Having decided that simply making a living on the App Store by whatever means necessary is not enough, I am embarking on an adventure into games, both figuratively and literally.
My modest aim is to create something as beloved and impactful as The Secret of Monkey Island.
If you do not know what The Secret of Monkey Island is, then you won’t have yet spat out your water/coffee/beer on reading that, so let’s review:
The Secret of Monkey Island is a graphic adventure game designed by Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman, and Tim Schafer and developed by a ludicrously talented team, which consisted of over a dozen people, many of whom have gone on to be legends in their own right.
Not only was this game created by a ludicrously talented team of many people, the competition they would have faced in 1990 was infinitely smaller than it is today.
Not only was there much less competition back then, there was still a huge thirst for adventure games and Monkey Island was near the beginning of what would be a golden age for graphic adventures. For around a decade, classic after classic after classic was released, (some might argue exhaustively) pushing the genre forward in new and profound ways.
Not only do I just want to build a new game in this well-explored genre, I want to make it a classic at a time where the audience for these types of games is, relative to the size of the rest of the games market, small, while the competition has increased exponentially.
Not only is the audience that does exist relatively small, their tastes are profoundly different to what those in the 90s would have been. Recent successors to the genre like Kentucky Route Zero forgo puzzles entirely to focus purely on the narrative and world building and have been very successful at it—it was my favourite game of last year—which has made me question whether puzzles are even necessary any more. Modern audiences have little patience for esoteric puzzles that are more about how the designer thinks than the internal logic of the game world, which makes designing puzzles for modern tastes that much more difficult.
This is madness. This is a really bad idea, some would say impossible. It is more than likely that I’m going to fail—it’s practically guaranteed.
I am, however, incredibly fortunate to be in the position where I can undertake this challenge and I’ve found that much of what I enjoy in life is to be found in moon shots.
There is also so much that I love to do inherit in this process that when I release what will inevitably fall far short of my vision, I will have gained so much from it that the success or failure of the finished product will fade into the background.
Either that, or I’ll be left exhausted by the effort, a bitter husk of a man, improvished and quickly fading into irrelevance and ignominy.
Let’s find out which it’ll be!
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