It is nearly Christmas, and there are only two adventure series' to feature until the ADVENTure Game Calendar wraps up with a wrap up blog and some awesome gifts for fans of this little series who have been leaving comments. As we look at the end, it seems somewhat fitting that we look back to a beginning. As you may have noticed, the golden age of adventure games in the 90's had lots of various developers, but two stick out as the heavy-hitters: Sierra and LucasArts. So, today we look at the very beginning of game publishing for one of these two, today we look at the adventure series that kicked of all of the future published games for LucasArts. Yes, adventure fans and those of you who haven't yet played an adventure game that has spoken to you, today we talk about:

The very first Maniac Mansion was the first game published by what would eventually be broken off into LucasArts all the way back in 1987 on the Commodore 64 and Apple II. In fact, in those days, it wasn't even called LucasArts yet, it was called Lucasfilm Games. Written by designers Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, the game focused on a teenage boy trying to save his girlfriend, with the help of a couple of friends, who has been trapped in a creepy mansion. The player gets to choose the two friends from a pool of six characters, each of whom have abilities to do different things. For instance, the nerd has the know-how to remove a tube from a television while other characters would be electrocuted by the same action. If a character dies, replacements can be selected from the remaining pool of characters.

The first Maniac Mansion and its ports received glowing reviews and to this day lands on list of best games and games that deserve a seat in a gaming hall of fame. The story is pretty solid with funny moments pulled from cliché horror movies and absolutely terrible B movies. There are even multiple endings to the game based on who is used and what events take place in the house. While this may not have been the first time multiple endings have been used, it is one of the first I am aware of. To top it off, the possible ways to die throughout the game are beyond hilarious. To top it all off, it is the only adventure game I can think of that got its own television series in Canada, and lasted for 3 full seasons.

In 1993, LucasArts brought Maniac Mansion back to the adventure game world by releasing Day of the Tentacle. The story starts out well enough with one of the tentacles from Maniac Mansion being a bit thirsty. But all goes south when one of them drinks contaminated water, gaining arms, strength and an insatiable desire to take over the world and enslave all humanity. The adventure leads the crew of friends through various points in time to stop the tentacle from winning.

It could be that the game was made in part by Tim Schafer, or it could be that the time machines are port-a-potties, but I really like this entry and game buyers of the time tended to agree with me as the game was a commercial and critical success. It was one of the games I would credit with keeping the adventure genre going strong at the time. Sadly, rumor has it that a remastered version was nearing completion prior to Lucas selling all his assets to Disney. Who knows what will happen now?

The Maniac Mansion series really is a beginning all its own and a truly great one. I strongly urge everyone to take some time and track these down on the PC or their Nintendo. They are truly wonderful games from a truly great genre. Find them, get them, and appreciate them as many gamers before you have.

"And they said fake diamonds wouldn't work." - Doctor Fred in Day of the Tentacle

Thanks for reading and for those who have stuck with the whole series, a HUGE thank you. We are nearly done. I have one more series to write about and then a look at the adventure genre as a whole on Christmas Day. Also, on Christmas Day, I have some games to give away to those who have commented on this blog series. For every blog you comment on, you get one entry to win a great Christmas prize. I won't tell you exactly what I have (where's the fun in that?), but they are some of the games I have featured in the series. I have seven prizes to give away, so there are plenty of chances to win. Winners will be selected before I go to bed Christmas Eve and will be announced on The ADVENTure Game Calendar Day 25 Christmas Spectacular.

To check out (and comment on) all of the past entries in the series, check the links below:

Day 1 - Space Quest

Day 2 - Sam and Max

Day 3 - Full Throttle

Day 4 - Eco Quest

Day 5 - The Walking Dead

Day 6 - Still Life

Day 7 - Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist

Day 8 - Quest for Glory

Day 9 - The Adventures of Willy Beamish

Day 10 - Police Quest

Day 11 - Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Day 12 - Blade Runner

Day 13 - Gabriel Knight

Days 14 and 15 - The Wolf Among Us and King's Quest

Day 16 - Conquests of the Longbow: The Adventures of Robin Hood

Day 17 - Simon the Sorcerer

Day 18 - Grim Fandango

Day 19 - Discworld

Day 20 - I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

Day 21 - Broken Sword

Day 22 - The 7th Guest