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Maniac Mansion is a graphical adventure game originally released in 1987 by Lucasfilm Games. Maniac Mansion has become known among video game players and programmers for its highly acclaimed gameplay and its introduction of new ideas into gaming, including multiple possible endings, multiple user-selectable characters with significantly different abilities, and critical clues contained in numerous cut scenes.
At the start of the game, the hero, Dave Miller, finds that his girlfriend, Sandy Pantz, has been abducted by Dr. Fred Edison, and sets out to save her, with two of his friends. The player could select the friends from a group of six, and the game would play somewhat differently depending on which friends were selected. The game was clearly a parody of the horror B-movie genre, featuring a secret lab, leftover tentacles, and an evil mastermind.
- Dave Miller is the main character, looking for his girlfriend.
- Bernard Bernoulli is a nerd capable of disassembling complex electronics but suffering from overwhelming cowardice. He reappears in Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle as the main playable character.
- Razor is a female punk rocker, talented on many instruments.
- Wendy is an aspiring novelist with talent for writing.
- Jeff Woodie is a surfer.
- Syd is a New Wave musician.
- Michael F. Stoppe is a photographer.
- Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
In addition to the playable characters, Doctor Fred and Sandy, a number of other colorful characters (metaphorically and literally) populate the mansion in the Maniac Mansion games.
- Nurse Edna, a gruesome nurse, is Doctor Fred's wife. When one of the male characters is captured by her, she locks them in the dungeon while lamenting, "How silly of me. I should have tied you to my bed!" Female characters are given the ominous, "You're lucky you're not a boy, or you'd be in BIG trouble right now!"
- Weird Ed, Fred and Edna's son, is a survivalist paramilitary maniac with a hair-trigger temper and an obsession with his pet hamster.
- Dead Cousin Ted, Edna's cousin, is a mummified corpse with his own private gym.
- Green Tentacle and Purple Tentacle, a pair of talking, brightly colored tentacles, are probably the two most memorable of the mansion residents. Green is an aspiring rock-and-roll musician while Purple is Doctor Fred's easily impressed henchman.
- Purple Meteor is an evil, intelligent meteor from outer space who is ultimately revealed to have coerced Doctor Fred into a life of villainy via mind control.
In the mansion's kitchen, a chainsaw for which there was no fuel can be found. In one of the in-jokes that are a hallmark of the LucasArts adventure games, the second SCUMM game, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, contains some fuel "for chainsaws only", but no chainsaw. Plus, in a later remake of the Maniac Mansion game, the heroes can read a poster of the Zak McKracken game in the arcade room, and say "I wonder what was the use of the gas can on Mars?".
In another reference, the entire game is contained within its sequel, Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle, on a computer in the bedroom of one of the characters.
Another is the staircase in the library (with a sign, 'staircase out of order') that appears to be a puzzle, but in fact there is no way to fix it or cross it (to fix it, a saw to procure some wood planks would have been needed...).
Maniac Mansion was also the first game to feature Chuck the Plant (found in the library); Chuck is later found in just about every other LucasArts adventure game, and several games by other publishers.