Maniac Mansion Miscellany (and Zak McKracken too) This page covers some interesting little tidbits relating to Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken EGA that don't belong on any other part of the site.

The original starting screen in the Commodore 64 version of Maniac Mansion.

Jeff looks a little taciturn here.

Notice that the text box only allows one line of dialogue at a time.

Here, this allows a joke that is hardly as funny when the pause is removed.

The Commodore 64 credits are hampered by the dialogue restriction, too.

Starting the game with two different teams.

In the Commodore 64 version the second column of verbs is aligned farther to the right than in other versions.

Also, the verbs in the fourth column read New Kid and, below that, Unlock. In later ports of MM they say Unlock and then New kid (without the capital K).

When switching between kids, the three options appear in purple on the Sentence Line.

Dr. Fred threatens Sandy with debrainification.

Here, as well, the single line for text is insufficient, necessitating a strange break right in the middle of Fred's sentence.

The dining room.

All three names highlight at once when switching between characters, regardless of which one you select.

The original, low-resolution PC version has a different logo on startup. This change is reflected on the C64 and PC versions' respective box art as well.

Plus, Jeff is now smiling like the rest of the characters.

This joke just isn't as good without the pause in the middle.

The PC version opening credits.

The other kids undermine Dave's pep talk.

Starting out. Because the text box has been made bigger, the rest of the screen elements were lowered.

In the original PC version the verbs and inventory disappear when switching kids.

Dr. Fred doesn't have to stop mid-sentence to catch his breath.

Now the bottom inventory items are flush with the bottom of the screen.

In the C64 version characters face front when entering a new room, but in this version they don't.

Here, when switching between kids, only one name at a time is highlighted.

The original version of the Meteor Mess arcade game high score screen.

The last initial of each name (Dr. Fred, Nurse Edna and Weird Ed, respectively) is given here as S. However, in the manual the family's surname is given as Edison.

It appears the Maniac Mansion team originally wanted a different last name for the mansion's owners. I don't know exactly what it would have been, but my guess is it was Strange.

The enhanced higher-resolution PC version's background art is a few pixels shorter than the original's, to compensate for the bigger text box.

In the enhanced version the inventory shows up when choosing a new character to control.

Aside from the vertical realignment, the verbs are the same as in the earlier PC version.

The enhanced PC version has the high-score screen corrected to have E for Edison in the initials.

Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders for Commodore 64.

This original version of Zak has the characters' skin tone as a color distinct from any used in the backgrounds, for better visibility.

The PC low-resolution port of Zak merged the skin color with a pale red already used in backgrounds, because the allocation of colors in the EGA palette is different on a PC than on a C64.

The earliest versions of Zak showed Zak wearing a green shirt.

The C64 version's text box was bigger by one pixel, and the verbs were aligned slightly differently than in the PC version.

In the PC version the verbs are better centered (though it's only a matter of one pixel!)

Zak C64: Annie gives Zak a shard of the yellow crystal. This is a single text snippet in the C64 version, and doesn't mention the shard's color.

In later versions this became two separate dialogue segments, and the word "yellow" was added as a clue that the shard is part of the yellow crystal.

Although Zak had a green shirt in the original version of the game, magazine scans show that early builds of the PC low-res port had Zak in a blue shirt (in two different shades, too).

I guess this foreshadowed his redesign in the high-res rereleases.

I actually managed to reconstruct those early screenshots to a near pixel-perfect degree!

Here Zak has a dark blue shirt.

Notice as well that the verbs are several pixels lower than in the finished game, the same height as in the low-res PC version of MM. I guess the extra space was kept there in case the artists wanted it, and removed when they didn't use it.

Another reconstructed screenshot. Zak's shirt has become a lighter blue.

And a third reconstructed image! This was based on a picture from the original game box.

The ground at Stonehenge is green here.

In the finished release the ground is blue, probably to avoid blending in with the now-green shirt!

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