Guybrush Threepwood returns! I caught myself smiling as I read the news that there would be another Monkey Island game. The funny thing is: I never really liked Monkey Island that much. I was aware of the games when I was younger, and I even gave them a shot once or twice, but they failed to captivate me in the same way as the grand, epic tales like Zelda or Dark Souls. So, why do I find the news of a new Monkey Island game so intriguing?

Monkey Island was one of the first “point and click” games. In 1990, when consoles dominated the market, that was unusual for a larger game. However, something else caught my attention more, and continues to do so: Monkey Island does not emphasize fighting mechanics. The majority of adventure games available today involve enemies that you must fight and defeat using magic or weapons. There are not that many video games without fighting. Fighting is a major component many games, with the exception of some simulators or music games. Thematically, this makes a lot of sense. A good narrative builds suspense before letting it go. Introducing a hostile force that you must confront is an easy method to show introduce a problem that has to be solved.

Thinking back…

However, I never enjoyed adventure games for their battling. When I played Ocarina of Time as a child, I frequently got stuck in the game’s fighting sequences and never really looked forward to them. It was more of a necessity to get to the stuff I actually enjoyed: puzzles, exploration, and plot. This was the aspect of Zelda games I enjoyed most. I wanted to travel through Hyrule, and the moments when I hit a tree and unexpectedly a Skulltulla dropped down, or the entrance to a hidden cave suddenly opened up in front of me gave me the biggest dopamine highs. Sometimes, I would play video games for hours on end, doing nothing more than sitting around and making up stories set at Hyrule castle or Lonlon Farm. I did not play to reach a specific goal. I simply enjoyed my time in this fantastic new world. You don’t have to fight a hoard of monsters to have fun.

Videa games without fighting: The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Hyrule Castle with Link in the foreground.
Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64.

Stray was the most recent game I can think about that everyone played and that had a unique game-play style. However, later in the game, you get a weapon to actively engage the tiny creatures that act as your enemies. Some video games let you play without having to fight other players. With Firewatch, a so-called walking simulator, you can explore an environment while following a story. However, there isn’t much else you can do. You could go back in time in the first Life is Strange game and test out different strategies to deal with various scenarios. This was simple but fascinating.

So what?

Since so many video games revolve around warfare in some way, I suppose I am just growing bored with them. Even though I still appreciate many of those games, I prefer the novelty that comes with titles like Monkey Island. It is a game that focuses less on fighting mechanics while still providing an engaging narrative, exploration, and challenging puzzles. There will always be video games where you may play as a fearless warrior. However, it would be interesting to see additional games where you have to use different strategies to get past barriers and fulfill your objectives. Video games without fighting.