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Experiencing Scumm For The First Time -- Am I Doing It Wrong?

pklepek
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Posted July 16, 2009 - By pklepek


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Experiencing Scumm For The First Time -- Am I Doing It Wrong?

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition is not the first time I've played a LucasArts adventure game, but it marks my introduction to their famous Scumm interface. Scumm, among other things, makes up the different interactions you can have with the environment, such as "look," "walk," "give," "push," etc. LucasArts' update spices up the formerly pixilated graphics and tweaks the interface, but Scumm is still there.

An hour into The Secret of Monkey Island, I'm not sure I like it. Hear me out.

For the record, I'm playing The Secret of Monkey Island on an Xbox 360 with the new art.

The Secret of Monkey Island has been released one week after LucasArts and Telltale Games dropped Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal. Did they release these games in the right order, though? As someone who's being introduced to the Monkey Island series this week (outside of a flirtation with The Curse of Monkey Island years back), the differences in interface are striking and, well, a bit annoying.

I'm making a snap judgment about Scumm, but having to constantly remember whether I should be pushing, pulling, giving, talking, walking -- why can't these actions be rolled into something simpler, more context sensitive? Tales of Monkey Island executes on this within the same universe, in step with other modern adventure games and Telltale's previous efforts. The Secret of Monkey Island is a different era of game design, but I can't help but wish, hey, maybe they should have gone a little further with this one.

Experiencing Scumm For The First Time -- Am I Doing It Wrong?

The past few paragraphs are potentially sacrilegious statements for folks who grew up on Scumm-based adventures, but I didn't. I can't help but judge games based on my own experience, and my first encounter with Guybrush Threepwood was when these advances started taking place within Monkey Island itself. Like most gamers, though, I'm willing and able to adapt, change and play The Secret of Monkey Island on its own terms.

I'll be playing much more of The Secret of Monkey Island, hopeful the game's obvious charms will ensnare me beyond the game's fantastic writing (I'm enjoying the new art so far, too).

Experiencing Scumm For The First Time -- Am I Doing It Wrong?
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