How to play the Monkey Island games in order

The timeline has been split.

Image via Telltale

The Monkey Island series has been around for more than 30 years now. With half a dozen games in the franchise, it can be tricky to figure out where to start and which ones to play. Now that Return to Monkey Island is on the way, there are going to be plenty of folks looking to get caught up on all the lore. Below, you’ll find a list of every game, a bit of plot info on each one, and where you can play them.

The Secret of Monkey Island

Image via LucasArts

This is where it all started. The original Secret of Monkey Island released in 1990, and it introduced us to protagonist Guybrush Threepwood. Guy wants to be a pirate, so the game involves impressing captains and rescuing love interest/island governor Elaine from the ghost pirate LeChuck. This game got a remaster called The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, which you can play on Xbox consoles, PC, and iOS devices.

Related: Return to Monkey Island, uh, returns to Monkey Island in 2022

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

Image via LucasArts

The sequel also got a special edition re-release on the same platforms. As the name implies, the villainous Captain LeChuck is back, having been accidentally revived as a zombie by Guybrush. The ending is ambiguous, which is especially important now that the timeline has been split. Return to Monkey Island will pick up after this game’s ending, so if you’re just interested in trying that out, this is as far as you need to go. Otherwise, you can continue with the rest of the games as they were originally released.

The Curse of Monkey Island

Image via LucasArts

This was a technological leap for the Monkey Island series, giving the game a new coat of cel-shaded paint. LeChuck appears once again, but Guy’s main objective is rescuing Elaine after she’s turned into a gold statue and taken by pirates. This game never got a special edition, but the original is available on Steam.

Escape from Monkey Island

Image via LucasArts

Steam is also where you’ll find the fourth game in the series — it’s on PlayStation 2 as well, if you’re able to track down a disc copy. This game starts with Elaine being mistakenly declared dead and an evil real estate agent looking to end the age of piracy by turning the Caribbean into a tourist trap. As you might expect, that agent is also working in conjunction with LeChuck.

Tales of Monkey Island

Image via Telltale

The most current game in the series is Tales from Monkey Island, a five-episode story developed by the original Telltale team. The episodes are available as a bundle on the PlayStation Network, WiiWare, iOS, and PC. LeChuck is at it again in this game: he causes a disease to spread across the Caribbean, turning pirates into zombies.

Return to Monkey Island

Image via Terrible Toybox

The next game in the series is Return to Monkey Island, picking up after the events of Monkey Island 2. While it’s ignoring the story of the later games, it will incorporate some of their characters, like Murray the talking skull. It also sports a vibrant new art style, one of several graphical shifts the series has seen. So far, Return to Monkey Island is only confirmed for PC and Nintendo Switch, but it’s slated for a 2022 release.