According to my darling husband, my previous review was me blogging like it was 2007. Ok, you want retro – how about blogging like it’s 1990?
Several years back I delivered a BarCamp talk about all the computer games I played, which I then worked into a blog post. The Secret of Monkey Island features with reference to a primary school friend who let me play on her Dad’s computer. In hindsight she was more of a ‘frenemy’ (not that I had the parlance back then) as I remember we went through multiple phases of disliking each other really quite intensely. I also remember quite deliberately putting those feelings to one side with all the maturity of a 9 year old girl so she’d keep letting me come round to play.
I vividly recall this was the first time I felt that pull. That addiction. That reluctance to stop playing even when it was Time for Tea. Perhaps it was because I didn’t own the game myself, so I didn’t have control. I gorged myself on it as much as I could, knowing that a single cruel word in the playground might mean being cut off forever.
But to be fair to my slightly unhinged 9 year old self, it’s a bloody good game! And when I saw the remastered version was available on PS Now I nearly jumped out of my seat with glee. In these troubled times a bit of unproblematic nostalgia is good for the soul.
It also provided a welcome opportunity for Terry and I to re-indulge in a bit of co-op play. A few years back this was a major bonding activity for us, but in the intervening years since I wrote that Barcamp talk, I have gravitated more to single player games. It’s been ages since we played something together. So we load up the game, that familiar music starts playing, and suddenly I am transported back over 25 years with my friend by my side (only an actual friend this time) ready to take on the Pixellated Pirates of the Caribbean.
The remastering works beautifully, with some great voice acting bringing the hilarious script to life. I remembered most of the puzzles, at least for Part 1 of the game, but I had forgotten how funny the writing was. Or perhaps a few of the jokes just went over my 9 year old head previously. One really lovely feature allows the player to seamlessly switch between the smooth remastered version and the classic Scumm graphics version. As well as dialling up the nostalgia element, this also had a few functional purposes as we struggled to complete a few of the time-based puzzles using the PS4 controls (such as getting the fish away from that bloody seagull!)
Replaying puzzle games can lead to a slightly mixed experience. I just about remembered all the solutions to Part 1 and during the oddly paced Part 2 Terry accidentally held down the hint button thereby unintentionally expediting our progress. By Part 3 my memory was failing me, and I became acutely aware I was using the wrong part of my brain (ie trying to recall the solution rather than work it out. The same thing happens when I play Dingbats.) So in the spirit of openness and honesty I confess the hint button was used in earnest a couple of times towards the end. But that didn’t detract too much from the overall pleasure of this walk down memory lane!