Monkey Island games in order, by release and story timeline

As video game releases progress, few franchises have had to wait like Monkey Island.

Originating from the golden age of LucasArts adventure games, the Monkey Island series follows the unfortunate misadventures of the wonderfully named Guybrush Threepwood as he attempts to become the Caribbean’s most notorious pirate and win the heart of Governor Elaine Marley.

Launching all the way back in 1990, the first game was quickly followed by a string of successful sequels, but decades-long gaps arose as interest in the classic adventure genre rose and fell.

The Monkey Island series therefore has a long and varied history spanning several decades and video game platforms. So now that Guybrush returns after 13 years with the belated Return To Monkey Island, let’s take a look back at the iconic franchise.

How to play the Monkey Island games in release date order

For a tour of the history of video game technology and how the rest of the world played the Monkey Island series, here are all the games in order of release:

  • The Secret of Monkey Island (1990, Amiga/MS-DOS/Atari ST/Mac)
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991, PC MS-DOS/Amiga/Mac)
  • The Curse of Monkey Island (1997, PC)
  • Escape from Monkey Island (2000, PC)
  • Tales of Monkey Island (2009, PC/WiiWare)
  • Return to Monkey Island (2022, PC/Nintendo Switch)

How to play the Monkey Island games in story chronological order

Fortunately, the Monkey Island games are mostly okay – so if you want to relive Guybrush Threepwood’s adventures as they happened, things don’t get too complicated.

The only problem here is that the latest entry, Return to Monkey Island, picks up on the story after Monkey Island 2, which had a famously ambiguous ending.

After a bit of confusion about whether Return to Monkey Island was a new timeline, creator Ron Gilbert finally told IGN that the other sequels were still considered canon.

Chronology has never been super important to the Monkey Island series, though, as each entry is usually a standalone story with just a casual reference to other parts.

So don’t worry too much – whichever order you choose, you’re sure to have a reckless time.

The Secret of Monkey Island

LucasArts

Where it all started, both chronologically and in order of release, The Secret of Monkey Island is a charming point-and-click adventure game from 1990. Inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean ride long before the film series, The Secret of Monkey follows Island Guybrush Threepwood’s attempt to prove himself against three old pirate captains, only to end up competing with the ghost LeChuck for Governor Elaine Marley’s affections.

The Secret of Monkey Island went down in video game history as a classic and was remade in 2009 for PC, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.

Buy The Secret of Monkey Island at Fanatical

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

LucasArts

Released a year later in 1991 with largely the same development team, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge sees Guybrush search for the legendary treasure known as the Big Whoop. However, he also accidentally resurrects LeChuck as a zombie, leading to an ambiguous ending…

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The game was also a critical success and was similarly remade in 2010 for PC, Mac, PS3, Xbox 360 and iOS.

Buy Monkey Island 2 from Fanatical

Return to Monkey Island

Digital returns

A comeback for the series after 13 years, Return to Monkey Island comes with a vibrant new art style on Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac.

The game continues after the ambiguous ending of Monkey Island 2, with series creator Ron Gilbert returning to continue the story he started after leaving LucasArts after the release of the second game.

Buy Return To Monkey Island at Fanatical

The Curse of Monkey Island

LucasArts

After a major technological leap in the game industry, The Curse of Monkey Island was launched with cel-shaded animation, voice acting and a musical score. The game again sees Guybrush rescue Elaine, this time after turning her into a golden statue with a cursed ring.

The game sold well, but did not get a remake unlike the first two games.

Buy The Curse of Monkey Island at Fanatical

Escape from Monkey Island

LucasArts

The first game in the series to use 3D graphics, Escape from Monkey Island sees Guybrush and Elaine return from their honeymoon, but Elaine is officially declared dead and her office is re-elected. Soon, Guybrush discovers a conspiracy to turn the Caribbean into a tourist center free of pirates, in which LeChuck is, of course, involved…

The last adventure game released by LucasArts, Escape from Monkey Island received positive reviews and was released on PS2 and Mac in 2001.

Buy Escape From Monkey Island at Fanatical

Tales of Monkey Island

Telltale games

Developed by Telltale Games in its traditional episodic format, Tales of Monkey Island was released nearly a decade later in 2009 and sees Guybrush accidentally releasing a voodoo smallpox in the Caribbean. With all the pirates turned into zombies, Guybrush must find a legendary sea sponge to stop the endemism.

Originally released on PC and WiiWare, Tales of Monkey Island was a critical and commercial success and was soon ported to PlayStation Network, Mac and iOS.

Buy Tales of Monkey Island from CD Keys

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