I played this game a ton, but beat it so few times that the section where the evil doctor has your girlfriend (next to the dungeon) is particularly hazy. I probably haven’t played this game since summer break after 6th grade!
I really liked recording a high-pitched tone and mailing it to the record execs as a demo tape, then watching their windows crack when they give it a listen. Classic! I don’t think I ever figured out what that sarcophagus was for, but I probably tried every item in the game on it that summer.
Awesome stuff, Matt. Compare and contrast with this previous MM map; I love the way different approaches to the same game play out like this. So great.
This was the first point and click, open ended game I had ever played. It blew my mind. I remember running around the mansion, terrified I’d bump into Edna, with her beady eyes and zombie shade, convinced there was no limit to what I could do in game. The characters, running around with their CD players blasting their favorite tunes, remains one of the most innovative deliveries of a soundtrack I’ve ever seen, and I still listen to the tunes on a regular basis. The perfect mix of style, humor, and terror, Maniac Mansion was its own eccentric masterpiece.
Bonus nonsense: here’s the map my twelve year old self made for the sequel I was drawing up.
Oh hell YES Maniac Mansion. I played it on the PC rather than the NES (I didn’t realize until years later that they even made a NES release, and here is a really fascinating writeup of the porting/sanitizing process that went on).
Your rendering here is just great; 12-year-old you’s sequel map is wonderful.
This game. This game. Did anybody not play it?
I kind of hate it for being, as an actual game, kind of a tepid antithesis of all the dynamic excitement of so many of the other games I grew up loving — even compared to other adventure and text adventure games, Myst was so static and sluggish, a game that played almost like sitting through a family vacation slideshow where Dad keeps forgetting where the “next slide” button is on the controls. And this was the wild success that everybody leapt to emulate. This was the New Gaming, the monetizable, broad-appeal approach that became damnably pervasive in the following years.
And yet I kind of feel sorry for it because, had it not been so wildly successful, had it not been so thoroughly overexposed, it’d probably be remembered fondly as a quirky thing out of the past, a unique and atmospheric bit of gaming history rather than the sire of a thousand play-alike knockoffs.
The overgrown-Hypercard-stack-on-a-CD-ROM model that it bootstrapped was a doomed branch of game technology from the word go, though it’d take many years for that evolutionary dead-end to properly play itself out as gaming hardware and software matured and found better ways to present compelling graphics and atmosphere.
But all of that context, all of that hoopla about the game as a cultural artifact and a touchstone in the video game industry notwithstanding, there was a game under there, a game that for all its stodgy opacity and clumsy FMV drama still had its moments and was at least a little bit genuinely weird in a fun way.
I haven’t played it in years and years; I never played any of the sequels (other than five minutes of Riven and then a crash to desktop) or any of the remakes. But it’s still there, in my brain, and I can still draw at least a poor, partial overhead rendition of an island that I never even had an overhead of in the game. For all the shit it has gotten over the years, Myst was primordial; it made some sort of fundamental impression on me. It’s exactly the sort of thing that Mapstalgia is about.