Some people are deliberately iconoclastic. Those people tend to be annoying idiots. Other people just have weird taste. Those people are also likely to be annoying idiots.
I like to think I'm sometimes in the second group of annoying idiots. So it is that I've spent my adult life being certain that The Curse Of Monkey Island - the third game in the legendary series - was rubbish.
To add insult to injury, I loved the fourth game. (Before we go on, assume that this article will contain spoilers on all of the first three Monkey Island games.)
Curse first came out in the UK in 1998, when I was 20. Which is deeply strange, since I was certain I was far younger when I played it. I'd have guessed about 15.
So that's almost 13 years of being certain it was the most overrated of the series, and that everyone else was talking out of their hat. This week I went back to play it, for the first time since, to see if I was right.
Spoiler warning: I wasn't right.
What I'm surprised to learn, in the very traditional point-and-clickery that sees Guybrush Threepwood once more attempting to rescue his love Elaine, and to defeat the ghost pirate LeChuck, is that it's perfectly decent. Perhaps even quite good.
In fact, it's better than the first game.
Heck, if I'm going to go wild, I may as well throw it all in. With LucasArts having recently remade the first two games with new graphics, and full voice acting, it's been fascinating to go back to two of PC gaming's most treasured relics and discover that The Secret Of Monkey Island isn't actually all that brilliant.
It's a short, not particularly funny game, with no narrative worth worrying about and a few highlights that have overridden people's memories of the complete experience. Monkey Island 2 stands up far better and is genuinely very funny. And of course it has that ending.
It turns out that Guybrush and LeChuck are in fact children, and brothers, and at a fairground. This ending was crazy-bonkers. It was so crazy, in fact, that when new project leads Jonathan Ackley and Larry Aher (who had worked on Full Throttle) took over from the departed Ron Gilbert, they just sort of pretended it hadn't happened.
There's a nod to it at the beginning, Guybrush floating helplessly on a funfair dodgem, and an extended return to the Big Whoop theme park on Monkey Island at the end.
There's even an ambiguous allusion to it with Guybrush getting turned into a child by LeChuck's magic. But otherwise, Gilbert, Schafer and Grossman's lunatic finale for the second game was sensibly coughed away.
Quite a lot had changed since the last Monkey outing, with a significant six years having passed. LucasArts was moving into 3D, Grim Fandango was only a year away (and wantonly plugged during the game), and this was to be the last of the company's games to be made in a hugely modified SCUMM engine.
Mechanically, Monkey 3 was pretty much identical to Full Throttle, with a verb coin appearing when the mouse is held down, offering either 'look', 'use' or 'talk to'. Long gone were the nine verbs or six cursors of Sam & Max.
But few corners were cut when it came to cramming in jokes. In fact, Curse is far more joke-dense than either of the previous games. Most locations are packed with objects to look at and plenty of unnecessary actions eliciting uniquely written gags.
The graphics were also dramatically changed, using very simplistic cartoons. This meant there was far more cartoon logic. Often cartoon graphics survive time far better than anything the nineties tried to put in 3D, with 1993's Day Of The Tentacle still looking wondrous today.
However, Curse's artists seem to have cut so many corners that the modern day perspective is mixed. There are many more minor characters who appear barely sketched, with very crude animations, seeming to possess far less charm than the exquisitely carefully constructed pixel creations from the first two games.
It seems that The Curse Of Monkey Island was a game trapped between two times. It was the last hurrah of LucasArts' 2D adventuring, trying to fit into a world that was stuffing its PCs with 3dfx cards.
In so many ways the game feels like a relic. Not least because it spends so much of its time referencing two games from 1990 and 91.
With series regulars like the Voodoo Lady and Stan appearing, now it seems daft that the game works so hard to reintroduce them. But with over half a decade having passed, a good proportion of the potential audience wouldn't have had any idea who they were. Plus a lot of the references were starting to feel dated back then and now seem positively archaic.
During my eighties childhood, about 70 per cent of the programmes I watched included quicksand at some point. To misquote comedian Adam Carolla, until the age of 10 I was certain I was either going to die by falling in quicksand or by being eaten by cannibals who would first make me their god.
Now, outside of madman Bear Grills' on-screen suicide attempts, there's not a drip of quicksand to be found. And worrying about being eaten by cannibals is perhaps considered culturally insensitive.
But Curse feels like a hark back to those days, admittedly with their cannibals being vegetarians. Appeasing volcano gods, albeit lactose intolerant ones, feels oddly old-fashioned.
But far more elderly is the logic behind so many of the puzzles. The game came with two modes, one that cut out a lot of the tougher puzzles for you.
Obviously a die-hard adventurer is going to choose the full game, and is going to expect those puzzles to be well set up. But this is where Curse falls shortest: the puzzles are hopelessly flagged.
In the passing decade or so since the heyday of this genre, tolerance has decreased. Adventure games inevitably come with in-built clues, since everyone's going to be Alt-tabbing to GameFAQs anyway.
More often than not, if a game spots you're in trouble it will start to prompt you. But Curse does no such thing. Often it gives you not the slightest idea what you're supposed to be achieving, let alone how.
That's not true of the whole game, certainly. There are many beautiful puzzles in here - the use of cooking oil to get a layer of peeled tattooed skin from the back of a pirate and tricking the barman into thinking he's still got his mirror stand out as classics.
But can anyone justify the game thinking that you'll figure out you can smuggle a gold tooth out of a chicken restaurant by breathing in helium, then sticking the tooth in bubble gum and blowing a bubble with it, which of course floats out the window? It's a very cute idea, but one that really requires at least a prod in the right direction.
Some puzzles are even more obscure. To get the cooking oil from the cabana boy you must cause him to leave. (Surely the goal of about 50 per cent of all of adventure gaming's tasks.) Another nearby puzzle challenges you to cross extremely hot sands by laying down towels after they've been dipped in ice water.
So the towels are for the sand-crossing puzzle - you feel that you've successfully applied them. I'm not sure what would have ever possessed me to think to use yet another wet town to whip the kid behind the cart to make him run away. Completely daft.
It's most annoying because a simple dialogue prompt makes everything much more fun. The cabana kid need only have said, earlier, "I was bullied by the other kids in school chasing me around the locker room with their towels..." Or even a more subtle nudge.
Of course, I'd have solved it back then. Because back then I was quite prepared to meticulously click everything in my inventory on everything else in my inventory, and then on everything in the world.
I was prepared to wait until the next edition of my choice of PC gaming magazine came out to read the hints they'd publish. (Although by 1998 I of course had the internet to ask, albeit at 14.4k/s.)
I suspect those developing the games knew that their audience was trained to behave this way. A behaviour I've since lost.
But let's not get too negative. Because for all my frustration at the game leaving me bemused as to what to do next, Curse really is very entertaining.
It's an enormous game, with huge numbers of scenes, each packed with gags. It features both the traditional Monkey Island humour and some really, really horrible puns. There's the return of insult sword fighting, and an enormous cast of lovely extras.
It's funny now how familiar the voices are. Dominic Armato simply is the voice of Guybrush, having played him in Escape From Monkey Island, Tales Of Monkey Island and the remakes of the first two. Hearing him speak for the mighty pirate here feels absolutely natural, rather than the shock it was at the time. Earl Boen is magnificent as ever as LeChuck, fruity and mellifluous.
Oh, and there's one moment I want to celebrate. The game is quite generous in recognising that it can be frustrating to watch Guybrush slowly walking around, and there are lots of short-cuts and ways to jump from scene to scene.
But one area, on a beach, has Guybrush moving very slowly. On the other side is a waterfall, and waterfalls in adventure games mean secrets. So of course you have Guybrush walk all the way around the shore to the back of the screen to reach it. Slowly he trudges toward the only feature on that side of the screen. Upon reaching it: "It's wet." That made me laugh a lot.
Then there's the town clock. Weirdly, it's about the only thing I can remember from playing the game through the first time. Other than the fact I'd not liked it.
It showed the correct time based on your Windows clock and chimed on the hour. Rather brilliantly, via SCUMMVM, it still works even with 64bit Windows 7. It's very cute. And let's not forget Murray the skull.
Perhaps it was the ending that made me think so little of the game. It's utterly awful. Seemingly in tribute to the second game's nonsensical finish, you're back at the funfair, going around and around a rollercoaster trying to arrange items to defeat LeChuck in battle.
The puzzle itself is fine but once LeChuck is crushed by falling ice, suddenly and without explanation, Guybrush and Elaine are married, and floating off together on a boat.
No ceremony, no jokes, no closure, nothing. It feels as if enormous scenes were cut, or never finished, and the scrappy remains muddled together so there was something to ship. Which is a shame.
But that's not enough to justify my disdain. Curse is a perfectly good instalment in the series and still plays well today (though with a walkthrough to hand, I'd argue).
What remains to be seen, of course, is whether I was equally wrong about the much-hated Escape From Monkey Island. I'm certain I was not.