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Old 08-06-2010, 09:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Making Of: Maniac Mansion

It would be pleasing if Ron Gilbert‘s career path was as capricious and convoluted as the plots of the games created with his ground-breaking SCUMM engine. Instead, it seems slightly conservative: his time at school spent creating small games lead up to a C64 BASIC extension for advanced graphics manipulation that earnt him a six-month stint at Human Engineered Software (HESware), programming games that would never see the light of day. Through an acquaintance there, he progressed to Lucasfilm Games (later LucasArts) and a job porting the company’s early Atari 800 games to the C64. But his first commercial product – Maniac Mansion – was anything but conservative. Reshaping the very core of the prolific adventure game genre, its specifically designed Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion engine evolved such a charismatic, inimitably creative vibe that it would invent a new subgenre defined by many simply as ‘LucasArts adventures’.

“The story and original idea,” recalls Gilbert, “came from both Gary Winnick [the game’s celebrated artist] and I. We both liked strange humour and were big fans of campy horror movies.” Winnick concurs, narrowing the field to, “teenage horror movies where the kids always split up and go off into the dark recesses of a scary location on their own. I remember the first inspirational picture I drew – an exterior of a scary house with the sign ‘WARNING: TRESPASSERS WILL BE HORRIBLY MUTILATED’ out front as a joke – actually made it into the final game.”

The Making Of: Maniac Mansion | Edge Magazine

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