2009 Aggie Awards page 13

Aggie Awards
Aggie Awards

Best Port/Updated Re-release: The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition



Creating an updated version of one of the most beloved games of all time is a tricky proposition, especially almost two decades later. It must be sufficiently modernized to appeal to gamers who have never played it before, while staying faithful enough to the original to avoid alienating the fanbase. The developers behind The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition walked this line perfectly by including an ingenious feature: the ability for the player to switch between the original and updated versions of the game at any time. The original graphics, interface, and music are all still there for purists to enjoy, while gamers who are turned off by VGA-style graphics never even have to see them.

When an update is handled as well as this one, even the holdouts and skeptics owe it to themselves to check it out. The new interface has been streamlined to automatically provide the most likely choice, while the full menu of interactive options is only a button-press away. The already-legendary soundtrack was re-recorded with an orchestra and sounds better than ever. The voice actors from Curse of Monkey Island were all brought in to reprise their roles, and the dialogue sounds just like it was meant to be spoken all along. A built-in hint system means players never have to leave the game for help, and the HD graphics, perhaps the most controversial of the updates, are full of new, colorful details and animation. Added together, The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition stands as a shining example of how an older property can be re-imagined for today’s audience, and should be the measuring stick by which future updates are judged.

Runners-Up: Beneath a Steel Sky – Remastered, Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – Director’s Cut


Readers’ Choice: The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition



After so many years of nothing, we obviously agree that 2009 was an embarrassment of Monkey Island riches. But a little embarrassment never hurt anyone, so we all had our fill, not only with the new Tales episodes, but LucasArts’ own clever remake of its seminal classic. Everything old was new again, but still old, then new again, then old... (Admit it, you wore out the version-switch button that alternated between original glory and shiny new update!)

Runners-Up: Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars – Director’s Cut, Myst


Next up: Best Casual Adventure... the envelope, please!

Continued on the next page...


Feb 17, 2010

interesting winners. monkey island seems to be sweeping the awards so far. to me the clear winner was clearly “the book of unwritten tales”, so once its released in english speaking territories, i can already guess the winners for 2010 Grin. then again jane jensen may have to say something about that. we’ll see.

Feb 17, 2010

Great to see Machinarium and Blackwell in there! Really honing the best of adventure games.

DaveGilbert DaveGilbert
Feb 17, 2010

Holy crispy crap.  I didn’t expect this!  Thanks to the staff and the voters!  It’s really flattering.

Feb 18, 2010

Tales of Monkey Island Best Story? Hmmm… I don’t think it holds up that well, especially considering the incredibly convoluted role of Elaine in the plot. I agree with Best Writing, though.
I think Emerald City Confidential had a terrific and engaging story.

Feb 19, 2010

Next year I think Daedalic will win the best Graphic design award. The screenshots of The whispered world amazed me even more than the screens for machinarium, when I first saw them.

@Didus: I agree that The Tales of Monkey Island shouldn’t have gotten the Best Story-award. It just didn’t feel cohesive at certain times. Also other things bothered me with the story, that I know other telltale games has suffered of, mainly the recycling of characters across episodes. Many of the characters appear in almost every episode, where the original MI games had new characters for each island. Otherwise, I think it’s great.

Feb 19, 2010

Woo! I’d like to think I contributed a bit to ECC’s setting…

Feb 19, 2010

I think “Tales of Monkey Island” was the best adventure game in 2009 and it was fair that it was given so many awards.

Feb 20, 2010

I disagree profoundly on giving any award whatsoever to The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, especially “Best Port/Updated Re-release”. The update is less nuanced, less adult, less funny, and less well done graphically. Many of the jokes fall flat when spoken out loud, the backgrounds often feel unfinished, and the ambiance is changed for the worse. The magic is gone.

Feb 20, 2010

So the year 2009 was the year of Monkey Island and Machinarium. Hope the year 2010 will be a more diverse game in “the best of/in” adventures

Feb 21, 2010

Amen, oerhart. Monkey Island Special Edition is an amateurish, visually cheap ‘update’ of a game that at its time (and heck, even now) had remarkable state of the art graphics, and a dark, mysterious adventure-book aesthetic to complement the strange humor.

Special Edition doesn’t deserve any rewards. It deserved to be forgotten. And I certainly hope they keep their grimy hands off of the even more artistically successful Monkey Island 2.

Jackal Jackal
Feb 21, 2010

For the record, the SOMI: Special Edition is not just the “new” version, it’s BOTH versions seamlessly tied together. Those treating it like only the updated version itself are missing the point of why it won the award.

after a brisk nap
Feb 21, 2010

I was sorry to see Time Gentlemen, Please! miss out on any awards (particularly Best Writing: Comedy and Best Indie), since to my mind it’s not just one of the best indie titles in years, but one of the best adventure games in a decade, full stop. Though clearly Machinarium gave it tough competition, and it’s hard to stand up to the Monkey Island steamroller.

dekaneas297 dekaneas297
Feb 21, 2010

“Special Edition doesn’t deserve any rewards”

Totally agree.

Feb 21, 2010

Totally agree on the point that the jokes in The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition fall flat when spoken out loud. I would switch to the scene to see what they’d done with the visual, then get right back to the classic view. Not that I am against games being remade, QFG II is a testament to that. And don’t get me started on the interface! Did you try playing on on the 360? I’d rather slam my hands in a drawer!

I do love sitting on a couch playing a classic old adventure game on my tv though, port more and I’ll buy em.

Feb 24, 2010

how in the world could ToMI possibly win for gameplay? that was the major complaint almost everybody seemed to have about it. the weird hybrid keyboard/mouse controls were obviously sub-optimal

Feb 24, 2010

@ RockNFknRoll: With Best Gameplay we were awarding much, much more than hybrid controls, which many people actually liked anyway. You can of course dislike them, but - as our award description reads - gameplay is more about “Good pacing, rich exploration, and variety of activities [...] all factors in player enjoyment as well, all suitably integrated into the storyline” than simply controls.

Tramboi Tramboi
Mar 2, 2010

I am quite sad at the unconditional Telltale praise.
If ToMI didn’t have the MI license, I’m pretty sure reviewers wouldn’t be so overlooking the *many* flaws.
Or is it the lack of proper competition?

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