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Are there any reasons for playing Maniac Mansion before Day of the Tentacle?

Does anything occur in the second game that requires playing the first game to understand the plot?

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    I'm curious, what makes you think they are related? They are both Lucasarts games, but from different gamedesigners so one is not a sequel/follow-up of the other. – Kevin Mar 3 '15 at 9:11
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    @Kevin DoTT was marketed as the sequel to MM. From wikipedia: "Day of the Tentacle, also known as Maniac Mansion II: Day of the Tentacle, is a 1993 graphic adventure game developed and published by LucasArts. It is the sequel to the 1987 game Maniac Mansion.". Of course gameplay wise they're pretty different. – CodesInChaos Mar 3 '15 at 9:29
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    @Kevin - several characters from the first game return in the Day of the Tentacle (the Edisons, the tentacles and Bernard). It also takes part in the same mansion (although the mansion has changed a lot). – user101016 Mar 3 '15 at 10:16
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    @CodesInChaos Heck the logo for Day of the Tentacle has Maniac Mansion in smaller type right next to it. – Powerlord Mar 3 '15 at 19:19
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While the other answers say a strong "no", I'll make a stand on this matter and say:

Yes. Or no. Depends on the exact meaning of your questions.

If it's along the lines of Do you need to read Hobbit before reading LotR to be able to understand the plot?, the answer is no. If it's Do you need to read Hobbit before reading LotR to be able to fully understand the plot?, then the answer is yes.

More specifically:

Are there any reasons for playing Maniac Mansion before Day of the Tentacle?

Yeah, a good one - understanding the background flavour (Edison family, whole Purple/Green Tentacle business, the Mansion itself, Bernard, the Hamster etc.) & all tongue-in-cheeks made about protagonists & antagonists from MM1 makes the game arguably a lot funnier, and playing adventure games is about fun after all,

Does anything occur in the second game that requires playing the first game to understand the plot?

Nothing important occurs that would require playing MM1 to be able to understand it - but a lot of completely unimportant things occur that require a knowledge of MM1 to actually be able to understand and enjoy them fully.

So it's basically down to tl;dr "do I need to read a prologue to understand a book?" - the answer depends on what you mean by "understand".

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    Putting the hamster in the microwave in Day of the Tentacle is a nice nod to its prequel - even though the reason for doing it in the original was sinister. – user101016 Mar 3 '15 at 14:56
  • If the question is not clear enough, don't answer "Yes or no", ask for a clarification. – einpoklum Mar 4 '15 at 17:56
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    @einpoklum the question is clear enough to produce a set of answers; it's not clear enough to select one answer as a definite from my point of view. I clearly stated that in my answer - as such, I see no need for additional clarification from OP. An answer of "It depends", highlighting the dependencies of the definite Y/N answer, is a valid answer as far as SE meta consensus goes - see e.g. meta.gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/1548/… – vaxquis Mar 4 '15 at 18:08
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No, the narrative on Day of the Tentacle stands independent of Maniac Mansion. In fact, you can play Maniac Mansion from within Day of the Tentacle as the whole game is included as a hidden bonus.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/day-of-the-tentacle-retrospective

You find the hidden game by interacting with an old computer in Ed's room as Bernard.

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    The computer is available to Bernard when he visits Ed's room. – user101016 Mar 3 '15 at 10:17
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    @rasteve thank you, I've updated the answer! Great memory! – EleventhDoctor Mar 3 '15 at 10:20
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    Unfortunately, the version of Maniac Mansion they included with Day of the Tentacle is the lower res PC version instead of the higher res "Enhanced" PC version. Making it look even more primitive than it already was. – Powerlord Mar 3 '15 at 19:21
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    @Powerlord - I wonder if part of that decision was to use natural skin tones for the Edisons (gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/123383/…) – user101016 Mar 4 '15 at 4:22
6

Nope

The plot is perfectly meaningful without having played Maniac Mansion. There are some jokes (in-jokes?) that refer to Maniac Mansion, but other than that it's an independent story on its own.

1

I am going to give another reason for No...

Maniac Mansion was released in 1987. It was a pioneer in the graphic adventures genre, setting a template for future generations of graphic adventures. The standard for adventure games (whether with or without any form of graphics) was to type in your actions. You needed to type in the actions correctly or the game would not progress. Maniac Mansion gave you the ability to navigate with a pointer, select on a verb and an object. You no longer had the mistake of mistyping. At the time, Maniac Mansion would have been seen as a massive improvement on the adventure genre.

Maniac Mansion was released on a variety of platforms, but in its greatest form it was with CGA graphics. The sound is also made up of primitive beeps and no speech support. The game also contains numerous dead-ends, and depending on the copy you are using (and how you emulate the game) potential for needing the copy protection documentation.

Day of the Tentacle was released in 1993 (6 years after the first game). The game builds upon the same game engine but there has been a lot of work between the 2 releases (at least 6 games building on the same engine were released between 1987 and 1993). The engine had gone through major changes.

Day of the Tentacle had better mouse support, had better design (no dead ends etc), had voice support (CD version only, although the very start had voice in the floppy version I believe) and better graphics (greater range of colours giving it the comic book/cartoon style).

Of course, games have evolved since - with each iteration having better graphics, sound and user interfaces. This makes later games easier to play (which is true for any genre).

Now, if you have played Day of the Tentacle or similar games of this standard, and then go back to playing the first game afterwards you may be in for a painful experience. Attempting to adjust to the more primitive interface, graphics and sounds may not allow you to enjoy the original game.

All of this depends on your general experience with games and your own tolerances. However, it is feasible that if you play Maniac Mansion after Day of the Tentacle you will not enjoy the game as much. On the same note, if you have a low tolerance for games designed on a C64 then you probably won't enjoy Maniac Mansion either way.

As others have stated, you can play Maniac Mansion within the Day of the Tentacle. This is the original port from the C64. An "enhanced" version was released later on (improvements in the graphics). A mod team did convert the game into a 1990-style release (Maniac Mansion Deluxe Edition) although there are differences to help combat the game dead-end scenarios.

If you play the original or enhanced version it would be better to use the ScummVM emulator as it gives you several features from other LucasArts games (period key to skip dialogue, better mouse support etc).

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    +1 for being brave enough to bring up the frustrating aspects of Maniac Mansion; I gave up on it pretty quickly having played Day of the Tentacle right through to the end. – EleventhDoctor Mar 5 '15 at 8:13
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    if you have played Day of the Tentacle (...) and then go back to playing the first game afterwards you may be in for a painful experience - for me, that's a good reason for yes (i.e. playing MM before DotT), not for no... – vaxquis Mar 5 '15 at 16:44
  • @vaxquis - as mentioned, also depends on whether you can tolerate/enjoy games from an older generation of machines. Try playing Raiders of the Lost Ark on Atari, Temple of Doom on Nintendo then Last Crusade on PC-DOS. If you have never touched an Atari or Nintendo before that experience may be too painful. – user101016 Mar 5 '15 at 18:26
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    @rasteve I started playing games about 25 years ago; Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum & C64... and have never considered it "painful" - honestly, I don't get the notion at all. Went Contra (NES) a couple of days ago with a buddie, and what can I say - it really rocked, with no autosave, no "easy mode" (with exception of cheats), no QTE, no autoaim, no FSAA, no 7.1 sound... but with a lot of action, and a lot of fun. There are good games and there are bad games, it's as simple as that for me. Also, what about en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_fiction ? Are you likely to be eaten by a grue? – vaxquis Mar 5 '15 at 18:39
  • NB I'm not saying that DotT had interface worse than MM1 - because it's obviously a lot better, in many ways... still, I prefer reading Shakespeare to Twilight, even if it means I'll have to spend a couple of hours with OE dictionary for every chapter I go through. – vaxquis Mar 5 '15 at 18:49

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