Guybrush Fact vs Fiction

Nov 28, 2020

I remember the first time I read this I just chuckled. That was 10 years ago and the myth keeps going. It's been printed (well, web printed) so many times that it is slowly going to become fact and I want to set the world straight.

What is true

During the early days of Monkey Island I didn't have a name for Guybrush. We just called him the "guy".

When Steve Purcell was doing concepts for "the guy" he was doing them in dpaint. In dpaint you could select a section of the screen called a "brush" and save it out.

It was these files I got from Steve. I saw the file names so many times that the name "guybrush" stuck.

What is NOT true

I have seen multiple places recount this story (most recently) but they get one fact wrong.

The file I would get from Steve was called guybrush.lbm not guy.brush. All artwork on Monkey Island was done on the PC under MSDOS[1]. MSDOS had a limit of three letters for filename extensions. It could not have been .brush. One of three things is going wrong here.

  1. People are forgetting or never knew that MSDOS had a three letter file extension limit and the files dpaint saved out where .lbm or .bbm files.


  1. The Amiga allowed longer filename extensions and people assumed we did art on the Amiga. We did not. It was all done on MSDOS using dpaint or dpaint animator.


  1. It makes a better story and screw the facts. Facts are so 2015.

If you read this incorrect fact anywhere, please direct them to this link.

[1] For Monkey Island 1 all the art was gone in dpaint on MSDOS. For Monkey Island 2, the backgrounds were scanned on a Mac using Photoshop 1.0 and then moved to a PC and finished on dpaint.

David πŸ΄β€β˜ οΈ Nov 28, 2020
So it was either guybrush.lbm or guybrush.bbm. 8+3 file format. Why do you say the name stuck, then? There should be some sort of variation on file names, right?

Thanks for MI & MI:2, Ron & Steve! (and Sam&Max)

PS: It's cool to know the Mac had an impact in the development of the second game πŸ˜€

Julian Nicolas Treichel Nov 28, 2020
You are absolutely right, this has been told countless times, and I always wondered about the 5-letter file suffix^^ Thx for getting this straight. And thx for programming Monkey Island. Will always be one of my favourite childhood memories, playing MI 1 and 2 with my friend on my Amiga back in the days. Really looking forward to play Thimbleweed Park ;-)

PigeonD Nov 28, 2020
Can you give us more examples of those filenames for other characters and artworks? Could be amusing... ;)

Andrej Nov 29, 2020
So the MI2 backgrounds were scanned from handdrawn artworks? Are the originals still in existence?

Ron Gilbert Nov 29, 2020
Yes, all the backgrounds in MI2 were done by Peter Chan or Steve Purcell on paper using felt marker.  I don't know if any of the backgrounds are still around. If they are they're in a big warehouse next to the ark.

Massimo Lauria Nov 29, 2020
I myself have been one of those who thought the filename was "guy.brush" and therefore I was assuming DPaint on Amiga.

Jesse Nov 29, 2020
And what about Threepwood?

Jan Nov 29, 2020
LeChuck: "Scanned VGA art is expensive."

Shawn Nov 29, 2020
Awesome post, love it.

Radoslav Sharapanov Nov 29, 2020
Thanks. So the SE was re-drawn instead re-scanned? Curious to see the originals now.

Cheeseness Nov 29, 2020
Whoops! I think I've participated in perpetuating that from time to time over the years - I didn't even know that DPaint had a MSDOS port. Glad to have the clarification :)

Dipper_Berlin Nov 29, 2020
Right, good to know. Don't want to be a fed-a-reno here, but could it have to do with the "new game" everybody is talking about that you bring up Guybrush on your blog now? ^^

Paul Nov 29, 2020
I heard the name came about when you were walking down the street and you saw a guy brushing three pieces of wood and you were like, "huh, guy brush, three wood... guy-brush threep-wood? GUYBRUSH THREEPWOOD!! We have it, we have our name!!" and you ran up to the guy and shook him by the shoulders and said, "you've done it! You mad, wood-brushing genius, you!"
And then you ran back to the office to tell the rest of the team.
Don't know if any of that is true or not.

Someone Nov 29, 2020
@Radoslav Sharapanov: The originals were preserved/copied. You'll find them on the internet if you search for them. πŸ˜€ (I don't know if Ron will tar and feather me if I post a link...)

Marcel Taeumel Nov 30, 2020
Is there more info on the tools and technology used to develop MI1? Was MSDOS the primary platform? How difficult was it to port the SCUMM engine to Atari ST, Amiga, ...? It feels like MI1 was cross-platform back then. πŸ˜€

nineplay Nov 30, 2020
I've got to believe that "Threepwood" is from Galahad Threepwood.

Funck Nyou Nov 30, 2020
I'm a big gay retard from big gay hackernews1! Piss!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

DanVzare Nov 30, 2020
I just thought you did all of your artwork on an Amiga, since I'm 90% certain that the Amiga version of dPaint uses the .brush extension.
Wait, let me check... yep, the Amiga version definitely uses the .brush extension.

Now that I know that the artwork was done on a PC, the fact that it was called guybrush.lbm seems fairly obvious.

Simon Swords Nov 30, 2020
My stepdad died today and I have fond memories of playing MI1 and MI2 with him. Thank you for your hard work and amazing creativity. You changed lives with this game...

Anders Nov 30, 2020
Sorry to hear that, Simon. MI changed my life too. They are some of the best memories I have from my childhood.

Benji Nov 30, 2020

JD Nov 30, 2020
I suspect Deluxe Paint was such an iconic Amiga program that a lot of Amiga fans just aren't aware that it had a PC version.

An compelling story will spread more readily than one which is truthful. For example, it's widely believed that the internet slang "ZOMG" represents someone so overexcited that they hit the shift key that they press Z by mistake. That makes sense, but it's not true--ZOMG was an early-2000s invention based on the 90s hacker fad of inventing fake acronyms, with the joke being that Z clearly doesn't stand for any word. The problem is, you have to have been online in the 90s to know this, and the false etymology makes more sense to a lot of people.

I sometimes wonder how many other widely-accepted etymologies to words we have wrong because we don't have historical access to the context in which the word was first coined.

DF0: Dec 01, 2020
I miss Deluxe Paint inside of me.

DieSkaarj Dec 01, 2020
So then, how many guys would a Guybrush brush if a Guybrush could brush guys?

Itamar Shefi Dec 01, 2020
fun fact: a year ago few guys released a Hebrew translation of the game and decided to name Guybrush ``Barnashtzeva'', which roughly translates to ``paint-guy'' or ``paint-fellow''.

And no, it does not sound good in Hebrew.

(a proper translation IMO is ``Ishbrush'', since ``Ish'' means man and ``brush'' is a root meaning, well, ``to brush'' by some weird coincidence. But I would just leave it as is)

Johnny Walker Dec 01, 2020
I played with Deluxe Paint on the Amiga extensively in my youth, and brushes were indeed saved as .brush files. (The main image would be saved as .iff, as I recall.) If Steve had been using an Amiga then guy.brush would have indeed been the name!

Does that mean Guybrush's middle name is "lbm"? :)

Ignacio Dec 02, 2020
This another article with the wrong fact about guybrush name.

They mentioned:
The "brush" file of the main character was called "guy.brush

Guyiff Dec 02, 2020
For those who don't run an emulation: (although not the wonderful Amiga Version 3/4).

Johan Windh Dec 02, 2020
Guess I'll have to revise the story to my 8-yr old son tomorrow.

Iron Curtain Dec 03, 2020

Francesco Pretto Dec 08, 2020
Hello Ron! Ages ago I found my personal secret of Monkey Island: a bug that, to my knowledge, nobody documented in video so far. I hope you enjoy:

Aractus Dec 11, 2020
That's really neat Francsco! I just confirmed the bug is present in EGA/DOS as well (using ScummVM and boot params to skip ahead). It looks like there is an emulation error though, because in Monkey VGA/DOS Floppy the letters are all added to your inventory (all five of them), but in ScummVM this doesn't happen.

Johan Windh Dec 11, 2020
Here's a LIKE to the Dec 9th post.

Janneth Dec 13, 2020
I picked your game as my favorite game for my final and your blog has been very helpful on having the correct fact vs fiction. Thank you.

Francesco Pretto Dec 14, 2020
@Aractus Thanks for testing the steps! Cool there's a (small) bug in ScummVM interpretation but the important thing is that this definitely an original script bug. Consider that in many replays I never noticed any other bug: these games were truly battle tested when they went gold! Thimbleweed Park had way more bugs on the first release, I can't tell myself if this happened because of lack of resources, time constraints or more complexity of the game itself.

Iron Curtain Dec 15, 2020
@Francesco Pretto: I think Ron Gilbert said it long ago, but it's a truth every game developer knows: _All Games Have Bugs!_ Some of them we just don't know about because the biggest ones get swatted before they're released to the world (or after they're released, which is what happens now).

Dr. Tobi Feb 02, 2021
Thank you for the great games that ruled my childhood! I wish that we could meet in Starbuckaneers in VR sometime :)

Tao pafpaf Feb 06, 2021
This drawing make my day

A belgium guy who speak English as a a Spanish Cow

Francesco Pretto Feb 22, 2021
@Iron Curtain: I know all games have bugs that devs know when they go gold. Still the amount of TP bugs when it first came out was larger compared to MI1. I'd like to know, in retrospective, what are the more relevant causes for this, for example:
- More complexity in a modern game;
- Possibly less QA resources to ensure more polished first release;
- Bugs don't delay release because upgrades are possible (they were not at the time in MI1);
- Others.

This is just a curiosity about how it works game development today for a game adventure, not a critique at all.

Ron Gilbert Feb 23, 2021
The giant binder I have in my office of MI2 bugs begs to differ.  We released with a a lot of bugs and then quickly made new floppies.  The slow pace of physical distribution probably meant they didn't spread as quickly.

Francesco Pretto Mar 09, 2021
@Ron Gilbert: very interesting! I always thought of releasing games on floppies like "what's done is done". No doubt it could have been like that for a lot of cheap productions, but hey!, you were Lucasfilm/LucasArts after all (*)! Also you make me thinking that there were for sure separate releases for translations so, according to what you said, it's possible that people playing translated releases of the game were playing a more polished game (I first played MI1/2 in Italian). Instead early American adopters and/or reviewers possibly got releases with more bugs. About the giant binder: could it be a topic for a next blog post? It would be cool to analyze some still existing bugs today.

(*) we still want to know the names of the producers that allowed the release of abominatios like the Indy4 action game (and possibly Indy3 action game) with the Lucasfilm/LucasArts logos. They sold soul to devil for money for sure :D

Literally A Spanish Cow May 25, 2021
Hi, Tao Pafpaf. I beg to differ.

Kelly Jul 20, 2021
Nice data information! Thanks for sharing this output. Thanks |

Korekutaa Sep 07, 2021
"For Monkey Island 1 all the art was gone in dpaint on MSDOS. For Monkey Island 2,"

The names are: "The Secret of Monkey Islandβ„’" and "Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge", not 'Monkey Island 1" or "Monkey Island 2".

Your comma usage is inconsistent, too. You used the comma correctly after the erroneous name "Monkey Island 2", but you didn't use a comma earlier for the erroneous name "Monkey Island 1".

DPaint is a name, so it needs to be capitalized.

MS-DOS has a hyphen between 'MS' and 'DOS', because the separate acronyms refer to different things.

By the way, this blog's question box is inconsistent; it asks a number question using words, but then it doesn't accept a word-based answer, only number-based. Is inconsistency a hobby here, or what?

Contextua May 19, 2022
I think wut the 'guy' above wuz sayin is reel kul.

whaat a kool doood.