Maniac Mansion Nintendo NES Game Cartridge
Maniac Mansion was released for the NES in 1990 and was published and developed by Lucasfilm Games. It was originally released for Apple II and Commodore 64 and was the first self published game from Lucasfilm Games. Gary Winnick and Ron Gilbert conceived the game in 1985, trying to make a comedic type story based on B movie horror film cliches. Before coding began, the game was mapped out as a pencil and paper game. Earlier games of this genre used command lines, so Maniac Mansion used a more simple point and click system to replace that style because Ron Gilbert did not like that system. The game engine SCUMM was created to speed up the production of the game, later being used for future LucasArts titles. The game was also ported to many platforms after its initial release in 1987.
The game had critical acclaim. The reviewers loved the graphics, animation, cutscenes, and humor. The port for NES, though, was reworked drastically because of Nintendo of America complaining the game was too inappropriate for kids. Orson Scott Card praised it, saying it took step forward for computer gaming becoming a legitimate stroytelling art. It also had influence on many graphic adventure games, with the point and click becoming the standard for the genre. The success of the game made Lucasfilm a serious contender for the adventure gaming studios like Sierra On-Line. The game was later turned into a television show that was three seasons long. In 1993, the sequel was released, being called Day of the Tentacle.
The games setting is in the Edison family mansion. The family members consist of Dr Fred, who is a crazy scientist, his wife Edna, who is a nurse, and Weird Ed, their son. Two really big disembodied tentacles live with the Edison family, with one tentacle being green and one being purple. The first scene of the game shows a meteor landed close to the mansion about twenty years before. This meteor brainwashed the family and Dr Fred was told to collect brains from humans for his experiments. Dave Miller goes to the mansion to save Sandy Pantz, his girlfriend that Dr Fred captured. Other than the tentacle that is green, all the inhabitants of the mansion are malicious, and will either throw the player’s characters in the dungeon or in certain circumstances, kill them, if they are seen. If a character is killed, the player will need to choose another character to replace them. The game will end if all of the characters get killed. The game also has five different endings that are determined on the characters that survived, chosen, and what they accomplished.
Maniac Mansion was created as a graphic adventure game where the player will point to things and click to help guide their character through a 2D game layout to try to solve some puzzles. There are fifteen commands for the player to use on the lower screen’s menu, like Unlock and Walk To. The player begins by selecting two of the six characters in the game to go along with the protagonist of the game, Dave Miller. Every character has unique abilities. Ryder and Syd, for example, have the ability of playing musical instruments and Bernard has the ability to repair appliances. Since certain puzzles can only be solved by specific characters, different pathways will need to be pursued based on characters that were chosen, and the game can be completed by any mixture of the characters. The game features cutscenes, stopping the gameplay and advancing the story, also informing players about events taking place offscreen. Rob Gilbert was the first person to coin the word cutscenes.
Genre: Action and Adventure
Region: NTSC (North America)