The Mansion The Classic Graphic Adventure Game

Maniac Mansion, the 1987 adventure game.
Maniac Mansion, Commodore 64 Version.

Maniac Mansion is a popular graphic adventure game, released in 1987. The game was conceived in 1985 by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, who sought to tell a comedic story based on horror film and B movie clich├ęs. While earlier adventure titles had relied on typed command lines, Gilbert developed Maniac Mansion's simpler point-and-click interface as a replacement. To speed up production, he created a game engine called SCUMM, which was used in many later LucasArts titles. The game was initially released on the Commodore 64 and Apple II, and was later ported over to various systems (such as the Nintendo Entertainment System). Maniac Mansion was Lucasfilm Game's first self-published product.

The game itself was critically acclaimed for its graphics, cutscenes and humor. Writer Orson Scott Card praised it as a step toward "computer games [becoming] a valid storytelling art." It influenced numerous graphic adventure titles, and its point-and-click interface became a standard feature in the genre (see The Secret of Monkey Island, another favorite of ours). The game's success solidified Lucasfilm as a serious rival to adventure game studios such as Sierra On-Line.

The Plot

Sandy's been Kidnapped by a mad scientist. It's up to Dave and two of his friends (of your choosing) to enter the mansion and find a way to rescue her.

The player starts the game by choosing two out of six characters to accompany protagonist Dave Miller. Each character possesses unique abilities: Syd and Razor are musicians, Bernard is highly technical, Wendy is a writer and Michael a photographer. The game can be completed by using any three characters, but the skillset of the group will determine how the game is completed and what the ending will be.

The game takes place in the mansion of the Edison family: Dr. Fred, a mad scientist; Nurse Edna, his wife; and their son Weird Ed. The intro sequence shows that a meteor crashed near the mansion twenty years earlier. The meteor brainwashed Dr. Fred and directed him to obtain subjects for use in experiments. The game begins as Dave Miller prepares to enter the mansion to rescue his girlfriend, Sandy Pantz, who was kidnapped by Dr. Fred.

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