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.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Jindo Fox

    Flamingo: "I love to sleep while standing on one leg."

    This is VERY early cd-rom stuff, less sophisticated than Spaceship Warlock or Journeyman Project. For two bucks I might get this for my little girl, but I have a feeling modern apps like Itsy Bitsy or Green Eggs and Ham are going to hold more appeal.

  • Jindo Fox

    Flamingo: "I love to sleep while standing on one leg."

    This is VERY early cd-rom stuff, less sophisticated than Spaceship Warlock or Journeyman Project. For two bucks I might get this for my little girl, but I have a feeling modern apps like Itsy Bitsy or Green Eggs and Ham are going to hold more appeal.

  • JCat

    Wowz! Someone else remembers Journeyman Project! Back when a software program on CD was a marvel! Hey, 7th Guest would make a good "i" product now that I think of it.

  • JCat

    Wowz! Someone else remembers Journeyman Project! Back when a software program on CD was a marvel! Hey, 7th Guest would make a good "i" product now that I think of it.

  • http://www.jindofox.com jindofox

    I was an early adopter, and would pore over the thick EDUCORP CD-ROM catalogs. Iron Helix, Lunicus, The Journeyman Project, Jump Raven, the LucasArts collections ... the Mac had the best CD-ROM games for a little while.

    We don't need 7th Guest (or 11th Hour), there are plenty of good chess puzzlers without superfluous full-motion-video hammy acting in the App Store.

    I wouldn't mind a humorous return to the world of Spaceship Warlock, though. And Virtual Valerie while we're at it.

    • MisterDrgn

      Yeah, Spaceship Warlock was exciting, but the ridiculous load times in Journeyman Project pissed me off.

      I enjoyed Cosmic Osmo and always wondered about Manhole, so I may just have to get this...

  • http://www.jindofox.com jindofox

    I was an early adopter, and would pore over the thick EDUCORP CD-ROM catalogs. Iron Helix, Lunicus, The Journeyman Project, Jump Raven, the LucasArts collections ... the Mac had the best CD-ROM games for a little while.

    We don't need 7th Guest (or 11th Hour), there are plenty of good chess puzzlers without superfluous full-motion-video hammy acting in the App Store.

    I wouldn't mind a humorous return to the world of Spaceship Warlock, though. And Virtual Valerie while we're at it.

    • MisterDrgn

      Yeah, Spaceship Warlock was exciting, but the ridiculous load times in Journeyman Project pissed me off.

      I enjoyed Cosmic Osmo and always wondered about Manhole, so I may just have to get this...

  • Paul

    Judging from the name 'manhole', it doesn't really sound like a children's game, though

  • Paul

    Judging from the name 'manhole', it doesn't really sound like a children's game, though

  • nick

    I have almost 6 year old twins, I'm REALLY looking forward to showing them this.

    Shame it isn't a universal app. Would love for them to experience this in further clarify on the iPad screen, but 2x should be okay!

  • nick

    I have almost 6 year old twins, I'm REALLY looking forward to showing them this.

    Shame it isn't a universal app. Would love for them to experience this in further clarify on the iPad screen, but 2x should be okay!

  • Andy

    Manhole.... lol...sorry someone had to do it...

  • Andy

    Manhole.... lol...sorry someone had to do it...

  • http://www.spongefile.com spongefile

    The black and white graphics were better...

    • swarmster

      Agreed. Real shame that it isn't the original graphics. And an iPad version would be nice.

      That said...make yourself comfortable. Have a biscuit, baby!

      *could hear him say it before he said it*

  • http://www.spongefile.com spongefile

    The black and white graphics were better...

    • swarmster

      Agreed. Real shame that it isn't the original graphics. And an iPad version would be nice.

      That said...make yourself comfortable. Have a biscuit, baby!

      *could hear him say it before he said it*

  • http://www.blog.scottspiro.com Scott Spiro

    Let's hope Cyan releases Cosmic Osmo next!

  • http://www.blog.scottspiro.com Scott Spiro

    Let's hope Cyan releases Cosmic Osmo next!

  • http://www.gofreeapp.com GoFreeApp

    Manhole…. lol...hope Cyan...

  • http://www.gofreeapp.com GoFreeApp

    Manhole…. lol...hope Cyan...

  • phatbhuda

    Also remember that The Manhole is the first computer game distributed on CD-ROM. I was lucky enough to have a Mac and Apple's CD-ROM drive to go along with it. The drive was SCSI and also worked on my Apple IIGS. Ah, to be a kid and to have parents that were in to computers.

    I still remember the walrus and the turtle from The Manhole, haha.

  • phatbhuda

    Also remember that The Manhole is the first computer game distributed on CD-ROM. I was lucky enough to have a Mac and Apple's CD-ROM drive to go along with it. The drive was SCSI and also worked on my Apple IIGS. Ah, to be a kid and to have parents that were in to computers.

    I still remember the walrus and the turtle from The Manhole, haha.

  • http://tiffchow.typepad.com .tiff

    The motivation to explore the world is not so apparent in The Manhole, Fugly ed. These screenshots are a pure eyesore, whereas the original artwork was intricate, imaginative, and you were always clicking to see more...

  • http://tiffchow.typepad.com .tiff

    The motivation to explore the world is not so apparent in The Manhole, Fugly ed. These screenshots are a pure eyesore, whereas the original artwork was intricate, imaginative, and you were always clicking to see more...

  • Dex

    We need to stop thinking in "adult" terms.. this is a Child's game.. something a 4 or 5 year old could pick up and enjoy. Dont judge to harshly something that was not intended for you.

  • Kai

    In memory of Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide, etc), they should re-issue Starship Titanic for iOS, too (maybe fix some of its many bugs while they're at it!)