Tricks, Treats, and Feats: Old look vs. new style in The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

October may be over, but I’ve got one more “Tricks, Treats, and Feats” post from Virtual Bastion to share! And this one might be my favorite. 🙂 Because The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition is very special indeed. Not only can you play the game in its beautifully-rendered and updated graphics, but you can also switch to play the game in its original, menu-based form. It’s an amazingly simple trick that elevates the game in allowing players to experience the past and the present together.


Earlier this year, I played The Secret of Monkey Island for the first time. Or, more specifically, I played its “Special Edition,” which featured revamped graphics, music, a voice track, and new hint system.  And what a perfectly splendid time I had. While I’ll admit that I didn’t connect with the game on the same level that I have with other LucasArts games (i.e. Sam & Max), it was still loads of fun. Little did I know at the time that the game held a little trick to invoke a few plaintive and nostalgic “awwwwws.”

While the trick is no big secret now, I stumbled upon it about midway through my playthrough when I accidentally hit the “back” button on my controller. With that, suddenly the game’s graphics changed from smooth to pixelated. Gone was the voice track, replaced by subtitles. And up popped an old-timey menu that was…

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  1. I like when games give you the option to toggle between the new and old graphics (like Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle.) Often I find that the new graphics look like how I remember the original visuals looking and cannot believe how blocky the old sprites are. Memory is a weird thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • With Monkey Island, it was remarkable watching the old graphics. Somehow the animators back then managed to convey sentiment and feeling through so many big, fat pixels. I agree that it’s hard to imagine now that we once accepted just how spritely those old sprites looked, but we did without question. And LucasArts was among the best at make those sprites more than the sum of their pixels, too.

      Liked by 1 person

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