The Curse of Monkey Island, box art, video game, Guybrush, LeChuck, Elaine

The skull-timate day out

When anybody finds out it was The Secret of Monkey Island that sealed my fate as a gamer all those years ago, they usually assume that Guybrush is my favourite character but this isn’t the case. Although I’ve always had a soft-spot for the blonde-haired pirate and his fine leather jackets, I also hold a fondness for Elaine and the sassy way she breaks the mould of the stereotypical female protagonist; but I must reveal that she isn’t my favourite either (although she comes close).

No, the character who holds this position in my heart is Murray: the demonic skull who was originally part of LeChuck’s Army of the Undead but went independent after losing his skeletal body. He doesn’t let his status hold him back however and still considers himself to be an object of pure evil, dreaming of spreading chaos throughout the Caribbean. As I’ve written before, this is one character who’s got his s**t together and could teach us all some valuable life lessons.

When Christine from simpleek very kindly nominated Later Levels for the Sunshine Blogger Award last month and asked which character I’d like to spend an entire day with, it was Murray who obviously got my vote. Spending 24-hours with him, creating plans to take over the world and causing a bit of mischief, would be a lot of fun even though it would present a number of logistical challenges we’d need to overcome (I’m not sure Nathan’s suggestion of ‘taking him bowling’ would be entirely appropriate).

So what could we get up to? It took me a while to come up with an itinerary fit for a demonic skull but then I realised: what better way to make this ex-pirate feel at ease and give him a day of fun than by taking him somewhere close to the sea. The cost is only ten-minutes away from where my other-half and I live and it’s the perfect place for spending a few hours, so we could invite Murray over for fairground rides, ice-cream and arcade games by the seaside.

You might think we’d encounter a few difficulties with the first of those, seeing as most attractions have a ‘you must be this tall to ride’ sign waiting at their entrance. But there’s one we should be able to sneak him onto without too much trouble as it would be the perfect setting for him. Not only could we disguise Murray among the other skulls in the ghost train, we’d help him live out his dream of conquering the land of the living by giving him the opportunity to scare the other riders silly.

It’s traditional to get a 99 when you’re at the seafront so one of the ice-cream vans on the beach would be our next stop (I’m not sure disembodied skulls are able to eat, but everybody loves ice-cream so let’s go with it). After scoffing that and a bag of chips wrapped in newspaper, we could hit the arcades for the rest of the afternoon. Murray would be the perfect partner in crime: we could position him on top of the 2p machines for a birds-eye view of the slots to give us the best chance of winning those tacky keyrings.

Over the Hill, ride, fairground, Southend-on-Sea, Adventure Island, ghost train

It would only be fair of me to share Murray’s demonic awesomeness with the rest of the world, so once we were done by the sea we could head back home for an evening on the sofa and a live-stream of The Curse of Monkey Island. Murray would make an excellent commentator while we played through the game; he’d be able to reveal his inside knowledge of the series and possibly even share some scandalous gossip about his fellow cast (“LeChuck did what?!”).

Hopefully, if I’ve managed to give him a day he’ll never forget, I might even get an invite back to Monkey Island to hang out the following weekend. We could visit the Cannibals in their village (although possibly not stay for lunch); climb up to the cliff-top and dare each other to jump off the edge into the rubber tree; do the tourist-thing and take selfies with the Giant Monkey Head; then maybe even stop off at Mêlée island on the way home for a grog or two in the Scumm Bar.

And hopefully Guybrush and Elaine would be able to forgive me for not naming them as my favourite character.

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