[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ZakMcKracken.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:256:See Ya.]]

->''Can one hack writer, two Yale coeds, and a stale loaf of french bread save the world from a galactic conspiracy? Not without your help.''
--> -- Cover blurb

'''''Zak [=McKracken=] And The Alien Mindbenders''''' is an AdventureGame by Creator/LucasArts, released in 1988. It was the second SCUMM adventure game, preceded by ''VideoGame/ManiacMansion''. Originally released for the {{Commodore 64}}, it was ported to the IBMPersonalComputer, {{Amiga}}, AtariST and FMTowns.

The game tells the story of a tabloid journalist named Zak, who has a dream about space aliens on Mars, who wear ten-gallon hats and [[TheMarxBrothers Groucho Marx]] nose glasses. When he awakens, he finds himself uncovering a conspiracy by the alien Caponians, who are using the Phone Company in a [[RevealingCoverup not very hidden plot]] to try and TakeOverTheWorld.

[[FridgeLogic Yeah, it's that kind of story]]. It is also very inspired by NewAge themes such as Atlantis, Aliens, Crystals, Telepathy, and the Giant Face on UsefulNotes/{{Mars}}, as well as the outrageous tabloid the ''WeeklyWorldNews''.

The game featured many technical improvements on [[ManiacMansion its predecessor]], including a storyline that takes Zak all the way around the world, and an interesting system whereby the various characters have adventures independent of each other (two of the playable characters are introduced as space adventurers on Mars, literally a world away from the bits with Zak).

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!!Tropes Used In This Game Include:
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Stonehenge is ''not'' located in London. Nor is there a 13th Avenue in UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco (because ThirteenIsUnlucky, the street in between 12th and 14th Avenues is called Funston).
* BaguetteBeatdown: You could use the stale baguette from the Bakery next door to kill the [[KillerRabbit two-headed squirrel]].
* TheBermudaTriangle: You simply fly here whenever you want to get abducted by the aliens. This is actually very convenient.
* BritainIsOnlyLondon: See the Stonehenge example above.
* ButThouMust: the mind-bending machine has a big switch with two positions that are both labeled "on"...
* CallItKarma: The Guru will not help you if you killed Sushi or the Squirrel. [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney Unless you bribe him.]]
* CatchPhrase: See Ya.
* ChainsawGood: You find a can of gas ("For chainsaw use only!") in a locker on Mars as an in-joke, with the player character refusing to pick it up because "It's for [[ManiacMansion another game]]."
* CopyProtection: A symbol dialing screen, accessed every time Zak or Annie book a flight arriving outside of the United States. If you fail this, the character is transported to jail, with the Jailor turning towards the camera lecturing you not to pirate the game.
** This was removed for the 1991 FM Towns port of the game.
* DarkestAfrica: Shaman Slicinmon in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Congo).
* {{Elvis Has Left The Planet}}: Parodied, the Caponians are led by an Elvis impersonator named "The King".
* FanSequel: At least three sets of fans have set about creating a sequel: 1) ''Zak [=McKracken=]: Between Time and Space'' and 2) ''Zak [=McKracken=] and the Alien Rockstars'', and 3) ''The New Adventures of Zak [=McKracken=]''
* {{Feelies}}: The game came with a free issue of ''The Daily Inquisitor'', the tabloid the protagonist works for. Several of the articles provide vital hints, such as how lightning can mend crystals.
* HomemadeInventions: Zak makes a space suit out of a wetsuit, a fish bowl (leaving his fish in the kitchen) and [[DuctTapeForEverything copious amounts of duct tape]]. However, he'll also need an air tank or he will suffocate.
* ICantUseTheseThingsTogether: "That doesn't seem to work."
* KaleidoscopeHair: Leslie's hair color changes every time she takes her helmet off. WordOfGod (David Fox) says that this is an in-joke to the real Leslie, a girlfriend of designer Matthew Alan Kane.
* MarsNeedsWomen: Parodied with Melissa and Leslie who star in a film entitled ''Mars Needs Men''.
* TheMaze: The game has several mazes, most of which are easily mappable, and certain others that are random, but that you automatically get out of after three rooms.
* MoneyToThrowAway: If you make use of The King's lottery number prediction machine, that is! But even then, Zak is doing awfully well for himself despite being a tabloid reporter, if his [=CashCard=] balance is to be believed.
* NoKnees: The humans have knees. The Caponians do not, making rapid steps as they move.
* TheNoseless: Again, the Caponians. This is why they need nose glasses.
* PaintingTheMedium: The game represents the eponymous character's eponymous treatment by emptying his set of commands and having them gradually return as he recovers.
* PaperThinDisguise: The Caponians in their hats and Groucho glasses, who also get fooled by the same disguise that Zak later wears. They only see through it in two cases.
* ThePennyfarthingEffect: You won't get an item's name when you mouse over it unless you're using the "What Is" verb. This makes it very hard to distinguish that some of the background objects are usable.
* PhlebotinumInducedStupidity: The plot revolves around aliens who took over the phone company and are sending out a signal that makes people stupid.
* RoadApples: If Zak mind-links with the yak in Katmandu, he will only have the option to "chew" at first. After clicking "chew" 20 times, the yak will now also have the option to "poop," producing a "yak pie."
* ShoutOut: A Hare Krishna sells Zak a book on how to find enlightenment in life. The book costs a [[CrackIsCheaper whopping]] $[[Literature/TheHitchHikersGuideToTheGalaxy 42]].
** The entire city of Miami, Florida is closed for repairs. This might be a reference to ''Film/NationalLampoonsVacation'', in which Clark Griswold explains a hypothetical situation in which the entire state of Florida is closed for repairs.
** Zak has [[Film/THX1138 $1138]] on his bank account.
** On Mars there is [[Film/ASpaceOdyssey a black monolith]]... which is actually a vending machine.
* SpaceSuitsAreScubaGear: Zak literally builds a space suit of a set of SCUBA gear (and a fishbowl).
* UnwinnableByDesign / UnwinnableByMistake: There were only certain courses one could take to save the world, so if a previous action made them impossible...[[TheQuisling I for one will welcome our new Caponian overlords]]. The game was released early in Creator/LucasArts history, when they were still in the process of figuring out their design philosophy. ''Zak'' was much more unforgiving than the previous ''Maniac Mansion'' where Creator/RonGilbert, designer of the gentler philosophy, played a larger role than in this game.
** Washed the bread crumbs down the drain? Spent your money and got stuck at a place where you can't win the lottery to gain more money? Accidentally killed someone by removing their helmet on Mars? Got Zak and Annie stuck in jail? Then you can't beat the game
* VideogameCrueltyPotential: Leaving aside what Zak ''has'' to do to the stewardess, he can also kill animals in inventive ways (''e.g.'', bludgeoning the two-headed squirrel, running his goldfish Sushi through the garbage disposal). '
** To elaborate, during a regular flight, Zak floods the toilet, uses the distraction to explode an egg in the microwave, then uses ''that'' as a distraction to steal a seat cushion, an oxygen tank, and a lighter. The stewardess has to clean up both messes.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue