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Ways to lose
Box art and goodies


Box art and goodies

Box art

The front of the box art remained virtually the same for every version, but there were little differences. The back, however, changed considerably. Click to see larger versions.

Hint poster

This hint poster, presented as a college bulletin board, came in the box with some versions of the game and contained many hints (both obvious and obscure ones), jokes, and background information. Click to see larger versions.

Regular version:
PC Hint Poster

Nes version:
Nes Hint Poster

Text on the poster:
NB: Some of the hints were omitted on the Nes version of the poster, presumably because of Nintendo's censorship policies. These missing hints are:
- Edna Dearest "Heartsick" letter
- "Tornado Hits Trailer Park!" article
- Commodore 64 for sale ad
- La Grande Oregon ride request
- Biology Department notice about the missing tentacles
- Reincarnation lecture ad
- Three notices on the electric shock experiment gone wrong

"To whom it may concern: Whoever gave me the radio to repair, it's ready.
A very obvious hint indicating Bernard can fix the radio.

"Edna Dearest
America's Favorite Advice Column
Edna Dearest: I have a decorating problem I cannot solve. I am so depressed. When I put my big new sofa in the living room I can't open the front door. What should I do? - Depressed Decorator in DesMoines
Dear Decorator: We are often plagued by unsightly and inconvenient doors. The solution is simple - just paint over it and no one will know it's there. Then your sofa will look fine."
This hints there is a door to be found behind the paint blotch upstairs.

"Edna Dearest: My husband has been getting mail from another woman! I know it because the envelopes are pink and smell good. What should I do? - Heartsick in Hartford
Dear Heartsick: When in doubt, find out! Simply steam it open. If he's fooling around, place your husband in the microwave! And let me know what happens - I care."
This tells you how you can open the envelope without tearing it up and ruining it.

"Edna Dearest: My husband Chuck (not his real name) is kind, generous, and well-groomed. There's only a problem - he's a wimp. I mean a real ectomorph. I find this disgusting. What can I do? - Wife of Wimp
Dear Wife: That's easy. Get him a weight machine. A couple of good pumps and he'll be a new man."
A straightforward hint telling you to use the weight machine to make your character strong enough to open resisting doors and grates. Note the use of the name Chuck, used repeatedly in Lucasfilm games.

"Edna Dearest: People keep breaking into my house. Last time they even stole the light bulbs. I am getting sick of it, but can't afford a burglar alarm. What can I do? - Ripped-Off in Raleigh
Dear Ripped-Off: I'll bet you are doing something dumb like leaving your key under the doormat. This is stupid. Hide the key some place where a burglar won't find it. Stick it behind a loose piece of linoleum, or hang it from the ceiling fan! A burglar will never think to look for the key inside the house."
This tells you both about the entrance door's key under the doormat, and the rusty key hanging from the chandelier.

"(from Edna Dearest) Do you hate making phone calls? Send for the free booklet, Edna's Phone Etiquette, and learn how to make calls your friends won't forget."
A hint that there is something to do with Edna and the phone.

"State University Vocational Office
Winnick Hall, Room 3748, 555-8745 x7654
The following summer jobs are available:
Technical Lab Assistant - Must be adept at handling Nuclear Waste and have own Radiation Suit. Tuesday - Friday, $5.00/hour. Contact Dr.Fred, box 567-09A
Informant - Opportunity to rat on your friends. Must enjoy dorm parties. Friday, Saturday nights. $10.00/conviction. Contact Officer Friendly.
Kitchen Assistant - Will be responsible for food preparation in dorm cafetaria. Pre-Med only need apply. Contact Chef Greezy.
Snow Removal - Will be responsible for keeping football field cleared of snow this summer. Position available for students on football scholarships only. $130/hour"
The first ad stresses the importance of donning a radiation suit when dealing with radioactive material, warning you about the hazards of confronting the Meteor without such a suit. The rest is unrelated to the game. "Winnick Hall" is an in-joke, Gary Winnick being one of Maniac Mansion's primary developers.

"Attention survivors! Better safe than sorry!
This could be you --> (arrow pointing to a man in a radiation suit)
Anti-Nuclear rally / Saturday 4pm > football field
This could be your last chance!!
Dr.Norman Wattle will discuss the effects of radioactive waste on plant life: "could make'em grow like crazy!!" "
This helps you solve the otherwise difficult puzzle of feeding the man-eating plant radioactive water to make it grow, and also includes another reminder that you must not forget your radiation suit when confronting the Meteor.

"Tornado hits trailer park!
Loose brick is key to miraculous survival!
When Mrs. Roberta Simms heard that ominous roar and saw the funnel in the pea-green sky, she hardly had to think about what to do. Roberta grabbed up all sixteen kids and headed for the root cellar that her husband Bobby had built under their Aire-Stream trailer home. "There's only one thing worse than a tornado", commented Mrs. Simms, "and that's being trapped underground with sixteen whiney kids." The family was trapped for seven hours while rescue workers moved the twisted debris above their heads. "I could hear the rescuers but I was sure they couldn't hear me for all the noise those kids were making," Roberta explained. In desperation she tore away at the brick cellar wall with her bare fingernails. Finally, a brick came loose - the brick that would save her sanity. "I whacked every one of those kids on the head with that brick," said Mrs. Simms. "That shut'em up long enough for me to collect my thoughts." By the time rescuers reached her, Mrs. Simms had achieved inner peace. The kids were treated for bumps on the head at a nearby hospital and released."
While most of this story is unrelated to the game, what you need to get out of it is that a loose brick will help you when you're trapped underground, indirectly telling you how to escape the dungeon.

"Mysterious plane crash in Bermuda Triangle
Piercing, glass-breaking noise blamed
A small twin-engine plane carrying what authorities described as "an agricultural cargo" from Central America crashed yesterday in the infamous Bermuda Triangle. From his hospital bed in Miami, pilot Bruce Beaver told this reporter that he heard a piercing, high-pitched noise moments before the crash. "The noise started, then the instrument panel just sort of blew up and the windshield shattered," said Beaver. "All that glass breaking - it was just like one of those Ella Fitzgerald commercials." The luxury cruise ship Bodacious Banana happened to be directly under the plane's flight path at the time. Passengers reported the high-pitched noise and breaking glass on the ship. Many of the porthole windows and all the chandeliers in the dining room were broken. "I'm simply shattered," moaned the Banana's social director Ilona Glass."
This tells you you can break glass, including chandeliers, using high-pitched sounds such as the tentacle mating call... if that wasn't already obvious when the vase on the piano breaks as you first play it.

"Teen surfer gets a shock
Reveals winning lotto numbers
Local teenager Jeff Woodie, known to his friends as "Surfer Dude," had a shocking experience last week. Jeff zapped himself by dropping his portable radio into the shallow water where he was standing. The jolt was minor, but friends report that Jeff was momentarily transformed. "He rattled off three numbers. And two of them were winners in this week's lotto!" said Jeff's pal Syd. "We thought the other number might mean something too," Syd continued, "but it just turned out to be the high score on one of the arcade games on the boardwalk. That's weird, but it probably doesn't mean anything." Jeff doesn't remember talking about any numbers, but he enjoyed the experience. "It was a rush," said Jeff, "but my radio's shot." "
While it's definitely not a straightforward hint, this highlights the importance of the high score on the arcade game, and also hints that there might be something interesting about that radio floating in the pool. The part about winning lotto numbers is unrelated to the game.

"I was kidnapped by the Meteor Police!
"They took my baby!" cries distraught mom
By Emma Mae Neadrop
"Oh my God, that's no airplane," I screamed in my mind as the weird ball of flashing lights landed on the hood of my 1974 Toyota. My reeling brain could only think how the thing looked like a great big vitamin pill with something like people inside. My lips moved as I read the words printed where "A-1 vitamin" ought to be:
"M-E-T-E-O-R  P-O-L-I-C-E"!!! As I shook off my panic I grabbed for my baby, but too late! The slimy little creeps had him halfway out the hatchback! "Don't worry Mom, I'll be back," I thought I heard my little Myron shout, "and maybe I won't be purple any more!" I've known Myron was special ever since that day four years ago (or was it five?) when I found him glowing in the back yard. He was like a tiny purple bratwurst then, and so cute! But I should have known right then that little Myron wasn't like other children. I should have known that he was going to have a weird life. "Now when the other kids ask me where their special brother has gone, I just tell them to 'watch the skies'. Little Myron hasn't done anything wrong, and I know someday he'll be returned to us!"
(picture of a car with the trunk open and an arrow pointing upwards)
Artist's rendition of the tragic event."
This article tells you you can get rid of the Meteor by calling the Meteor Police, while the "artist's rendition" hints at the possibility of putting the Meteor in the car trunk before sending it to the skies.

"4 Sale cheap!
1959 Edsel good condishun, slightly modified, call Ed.
This is the car in Dr.Fred's garage. While a very meager "hint", it does tell you that Ed's car has been modified and suggests it will work differently than a normal car.

Not hints:
"I need your help!! Sandy's been kidnapped by Dr.Fred - Meet me at the driveway to Maniac Mansion, we've got to save her!! - Dave"

"Dave Miller for class president"
"Dave is a tuna head!"

Razor and the Scummetts
11:00 pm Club Mohawk
$4 cover charge"

"Photography for all Occasions
Michael F. Stoppe
State University, Porter Hole Hall, Rm 404, 555-1467"

"For Sale
Copy of "How to pick up Girls" (only used once)
also copy of "How to kiss a Girl" (never opened)
call Bernard at 555-1902"

"The Biology Department's Pet Octopus is missing two tentacles. Whoever is responsible for this sick prank is advised to turn himself in. It will go easier for you if you confess!
Professor Dilkmore, Chairman, Biology Dept."
So THIS is where the two disembodied tentacles in Dr.Fred's house come from!

"State University Meteorites, Athletic Department, Wilmunder Hall, Room 6723, 555-8745 x7490
Remember, cheerleading practice tonight @ 6:00 pm - Sandy
Aside from the reference to Sandy's kidnapping, there are two in-jokes here: the name "Meteorites", a reference to the Meteor, and the "Wilmunder Hall", Aric Wilmunder being a member of the Maniac Mansion team.

"To: Ms Sandy Pantz, Porter Hole Hall, State University
Sandy, I'm having a wonderful time. Why not drop that deadbeat Dave and fly to Hawaii to meet me, I'll pay for the ticket! Love, Ron"

"Missing from room 1447
300 Watt SB-50 Stereo with 3-way speakers CD Player and AM-FM tuner
If found call Cindy 555-1403"

"For Sale:
300 Watt SB-50 Stereo W/ 3-way speakers, CD Player, and AM-FM tuner.
Call 555-1927 after midnite and leave message."
Looks like someone has "found" the speakers. Could they be the ones in Green Tentacle's room?

"Need help with your term papers??
Call 3 Guys
Get your term papers for any subject written by the professionals!! With a variety of guaranteed grades for every budget
A+ $20, A $18, B $15, C $10, D $5
3 Guys who Publish Anything Inc."
So Mark Eteer's company not only publishes books, music and video games, they also help students with their term papers. Now that's being versatile!

"State University Psychology Department
The Psychology Department is looking for volunteer subjects for an electric shock experiment. Pay is $5.00
(filled in) Bill Simms, Jennifer Mills, Brad Clifton"

"The following students have been moved to Valley Psychiatric Institution as permanent residents. If you want, you can send flowers to Ward 7.
Bill Simms, Jennifer Mills, Brad Clifton"

"Giant dorm sale! Bargains! Bargains!
Personal stuff that once belonged to Bill, Jennifer and Brad. - Room 317"
Whoops. Guess this experiment didn't go so well.

"Woodie's Pizza Shack
2 for 1 on our newest combination: calamari, avocado and tuna fish (peanut butter 35¢ extra) Buy one at our regular low price and get the second same pizza free!
Offer expires September 1."

"State University Dorm Menu
Monday: Hot Dog Au Gratin, Spinach a la Cream, Creamed Corn on a stick, No Dessert
Tuesday: Spam Loaf, Ham Loaf, Carrot Loaf, Chocolate Mousse Loaf
Wednesday: Build your own Rice Casserole, Build your own Garlic Bread, Ham
Thursday: Meat Surprise, Sliced Ham, Pickled Fruit Salad
Friday: Cheese Surprise, Ham Hash, Pickled Fruit Kabobs, Saltines
Saturday (Parents Day): Barbecued Ribs, Corn on the Cob, Fresh Baked Potatoes, Double Chocolate Cake"

This Saturday is Parents Day. Let's keep the Dorm neat and clean. See you all at the Cafetaria Saturday for the big parents welcome party.
Biff Buckley, Porter Hole Hall Resident Assistant
P.S. The all night co-ed poker party will be moved to next Saturday."

"For Sale
Commodore 64 + Disk drive, and autographed copy of Ballblazer
Computer & drive: $300 $200 $100 $75.00
Copy of Ballblazer: $30.00 $40 $50.00"
Ballblazer was a previous Lucasfilm game. Note how the price of the computer goes down, but the price of Ballblazer goes up.

"Need ride to La Grande Oregon
Want to leave sometime after finals week. Will pay half of all speeding tickets.
Contact Ron in room 1197"

"Reincarnation: How it really works
(reincarnation diagram)
Lecture Friday 7pm, Merkin Hall, by Maharashi Mahannie Yogi Chuck
Suggested donation $5.00"
Note the use of the name Chuck (again).

"Next week's Test answers for Geology 108:
1)15 Million years ago 2)The Earth's Upper Crust 3)The Dinosaurs 4)Sputnik One 5)Chewie Caramel Center 6)Too Hot to Handle 7)Professor Greshner's Wife 8)When Hell Freezes Over"
"Chewy Caramel Center" is the name given to the brain on Dr.Fred's medical chart.

"Has anyone seen my tarantula?
- Pam"

"Did anyone tape the late show with Wink Smiley last night? (VHS only!)
- contact Chip, room 222"

Security door codes

The copy-protected versions came with these codes to open the security door. Some versions could only be read by using the code viewer supplied in the box.


Make sure to check out this hilarious non-interactive demo of the game, in which Dave gives you a short tour of the mansion. I can't host it here because of my free host's file restrictions, but you may be able to download it from elsewhere on the internet (I used to have a link for it, but it died) or watch it on a video sharing website.

Maniac Mansion Demo


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