For prosperity's sake: This article is almost two decades old and no longer reflects . . . anything. We apologize!


An article by Captain Mystery, posted on March 07. 2003.

Stories Guaranteed To Give You A Headache - Why Your Fan Fiction Aint Good

"This is pure fan fiction. This is simply the sad story of Kathy. She is the person that LucasArts threw in the trash, but I have brought her back to life. She is a woman of sorrow and strength. Plus this is simply creativity and not something to offend. So if something in my story offends you I apologize in advance.

From Final Act, a parallel novel to the Monkey Island games (I have no idea either)

Hey, it's fanfic thanks for the apology.

Its a simple truth; fan fiction and fan games exist on a joint plane of miserable faux entertainment. Fanfic, as everyone seems to call it, is usually spawned by someone with far too much time on their hands (a bit like me) who feels the need to write their own, imagined follow-up to a popular movie, television show or computer game. And LucasArts (LEC) catalogue of games, being more original and story-driven than many others, are ripe for the fanfic writers picking. Fan games are not only illegal, theyre just as bad. Theyre live action fanfic it looks livelier, but its just as pointless.

PC Gamer was not impressed by Monkey Island fanfic
I dont believe in mouthing off about something you know very little about. Sadly, a great percentage of the people who will read this dont follow that philosophy. But I adhere to it, and I read a lot of LucasArts fanfic before coming to the simple conclusion that it is bad. There are no exceptions. It is all bad, and its not getting better. Its as if a light-bulb (because thats how it happens in the movies) goes off above somebodys head and they think, Hey, I know! Ill take a series based on humour and remove all of it! A recent article in PC Gamer made a particularly negative trait of fanfic prominent; that the results either turn a comedy series (such as Monkey Island) into a mind-numbing, joke-free attempt at serious literature or the jokes are so bad theyd be booed off the stage at a Carrot Top show.

I wont patronise any potential readers of this article by repeating what I wrote about the legality of fan games. Suffice to say that fanfic, whilst less of a direct concern to LEC, is still technically copyright infringing material. Pleading that fanfic should be welcomed and, frighteningly, encouraged, is wrong. Very wrong. Fanfic shouldnt exist. Creativity and originality should. The whole ethos of fanfic is bewildering; taking a game you love and writing something that could never (and has never, judging by what is out there) match up the original. The arguments for fanfic seem to be that (a) its a way for a fan to express their love of a game and (b) its not harming anyone, so let them be creative. In response to the first argument, the fan seems to lose the sense of what theyre writing about and turns in something that is unfunny, unoriginal, pointless or more commonly all three at once. As regards the second argument, its not a harmless activity.

The reason why its not harmless is part of the explanation why I truly detest the its all for fun excuse that was offered as a defence to fan games and other fan output. Dont worry; Ill be sure to inflict an article on fan art on you soon. Without exception, the fanfics spawned by Monkey Island enthusiasts are pointless and painful. A Monkey Island serial set 300 years in the future (as in 2300), a Monkey Island and Dragonball Z crossover (I successfully concluded that would be bad before reading it), a joke-free trilogy revolving around Guybrushs sister (I must have missed that plot line in the four official games)so much, and for so little point. To prepare for this article, I read a great deal of LucasArts canon inspired fanfic. Not because I wanted to, but because I needed proof of what I am stating in this article. Fanfic generally is a terrible thing; Monkey Island fanfic is even worse.

Fanfic writers always miss the point. First of all, no one has asked them to turn out an epic disaster. Add to the mix the fact that the people writing are usually aspiring authors with a serious deficiency in creativity. For evidence of that, just look at any fanfic that stars a character with the same name as the author. The jokes fall flat; there are very few amusing scenes. Apart from the unique but bizarre Monkey Island in space fanfic, the others either rehash stories from the Monkey Island games (and the third and fourth releases from LEC did that sufficiently enough themselves) or come up with tiresome stories and mindless plotlines. Anyone with the most minimal of literary dignity in their body would be well advised to leave fanfics well alone. Im not writing this simply to state how much I detest fanfics; Im writing it to warn those of you who may never have read one. My advice is simple: dont.

I have an aim, and thats to obliterate the its all for fun defence. Its a lifeline used by those who, through ego, or boredom, or maybe a mix of both, want to inflict their interpretation of someone elses work on a less than enthralled audience. The Internet is the new breeding ground of the hack writer just look at this article and as such a serious cull has to take place. You can disagree with me or say that Im simply over-stating the fact that I hate fanfics. Fine, thats your right. But Im sticking by the principle that fanfic is not a tribute to LECs games. Its an insult. If someone you knew had devised, written and made a successful game, perhaps fleshing out the story with sequels - to have their own universe of characters with which to be creative to then have someone with too much time on their hands barge in with their own version of events is both obnoxious and without point. LECs stories should stay within the confines of their offices in San Rafael. They certainly shouldnt be continued by people who feel like inflicting their mediocre works whenever inspiration strikes. Hey, you want a great idea, Mr. (or Mrs.) Fanfic Writer? How about a Quantum Leap/Grim Fandango/Afterlife/Yoda Stories four-part crossover? Now thats going to be worth reading! Oh boy.
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Comment from Kellie-Threepwood

::comes back thinking:: If it were original, it wouldn't be fanfiction! ::wanders out::

Comment from Kellie-Threepwood

Well, I think the whole *point* of fan-fiction is that; it's unoriginal.

Comment from Digital-Holocaust

I honestly can't stand fanfiction. It lacks something...What's that word? Originality. That's the one. I don't mind fanart, only to a point though, it has to be good fanart, something strong, not a scene, not a character profile in a typical pose, but something that has some depth and thought. But fanfiction is something I avoid completly. My friends seem to be pretty good at writing original stories. One of them is working on a cartoon script called Fogdust, from what I've heard, it's pretty bizarre. But I can actually take an interest in that. As long as it only applies to my friends. But then again, when one of them writes up some anime or game fanfiction, I tend to let them know that I'm too busy. ;\

As for EMI, I hated it at first for the blocky graphics and the controls. But! There was one major point in it all. My two-year old son -loves- the cutscene movies...He's addicted, I have to sit here and put them on for him in the morning when he wakes up, he loves leChuck. Strange thing is, I play CMI for him and he isn't interested. I really can't understand that. But the second time around I played EMI, I got used to it and actually liked it. ;>

Comment from Charstenne Morgha

To be honest, I count EMI as bad fan fiction. Just look what they did to the MI universe.
I still say Herman Toothwhatever can't be Elaine's grandfather.

Comment from Charstenne Morgha

I'm currently working on a Monkey Island movie in 3D Movie Maker (of all programs, don't ask).
Every time I run out of ideas I realise that the story gets more serious. At this rate I stop working on it for a few weeks, months or so.
Last time I took a break in this fan project I didn't work in it in a half year or so. When I took it up again my head was filled with new jokes.
So, what I'm trying to say is that fan fiction like the games themselves, need time to get funny.
You can't just sit down one afternoon and say "Now I'm gonna create a best selling comedy pirate game". These things take time.

Comment from corvixen

I dunno. I do read a lot of fanfic, and most of is good (especially on rain dayz!).
If the authors weren't creative, they wouldnt have written it. And fanfic is good it their own way. Captain Mystery, if you think its ad, I respect ur opinion, just down start saying harsh tones on people who may be very influenced by ur tongue, err, fingers.

Comment from MrManager

Yeah, some of the parody stuff can be pretty funny. I certainly laughed at the Silent Hill parody. With that said, it's sorta difficult to parody Monkey Island though.

Comment from Mad Lord Snapcase

I think some fanfic certainly is able to elicit a smile or two. I mean, take star wars parody Troopers- brilliant stuff.

Comment from Uncle Peter

wjat if he starts saying the problems with fan sites?

Comment from B.B.J

Captain Mystery, So What. You are an over oppinunated git who (This is just in my oppinion because I unlike you do not hole-hartedly believe that I speak for the masses.)is attacking fanfic for no apparrent reasen then that you dont find it funny. These are only people who are trying to have a bit of fun and paying tribute to there favourate games while there at it. Wheather you like fanfic or not you shoudent carry out a personal attack on somone who means nobody any harm. If you dont like it you dont half to read it. You even admit to being as bad as them in you article but it was obviously a feeble attempt to make fun of you own article to make yourself seem like less af an arse hole. It dident work. And your use of the word "Inflict" was very appt. You will probably post a comment complaining about this like it was a personal attack and brushing me away like a name-less acronim (you probably expect strong views against you ideas as do I about mine) but the internet is forum for the free exchange of ideas you have had your (snigger) "say" now I'm having mine.

(PS please excuse the spelling it's not my strong point.)

Comment from Wossname

This article doesn't deliver on its headline - it doesn't tell us _why_ fan fiction isn't good, it simply asserts it. Repeatedly.

While much fan fiction probably does suck, there's no reason to suppose that this must always be the case. And the writer, rather than reading 'lots of Lucasarts fanfic' as they claim, would have to have read _all_ of it to even validly express the _opinion_ that it all sucks, let alone suggest that it's a hard fact.

In fact, if you're being ultra-strict, the last two Monkey Island games are essentially Lucasarts-sponsored fan games, being made by people different from those who made the originals (At least one would hope they were fans). These games may somewhat miss the mark in imitating the first two (Much as fan-fiction often does), but they're good enough in their own way.

I'm no big fan of fan-fiction, because I've no inclination to wade through it all to find what gems may exist, but I would never be so audacious as to suggest that it shouldn't exist at all. If Lucasarts have legal issues with it, let them sic their lawyers on the writers, they surely don't need the help of the writer of this article.

Comment from Squinky

MeddlingMonk, imitation may be a valuable learning tool, but then you're missing the point of the article. Fanfiction is badly written and unfunny at best. Take for example Chariset of The Definitive Monkey Island Site or whatever. She's produced many a lengthy fanfic - yet they're all crap. There's no improvement.

And throwing personal insults in a debate is immature.

Comment from Behind

Captain Mystery is a win. Fanfic is mostly crap.

Comment from MeddlingMonk

The statement "Fanfic shouldn

Comment from MrManager

deadworm222 - I publish the articles because I feel they do make important points. Sure, it's done in a harsh tone, and I don't necessarily agree with all the points myself, but when it has come to the point of PC Gamer commenting on the lackluster quality of MI fan fic, I think the community needs to react one way or other. And that's why I decided to post Captain Mystery's articles.

Comment from Ryback

>Apart from the unique - but bizarre - Monkey Island in space fanfic...

Hey, Captain M liked my fanfic! Well, in the context of this article, I'll take that as praise anyway...

Captain Mystery could have saved himself a lot of writing if he'd just quoted Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is crap.

Also, he's wrong as to why people write fanfics. It's not out of boredom, or ego: it's about being part of a community. Like people who run fan websites, or post to forums, or do anything that contributes in some way to a community. And I'd say most fanfic authors are more entertaining and readable than your average forum poster. (Hey, that gives me an idea for a Captain Mystery-style article! Nah, maybe some other time.)

Anyway, if I can make one suggestion, cut the self-deprecating humor: "The Internet is the new breeding ground of the hack writer - just look at this article". Your first article was wonderfully bold, arrogant and vicious; don't chicken out on us now.

Comment from deadworm222

RemiO, I don't care if you are Captain Mystery or not, but you are the one who is letting this sort of thing PUBLISHED, remember that.

Captain Mystery, I know it's difficult, but let it be. This way you'll only get enemies, because nobody (at least I) cares what you say, were you right or not. You don't have to read fanfic you know...

Comment from Courthold


Comment from Metallus

I like most of the fan art/music out there. A lot. I really hope part 3 doesn't involve them.

Comment from Jayel

I've never read a fanfic in my life and, thanks to this article, I never will.
I guess he must definitely be against fan art too, eh?

Comment from Kingzjester

I have to agree. Get a life.

Comment from MrManager

And for the record - after all the inquires I've gotten about this - I am NOT Captain Mystery.

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