Back in 2015, Limited Run Games CEO and co-founder Josh Fairhurst and COO and co-founder Douglas Bogart noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult for video gamers to own a permanent physical copy of new releases. “There was this progression from physical media to all-digital products,” Fairhurst explains. “[Digital media] services were being shut down… If you were one of the people who had bought a game, you lost ownership and could no longer access it. It was a shame and the taste of a potential future.”
To help guard against this growing issue, Fairhurst and Bogart established Limited Run Games. “We stepped in to do this to give people ownership of their games again,” Fairhurst says. “If something impacts them in a meaningful way and they want to reexperience that in 20 years, they don’t have to worry about that game being gone. I still go back to games from my childhood like the classic Lucasfilm Games titles. It’s important that they exist physically.”
The collaboration between Lucasfilm and Limited Run Games initially focused on classic Star Wars titles, but fan-favorite The Secret of Monkey Island was another early rerelease. “We were thrilled by how successful Monkey Island was,” says Fairhurst. “We expected it do well, but the reception was so beyond what we anticipated that we decided to go look at the other adventure games.”
Beginning in 1987, Lucasfilm released a string of point-and-click adventures with original stories defined by their quirky sense of humor and unique art designs. The first was 1987’s Maniac Mansion, created by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick. Inspired in part by a love of B-movie horror flicks, Maniac Mansion gives players control of three oddly endearing teenagers as they infiltrate a strange house in order to rescue a kidnapped friend. The mansion’s bizarre inhabitants include the Edison Family (Dr. Fred, Nurse Edna, and Weird Ed) along with a couple of sentient tentacles: a purple one who aids Dr. Fred in his quest for world domination and a green one who aspires to fame as a rock star.
As Limited Run Games’ newest rerelease in alignment with Lucasfilm Games, Maniac Mansion is available in a number of boxed sets full of nostalgia and fun. In a way, it’s a full circle moment for the collaboration. Not only did its rambunctious, unforgettable story help set the tone for other Lucasfilm Games adventures, but its innovative source code written in the new “SCUMM” language (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) formed the technical backbone for all of those subsequent games.