Monkey Island Timeline Puzzle

So I was trying to get my head wrapped around the whole Monkey Island series timeline, consulting a forum discussing Guybrush’s age in each of the games to do so (, and I noticed one commentor mentions that apparently the game manual for MI2 stated the time that passed between SMI and that was a month, which would throw part of the whole timeline they end up constructing out. Does anyone have the manual on hand? Can you confirm if it says that or not? And also, who writes the game manuals; can that be trusted as canon, especially when the game itself might suggest years actually pass between those games?

The manual says:

In the months since he defeated the Ghost Pirate LeChuck…

So it’s several months, but likely less than a year.

MI1 and MI2 were under tight control of Ron, but of course manuals and PR material etc. can be written by different persons and sometimes discrepancies may happen and may be overlooked.

Everything after MI2 is more or less non-canon anyway… But it won’t stop us fans trying to make it fit in an overall timeline. It’s IMHO okay to assume some information as inaccurate do to so.

It says “In the months since he [events near end of Secret of Monkey Island]”.

So definitely more than 1 month!
Could be 36 months too.

Judging from the other pirates getting tired of hearing that story yet once again, Guybrush putting on some weight and growing a beard… I’d say 18 to 24 months sounds about right.

[I started my reply right after the first post but got called away… so sorry if I repeat some stuff @Nor_Treblig said. I’ll throw in some more info to make up for it…]

The manual was written by Judith Lucero. You can find it here

Also… there is a similar discussion about how much time could have passed between Maniac Mansion and Thimbleweed Park (judging by the appearance and lifestyle of Dave & Sandy).
The answer is: they’re just videogames taking place both in 1987, the authors didn’t think things through usually half as much as the fans do. Realism is the first thing that goes out the door to welcome in the zany fun we like in those Lucasfilm/Lucasarts games.

Hmm, very interesting… Thanks for the info and links, guys!

So the manual, while it certainly doesn’t say only 1 month, does seem to suggest less than a year by the use of the word “months.” I’m inclined to assume the manual, as the only official word on the matter, is canonically correct by default, but once you consider the fact that Guybrush apparently published 4 books in the time between SMI and MI2 and Elaine 1 book in that time, that becomes very questionable. Could all of that really happen within 11 months tops?

And then there’s the issue of Largo LeGrande’s claim of having been searching for a living piece of LeChuck for “years” to bring him back to life with when he gets the ghost beard from Guybrush. But I suppose that could be interpreted as exaggeration maybe, or perhaps that he is referring to when LeChuck first died as a human (though the fact they are using a ghost beard from the end of SMI and bring him back as a zombie seems to suggest that’s not what he’s actually referring to)…

I don’t know. I wish Ron Gilbert or somebody could just make an official declaration of how much time actually passed. You see, I would argue that the games after MI2 most definitely are canon, so the innerworkings of this fictional world do matter to me, even if they shouldn’t lol, but that’s another discussion. I guess the safer bet might be to say the manual is wrong in this instance, since it wasn’t written by the actual team from the game or anything, or perhaps that the use of “months” may be an attempt to remain open enough to include as much time as needed beyond 1 month without having to nail it down specifically and thus doesn’t actually contradict the “years” necessarily…?

Oh! What a fool I’ve been! The opening of EMI! It holds the answer! Guybrush says it had “only been a few years” since he first washed up on Melee Island. Since we know from in-game dialogue that there were only 3 months between EMI and CMI and 3 months again between CMI and MI2, that means there had to have been actual “years” between MI2 and SMI for the opening of EMI (which is also reinforced by the game’s manual, which says his washing ashore happened “years ago”) to be true! Mystery solved.

Let’s find out if he wants to grant you that wish, won’t we?

Hi @RonGilbert!
How much in-game time passed between MI and MI2?

  • One month
  • Three months
  • Half a year
  • 11 months
  • 1 year
  • 18 months
  • 2 years
  • More than 2 years
  • About the time that passed in real life between games
  • None of your business
  • Good question! Never wondered about that.

0 voters


Well, my guess would be that since I’m sure none of us could imagine that Guybrush is any younger than 16-18 years old in SMI and since Guybrush is established as 19 in MI2 and going by the “years” comment from Largo, MI2 must be at least 2-3 years after SMI, so Guybrush is probably 16-17 then. And though I think 16 seems a bit too young, it is unlikely anyone would say “years” for anything less than 3, so, though it could have been 2.5 or almost 3 years (especially since Guybrush’s age of 20 in CMI indicates he was very late in his 19th year in MI2), the simplest assumption would be that he was 16 in SMI (specifically probably late in his 16th year), especially if one interprets the error Elaine makes in TMI while in court in a voodoo-pox-induced rage in which she suggests the time between MI2 and CMI was “3 years” as actually being a mix-up in her addled brain between the 3 months that were canonically between MI2 and CMI and the “years” between SMI and MI2. But if we could see what’s Ron Gilbert himself thinks, that would be awesome!

Established is a strong word.

a. His slip of the tongue is telling the truth.

  • He’s 9.
  • He’s 19.
  • He’s x9 (nine-and-twenty).

b. He’s lying. He’s younger than 19, which for whatever reason is simply a higher number that came to mind. For example because the drinking age is 18 where he’s from.

(Whether in story or in fantasy, I think he’s 17 in MI1 and 19 in MI2.)

Unless you think he might’ve been saying he was 90-something (which he obviously wasn’t), the only option was that he was about to say 19, as the text reads “Ninet—”

You have to consider the writer’s intent in discerning the meaning of that line, which clearly the implication was that that was Guybrush’s real age; that’s the whole joke. Not to mention the fact that Occam’s razor dictates the simplest assumption is the most likely one, which also would require us to conclude Guybrush was in fact making a slipping of the tongue and that he thus is 19.

But wouldn’t this be unlikely? Why should the drinking age be something else than 21?

It’s 18 in Europe right now. Even in USA it was 18 for some time (maybe in some of the states). Honestly 21 feels unusual to me, especially if you can go to army and vote at 18.

It has to do with the age the brain finishes developing or something.

But in the world of MI, 21 seems to be the age across the board in the Caribbean as far as we know.

This is the age known by every US citizen.
Since we are talking about games developed in USA by American game developers I don’t see a reason for them to chose drinking ages of European countries.

Good point, and that’s actually what they have chosen:
Back in 1933 (end of Prohibition) the age for voting was 21 so that’s the age most states ended up with for a long time. And since 1984 it’s now 21 for nearly all states:

21 screams modern day USA and the game is set in XVIII century, featuring people who are probably English, Spanish, Portuguese… So that’s the reason. Obviously given all the anachronisms in MI it may not be a good reason : )

I think the fact he even cards a teenager for alcohol in the pirate infested carribean might be an anachronism already. :upside_down_face:

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Yeah, even 20 years ago in my country, a kid could buy vodka without much hassle, now it’s bit more tricky.

Exactly :slight_smile:

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“Nine-and-twenty”, in speech “nine-n-twen(t)y” or just “nine-twen(t)y” would be perfectly ordinary 18th century English.

(Of course the drinking age itself is a late-19th century invention, limiting the sale of alcoholic beverages with more than 15 % alcohol to 16 in 1886 — in the Netherlands, that is.)

Obviously the writer’s intent is nineteen. Period, the end.

Is what I would say if I didn’t want to have fun by theorizing and overanalyzing.

It’s 16 in this part of Europe right now. Our northern neighbor (The Netherlands) stupidly raised it to 18 with predictably disastrous results.

I think “unreal” is the better word. You can also get in serious debt from loans or gambling.

I’m offering an expanded perspective, that might well be shared by most Europeans on this forum. If 15-year-old me were in America trying to buy alcohol, this is exactly the kind of slip-up I could make. The fact that you need to be 18 in some countries is not unknown, but 21 is properly alien territory.

Guybrush being Dutch or French is also a definite possibility. He’s most likely to be of French Huguenot ancestry, born and raised Dutch. His name is the result of a process of French → Dutch → English mangling.


His great-grandfather, his namesake, must have been named Guybroisse Tripevoute.

In the Dutch republic, that morphed into:

Guybros Tripevoet

The English, unlike the Dutch knowing the meaning of the word “tripe” and being kind to dear old “tripe foot,” bowdlerized his name to Threepwood.

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“Ninetwenty” seems like a massive stretch, lol. I think we can agree that, canonically, Guybrush appears to be 19 in MI2 : P