Maniac Mansion Used a Joystick

Dec 03, 2014

The C64 version of Maniac Mansion didn't use a mouse, it used one of these:

A year later we did the IBM PC version and it had keyboard support for moving the cursor because most PCs didn't have a mouse.  Monkey Island also had cursor key support because not everyone had a mouse.

Use the above facts to impress people at cocktail parties.



Joe
Can't wait for the next xmas party! People are going to be SO impressed.

Lennart
Actually, I had a mouse for the C64. It was dreadfully slow. Had to move it about three times over the pad to get it from one side of the screen to the other. Can you imagine the horror when I met Edna in the kitchen? I had to click in the right spot to make the screen scroll to reveal Edna, then immediately move the cursor to the other side while still walking. Otherwise, Jailtime!

Leonard
I recall my joystick being bigger than that.

blombo
That's actually a 1' by 1' joystick.

Chris
My C64 joystick had a black and red base with a red button, red stick, and a white button on the top.

Oliver
This.joystick = atari_vcs_joystick;

Yeah i played the first Monkey Island just with the keyboard for the first time. Although the game was a great experience as a 6 year old kid, althought I didnt get most of the humor at that time, the controls certainly were not.

enthusi
The VCS Joysticks and C64 are compatible. Quite some used Atari Sticks on the C64.
Recently the C64 version of Maniac Mansion was hacked to include mouse-support and verb-preselection on right button which came up with later Lucasfilm titles though ;-)

Lars
Does this mean Thimbleweed Park will support joysticks, or is that one of the final stretch goals?

Oded Sharon
that's my question exactly

Ironician
Lennart, there's no point in using a mouse in a game that doesn't specifically SUPPORT mouse on the C64. It will just act as a bad joystick in such a case. It will only support the eight directions, and there won't be any inertialike movement.

There were plenty of different mice for the C64, for example, the NEOS mouse, which was great for creating graphics and drawing. But you had to use the software that supported it - otherwise you would only get straight and diagonal lines drawn with it. It's a bit like today - if you don't have the drivers, your device won't work, or will work erroneously.

Even with the mouse support, I'd still rather play the Commodore 64 version with its joystick cursor a hundred hours in a row (with small breaks for eating and such) than even play the horrible Amiga (or later PC version) for five minutes. Everything that CAN be wrong in a conversion, was just so horribly wrong. From the tiny and pathetic, weak, dead sound effects to the ugliest graphics in an adventure game that I have probably ever seen. C64 version is a thing of atmosphere and beauty.

What happened with that conversion?

I don't think anyone is going to make a driver for the Maniac Mansion that would support NEOS mouse or the Commodore 1351 mouse (also Amiga mice work with the C64, and a few painting packages, like "Interpaint", actually support them just fine).

I think it's better that there is no mouse. It's initially frustrating, but then it becomes this zenlike-"flow" that you enter into, you can make a quick move and release the joystick JUST at the right time, and the cursor arrives perfectly on the target. It becomes a second nature, like a cultivated skill that has to be utilized if you are to complete the game.

And the game rewards the player with splendid wonders.

Paddle support would've been kind of interesting though..

Paul Blan
I'm actually telling my office colleague that fact right now and he is very impressed! (both huge Monkey Island fans!