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Tentacle Day

Entry 572 posted in: 3. Gamebits

Yep, it's a flying toilet. I start with my favourite Groucho Marx scene, (probably) with Thelma Todd. They are having a romantic rowboat scene (as far as a romantic scene with Groucho is possible) when she says: “Spring is in the air.” Groucho replies: “And fall in the water.” Cracks me up every time.

Of course you need to know that this is partially a Yiddish joke. I don’t speak it but Yiddish antecedents can be found in the German language and the German language isn’t that far from Dutch.

So when Thelma Todd says: Spring is in the air, Groucho interprets this as shpring meaning jump. Jumping up and down in a rowboat on a lake is a hazardous thing to do and you might ‘fall in the water’. Of course this elaborate explanation has ruined the joke completely so it is better to go on with the actual subject of this post.

Thus a few days ago I said to myself: “spring is in the air” and for one inexplicable reason or another this idea got intermingled with the thoughts of a game I used to play in the early Nineties. The only problem was that I couldn’t remember the name of the game anymore, but I did remember that it involved putting a hamster in a deep freezer and defrosting the poor animal in a micro wave oven about two hundreds year later. And I could remember, oddly enough, the makers of the game: Lucasarts.

The official LucasArts website doesn’t mention those vintage games they used to make when pixel were roughly the size of square centimetre. They prefer going on, ad nauseam, about episode XXXIX in the Star Wars saga. So I went over to Abandonia instead. That site doesn’t mention any LucasArts games at all. Very strange. Over to Home Of The Underdogs. Some games were mentioned over there but not the one I was looking for. It only made my appetite, called it hunger, for the unknown game bigger.

I soon found out that LucasArts (and others) have asked several abandonware sites to remove their games, even when they date from the past millennium and can only be played using emulators like Dosbox. Legally the makers have the right to do that, these games are still copyrighted by their owners, but what if I decide to play the original Manic Mansion and find out that my computer will not eat a five and a half inch floppy disk anymore?

Thanks to the net I found out that it was the Manic Mansion sequel Day Of The Tentacle I was lusting for. A lucky wind of bits put it on my hard disk and after a few false starts (due to the incompability of XP and good old DOS) I was laughing out loud with its wacky humour. This game hasn’t aged a bit.

Googling around I found out that some German fans are willing to take over the world with a version called DOTT2. Germans and humour? They must be meshuge.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Nomen Est Omen: Starship Titanic.