Maniac Mansion

In some ways Maniac Mansion was the seed that started us on this project (well, that and some exuberant binge-drinking and ranting about classic games from James and I that alienated everyone sitting around us). I really liked the idea of putting together a team of kind of archetypical kids, and then switching back and forth between them in order to manipulate puzzle elements in different locations. Maniac Mansion was one of the first games to have cutscenes, and while charming at the time, the practice eventually got out of hand. We're consciously avoiding cutscenes over a few seconds, or long bits of exposition, which we feel can take the player out of the game experience. Additionally, contextual menus and multitouch will replace the big palette of verbs that took up so much of many of the early Lucasarts games' screens. Maniac Mansion was fabulous for its sense of humor, the depth of its interactions, and the freedom that it gave players to absolutely bork themselves. It was entirely possible to paint yourself into a corner where the game became unfinishable, and a huge amount of time and energy were spent scripting out results for interactions that didn't have anything to do with the plot or the main tasks at hand. This made for a lot of exciting exploration, and it's a treasured early gaming memory for us.

Wiley Wiggins, May 11, 2011