Magical: Monkey Island’s Insult Swordfighting For Browser

I am rubber, you're a cow. Also, something about feather dusters.

It is one of the industry’s greatest crimes, I think, that the majority of games with swordfighting don’t include any sort of insult component. I mean, seriously: what happened? Where did we go wrong? I like to imagine that, off in some wonderful alternate dimension, things went the opposite way. People traded swords for words, and dairy farmers the world over reported an all-time low of self-esteem. In the dreary, sass-less dystopia we call reality, however, there is one shimmering lighthouse beacon of hope: a free browser-based version of Monkey Island 1 and 3’s classic variations on the theme. We can only pray that everyone who’s even the least bit interested in the oh-so-sensual art of swapping steel takes note this time around.

The browser game itself is, of course, pretty simple. After a brief, nostalgia-baiting introduction, Guybrush is able to test the sharpness of his wits against the barbed wordblades of various foes – collecting and applying the insult repertoires from Monkey Island 1, Monkey Island 3, or both at the same time. Also, lest you fear that your fond memories deceive you, know that the deeply hurtful back-and-forths are just as charming as ever.

So yes, hop to it. In fact, hopping – that most docile and bunny-like of actions – might not get you to your e-destination quickly enough, given that this project’s unofficial, and Disney’s monolithic Mordorian eye sees all. Personally, I’m crossing my fingers that this one’s able to stick around (especially since that’d leave the door open for more fan-based projects), but I’m not getting my hopes up.

If, however, my pessimism turns out to be unwarranted, can someone please do basically this, only multiplayer? Or can we just generally have more competitive wordplay in our games? I don’t always want to be shouting instead of shooting, but you know, sometimes.


  1. Timberfox says:

    How appropriate, you fight like a cow.

  2. NathaI3 says:

    I remember playing a version of this a fair few years ago. It was on a MI fan site, can’t remember which one, but it had all the insults from the first and third installments. Great fun, only problem is that after a few plays it made playing the actual games a lot easier!

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      phuzz says:

      I’m pretty sure I can remember most of the insults from MI on the Amiga.

  3. Teovald says:

    This bring back some memories :-).
    Monkey Island 1&2 are still among my favorite games and each 2 or 3 years I replay them (sadly, having a pretty good memory is a disadvantage here).
    In this Kickstarter era, I am hoping that some of the original team could reform itself and produces a new game worthy of these 2 predecessors (I was not really convinced by Telltales attempt to do so).
    One can drem.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Erm, what about the hugely succesful Tim Schaefer’s adventure game Kickstarter?

      • Teovald says:

        I have backed that kickstarter but afaik it is not a Monkey Island game. It is not necessarily a bad thing; I am not sure that MI2 needed a sequel (not to mention 3)

  4. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Weasel warrior.

  5. gwathdring says:

    I was severely disappointed when “I’ve never seen such clumsy swordplay!” couldn’t be defeated by “First, you’d better stop waving it around like a feather duster!”

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      The correct answer to “I’ve never seen such clumsy swordplay” would be, “I just wanted to make sure you’d feel comfortable with me.”

    • daraujo says:

      Damn, I always do that!

  6. Hoaxfish says:

    pure poetry, and they said games weren’t art

  7. wodin says:

    There is something about sprite graphics that have a personality and charm of their own..with todays animation techniques but old school sprites I think I’d prefer over fully rendered 3D shenanigans

    • c-Row says:

      Pretty much this. I still prefer the hand-drawn/pixeled buildings from the first Settlers games to their fully rotateable 3D counterparts from the later games. Textured 3D models are always a compromise between detail and render speed, but with 2D images artists can really go wild. Not to mention that a well-painted 2D image will always look good while 3D environments will look outdated once the technology has advanced far enough.

      • gwathdring says:

        Not if the art direction is good enough. I think Link to the Past has a pretty timeless style whereas Mario 64 does not. However, I think Mario Kart for th Super Nintendo aged horribly while Okami, TF2 and Dishonored are always going to look good because their styles don’t depend on the sheer number of pixels crammed into the screen.

        • f1x says:

          Indeed, its about the art direction and style

          Also, games (in 3D) that try to be strictly realistic dont age well

          there are also 2D games from the past out there that look bad, tho I don’t remember any at the moment, *gasp*

        • Teovald says:

          That’s the difference between games that focus on art direction over pure technology.
          It does not necessarily have anything to do with 3D or 2D.
          I am pretty sure that Dishonored will still be enjoyable in ten years because the graphics are supporting the storytelling and art style of the game, they are not replacing them with lots of polygons.

          • gwathdring says:

            That would be my point. Or perhaps you were trying to agree and/or add … you seemed to be disagreeing, but you replied to a post of mine that was making your point.

      • rapchee says:

        first settlers is da besttt
        my problem with the newer ones however is actually the different game mechanics

    • maninahat says:

      I also prefer the pre-voice acted stuff. The written dialogue has much better comic timing and greater charm.

      • gwathdring says:

        Sort of … you can do more with timing in voice acting than with text pop-ups. You can also do more with timing in a game like the original MI than in, for example, a static book but …

        It’s fair if you didn’t like the comedic timing in the special edition ( I did ) but it’s not like we should look to text as the future of good comedic timing.

        I do like putting voices in from my own head. It’s a lot of fun. I get to be the whole cast, in a way. :)

        • Didero says:

          If I remember correctly, since it’s been a while since I played the Special Edition, with default settings there’s annoying pauses between sentences, killing the spoken timing. You could fix this by increasing the text speed (to max I think), so the game doesn’t wait with displaying the next line.

          • gwathdring says:

            Huh. I don’t remember having that problem. Might have been a situational bug. Or maybe I just don’t remember.

  8. Choca says:

    Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game.

    • maninahat says:

      A rule of thumb I use is to never pay more for a game than I would for a book or an airfix kit: Those two provide a similar amount of entertainment for an equal length of time. If the game is too expensive, I’d rather just go with one of the other two.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Yes, I never pay more for skydiving than I would for a sachet of cat food. They both last about the same amount of time, so it would be utter madness if their cost differed even slightly.

        • Llewyn says:

          Maybe Alec has the right of it after all. Dog food is far less exciting than that.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      One of life’s great lessons.

      Though appropriately, when I was a kid we had a pirated copy of Monkey Island.

  9. Didero says:

    This would never work in multiplayer, since after a while both people know the proper responses and then you can just keep defeating each other’s insults ad infinitum.

    Still, the idea has some merit, though not in this exact implementation.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      What would work is a version that allows you to free-type insults and responses, with a third player judging the winner. I would play that with people I know til the dairy farmers come home.

  10. Lambchops says:

    And because Monkey Island 3 has been mentioned I have to link to this:

  11. Faldrath says:

    Dark Souls + Monkey Island swordfighting. Yes. Please. Someone make that.

  12. roryok says:

    My avatar has been Guybrush for years now, and I’ve been waiting for a monkey island post I could comment on and point out that fact. Now one finally comes along mentioning Monkey Island 1 and 3. And my avatar is from Monkey Island 2.


  13. VelvetFistIronGlove says:


    I’m confused that the author of this game listed the Monkey Island 3 insults as “hard”. They weren’t at all. The added factor of “having to rhyme” sounds good, and might be nice in a multiplayer version variation like LennyLeonardo suggests above—but all it means is you find the answer that rhymes with the insult, and you’re done. Doesn’t matter whether you’re fighting the ordinary pirates or the SwordMaster.

    That was the great twist in MI1’s insult swordfighting. When you came to face the SwordMaster, all of a sudden you got insults you’d never heard being flung at you. And if you tried to use them on the other pirates to learn their answers, they called foul—it’s “not fair” to use the SwordMaster’s insults. The trick to it all was that you already knew all the right answers—you just had to realise it. The insult swordfighting game worked because you had to understand the insults, not just match them up thoughtlessly.

  14. Jahkaivah says:

    Funnily enough just the other day I was reading one of Rock Paper Shotgun’s many pun filled comment threads when I thought about how a game based on making puns could work. And my immediate idea was a variation on Monkey Island’s Insult Swordfighting.

    You would basically have a guy who is automatically swordfighting a bunch of people at once. Every so often your guy would make a witty remark which appears on the screen in a speech bubble. And while he is saying the remark you have to click on things like an object in the background or a distinguishing feature of one of the people he is fighting, and then drag them onto the relevant words in his sentence.

    Doing so replaces the words with something more punny which causes him to interact with the things he used a pun. So a pun involving a broom could cause him to grab it and use it as a makeshift weapon, or a pun about an opponent’s hat could cause him to grab the hat and pull it over their eyes.

    Find every possible pun for a single remark and he’ll not only do all of those things but end with a spectacular stunt at the end. Naturally whether or not he manages to defeat all of the people is determined by whether you found enough puns or not.

  15. Cowboybibop says:

    Best news of the day