Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle came out in 1993, making it just one year shy of voting and joining the military this spring. It is a classic, in more ways than one, and is considered by many of its fans to have set the golden standard for how to make a good adventure game. Its sense of humor is outrageous, its puzzles of course unforgettable, and it has one of the coolest looking villains of all time: The Purple Tentacle!
So, how do you make a 17 years old game run on Windows 7? Very easily, as it turns out. Read on.
The first thing you need is a SCUMM emulator. SCUMM is the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, and is to Lucas Arts what the Source Engine is to Valve: The backbone, vital organs, and nervous system of their games. It is also heavily copy-righted. LucasArts is still refusing to release Day of the Tentacle into the public domain, despite the game being nearly two decades old. So how do you play it in Windows 7?
Well, first of all you need the CD for the game. I bought mine off of eBay. If all you want is the CD it’s not nearly as expensive as the “as new! All manuals and packaging included” items you can find for nearly $80 on Amazon. Trust me, I paid less than $4, and that includes shipping.
The second thing you need is a SCUMM emulator, since SCUMM was created in 1987. Just like DOS, games made that way just won’t run on an operating system that doesn’t support it. Fortunately, there is a SCUMM Virtual Machine. It is named, very creatively, ScummVM, and is completely free to download and use.
Identify your OS in the list I just linked to, download and install. Note that installation method varies by OS, so skim through the ReadMe file of the version you downloaded and follow any instructions it gives you. If you’re in 64-bit Windows 7 it’s simply a matter of extracting the files from the .zip archive.
After installing, create a shortcut to ScummVM on your desktop.
Next, put your Tentacle CD in the drive. Cancel out of the auto-play if it comes up, and go to your File Explorer. Highlight everything on the CD, right-click and pick” Copy”. Create a new folder on your hard-drive, name it something suitable (I called mine Tentacle Day), and paste everything you copied into there. No, you don’t need every single file from the CD, but it’s easier this way, and if you don’t have enough hard drive space for 285MB, an inability to run a game from 1993 is the least of your computer problems.
Now, double-click on the shortcut to ScummVM. In the menu that comes up, navigate to the folder you copied all the CD data to. In that folder, you will find another folder named “DOTT”. High-light that one and click on “Choose”. You can now either leave everything on defaults (the game will run problem-free)”, or go to the graphics tab, bypass the global ScummVM settings and make it run in Fullscreen mode, and then click on Okay. Next time you start up ScummVM the game will be listed in the start screen. High-light it, click start, and you are off to the Maniac Mansion.
See how easy that was?