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Proto:Maniac Mansion (NES, USA)

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Maniac Mansion (NES, USA).

The prototype of the American Maniac Mansion is nearly identical to the final, except for some elements that were subsequently removed or altered at Nintendo of America's request.

Douglas Crawford, who worked on the NES version, has a page on NoA's objections here.

Download.png Download Maniac Mansion (US Prototype)
File: Maniac Mansion (U) (Prototype).nes‎ (256 KB) (info)
To do:
  • Investigate the line "Charles Tashiro was here!" It is found near the furnace text.
  • Document the mummy.

Removed Objects

"Disco Sucks" Poster

Nintendo apparently likes disco...

If you read the poster, you get this message:

Disco Sucks!...


Maniac Mansion (NES-USA-proto)-statue.png

The plaque reads:

Original Translation
Si trouve envoyez-le au Louvre, poste paye.
If found, send to the Louvre, postage paid.

Title Screen

Proto Final
Maniac Mansion (NES-USA-proto)-Title screen.png Maniac Mansion-title.png

The final modified the blood a bit so the TM symbol could fit, along with changing the logo from brown to red. Notably, the logo on the character select screen retains the brown palette.

Text Differences

Ed and Edna Cutscene

Maniac Mansion (NES) Prototype-Ed and Edna Cutscene Hasn't Eaten.png

Mostly the same as the final, though one line was altered:

Proto Final
He hasn't eaten in 5 years...
He hasn't slept in 5 years...

NoA cited the entire exchange as being objectionable. As Crockford explains:

What was Nintendo's problem with the dialogue? Was it the brutal exposition of parental neglect in the disintegration of an American family? More likely, we thought they had a problem with the dead bodies in the basement[...] In fact, Nintendo's interpretation of the speech was that Dr. Fred was a cannibal, that he was eating the bodies. That was never our intention, so we changed Ed's speech to "He hasn't slept in 5 years," which helps to explain why Dr. Fred is never seen in his bedroom.

Dr. Fred and Sandy Cutscene

Also mostly identical to the final, with one line altered:

Proto Final
You'll be hooked up to my machine
getting your pretty brains sucked out.
You'll be hooked up to my machine
getting your pretty brains removed.

Nintendo, according to Crockford, thought "brains sucked out" was too graphic for the younger audience and suggested changing it to "brains removed".


Proto Final
Damn! I broke it!
Oops! I broke it!

Phone Conversations with Edna

In the final, when you call Edna she assumes she's talking to her dead cousin Ted, when in reality she's having a conversation with herself. In the prototype, there is some humorous dialogue where she assumes it's a prank call:

Proto Final

Who's there?
Is this a prank phone call?

It doesn't sound like it,
there's no heavy breathing

Here let me show you
how to do it.
Cousin Ted?

Is that you? I've been
waiting for your call.

I haven't heard from you
since your operation.

Let me tell you what's
been happening.

It was 2 years ago today...
Proto Final
Is this you again?

If you're not going to do it
right then good bye!
Hello? Cousin Ted?
Blah, blah, blah...

Wait! I think I hear a

While there's no inappropriate content to be censored here, it was removed from the final version by the porting team themselves, due to concerns that the younger, more impressionable player base would find this dialogue too amusing and start making prank calls of their own.

Edna's Lines


The lines that Edna says when she puts you in the prison were changed. They were obviously cut due to depicting intentions of bondage (not to mention implied rape!). The lines depend on the gender of the character that was caught.


Proto Final
Lucky you're not a boy
or you'd be in trouble now!
You'll be safe here until
the police come, dearie.


Proto Final
How silly of me!
I should have tied you
to my bed, cutie!
Just you wait until I
talk to your mother!


I have half a good mind
to talk to my husband!

Interestingly, the final is the only version of the game to have two variants if a character is caught. These are shown at random.

Edna is still harsher on the boys in the final, but the implied tone is completely different.


This NES is SCUM!

The prototype's credits include two mentions of SCUMM (an acronym for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion). According to Crockford, Nintendo was worried what players might think when they see "NES" with a word that looks like "scum", so he took out the mentions of SCUMM.

Proto Final
SCUMM System by Ron Gilbert
and Aric Wilmunder
Story System by Ron Gilbert
and Aric Wilmunder
Proto Final
NES SCUMM system ported by
David Stifel
NES version by
David Stifel