''The Manhole'' is a 1988 computer game by Rand and Robyn Miller of Cyan Inc., better known as the creators of ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}''. It presents a whimsical universe for children to explore at their own leisure, with the exploration as its own reward. The authors had started with plans for an interactive but linear storybook, but found that building a storybook ''universe'' was much more fun.

In 1989, it earned the distinction of being the first game ever published as a CD-ROM. In the 1990s, the original UsefulNotes/AppleMacintosh UsefulNotes/HyperCard version started receiving ports to other platforms, including [[UsefulNotes/IBMPersonalComputer MS-DOS, Windows]], and most recently, the [[IOSGames iPhone]].

''The Manhole'' was followed by a SpiritualSuccessor [[RecycledINSPACE IN SPACE]], ''VideoGame/CosmicOsmo''.

!! This game provides examples of:
* ChessMotifs -- The flamingo's domain.
* EdutainmentGame -- Very mild educational elements, such as a book of the alphabet and a few sentences written in both French and English.
* ElevatorGag: The "New and Enhanced" edition added some on the floors between the sunken ship and the walrus's island.
* EverythingsBetterWithPenguins
* GenrePopularizer -- The dawn of the [[PopUpVideoGames Pop Up Video Game]].
* MacroZone -- And Macro Zones ''within'' Macro Zones. You can sail a tiny boat around the teacup of a rabbit who lives inside a fire hydrant.
* MythologyGag -- In the Masterpiece Edition, the rhinoceros at the top of the tower tells you she was a flamingo in a previous life.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent -- This dragon is a laid-back dude in CoolShades.
* PortalPicture
* ShoutOut -- The whooshes of a passing spaceship form the five-note motif from ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind''.
** In the CD-ROM version, clicking on the TV in the house plays you a trailer for ''Myst''.
* TakeThat -- On a shelf of children's books with pop-up descriptions of what they're about is a textbook called ''Metaphors of Intercultural Philosophy.''
--> This book isn't about anything.
* TurtlePower -- He speaks French!
* UpdatedRerelease -- The "New and Enhanced" edition, the "Masterpiece" edition...
* WarpWhistle -- Mr. Dragon's TV set.
* WideOpenSandbox
* WorldOfChaos -- There's no rhyme or reason between how the game's areas connect ''at all''. But then, that's part of the fun.