Maniac Mansion: Ways To Die / Nintendo Music


The International House of Mojo has a retrospective of Maniac Mansion.

There’s a lot of rich history here. Included in the feature is a list of ways to die. I remember doing a few of these:

  • Fill the glass jar with radioactive pool water and microwave it. Then open the microwave.
  • Open the pool’s water valve and don’t close it.
  • Open the pool’s water valve, have a kid descend into the drained pool, and then close the water valve with the kid still in it.
  • Record Syd or Razor’s piano playing onto the cassette tape, mail it to Mark Eeter, and then show the publishing contract to Green Tentacle.
  • Push the red button at the bottom of the drained pool.

David Warhol also recounts how the game originally lacked music. All Nintendo games had music, which was the style at the time:

My company, Realtime Associates, developed the NES version of Maniac Mansion. We got about four fifths through development when Jaleco, the publisher, asked, “Where’s the music?” There wasn’t any music in the original computer game other than the title song and a couple incidental themes if I recall correctly, but video games at that time had to have “wall to wall” music. So Realtime was commissioned to get a soundtrack written at the last moment.

I turned to George and Team Fat to do some of the writing, and to Dave Hayes, a jazz/funk/fusion keyboardist living near Pasadena, to write some too. The guys wrote music on regular synths, and I gave myself the job of arranging them for the NES (having written the music & sound drivers, and being somewhat of an audio guy, myself).

Check out the studio recording of a live band doing Surf Face; Jeff, the surfer guy’s theme.

I suppose this would be a good spot to link this arrangement of Michael’s theme, Flashbulb Funk. Flashbulb Funk is my favorite tune from this apparent rush job, though my arrangement of it sounds like a spy movie cue more than a funky photographer beat.

Looks like this:

Flashbulb Junk - Reason Project

I hope someday that this game gets redone for modern gaming consoles in the that was done for Bionic Commando Rearmed.