An e-mail from Dominic Armato

dom-armatoI got in contact with Dominic Armato, the voice of Guybrush Threepwood, relating to impending release of Monkey Island 2 Special Edition. After reaching out through Facebook I got a hold of his e-mail address and submitted three questions for him. It took a while and I thought the he wouldn’t even reply but today I look in my inbox, *boom!* there it is, an e-mail from my idol.

Now before anyone wonders about why my questions are so lame and few, this isn’t a full on interview (you gotta go to a proper gaming site for that) these are just three humble questions that I hoped to get quick little replies for. Dom however took the time to compose a good long e-letter (okay, that was bad sorry) and now I wanna share what he had to say to me…

Hey, Hannu!

Did I mention I’m terrible at getting back to people?

1.)  How do you rate MI2 in comparison to the other games? (It’s actually my least favorite but that could potentially change with the Special Edition release).

I’m reluctant to quantify.  I prefer to qualify.  And for me, what’s especially fun about MI2 is that it’s kind of the genesis of the swagger that Guybrush exhibits through the rest of the series.  Of course, there’s some of that excessive bravado in SMI, but it isn’t until Guybrush actually has something to brag about (defeating LeChuck) that he gets downright saucy about it.  It’s such an integral part of his character in the later games that it’s fun to see it start in MI2. 

From a gameplay standpoint, I just think it’s neat how huge and open it is.  From a design standpoint, that must’ve been an awful lot of balls to keep in the air, and I love the openness of it all.  Or at least the illusion of openness.  Nah, we’ll go with actual openness.  From a technical standpoint, the art’s beautiful, but the thing that always gets me is iMuse.  Of course, it’s not something that’s lost on hardcore Monkey fans, but every time I come back to the game I appreciate it more and more – the way that the music changes so seamlessly and appropriately has a profound impact on the feel of the game.

And then, there’s the ending.  Which still tortures me.  Where the hell was Gilbert going with that?  He kind of laid out a roadmap for you, sure, but was he going to continue along that path, or was it all just a ruse, or was his third chapter going to go off in a completely different direction?  It sounds corny, but I find the last part of the game really, really hard to play.  It’s like watching Deadwood… so freaking awesome, and then so freaking incomplete.  Which isn’t to knock the direction that the subsequent games went.  I mean, how would YOU deal with that setup?  But for those who have curiosity issues, it’s hard not to freak out wondering.  Anytime you want to help me out with that Ron, I’d certainly appreciate it.

2.)  What was your favorite joke/line from this game?

Why do I always blank when this question comes up?  It changes every time.  Today, I’m going with the “Recursion” card in the library’s card catalog.  I’m also a little shocked by how flat-out dirty the scene in the Phatt island jail is.  I don’t know what the guys were doing the day they wrote the text for that room, but I’m betting it involved alcohol somehow.

3.)  What do you think about the fact that with the added voice-acting this will now be the second of two MI games to have a full song featured in it? (I’m of course referring to the “Bone Song” in Guybrush’s dream when he hits his head. I’ve always loved “A Pirate I Was Meant to Be” from Curse of Monkey Island and I’ve seen people do some creative things with it on YouTube =)).

I’m not doing the research to confirm it, so don’t abuse me when it turns out I’m totally wrong, but I believe Mel Brooks said that he always wanted to be a Broadway star, and since he couldn’t make it on Broadway, the least he could do was get a musical number into every one of his movies.  There’s something kind of joyous about a spontaneous musical number, isn’t there?  I used to find them corny, but I’m softening my stance as I age.  Watch, next thing you know I’ll be sitting around watching Gigi all day.  Anyway, suffice it to say that working on the musical numbers – both short and extended – has definitely been one of the highlights of working on the Monkey Island games.

Hope that’s what you’re looking for!

                -Dom

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