30 years for 14 seconds

I didn’t feel like waiting in the car and went with in to “Fieguth”, the owner of the photo store where my father dropped off his rolls of film to be developed. While my father was dropping off the rolls of film, I spotted a poster in the store advertising custom shirt printing. I wanted a custom shirt for 29 dollars and talked my father into it. Mr. Fieguth brought me to his PC screen, opened Microsoft Word, set the page to landscape format and typed the sentence I dictated: “Waiting for Monkey Island 3”. He printed out the sentence on an A4 piece of paper and said we could pick up the finished shirt in two hours, along with the developed photos. That was in 2001 – four years earlier, a third part of the Monkey Island series had appeared, but without Ron Gilbert’s involvement.

The shirt was unspeakably ugly. It was not exclusively due to the dull font, but mainly because you could directly see the color differences between the white A4 paper and the white (too big) shirt,… it looked cheap and shabby. No good work, Mr. Fieguth. For 29 dollars! Somehow this shirt was too embarrassing for me a short time later. There are cooler shirts, with cooler statements, for a fourteen-year-old. Only once I had the shirt on during the day – then it was degraded to a sleep shirt.

A little less than two hours ago, I finished Return to Monkey Island. Although I could have played it long ago as a preorderer, I somehow delayed it. Now, after 30 years of waiting, it doesn’t matter anymore, you might say. But it wasn’t. That wasn’t the reason. I just didn’t want to possibly not like it. And I knew I would never be able to like it as much as I loved the first part as a kid. After the initial nostalgia kick, it actually took a long time for Return to Monkey Island and me to warm up to each other – despite all the classic ingredients.

30 more years of point-and-click experience have meant that puzzles no longer cause weeks of headaches. 30 more years of movie, series, and book consumption have meant that numerous narrative, character development, and story twist patterns have already been experienced. 30 years later, my free time is no longer infinite, but determined by work and family life, which is why time to play games had to somehow be squeezed into everyday life.

More than two hours ago I finished Return to Monkey Island. It led to digging through old photos of me wearing my ugly Monkey Island shirt. It led to me talking to my dad on the phone and asking for the name of the store owner where he used to get his photos developed. It led to me re-reading old texts related to the Monkey Island series. It led to me temporarily losing that caustic, cynical, (supposedly) ageist serenity and let me freeze for a short time. For fourteen seconds, to be exact. Because the last fourteen seconds before the credits had everything in it – but at least 30 years. For that fourteen-second feeling, I’m willing to wait another 30 years.

Our very exciting and informative interview with the charming lead programmer David Fox is highly recommended. Our not very exciting and not informative interview with the (surely somehow also) charming Ron Gilbert is (somehow also) highly recommended.

This post is also available in: German