The Secret of Monkey Island

Encouragement Like a Pirate

IN a small classroom at primary school (maybe you called it elementary school), a group of friends and I pored over the problems that The Secret of Monkey Island, a point-and-click adventure, delivered.

This genre seemed to die a death towards the end of the nineties.

For those who haven’t played it, gameplay consists of solving problems through collecting and using items at the right moments, or having the right interactions with other characters.

The Secret of Monkey Island did something for it’s time that other games were not doing- it delivered humour. Yep, we were actually laughing at a video game.

It adds an extra element of fun to playing it, alongside the challenge of finding out why there is a pulley inside a rubber chicken and what is the future use for a pair of wax lips.

The storyline has you take up the role of want-to-be pirate Guybrush Threepwood, learning the ropes of pirating.

Not only do you have to have your wits about you when it comes to solving problems, you have to know what to say at precisely the right time.

This is how sword fights are done. It isn’t so much about your ability with the blade but more about what insult you manage to hurl at your opponent. Again, it’s part of the humour of the game.

So for instance, if someone says to you: “You fight like a dairy farmer”, then you’re presented with a list of possible responses.

It is up to you to select the right one, which in this case is the witty retort: “How appropriate- you fight like a cow.”

Dialogue at its best, as you can see.

God doesn’t want us hurling insults at each other but the lesson here is about the timing of comments.

The Bible says there is a season for everything- laughing, crying, rejoicing, mourning.

A few carefully chosen words can really pick a person up from an otherwise horrendous day or situation.

Appropriate words, whether they are verbal, handwritten, in a text, voice message or e-mail, may just be the best gift you give someone at that moment.

It pays to consult with God before going in with your mouth blazing. In Monkey Island, it isn’t always the long-winded comeback that is the winner.

Sometimes, less is more. A word of encouragement or sympathy can be God working through you to show His care for that person, or even prove His existence.

When the opportunity comes to interact with a person (no swords of course), check with God before engaging your mouth- the words you use could say more than you think.


“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is.” - Proverbs 15:23.


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