every time they said something about something I’d make a number and I put it on the floor. So then when I’d planned the video, it’d be like a few bits of typing of text of me saying something. And then it’d be like, Ron Gilbert Number 11a.  Mark Ferrari number 17. You know?  Dave Grossman, number 3c or whatever. It was all these points. So I’d like to put that together. Just to get to the point where I’m like, “OK, I’m ready to start thinking about recording and editing and stuff.”  It took so long to even get to that point. So by the time I was ready, I realized I had, like, thirteen days and I hadn’t started editing because I wanted it to go up on like, the 12th of October. So it was something like, you know, 30th of September. So I got in this utter panic, like, “Oh, my God is no way I’m gonna be able to edit this whole thing in that time, you know, because I work full time!” It’s like a hobby. This is just a hobby. So in the end, I did like four to six hours a night for almost two weeks, and just about got it done. Yeah.  So that was a bit regrettable. But you know, I think if and when I do any other sort of similar projects, I wouldn’t do one that has a time frame on it again.  But because it was the 30th anniversary, it had a kind of a deadline, whereas all my other stuff, I just do as and when because it’s a hobby, I just do it in my spare time. But I think putting a deadline on it was kind of a bit of maybe a bit of a mistake. And it was very, very frantic. So might have been a bit more polished and a bit more this than the other if I’d had more time, but it was… yeah. It was it was a crunch, a two week crunch.

Frank Cifaldi  1:06:45

Oh, it’s very polished.  You have nothing to feel bad about.  Yeah, I think, for me, I obviously put a lot of work into the content we made and are still making, actually.  I just wasn’t sure that anyone was going to reflect on this game to my satisfaction, you know?  I had seen bits and pieces in interviews, I talked to a lot of the core staff over the years just casually, or sometimes formally for when I was a journalist, stuff like that. And I always felt that this game actually is kind of special, and that it’s likely that this is going to remain in the video game canon for decades still.  And I just kind of felt with this anniversary coming up that I didn’t know, if there would be another opportunity to really talk about this stuff with the creators, you know, while they’re still sort of in a reflective mode, right?  Because someone like Ron, you know, Ron’s very forward thinking, right? I mean, you were kind of surprised. I think that that he got back to you and agreed to being interviewed, right? 

Pete Armour  1:08:14

Mm hmm. 

Frank Cifaldi  1:08:15

And in my experience, he will kind of go through phases where he just doesn’t want to look back. And he just wants to look forward to what he’s working on which, you know, God bless him. And so, for me, it’s like, I just didn’t know if there would be another anniversary where people not only were willing to talk about it, but that everyone would still be around. And, you know, in this case, we already lost one of the core artists and we just don’t know, I mean, I don’t even know which parts were his!  So, yeah, I guess where I’m getting at with this is that I’m really thankful that you put this video together because I just couldn’t find the time to talk to everybody, I would have never gotten the stream together if I did.  And that Jeremy Parish at Limited Run is doing this book as well. So, I don’t know. Hopefully, I’ll be satisfied. You know, by the time all is said and done that this game’s history has been documented in a way that I feel comfortable with.

Pete Armour  1:09:33

Yeah, you know, it was kind of a same thing for me, because, I mean, especially doing something like that as a hobby and putting that many hours into something… You have to really love it, you know what I mean? It has to be like a hugely passionate thing that you’re doing. You can’t just say, “I’ll make a video on this game that I’ve never played. I don’t really care about,” you know?  It’s such a huge part of my childhood and it’s stuck with me that it was just something I really wanted to do.  And kind of from the same place you came from that, this is something that should be done for the anniversary.  And then, you know, after I did my thing and I get this notification that you’re doing your thing and it’s just like… “Joy! Oh my God, there’s more Monkey Island happening. This is great!”

Frank Cifaldi  1:10:26

You weren’t sick of it yet at that point?

Pete Armour  1:10:28

No, you know what, you made it sound exciting, and it didn’t disappoint either. It was really like there was a lot of kind of “wow” moments in there, I think, for the people who really know, quote, unquote, “everything” about Monkey Island. It’s really nice to see stuff that you didn’t know or you’ve never seen. 

Frank Cifaldi  1:10:49

Well, thank you so much for saying that. And Pete, thanks for joining us on Video Game History Hour.

Pete Armour  1:10:55

Been a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Frank Cifaldi  1:10:57

You got any upcoming projects or anything current you want to plug? And also, where can we find you online?

Pete Armour  1:11:02

I think I keep my upcoming projects under wraps for now, ’cause I might have a couple of more “making of” things in the in the works, but I don’t want to reveal too much at the moment. But people could find me on YouTube, onaretrotip. So YouTube/c/onaretrotip. And pretty much the same on everything else, Twitter and Instagram and everything, onaretrotip. 

Frank Cifaldi  1:11:26

Great! Pete, thank you for joining us on the Video Game History Hour. 

Pete Armour  1:11:30


Frank Cifaldi  1:11:31

And thank you for listening to the Video Game History Hour, brought to you by the Video Game History Foundation. If you’ve got questions, comments, you can find us on Twitter @gamehistoryhour or email us at podcast@gamehistory.org.   Did you know that the Video Game History Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit?  All of your contributions go toward creating a better future where the history of games is not only saved from extinction but is easier to access so we can tell its stories. And hey, those contributions might be tax deductible for you as well!  Check us out at patreon.com/gamehistoryorg for perks like access to our cozy little Discord. Or to simply donate, head on over to game history.org/donate. If you like the show and you want to make sure others can discover it as well, consider leaving us a review on your podcast platform of choice.  The Video Game History Hour is produced by Robin Kunimune and edited by Michael Carrell. Thanks for listening everyone. We’ll see you next week.