Over the last several years, a number of LucasArts classics have been remastered—not least The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango and Full Throttle. One game which hasn't been reworked for a modern audience is 1987's Maniac Mansion, but it's nevertheless landed on Steam and is subject to a limited-time discount.
The games noted above, and the likes of Terrible Toybox's recent retro-adventure Thimbleweed Park, owe much of their success and appeal to Maniac Mansion. The latter's verb-object interface revolutionised the adventure game genre, and has influenced countless popular games since.
Earlier this year, Rick Lane explored the history of Maniac's central and ground-breaking mechanic and how it changed the landscape of videogames. Here's an extract from that:
It’s a remarkable bit of systemic sleight-of-hand. Maniac Mansion is more honest with the player about the limits of their freedom, while also making those limits feel more expansive than what has gone before. In a way this is a hallmark of the broader LucasArts adventure game template. The silly red herrings, the replacing of vanilla “I can’t do that” command rejections with varied, witty responses, are all examples of taking the limits of adventure games in the late eighties and framing them as an integral part of the experience, making these small 2D worlds feel fuller and freer than they ultimately are.
It's worth noting Maniac Mansion can be played within 2016's Day of the Tentacle remaster, which is neat, however it's out now standalone on Steam. From now through December 25 at 10am PT/6pm GMT, it'll cost you £3.20/$4.01 with 33 percent off. It'll cost £4.79/$5.99 thereafter.
Correction: Double Fine boss Tim Schafer has made some truly great adventures over the years, but Thimbleweed Park actually comes from Terrible Toybox, an indie studio founded by former LucasArts stalwarts Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick.