Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle (often simply referred to as Day of the Tentacle, or abbreviated as DoTT) is a graphical adventure game, originally released in 1993, and published by LucasArts. It is the eighth game to use the SCUMM engine. It was released simultaneously on floppy disk and CD-ROM. Day of the Tentacle was designed by Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer.
The game, a sequel to Maniac Mansion, is focused on Bernard Bernoulli — the only one of the three playable characters that was featured in the first game — and his friends Laverne and Hoagie, as they help Dr. Fred Edison using a time machine to prevent Purple Tentacle from taking over the world. The game utilizes time travel and the effects of changing history as part of the many puzzles to be solved in the game.
Day of the Tentacle was well received and is considered to be one of the best games in the adventure genre.
In Maniac Mansion, the playable characters can be killed by various sequences of events. LucasArts adopted a different philosophy towards its adventure games in 1990, beginning with Loom. Their philosophy was that the game should not punish the player for exploring the game world. Accordingly, in most of the adventure games released by LucasArts after Loom, including Day of the Tentacle, the player character(s) cannot die.
The whole original Maniac Mansion game can be played on a computer inside the Day of the Tentacle game, a practice that other game developers have repeated, but at the time of Day of the Tentacle's release this was unprecedented.
The game, which takes place five years after Maniac Mansion, opens with Purple Tentacle becoming exposed to toxic waste from Dr. Fred Edison's Mansion, growing a pair of arms and acquiring a thirst for global domination. Dr. Fred catches Purple Tentacle as well as the friendly, non-evil Green Tentacle; and keeps them in his basement; but decides that he will kill the both of them. That evening, Green Tentacle sends a plea of help to his old friend Bernard — a stereotypical nerd — who heads off to the mansion to rescue him, accompanied by his friends, Laverne, a slightly psychotic medical student, and Hoagie, a laid-back rock band roadie. Bernard frees Green and Purple; only for Purple to inform him of his plans of world domination and resume his conquering of earth. Dr. Edison attempts to send the three friends back in time one day using his time machine; consisting of a central unit made out of an old car and three personal travel units called "Chron-o-Johns", made from Port-a-johns; so that they can turn off the sludge machine which produced the waste Purple Tentacle ingested so that he never does; and hence stop him from taking over the world. However, because Dr. Edison has used an imitation diamond as the power source, the machine fails, sending Hoagie 200 years in the past at the creation of the United States Constitution and Laverne 200 years in the future to a Tentacle-controlled world where humans are treated as pets, while Bernard remains in the present. Dr. Edison tasks Bernard with finding a real diamond to power the time machine to return his friends, while informing Hoagie and Laverne through the Chron-o-John that they must find power sources for their own units in order to bring them back. Fortunately; the three can send small objects back and forth in time through the Chron-o-Johns in order to complete these tasks.
Eventually, Bernard uses Dr. Edison's old family fortune to buy a real diamond, while both Laverne and Hoagie have powered their units, and the three are reunited in the present. Dr. Edison sends them back into the past one day again; this time successfully; where they find that the Purple Tentacle from 200 years in the future has also used the time machine to bring several other versions of himself to the same day to prevent them from turning off the sludge machine. But Bernard and his friends successfully defeat all the Purple Tentacles, turn off the machine and restore the course of future events to normal order. The game ends with the credits rolling over a Tentacle-shaped American flag, just one result of their tampering in history.
One of the aspects of Day of the Tentacle's plot is that it gives the game player the opportunity to interact with several important historical figures from colonial America, namely George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and Betsy Ross. Their personality traits are exaggerated for comic effect. Their descendants (or at least characters that resemble them) can be seen in the other ages. Harold, seemingly a descendant of Washington, appears as a transvestite in a future beauty contest organized by the Tentacles. An apparent descendant of Ben Franklin makes an appearance as a novelty toy salesman and a descendant of John Hancock appears as a depressed inventor named Dwayne.
Some of the more entertaining puzzles of the game involve these characters. In one sequence, Hoagie must give an exploding cigar to Washington in order to replace his famous false teeth with chattering novelty mechanical dentures, while in another he gives a drawing of a tentacle to Ross, who sews it into the American flag. By painting the fruits of a kumquat tree red, the player forces Washington to chop down the created "cherry" tree, also a myth concerning Washington's youth.
Adventure Gamers' review rated the game 5 out of 5, stating "If someone were to ask for a few examples of games that exemplify the best of the graphic adventure genre, Day of the Tentacle would certainly be near the top".
The introduction piece begins with the main verse from Edvard Grieg's Morning Mood.