Early last month we posted about Cyan's plans to bring the childrens' adventure game The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition [$1.99] to the App Store. The game just became available for download this morning, and I must admit, approaching the game for the first time as an adult is a little odd. The Manhole really has no goal other than exploring the fantasy world laid out in front of you after you climb a beanstalk which grows out of a manhole. As a gamer I'm almost trained to try to figure out where to go, or what to do, or what item I need to solve a puzzle, or countless other things. It's just really strange to be thrown in to a game universe where you don't do any of those things, and instead, you just see what there is to see.
The original version of the game was released in 1988 using HyperCard, an early hypermedia authoring system that anyone who used an early Macintosh is likely familiar with. The game was then re-released a few times over the years and finally ended up on CD-ROM as The Manhole: CD-ROM Masterpiece Edition which is where the App Store version is derived from. The Manhole on iOS devices plays very similar to Cyan's Myst [$4.99 / Free] in that it's basically a highly interactive slide show of pre-rendered scenes.
The Manhole sports a full soundtrack and voiceovers for the various odd characters you will come across while exploring such as a poetry reading pig, a cool dude of a dragon, and many others. Check out the following video of the Windows version of the game, which seems to be nearly identical to the iPhone game aside from the obvious differences between the touch and mouse interface:
I don't think The Manhole will appeal to anyone who doesn't have fond memories of playing the game when it was originally released. Friends of mine who loved the game when they were younger are enjoying The Manhole as a fantastic piece of nostalgia, but I don't have any special ties to the game and while I can appreciate it for the piece of gaming history that it is The Manhole isn't doing much for me.
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