The Memory Card .54: Microwaving the hamster

Videogame controversy springs up in the most unlikely of places .
While most people associate this controversy with modern games — from the Grand Theft Auto sulfur to the God of War south — there were many cases of videogame scandal popping up during the ex post facto era. Let ’ s birdcall it “ retroversy ” for no early reason than I think it sounds cute .
These “ retroversies ” were not as widely talked about, but decidedly significant — possibly even more so given the fact that videogames were sol modern and hadn ’ thyroxine established themselves in the market. If something extra violent or dysphemistic happened in an older videogame, parents freaked out ! What are my children playing ? ! It ’ s the annoy ’ sulfur work !
One exercise of a “ retroversy ” ( cunning ! ) occurs in classic adventure game Maniac Mansion. true, this is the smallest and most street arab moment always featured on the Memory Card, but that doesn ’ t mean it still isn ’ t one of the most memorable. Heck, even without the ridiculous controversy surrounding it, it would inactive be one of my favored videogame moments of all time.

*Not really.
The Set-Up
Before best caller always LucasArts changed its name to, well, LucasArts, the publisher was known as Lucasfilm Games. During this era, the party started producing what we now know as some of the most iconic venture games ever created. One of the first of these gamble games was Maniac Mansion for the Commodore 64 .

Maniac Mansion was the first gear Lucasfilm game to utilize the SCUMM engine. Basically, the SCUMM ( Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion ) engine was created specifically for Maniac Mansion as a intend of interacting with the objects and characters on-screen. By choosing from a bunch together of verbs listed on the bottom half of the screen, players could click on any object and interact with it. For example, clicking “ Open ” and then clicking on the door of a board would allow the player ’ s character to open the door .
even though it seems limiting, the SCUMM engine made adventure games so much more enjoyable, as players wouldn ’ metric ton be stuck finding the right verb to use in certain situations like in most previously released text-based adventure games ( such as Sierra published King’s Quest or Police Quest ). In addition, the wide kind of verbs still opened the door for numerous possibilities. All in all, the SCUMM engine worked very well and is adored by venture game super fans such as myself .
But spinal column to Maniac Mansion

In the game, you play ampere main quality Dave Miller, a college scholar that travels to the titular sign of the zodiac to find his kidnap girlfriend Sandy .
In accession to Dave, the actor besides takes command of two other characters. In a cool feature, these two supporting characters are selected from a pool of six of Dave ’ s college friends, each with his/her own limited skills .

After selecting his companions, Dave and friends enter the sign of the zodiac in hopes of finding and rescuing Sandy .

The owners of the skittish sign of the zodiac are the ill-famed Edison family : father Dr. Fred, mother Nurse Edna, their son Weird Ed, Dead Cousin Ted, and the two tentacles, Green and Purple. To say this family is odd is putting it mildly. After a meteoroid crashed in presence of their sign of the zodiac twenty years early, the family has lento gone insane .

The mansion itself is composed of many rooms ( including everything from a basic kitchen to a crazy lab ), each containing bizarre items and characters for Dave and friends to interact with. In on-key gamble gaming manner, the numerous items in the game can be collected, carried around, and used late to solve dastard puzzles .
After traveling through the sign of the zodiac for a while, Dave runs into Weird Ed, Fred and Edna ’ s seriously deranged son. not alone does Ed have a atrocious temper, he is weirdly obsess and superintendent protective of his pet hamster .

queerly enough, this apparently random favored hamster becomes the focus of this week ’ s ill-famed Memory Card moment .
The Moment
One thing that is great about Lucasfilm/LucasArts games is most objects on-screen can be collected or, at the identical least, manipulated. even better, some of these objects are not even needed to beat the game. In some situations, sealed items can never be used at all ( good fortune trying to find a cool way to use the fuel-drained chain saw, for exercise ) .
The same can be said for Weird Ed ’ mho hamster. By distracting the disquieted Edison son, Nick and friends can steal the cute, helpless hamster from Ed ’ second bedroom .

While any other game would probably use the hamster for some adorable function, Maniac Mansion takes things to a hilariously sick degree .
If punk rocker rock character Razor is in the party, she can take the hamster to the kitchen and randomly position it in the microwave .

After closing the doorway on the innocent creature and turning the microwave on, Razor watches as 3 … 2 … 1 … the hamster explodes .

That ’ south right : the hamster explodes, covering the inside of the microwave in lineage .
To make things more disturb ( and more hilarious ? ) razor can grab the hamster ’ mho remains and return them to Weird Ed. Of course it comes as no surprise that the minute Ed sees his beloved darling ’ mho remains he goes into a rage and kills the musician .
game over .

Most games encourage the actor to replay different scenarios to find multiple endings, but Maniac Mansion offers multiple deaths throughout its entirety. Sticking with the ghastly theme of the integral game, finding these different death scenes is character of the overall fun .
You can watch Razor microwave the hamster and return what is left of it to Ed correct here ( and, yeah, I have no theme why it is all in german ) :
The Impact
Let ’ s face it : microwaving the hamster in Maniac Mansion is hilarious. It is completely random and wholly unnecessary, but it is the perfect exemplar of the dark and wrench temper found in all of the Lucasfilm/LucasArts games .
But spinal column in the late ‘ 80s when this bet on was released some people didn ’ metric ton find it so fishy .
When Nintendo released a port of Maniac Mansion on their identical own NES they heavily censored the game ’ mho violence and brainsick jokes. In an amazing wind of fortune, somehow the microwave in the hamster sequence was not taken out or even censored in the slender. Granted, the blood that splatters the inside of the microwave is gloomy and not red in the NES adaptation, but that was most likely due to the graphic downgrade than anything .
After thousands and thousands of copies ended up in the homes of families everywhere, the Jack Thompsons of that earned run average had a discipline day. They demanded that Nintendo remove the “ offensive ” act .
But it was besides late. Since Nintendo never printed a second base batch of cartridges, the poor hamster ’ s violent death remained on every north american english replicate of the game .
Amazing .
It wasn ’ t until the crippled shipped abroad to Europe when the ability to microwave the hamster was taken out .
By this point, though, people were talking about this moment in Maniac Mansion and it quickly became videogame lore .
But looking past all this stupid controversy, microwaving the hamster very is one of the first examples of what in truth defines LucasArts gamble games : chiefly their creativity and their alone sense of humor .
After the hamster in the microwave became videogame legend, many early gamble games in the LucasArts line started including more “ inside ” jokes. In Maniac Mansion sequel Day of the Tentacle ( best adventure game of all time ! ), one of the characters is actually required to thaw out a frozen hamster in a microwave to use it late in the game .
similar at heart jokes like this continued throughout the years and truly established LucasArts as one of the most creative and humorous publishers in videogame history .
In a way, the asinine controversy surrounding Maniac Mansion actually helped the future of the gamble music genre … and gaming in general ! Knowing that apt, sick temper garners a lot of attention, who knows ? possibly we wouldn ’ t have games like Earthworm Jim or Psychonauts if it wasn ’ metric ton for that hamster in that microwave .
If only the dead hamster knew what he lost his life for .
He would be so proud …
The Memory Card Save Files
.01 – .20 ( Season 1 )
.21 – .40 ( Season 2 )
.41 : The tadpole prince ( Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars )
.42 : pyramid head ! ( Silent Hill 2 )
.43 : Waiting for Shadow ( Final Fantasy VI )
.44 : solid v. Liquid ( Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots )
.45 : The birth of the cutscene ( Ninja Gaiden )
.46 : insult swordfighting ( The Secret of Monkey Island )
.47 : A castle adhere in meter ( The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker )
.48 : ‘ That ’ s the magic trick flute ! ’ ( The Wizard )
.49 : Saving Santa ( Secret of Mana )
.50 : A shock passing ( Half-Life 2: Episode Two )
.51 : The flying cow ( Earthworm Jim )
.52 : Blind the Thief ( The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past )
.53 : The nuclear fire ( Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare )

Chad Concelmo