Ron Gilbert, the man behind Monkey Island

Stop! Before we start – one question! When was this pirate arrested in St. Kitts?

Ron Gilbert: Do you realize, this is a clear attempt to circumvent copy-protection and you’re in violation of the internationally recognized DMCA. Please report to a detention center near you.


Ok, it seems you have played MI by cracking it – Hello Ron! I think there might really be some „n00bs“ reading this which scandalously don’t know who you are. Would you please introduce yourself quickly to those lost souls?

Ron Gilbert:“Ron+Gilbert“

I was truly excited when I heard, that you are going to make a new „adult game“ but as an adventure-fanboy surely kind of sad, as I recognized quickly, that it is not going to be an adventure. Have you decided to abandon this genre forever, or is this a descision that you still have to make in future?

Ron Gilbert: Just curious, and I’m not saying it is or isn’t, but why would you assume it’s not an adventure?

I’ve thought I read it in an other interview – Any hint for us, what you are planning?

Ron Gilbert: No. I am very superstitious. When the deal is signed, the design done, the game finished and it’s sold millions of copies, I’ll let you know.

You are someone who pleads for more intensive stories in games and simultaneously we’ve learned by extremely hard investigations(!!!), that you’re currently playing Painkiller. How comes it?

Ron Gilbert: Because, to the amazement of a lot of gamers, there is more then one type of „fun“ game out there. I think stories in games are very important, when it fits. There are a lot of games that don’t need complex stories, because that’s not what they are about. That said, I think Painkiller could have benefited from better story-telling. You can see my mini-review at Grumpy Gamer.

eSports, what do you personally think about that? Do you anticipate, that they are going to become a dominating part of the game industry in the coming years?

Ron Gilbert: I think eSports is really neat… btw… not sure it should have the word „sports“ in the title (but either
shold auto racing, in my mind), but the competition aspect of it is really exciting.

Do you play sport games?

Ron Gilbert: I am a huge baseball fan. I don’t play a lot of sports video games because they don’t really capture the feel of a real game. If I feel like playing baseball, I will go down to the park and play. But, I think the whole sports genera is huge and will stay huge. It’s a big pat of the fantasy fulfillment that games give people.

Maniac Mansion
Maniac Mansion

Your former employer LucasArts thinks that adventures are dead (or at least sleeping at the moment). Do you believe that this is true? And
what’s your opinion about the termination of the Sam & Max 2 development?

Ron Gilbert: I think that adventure game got real stupid in the early 90’s and turned a lot of people off. I think that adventure games need to evolve. It’s too bad that some of the other genres (FPS, etc) have not learned some of the important lessons from adventure games. I don’t know why LucasArts canceled S&M, my guess is that it was just not going to make enough money. Most decisions come down to this. One of the problems with modern adventure games is that they can cost a lot of money to do in full 3D, and there is not the sales to back it up. But, the market would not accept a 2D game either, so adventure games get screwed.

I just looked at the credits of Monkey Island and a few other of your games, and I realized, that there were more playtesters than developers listed. Besides that surely everything has become more complex nowadays, do you think the game industry in general is putting enough effort in into the prevention of bugs, errors, and (most important) design weaknesses?

Ron Gilbert: Probably not, but why should they? Some of the best selling games out there are also the buggiest. Gamers don’t really seem to care. Patching a game is part of the game play. Right? Level 1: Patch the game.

Console games are a little better at this because of the hardware manufactures. They do a lot of testing and won’t allow a game to be released until it passes some standards. They used to be very strict about it, but I’ve seen that relaxed a lot to make sure a game
hits it’s deadline.

Software piracy is most likely the worst problem the industry has to face from an economical view (as a gamer I have got more problems with this obviously existing lack of innovation, creativity and independence, but that’s another story). What would you tell someone who refuses to buy games, when he could get them for free but illegal? And what do you think can publishers or developers do, to prevent their games from being copied? Obviosly from the view of very many players, EA & co. are not doing enough to motivate them to buy games…

Ron Gilbert: This is a very complex question. The huge problem facing the music, tv, movie and game business is that people will always steal something rather then pay for it and it’s only getting easier. In the short term, laws will be enacted that won’t do anything to stop the pirating and will just piss everyone off. I don’t know what will happen in the long run. It’s a problem with no solution right now.

The end result is that you will see fewer and fewer games. Publishers will only be willing to take a chance on games that *will* sell. A lot of people bitch that they’d *buy* more music if the music companies made better music, but piracy does just the opposite. It forces the music companies to do more crap like Britney Spears. Music becomes more less diverse. Games will also suffer the same fait.

Monkey Island, Endgame
Monkey Island, Endgame

Our horny editor flint realized, that the breasts of Elaine Marley are smaller than those of Lara Croft…

Ron Gilbert: Bad game design has to be made up somewhere. I suggest there is a direct inverse relationship to game design strength and breast size. Prove me wrong.

No need for that! Let’s talk about some things concerning you as a person: I’ve heard you like tacos. Well, this hasn’t got anything to do with Austria, but have you ever been over here or at least tasted an Austrian beer?

Ron Gilbert: I have never had Austrian Tacos.

How much interested are you into politics, and who are you going to vote for on 2nd of November?

Ron Gilbert: George W Bush is an idiot, but I don’t want to say much more because I fear the current occupiers of the America.

What was the most influencing event or thing in your life?

Ron Gilbert: The year I spent living in France as a child. My parents forced me to go to museums all the time, so I retreated in an imaginary world of Legos.

The strangest experience in my life was that thing with the elephant, two and a half bowls of sour cream and this marching band, what about your weirdest experience?

Ron Gilbert: My life is filled with too many weird experiences that I could not even begin to order them from best to worst.

Monkey Island is surely the game that has influenced MY live more than any other piece of media, and that’s why I ever considered that the men behind it must be genuine geniuses. So would you please say something intelligent?

Ron Gilbert: Have you considered therapy?

Look behind you, a three-headed monkey!

Ron Gilbert: uh huh.

Es gibt eine deutschsprachige Version dieses Artikels:
Ron Gilbert, der Mann hinter Monkey Island

Cool? Dann erzähl doch anderen davon! Danke! :)