Totally staged for this blog post, but the ending of the game was a bit of a surprise…

Monkey Island 2

I got time over the Christmas / New Year period to complete Monkey Island 2 for the first time. Although a huge long term fan of Monkey Island, it’s taken me nearly 3 decades to complete Monkey Island 2…. and now I’m ready for the return to Monkey Island…

Monkey Island 2 on PC

Three Decades

I got my first PC when I was about 12 or 13 years old. It was Christmas Day and my parents surprised me with the computer. It was hidden behind the sofa. As my mother recently explained I looked deflated; I’d unwrapped all my other gifts but there wasn’t a computer.

The Speccy
My first computer a Speccy (Spectrum) +2

I did have a deal with my parents, I had previously had a computer, a Spectrum +2, an old 8 bit home computer. I really wanted a new machine. All my friends had managed to migrate from their home 8 bit computers to more competent 16 bit machines. The playground at school which had previously seen arguments about which 8 bit home computer was the best, the C64 or the Spectrum, was now a mix of Amiga fans and Atari ST fans. Both sides bringing into school computer game magazines from their chosen platform. We’d pour over the magazines at lunch time, reading about the latest games, the new releases. The conversation would obviously come down to which platform was the better one, the (Atari) ST or the Amiga.

An Atari ST
I used to sneak out of school to play this with my friend Rob, at his house. The school’s cross country run when passed his house, we’d duck out play for 20 mins then run back to school. I think we fooled the PE teacher

I was itching to join and in a deal with my parents I had sold my old Spectrum and all of its games accessories, bits and bobs I’d collected over the years in return for the potential of a new computer… and Christmas was the day….

Our local town, Kendal, had one computer game store. Inside the left wall was dedicated to Amiga games and the right wall was dedicated to Atari ST games. A small section of one wall at the back was dedicated to PC games. At the time the best looking games were on the Atari and the Amiga selves. The PC wall contained a few games, but they didn’t look so great in comparison and definitely didn’t have the range of the other two platforms.

An Amiga 500
The Amiga 500, my friend Stephen had one. Honestly I think this is one of the nicest physical cases for a computer. I remember being blown away by this computer

The old 8 bit home computers had games on cassette, their used to be bins in Woolworths and WH-Smiths stocked full of these games for about £1.99 - real pocket money stuff. When I had my Spectrum I would spent most Saturday mornings crawling through the bins searching for new games. When I couldn’t find anything I’d like, it would be a trip to the magazines stands to pick up a computer magazine. Some of them would come with an audio cassette on the front cover which would include a game or some game demos / introductions.

In the 16 bit games didn’t come on cassette they came on disk, and not in small cassette boxes, but in large boxes. In the computer store the Amiga and the ST had huge boxes with amazing artwork on the front. As you can imagine the game shop looked like Aladdin’s cave to me.

Leading up to Christmas I had been day dreaming about coming home from school and being surprised by my parents. In my day dream they’d had gotten me either one of these two great machines, either an Amiga or an (Atari) ST. I’d go to school the next day firmly in one of the two fan camps. I’d be comparing the colours on the ST to the Amiga, the quality of the sound. Trying to borrow games of folks, and always claiming that no matter what, the platform my parents had gifted me was always better than the other one.

However, behind the sofa wasn’t an ST or an Amiga, but a PC, an Amstrad 5086. No, that’s not a pentium processor (also known as a 5086), but it was the 5th generation of machines from Amstrad and it was running an Intel 8086 PC.

I was really excited about having a real computer, but also a little confused it wasn’t an ST nor an Amiga… It was a PC, something I’d not really looked into, it had 640kb of RAM, VGA Graphics (256 colours on the screen) and a low density 3.5 inch floppy drive which could store 720kb of data. As soon as I got the machine setup I was begging my Dad for a trip to the computer game shop… and the first game I picked up? - Well that was Monkey Island 2. I got it home and tried to play it. But I had no luck, the game required a hard drive. The next opportunity I had was a trip back to the store and I ended up doing my first game return.

An Amstrad 5086
This (above) is the computer I got for Christmas. I spent hours on this. Loved it to bits.

Monkey Island 2 was the first big box game I’d ever bought, and it has taken me decades to complete it. But along the way it was one heck of trip down memory lane.

I’ve seen the same excitement from my son, as he plays Fortnite on the Switch. In years to come maybe he’ll be looking back on Fortnite trying to describe what playing games on a Nintendo was like to his son, who perhaps, will be, like him, more interested in playing the latest game than learning about what his dad used to play?