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Video Game / Day of the Tentacle

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Our heroes, fleeing in terror at the first sign of danger.

Dr. Fred: Our only hope now is to turn off my Sludge-O-Matic machine and prevent the toxic mutagen from entering the river!
Bernard: Isn't it a little late for that, Doctor?
Dr. Fred: Of course! That's why I'll have to do it... yesterday! To the time machine!

Day of the Tentacle, also known as Maniac Mansion II: Day of the Tentacle, is a LucasArts graphic Adventure Game from 1993 and sequel to Maniac Mansion by Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman, initially co-designed with Gary Winnick and Ron Gilbert, who came up with the time travel plot before he left the company, and inspired by the works of Chuck Jones.

Uber-nerd Bernard Bernoulli once risked his life to save the wacky Edison family from the control of an evil meteor. Five years later, he receives a desperate letter from the Edisons' friendly pet Green Tentacle begging him to return. It seems that Purple Tentacle, Green's evil brother, has imbibed some toxic waste carelessly dumped by Dr. Fred Edison and mutated into an insane genius. Dr. Fred has captured the two tentacles and is now going to put them both down. Bernard gathers his wacky roommates Laverne and Hoagie (a spaced-out, neurotic med student and a heavyset but easygoing roadie, respectively), and charges to the rescue. Unfortunately, when Bernard rescues Green from captivity he also releases Purple, who is now free to TAKE ON THE WORLD!!

Oh well, what possible harm could an insane evil mutant tentacle do?

As it turns out, quite a lot. Purple Tentacle uses his newfound intelligence to create a Bad Future where tentacles rule the world and humans are their slaves. Nice job freeing the megalomaniac, Bernard.

Doctor Fred uses his Chron-O-John to send the three back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, but there is an accident (never cut costs by using imitation diamond in your time machine, kids!) which scatters our heroes across four centuries. Hoagie is stuck in colonial America during the creation of America as we know it, Laverne is trapped in Purple Tentacle's tentacle-run Bad Future, and Bernard must coordinate efforts in the present day to fix the broken time machine, bring his friends back, and save the world.

The voice acting, brilliant one-liners, clever puzzles, and memorable characters all conspired to make this one of the most popular of the LucasArts adventure games of all time, and probably better known than its predecessor.

Double Fine released a remaster for Microsoft Windows, macOS (then OS X), PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita on March 22, 2016. The remaster was ported to iOS and Linux on July 11, 2016, and to Xbox One four years later on October 29, 2020.

This game has examples of tropes such as:

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  • Absurd Brand Name: At one point you have to use a "U-SUCK" brand vacuum.
  • Airplane Arms: Laverne casually walks like this unless she's wearing the tentacle costume.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: Parodied, as Purple Tentacle indulges in some Cow Tipping as the beginning of his crime wave. He even makes the headlines for this.
  • Alliterative Name: Bernard's last name is revealed as Bernoulli.
  • All There in the Manual: The manual is the only place that mentions the shortcut for passing items between time periods (just "use" the item with the portrait of the kid you want to give it to, no trip to the Chron-O-John necessary).
  • All There in the Script: In the final sequence of the game, you play as the three kids all stuck together after going through the Chron-o-John in a single stall. This character is never named in-game, but the internal data refers to them as "Hoagvernard", fusing the kids' names together. The game developers also confirmed on Twitter that this is the canon name.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: At one point you have to close the door of a room you've just entered to get a set of keys.
  • Always Identical Twins: Ned and Jed. As with real-life mirror image twins, one of them is right-handed and the other is a Left-Handed Mirror.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The hamster is bright red. His owner, Ed, says that it is "brown".
  • Ambiguous Syntax:
    Bernard: That hamster really should get some exercise.
    Ed: Well, Dad puts him to work down in the basement sometimes. But then he starts sweating, and then he gets wet... ...and then he gets cold, and then he refuses to work.
    Bernard: Your dad or the hamster?
  • Amusing Injuries: Lots of slapstick humor.
  • And Then What?: Played for Laughs. Hoagie can talk with Ben Franklin about all the things he plans to do with electricity. Franklin actually has an answer to this — except it is still rather open-ended, so Hoagie can keep him going for quite a while until Franklin finally gets annoyed and tells Hoagie to quit bothering him.
  • Art Evolution: The 2016 remaster makes the characters look cel-animated.
  • Artistic Licence: Played for laughs, like lots of other things in the game.
    • There's no such thing as a "left-handed hammer" — or if there is, there's nothing that would keep it from working just as well for a right-handed person.
    • Dryers usually have an upper limit as to how long it keeps running, so Bernard really would've had to keep feeding it continually for 200 years, and it probably would've destroyed the sweater from repeated tumbling rather than shrink it to tiny adorable hamster size.
  • Artistic License – Law: For those of you worrying about the possibility of a "Human Enslavement Law", relax: even if it could get passed, it would be a violation of the 13th and 14th amendments and be struck down well before it could get to the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the US President, be they human or tentacular, can only approve or veto amendments passed by Congress, which in turn has to vote for the amendment through a 2/3rds majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate; then, 3/4ths of the states have to ratify it before it can be added as a formal amendment.
  • Artistic License – History: The game heavily leans on Rule of Funny, thus everything in the colonial era is completely made up or anachronistic for the sake of more amusing gameplay. To quote the manual
    Our Historical Accuracy Policy: We don't have one. This game is not intended to teach the history of our country nor its possible future. Please don't get into an argument at school or at a party and say, "Well, LucasArts says that John Hancock wrote his name big because it impressed girls." We're both going to look silly.
    • Neither Thomas Jefferson nor John Hancock were involved in drafting the Constitution nor present at its convention. They were present for the Declaration of Independence.
    • It's actually hotly debated whether or not Betsy Ross sewed the first flag, but this would have been done by 1777, ten years before the Constitution was drafted.
    • The Pony Express was founded in 1859 — well past the colonial era. Kumquats were introduced to America around the same time.
    • The story of Washington chopping down a cherry tree was a myth invented after his death by his first biographer.
    • Ben Franklin wanting to make the turkey the national bird is based on an urban myth. While Franklin preferred the turkey to the bald eagle (according to a letter he wrote to his daughter), his own suggestion for the Great Seal of the United States had no bird on it at all.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Hoagie: Oh, great. I'm stuck in colonial times, tentacles are taking over the world, and now the toilet's backing up!
  • Ascended Extra: Bernard is promoted from one of several characters that could team up with Dave in Maniac Mansion to one of the three canonical heroes and the hero of this game.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Laverne is a Cloud Cuckoolander, and thus has an equally unhinged appearance, complete with a Mad Eye.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: Subverted. Green and Purple Tentacles are living, independent beings, and Green's not even monstrous.
  • Attractive Bent Species: When Laverne disguises herself as a tentacle, practically all surrounding tentacles start flirting with her. Not enough to neglect their duties, unfortunately.
  • Ax-Crazy: Oh, Laverne... She never uses her scalpel as a weapon, however, claiming she and her therapist have an agreement.
  • Bad Future: In Laverne's part of the story, tentacles have taken over the world thanks to Purple Tentacle's machinations, and humans are their pets or slaves.
  • Bag of Sharing: The game has the characters in three separate time zones, but they can share items by putting them into the time-travelling port-o-johns that are central to the plot. However, you can't pass every item or living things (sometimes requiring a different method of getting them through time), and some of them change when you do this. One of the first puzzles is allowing Laverne to even get to her Chron-O-John to receive items, since she gets stuck in a tree upon first arriving in the tentacle-dominated future, and even after that's taken care of she's immediately thrown in Human Jail.
  • Bandage Mummy: Dead Cousin Ted is this.
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: Dwayne tries committing suicide with one. It goes In One Ear, Out The Other. Once you can get the gun, it basically looks like a lighter.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: Laverne in the bad future.
  • Batman Gambit: Future Purple Tentacle claims to have caused his own mutation by creating the Sludge-O-Matic and sending it back in time to Dr. Fred.
  • Beard of Evil: Purple Tentacle has one in the future.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Poor Betsy Ross. The American flag has been through so many redesigns at this point that she accepts a tentacle diagram without comment, just to have the stupid thing done. Optional dialogue suggests that the Founding Fathers deliberately change the design over and over just to annoy her.
  • Berserk Button: Though Ed has spent years in therapy to control his anger and is now a calm man with a stamp hobby, you can undo years of therapy by "ruining" his stamp album (with disappearing ink). Returning the "fixed" album to him restores his sanity.
  • Big Bad: Purple Tentacle. President Evil + Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence (humans) variety.
  • Blamed for Being Railroaded: When you return the stamp book you poured the (now disappeared) disappearing ink on to Ed, Bernard apologizes and explains that "sometimes I do stupid stuff, and I don't even know why. As if my body were being controlled by some demented, sadistic puppet master."
  • Blatant Lies: Why does that shady man wearing a ski mask need to break into a car with a crowbar? Why, he left his keys in the car. Bernard is okay with that. He even helps!
  • Body Horror: In the endgame, Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne get merged together into one body with three heads after squeezing into the same Chron-O-John together, over Dr. Fred's protests. Subverted when it turns out they only got stuck in each other's clothes.
    Dr. Fred: No, wait! You can't all go in the same stall! Didn't you see The Fly?!?
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Green Tentacle and Dr. Fred.
  • Book Dumb: Hoagie is not really supposed to look like the brightest of the bunch but he subverts the Fat Idiot expectations as he's mostly just ignorant about history — he obviously has a practical mind, and a lot of the puzzles call for him to be clever.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Future Purple Tentacle always goes for a headshot, even though his weapon is nonlethal and has the same effect no matter where the blast hits. This leads to his downfall.
  • Bowled Over: Turns out to be a solution to a puzzle. It's how you defeat the ten Purple Tentacles guarding Dr. Fred in the endgame.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Laverne revives the frozen hamster in a microwave oven, then turns to the camera and tells the player that this only works in the future, and kids who try it in the present are taken away and put up for adoption. Bernard also lampshades this after "ruining" Weird Ed's stamps, commenting that he sometimes does things without knowing why, as if his body is "being controlled by some demented, sadistic puppetmaster".
    • As usual, LucasArts is referred to by name throughout the game. This leads to a somewhat confusing joke stating that, apparently, LucasArts owes Dr. Fred royalties for his and his family's appearance in the original Maniac Mansion.
  • Briar Patching: In the final confrontation with Purple Tentacle, Purple reveals that he always aims his shrinking ray for the center of the forehead. When Bernard persuades Purple to use the shrinking ray on Dr. Fred, Fred's headlamp reflects the ray to shrink Purple instead.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Laverne needs a tentacle costume to pass in the future, so Hoagie swaps the plans for the American flag with a picture of a tentacle. In the future, the Stars and Stripes is a tentacle outfit. In the end, as the characters remark that everything has gone back to normal... a tentacle-shaped flag is run up the flagpole.
    • The protagonists frequently try to distract other characters using the "look behind you, a three-headed monkey" line from Monkey Island. If you try it on the line of Purple Tentacles guarding the Sludge-O-Matic, when the protagonists have seemingly merged into a three-headed primate, he responds: "The only three-headed monkey here is in front of me!"
  • Broken Bridge: Only Bernard and Hoagie are playable in the early stages of the game; Laverne remains helplessly stuck in a tree until events have progressed to a certain extent in Hoagie's part of the story.
  • Building of Adventure: Dr. Edison's manor.
  • But Thou Must!: Subverted in the bit of dialogue where Bernard has to get Dr. Fred to sign a contract. When you give up on trying the dialogue options and say "Forget it. I'll just go stop Purple Tentacle myself," the next dialogue tree gives you four options, any of which will get you your signature with ridiculous ease.
  • Canary in a Coal Mine: A canary is caged above a fireplace in a Colonial-era hotel, as a smoke detector in case the chimney gets clogged.
  • Can't Take Anything with You: Since the Chron-O-Johns can only transport "small, inanimate objects" between them, some puzzles involve getting around this.
  • Causality Mechanic: Hoagie, being stuck in the Independence-war-era of the US, can affect the future by replacing various items or appealing to historic characters to change their decisions. For instance urging George Washington to chop down the fake cherry tree erases it from the future and sets Laverne free since she was hanging on the aforementioned tree.
  • Chaos Architecture: Hilariously, the layout of the Edisons' home is much more consistent in the five centuries covered in this game alone than between this game and its predecessor, set only a couple of years apart. The design document reveals that the motel was originally envisioned as a different building from the mansion in the first game.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The bowling ball is available in Green Tentacle's room right from the start, but Bernard isn't strong enough to pick it up. When the three characters get stuck together in the endgame, you can finally take it.
  • Chimney Entry: The characters can get from the first floor to the roof by passing through the mansion's chimney. In the remaster, doing this at least once with all three kids nets an achievement.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: The tentacle guard at the Pound, who is ultimately loyal to his wife even though he flirts outrageously with "Tentacle" Laverne.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Basically, every playable character from the first game except for Bernard is gone without a mention, even main character and ostensible hero Dave.
    • It's vaguely implied one of the Internal Revenue agents is Dave. If you listen to their conversation with each other after they imprison Dr. Fred, one of them remarks his wife's name is Sandy, the name of Dave's girlfriend from the original Maniac Mansion.
    • Razor was planned as the other returning playable character (see invokedWhat Could Have Been on the Trivia tab). Even in the final game, it's suggested she or Syd were members of Dave's team to rescue Sandy since Ed was traumatized by the hamster microwaving incident and Green Tentacle has his recording contract from last game (both of which can only happen with Razor or Syd in the rescue party).
  • Close-Enough Timeline: The plan of the heroes is to stop a series of events that happened the day before. After time-travel shenanigans, everything seems perfectly normal and unchanged... and then the end credits sequence reminds players that, lest their heroic actions be undone, they'll forever have to tolerate the U.S. flag being shaped like a tentacle.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Such characters are the rule rather than the exception in this game (it is the sequel to Maniac Mansion, after all), but Laverne is bizarre even by in-universe standards. Alarmingly, she's a medical student, but she dreams of becoming a pathologist — as in, someone in the basement who cuts up bodies to figure out how they died, and if cop shows haven't lied to us, they're always weird.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Like the first game, the only thing you can see on TV is integral to winning. In this case it's the home shopping network offering a suitable replacement diamond needed to fix the time machine.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: You get to do some pretty unpleasant (but hilarious) things in the game, from pranking George Washington with an exploding cigar to pushing Nurse Edna down the stairs.
    • By the night's end, Dr. Fred has gone through a lot of abuse. He's drugged with decaf coffee, suffered from terrible nightmares again, detained and bound with red tape by the IRS, pushed out of bed, dragged off the roof, gained and then promptly lost two million dollars; meanwhile, his wife is likely injured, his son has been triggered into a psychotic episode, and three weirdos have been wandering around his house all evening. But considering his Sludge-O-Matic started the whole mess, well...
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Laverne gets one when she falls off the disappeared tree face-first into the pavement. Her skirt rolls up note  and reveals her baggy underpants.
  • Commonplace Rare: You have to go to ludicrous lengths to get... a bottle of vinegar. Specifically, you give a bottle of wine to Thomas Jefferson so he can bury it in the time capsule, which Laverne opens 400 years later.
  • Compact Infiltrator: During the finale, the main characters are pitted against the Diminuator-wielding Future Purple Tentacle and his army; defeating the Tentacles requires the bowling ball from Green's room, but Purple's patrol is blocking the route to the door. Fortunately, Dwayne's room has a mousehole in the wall that leads directly into Green's room, so players just have to take a blast from the Diminuator...
  • Companion Cube:
    • This game features yet another appearance - the last in a LucasArts game - of Chuck the Plant, this time a cactus.
    • Dead Cousin Ted is as dead as it gets, which doesn't prevent you from holding entire conversations with him. In fact, you get to force him to join in your adventure twice, saving Dr. Fred and then participating in a pet show.
  • Concealing Canvas: Doctor Fred's safe is hidden behind a portrait of him (wearing a powdered wig). Or maybe it's Red Edison.
    Bernard: Handsome, in a way, but I'm glad he finally accepted his hair loss.
  • Concept Art Gallery: The remaster has one.
  • The Constant: The same house exists for over 400 years, from the days of the Founding Fathers to the future where the tentacles have taken over the world, although it's much more metallic in the future. Also, many objects in the house can be found in more than one time period. This is often used by the main characters to affect one or more future time periods. For example, since only inanimate objects can be passed through the Chron-O-John, the only way to send a hamster to Laverne in the future is to put it in the ice bin, which is still around 200 years from now. Apparently, no one has bothered to look inside in all this time. The time machine is still in the basement in the future (though it's broken and useless), and the laundry room doesn't change in the slightest - the coin-operated dryer Bernard sets running in the present is still going two hundred years later (he fed it a lot of change).
  • Copy Protection:
    • One of the tasks you must do in order to actually start playing the game for real is to pass a small task that can only be solved by using diagrams included in the manual. Nowadays, it takes less than a minute to find the manual on Google.
    • Also, only the diskette version required the copy protection; the game was produced at a time when CDs were a fairly new technology and the layman's ability to copy them was limited, if it existed at all, so the CD version didn't bother.
    • The Remake completely removes any copy protection... Even its own DRM, being released on without any copy protection at all.
  • Correlation/Causation Gag: One of the puzzles invokes the "it always rains after you wash your car" universal law.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover shows Purple Tentacle chasing the heroes outside the mansion with his ray gun. In the game, it is the bearded Purple Tentacle from the future who chases the protagonists with the ray gun inside the mansion. Finally, it happens when the kids are "stuck" together.
  • Cow Tipping: Purple Tentacle indulges in some cow tipping as the beginning of his crime wave. He even makes the headlines for this.
    Rash of Cow Tipping Baffles Police - Triangular Man Spotted at Scene.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Literally — Dr. Fred was the one who created the tentacles. Their awkward design (no limbs, suction cup for a base) embittered Purple to the point where he hated all humanity. Then the utterly gratuitous pollution from Dr. Fred's Sludge-O-Matic gave him the physical and mental enhancements to take over the world.
  • Creepy Monotone:
    • This trope has Laverne written all over it.
    • Frighteningly enough, Ed talks with one when he's calm. And even when he's obviously furious, his vocal range doesn't change much at all.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: And how! Winning requires you to knock a sleeping man onto the floor and steal his keys and sweater, take away a cat's toy, shove a live hamster into the freezer, blow George Washington's dentures out of his face with an exploding cigar, sabotage an artist (causing him to ruin his work and have an existential crisis), and squirt ink all over a man's beloved stamp collection, greatly upsetting him and (in his words) ruining "years of therapy". (Though it is disappearing ink, and you have the option of giving the collection back to him afterwards to show him the ink has vanished.) Then you have to go push his elderly mother down the stairs. There's also the matter of a clearly suicidal inventor named Dwayne, whom you have to trick into leaving his hotel room by giving him a letter inviting him to show off his inventions in Baltimore (stolen from someone else, in another time period at that, thus ruining two lives in one fell swoop). And what do you think he'll do when he gets there and finds out he's been had?
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right:
    • John Hancock suggests adding an amendment to the Constitution saying the President has to be a human being. Had this been accepted, it would have prevented Purple Tentacle's rise to power, but Thomas Jefferson dismisses it as a stupid idea.
    • Jefferson also vetoes Hancock's suggestion to make dumping toxic sludge in rivers illegal, on the same grounds.
    • An optional conversation allows Hoagie to suggest getting to work on the national debt. Jefferson scoffs that America is too prosperous to ever go into debt. (Even though America was in debt even back then.) This was also probably a joke about how the economy and national debt were key issues during the 1992 presidential election.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Canonically, Bernard was in the rescue trio in Maniac Mansion. The optional hamster-microwaving event is also canon, as is Green Tentacle's recording contract, making the third kid either Syd or Razornote .
  • Damned by Faint Praise: When Laverne looks at a globe in the future.
    Laverne: "At least he hasn't conquered Antarctica yet."
  • Day of the Jackboot: Purple enacts a totalitarian takeover of America and the world.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Mummified Dead Cousin Ted, in all three time periods.
  • Defeat by Transformation: The endgame pits Bernard, Hoagie, and Laverne against Future Purple Tentacle, who is armed with his Diminuator and blocking the heroes from switching off the Sludge-O-Matic. The only way to stop him is to convince him that to take out his frustrations on Dr Fred; as always, Purple aims the shrink ray right at the target's forehead and fires... only for the beam to bounce off Dr Fred's head mirror and hit Purple instead, shrinking him down to thumb-size. The heroes then nonlethally squash him flat, put him in an envelope, and have him mailed to Siberia.
  • Denser and Wackier: This game is much more cartoonish than its predecessor. There's a lot more slapstick, over-the-top reactions and goofy situations, not to mention the bizarre character designs.
  • Developer's Foresight: Though not to the same extent of Tim Schafer's later works, many obscure, non-intuitive object/character combinations will produce unique, humorous reactions. For example:
    • Dead Cousin Ted can be seen from the screen with the filthy car in Bernard's era. If you painted him red, or have the rope on him, or pulled him up to the roof, the background will change accordingly.
    • After Hoagie drops the flyer into the suggestion box, he prompts the Founding Fathers to check it. George Washington repeats his suggestion by saying he has an idea, prompting John Hancock to ask if it involves starting a fire. However, if the task is done while there's already a fire going, Hancock instead asks if they're going to bother Betsy Ross again.
    • If Laverne doesn't have her scalpel when she goes to see Dr. Tentacle, she won't offer to let him use it.
    • The game allows Laverne to pick up the unaltered U.S. flag, and has a bit scene where she reacts when it becomes a tentacle shape, replacing the usual cutscene when the flag is on the pole.
    • In the final sequence, you can attempt to go up to the attic and close the door, but Bernard will say that Purple Tentacle might lock it and trap them up there. There is no reason to go up there in the first place, so it's surprising that there's a specific line to deal with such a situation.
  • Dilating Door: In the future part, the doors open vertically with the original Star Trek sound.
  • Don't Try This at Home:
    • Don't attempt to revive a frozen hamster in a 20th century microwave. According to Laverne, you'll be taken from your parents and put up for adoption.
    • Trying to use the Cigarette lighter (Which looks like a gun) on just about anything will have the characters say it's not a toy.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Laverne has to disguise herself as a tentacle to be able to move freely in the tentacle-controlled future.
  • Driven to Suicide: The first time the player meets Dwayne, he is attempting to shoot himself in the head. Fortunately, he fails at this just as he fails at everything else in life.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: The three characters are in three different time periods and they have to work together to solve the problem.
  • Easily Conquered World: Just because one Purple Tentacle sprouted tiny arms and feels "smarter" and "more aggressive" he believes that he can Take Over the World and enslave humanity... He becomes POTUS, ammends the constitution and succeeds.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Embedded Precursor: The Ur-Example. Ed's 64K computer (implied to be the C64) has the fully playable PC port of Maniac Mansion. Just like the original version, it only has one save slot. This also applies to the HD version, where you also get some achievements for trying it out and microwaving the hamster. Multiple save slots were added in a patch.
  • Epiphanic Prison: The Humans Laverne tries to free in the future initially refuse to escape. The only place they can go is the wild, where their odds of survival are pretty slim, and even if they do survive its only a matter of time before they're recaptured. So, they choose to stay in the safety and (relative) comfort of their cell instead.
  • Evil Laugh: Purple Tentacle seems fond of these. "MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"
  • Evil Old Folks: Future Purple Tentacle.
  • Evil Plan: Purple has its world domination plan on the wall. When Bernard examine it, he predicts that it might work.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Chron-O-John is a time-traveling outhouse.
  • Explosive Cigar: You solve a puzzle to get one, and you use it in a second one.
  • Expressive Mask: Bernard has expressive glasses, as shown in the intro.
  • Extendo Boxing Glove: There's a booby trap with one in the future, for some reason.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The entire game takes place over the course of one night (Experienced in four different time periods). This despite Bernard apparently examining and picking up 3.5 million quarters one at a time, which, if he only needed one second per quarter to do, and didn't take breaks, would take five and a half weeks. And probably a few more to put all those quarters in the dryer. It's all done with a " later that day... much much later" time skip.
  • Exty Years from Publication: The game was made in 1993. Therefore, the events in the past are set in 1793, when the Constitution was drafted, and the events in the future take place in 2193.
  • False Reassurance: Just about to go back in time, Bernard asks Dr. Fred:
    Bernard: "Have any people been hurt in this?"
    Dr. Fred: "Of course not! This is the first time I've tried it with people!"
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: George Washington. And the horse. And dead cousin Ted.
  • Fan of the Past: There are two rooms in the future mansion that seem dedicated to The American Revolution and another to The '70s.
  • Fan Sequel: Maniac Mansion Mania, a series of fan sequels set in the world of Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle, consisting of over a hundred games (although they vary strongly in terms of quality and length). Every person is allowed to contribute a game (called 'episode'), as long as it adheres a few rules. Most of the episodes are only available in German, although a few were also released in English, French and Spanish.
  • Favors for the Sexy: Set up with Laverne in her tentacle guise, but ultimately averted. Even when the male tentacles think she's the hottest thing on no legs, they won't bend the rules for her.
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: The mutated Purple Tentacle rules a Bad Future where he and his most loyal followers blame all humans for Dr. Fred's creation of their "ungainly forms" and so wish to exterminate them all.
  • Floating Clocks: When our heroes pass through the time tunnel a couple of items float on by, amongst them, a ticking clock.
  • Foreshadowing: When Bernard is talking to Green Tentacle about what Purple Tentacle's plans might be, you can choose between the guesses "throw old ladies down staircases", "perform cryogenic experiments on small animals", and "invent a shrink ray". All of these things happen in the game. Though the Purple Tentacle only invents the shrink ray; the two other things are done by Bernard.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Well not exactly powers but shortly after splitting with his comrades in the mansion lobby Bernard asks to the camera, where's Dr. Fred's secret lab? Come on, Bernard. Shouldn't you remember from the previous game?
  • Free Wheel: The intro sequence has the car wreck offscreen with a bouncing wheel.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the Spinning Paper scenes of the remastered version, before the paper reaches full size, the headline reads "I Shoulda Turned Left at Albuquerque". This is very hard to catch, since the paper moves quickly and the text is blurry. (In the original, it's just gibberish.)
  • Geek Physiques: Bernard and Laverne.
  • Genius Ditz: Bernard.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: People pedal in the air for a moment before the long drop, or reach up to grab something they left behind.
  • Green Aesop: The Sludge-O-Matic and the pollution it generates are what start all the problems. Somewhat played with by the fact the Sludge-O-Matic exists solely to create toxic goo to dump into the water.
    Dr. Fred: You can't have a lab like this and not spew poisonous filth! All the other evil scientists would laugh!
  • Guide Dang It!: While LucasArts takes a gentle approach to difficulty a number of the game's puzzles may not be very intuitive:
    • If you don't realize vandalism and craziness is a given in your comical adventures, it could be hard to guess you have to break a candy machine with a crowbar, except by randomly guessing or experimenting with every item in your inventory.
    • Closing the door of a room you've just entered to get a set of keys. Schafer calls it one of the unfair puzzles of the game, even if the keys can be (barely) seen before.
    • The "It always rains when you wash your car" gag/puzzle is a bit obtuse for young audiences. Dave Grossman learnt it from his dad and defends it pointing out that the hint is spelled out when Bernard examines the dirty car with the "wash me" letters.
    • Getting all the achievements on the Steam version is even worse. One requires you to ring the desk bell 100 times.
  • Hammerspace: All three heroes can keep a huge amount of items in their tiny pockets.
    • Particularly outrageous is Bernard picking up a pile of coins which is bigger than he is and probably weighs more too. There are enough quarters to keep the dryer running for 200 years. The dryer ran half an hour for every quarter inserted, and there are about 1,753,200 hours in 200 years. Bernard would have had to insert 3,506,400 quarters into the dryer, weighing about 19,881kg and totaling $876,600 dollars. No mention is made of how either the vending machine or the dryer was able to hold that much change, either.
    • When Ned breaks down in tears after he messes up the statue he was carving, his brother Jed cheers him up by offering him a cappuccino. A steaming cup of cappuccino on a saucer that he plain pulls out of his jacket.
  • Hamster-Wheel Power: Dr. Fred's lab features a hamster-powered generator, which is pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Finding it and getting it running in the future is the key to powering Laverne's Chron-O-John.
  • Hand Rubbing: Dr. Fred, the Mad Scientist, has a sprite whose static animation consists of this. Although in Fred's case, there's nothing particularly sinister about it — he's just jittery from the permanent caffeine high he submits himself to.
  • Harmless Freezing: You need to send a hamster to Laverne, but since you can't send living things through your time toilets, Bernard puts it in the hotel's ice machine to freeze it until Laverne can find it in the future.
  • Heavy Sleeper: The sleeping conventioneer.
  • Hell Hotel: The Edisons' motel. It's pretty normal right now, but it used to be called "Maniac Mansion" before, and its owner Dr. Fred Edison was a brainwashed Mad Doctor before the protagonists restored him to normal. Remnants of its creepy past are still there: they include a mummified Cousin Ted who stands nearby the hotel as a decorative statue, Dr. Fred's lab in the basement, and two alien tentacles (Green and Purple) who still reside in the building.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The hamster meets microwave oven incident from Maniac Mansion is canon and Ed was mentally scarred by it. In this game, you apparently ruin his only valve of escape, a book of stamps. He doesn't take it well but letting him know the book is fine is optional.note  The fragile ego of a sculptor is also smashed.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Weird Ed Edison gets this when Bernard messes with his stamp collection.
  • Historical Domain Character: Hoagie bumps into several founding fathers.
    • George Washington: He's got wooden teeth (and later, chattering novelty ones), and he seems obsessed with cutting down cherry trees.
    • Benjamin Franklin likes to play with his kite, or should we say, the "Frank-O-Copter".
    • Thomas Jefferson likes logs to a disturbing degree.
  • Hitler Cam: During Purple's "Take on the World!" speech.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The future Purple Tentacle is hit by his own shrink ray and squished by the heroes.
  • Hollywood Density: At one point in the game Bernard acquires $876,600 in quarters, which would weigh just under 20 tons. It would also take up 2.8 cubic meters of space, which is almost as large as the vending machine they came out of, possibly as large or larger than Bernard, and definitely larger than the dryer he puts them in.
  • Human Popsicle: Or rather, a hamster popsicle. The Chron-O-Johns are incapable of transporting living matter, which means that a hamster from the present day gets the popsicle treatment to be used in the future. Restoring the hamster requires nothing more than a microwave and a sweater that's been forced to take The Slow Path by spending two hundred years in a tumble dryer. Although the microwave is of (presumably) more advanced tentacle manufacture, and may operate differently. Laverne even lampshades this, pointing out that under normal circumstances, putting a hamster in the microwave leads to horrible consequences, and children who do that are taken away. Her monologue is also a reference to the game's predecessor, Maniac Mansion, where putting a hamster in the microwave causes it to explode. No cryogenics involved in that game, though.
  • Humans Are Ugly: The tentacles from the future find humans ugly... Laverne gets it especially bad from a tentacle who instantly describes how he finds her repulsive (then again, she does look weird). Conversely, after she dons her stars-and-stripes disguise, every tentacle around finds her drop-dead gorgeous.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The characters' entire inventory is in their pockets. And pretty much anything can go through the Chron-O-John so long as it's not living matter or too big. Laverne is briefly discomforted when she drops the frozen hamster down her top (due to cold, we must clarify, not due to disgust). Bernard whips a rope into the air and opens his pocket for it to fall neatly inside it.
  • I Can't Reach It:
    • Hoagie will not look inside a drawer inside Ben Franklin's room, saying that he doesn't "look inside other people's underwear"
    • If Bernard puts the sweater inside the washing machine without setting it, and Laverne in the future picks it up, she will say that it is not her size and she will immediately put it back in.
  • Identical Grandson: Dr. Fred Edison's ancestor Red Edison looks exactly like him. His descendant looks like him, with a beard. This applies to the descendants of Edna and Weird Ed as well. The cigar salesman looks exactly like Benjamin Franklin, and could be a descendant; the same could be said about Harold looking like George Washington (who didn't have any children, much less descendants) and Dwayne looking like John Hancock (whose children didn't survive to adulthood).
  • Idle Animation: Each of the three PlayerCharacters has three.
    • Bernard simply looks around, adjust his slipping glasses or picks a booger out of his nose.
    • Hoagie burps, scratches his belly or pulls out a burger out of nowhere and eats it.
    • Laverne picks her ear, fiddles with her hair or nibbles on her nails.
  • Impact Silhouette: Bernard falls off the roof (for a second time) and leaves a Bernard-shaped hole in the ground.
    Bernard: It's a hole. Shaped like me. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: Hoagie is trapped in colonial times and needs a super-battery to power his time machine. He must help Benjamin Franklin perform his legendary kite experiment, hiding the battery in the kite so that lightning strikes the kite and charges the battery.
  • Inanimate Competitor: One of the puzzles in the future requires the player to enter Dead Cousin Ted in a Human Contest and help him win.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Purple Tentacle eventually designs a shrinking ray that he decides to use on the protagonists.
  • In One Ear, Out The Other: The depressed inventor tries to blow his brains out and points his "Bang!" Flag Gun to his left ear but all that happens is the flag coming out the other ear.
  • Inside Joke: When Bernard is talking to Purple in the future, he asks if the Sharks will ever have a winning season. This refers to the San Jose Sharks National Hockey League team. LucasArts is headquartered near San Jose. At the time of the game's release, the Sharks were a new team and hadn't yet become the competitive team they would much later on. Their first winning season was 1999-2000.
  • Instant Home Delivery: The diamond from Couch-potato Shopping, courtesy of Pronto Post Light-Speed Delivery
  • Instant Sedation: Of a sort — Dr. Fred is so sleep-deprived and dependent on caffeine that giving him decaf is enough to knock him out.
  • In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous: Hoagie ends up being sent to the Colonial era and manages to run into George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Betsy Ross, without even leaving the Edison manor.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Dr. Fred discovers that you don't mess with the IRS, because they'll tie you up in red tape (literally!) and leave you in the attic while they audit your accounts.
  • Irony: Many of Hancock's suggested legislations in the 1790s storyline would have saved the future USA from the tyranny of the Purple Tentacle (strict anti-pollution laws; requiring the President to be a human being...). Thomas Jefferson shoots them all down.
  • Jumping Fish: The intro shows a fish happily jumping in the uncontaminated part of the river.
  • Klatchian Coffee: Dr. Fred drinks strong coffee to stay awake for years to avoid sleepwalking. Bernard says he could lubricate his car with it, and pouring it in Dr. Fred's mouth makes him burst awake.

  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: A puzzle-related object in Red's lab.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Bernard's line about being "controlled by some demented, sadistic puppet-master".
    • The phone number for the home shopping channel (1-800-STARWARS) was, at the time, the number for LucasArts' automated hintline.
  • Leitmotif: One for each character, heard whenever the player switches between them. Bernard's resembles the main theme, Hoagie's is kind of surf-inspired, and Laverne's sounds like a children's tune that's a bit... off.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: The premise of the game starts with the three friends splitting up so they can explore the mansion.
  • Letter Motif: Every male member of the Edison family has a name ending in "-ed": Fred, Ed, Ted, Red, Ned, Jed, Zed and Ved. The two female members shown are called Edna and Zedna.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the original Maniac Mansion, which had some pretty dark and gory parts. A key difference being that MM was like other Adventure Games in that you could get Dave's team killed, and in the time since that, LucasArts had solidified their philosophy that people played games to have fun, not to be punished and mocked for making mistakes.
  • Live Item: Weird Ed's hamster. Twice.
    • One of Laverne's puzzles involves catching a cat that's hiding behind a fence.
  • Logo Joke: After the credits, a golden Purple Tentacle scares away and replaces the LucasArts figure.
    • In the remaster, the Double Fine logo (which normally consists of a two-headed caricature) is made to look like the three protagonists fused into a Multiple Head Case. Because that's definitely not a spoiler for the late game.
  • Look Over There: Happens several times in the game. The line "Look behind you, a three-headed monkey!" from Monkey Island is the one used the most frequently.
  • Mad Doctor: Dr. Fred. Laverne is a mad doctor-in-training.
  • Mad Eye: Laverne has one of these. Thanks to sprite mirroring, it's always facing the player.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Fred Edison, obviously. He even states that he owns the Sludge-O-Matic to deliberately just create polluting slime, so that the other mad scientists don't make fun of him.
    • Benjamin Franklin too, as he plans to use the power of electricity to become a demigod, usher in a golden age, and have annoying people shot.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: Numerous events are shown as events in the past change elements of the future.
    • Once you paint the kumquats on the tree to look like cherries (in Revolutionary times), you can get George Washington to chop it down. Four hundred years later, the huge tree that Laverne is hanging from suddenly vanishes.
    • After Hoagie gives Betsy Ross a tentacle chart as a flag design, we see the modern flag change in a puff of sparks.
    • When Founding Fathers add an article "Every American should have a vacuum cleaner", it appears in the secret lab in the future.
    • Making Jed and Ned switch places when modelling causes the statue in the surveillance office to be mirror-flipped, meaning that Edna can't grab on to it when Bernard pushes her down the stairs.
  • Microwave Misuse: Follows its predecessor and lets you put a hamster in a microwave oven again. This time it is a required solution to a puzzle and the hamster is okay because it was cryogenically frozen and microwaving it revives it.
  • Microwave the Dog:
    • The original incident is canon and the owner of the animal needed years of therapy to overcome the trauma.
    • A puzzle is solved by really using a future microwave to dry a live hamster (yes, it does survive, and Laverne remarks out loud that kids trying to imitate the gesture would have bad things happen to them).
    • Playing the original game in the remaster and reenacting this past event nets you an achievement. So the game is actively encouraging you to participate in some Video Game Cruelty Potential.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: Dr. Fred's time machine requires a diamond as a power source. Initially he uses an artificial diamond, which crumbles: as a result, the machine malfunctions and sends the three main characters in three different epochs. One of the tasks of the game is to find a new, real diamond to rebuild the machine.
  • Mirrors Reflect Everything: Instrumental in defeating Purple Tentacle. The protagonists convince Purple Tentacle to use his shrink ray on Dr. Fred. The ray reflects off Dr. Fred's surgeon's head mirror, shrinking Purple Tentacle to the size of a worm.
  • Mirror World: Done to great effect. The game's three protagonists are stuck in the same mansion, but one is in the present, one is 200 years in the past and one is 200 years in the future. A number of puzzles involve taking advantage of various objects that exist in the mansion in more than one time.
  • Monster Clown: Inflatable clown Oozo, in the eyes of Bernard.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Infamously, the one in which Hoagie has to wash an old cart to summon rain. Apparently, it was so poorly received that the developers felt the need to talk about it, and defend it, in the commentary included in the remastered edition.
    Bernard: Some people think that washing one's vehicle will make it rain.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate:
    • While Dr. Fred is a good guy in this game, he still pollutes the river just to get mad scientist cred, and does some other morally dodgy things (such as planning to kill Green Tentacle for no reason whatsoever).
    • While Laverne is just a med student, she seems to be heading for one of these.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: Laverne disguising herself as a tentacle and announcing she is one.
  • Multiple Head Case: Near the end, the three protagonists appear to get turned into a three-headed hybrid by a time machine accident. It later turns out they had simply gotten stuck inside one set of clothes.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: For an example with a literal mummy, there's Dead Cousin Ted, the permanently-deceased-and-mummified member of the Edison family, who the Edison family love to hang around various places in the house, repurposing him as a bird bath, a receptionist and a dress-up mascot. Laverne even remarks that he's her favourite out of the Edisons.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Dr. Fred drinks coffee to keep himself awake. All the time.
    Bernard: How's Dr. Fred?
    Nurse Edna: He's doing much better now that he's stopped sleepwalking.
    Bernard: How did he stop sleepwalking?
    Nurse Edna: He stopped sleeping.
    • Later, if given decaf instead of regular coffee, he immediately falls asleep (standing up) and begins sleepwalking.
  • Mythology Gag: Laverne has to put a frozen hamster in the microwave, an optional event in Maniac Mansionminus the frozen part - that could get you killed. She even points out how screwed up this is if you do it in Real Life. Basically, the hamster survives because Technology Marches On in the 22nd century, and of course the Rule of Cool.
  • Narration Echo: In the remastered version, there's real words besides "HELP!" on Green Tentacle's letter and they say exactly what Bernard says.
  • Nap-Inducing Speak: Hoagie has to read Bernard's textbook to put the talking horse to sleep in order to take his dentures.
  • Never Wake Up a Sleepwalker: Bernard won't wake up sleepwalking Dr. Fred because he has heard it is very bad to do so.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bernard decides to free the Tentacles who are being held captive by Dr. Fred. Including Purple Tentacle.
    Dr. Fred: What have you done this time, you meddling milquetoast? Now Purple Tentacle is free to use his evil mutant powers to take over the world, and ENSLAVE ALL HUMANITY!
    Bernard: Oops.
    • Lampshaded by Laverne.
    • Justified, as for some reason Dr. Fred also wanted to get rid of Green, who didn't do anything. The one who truly deserves this trope is Dr. Fred for causing environmental damage for petty reasons, which caused Purple to mutate after drinking from it.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Inverted; the game assumes the player put the hamster in the microwave in its predecessor, Maniac Mansion. Interestingly, this suggests that Razor or Syd was in the "canon" team that finished Maniac Mansion.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Multiple instances:
    • Woody Allen (Nick Jameson as John Hancock and Dwayne, the salesman)
    • Jim Backus (Denny Delk as George Washington)
    • Dudley Do-Right (David Kirk Traylor as Thomas Jefferson)
    • Jack Nicholson (Nick Jameson as the car thief)
    • Ed Wynn (David Kirk Traylor as Ben Franklin and the novelty cigar salesman)
  • Noodle Incident: This exchange:
    Dr. Fred Edison: Does he (Hoagie) have any experience with electronics?
    Bernard: Uh...I once saw him take 3000 volts directly through his head without batting an eye.
    Dr. Fred: Didn't he pass out?
    Bernard: Well, he was already passed out when it happened!
  • No OSHA Compliance: The only reason Doctor Fred even has a machine that spews toxic waste is so the other mad scientists won't laugh at him.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: When Laverne gets a tentacle disguise — and not a particularly convincing one, either — most of the tentacles think she's gorgeous. Future Purple Tentacle barely notices, since he's busy with a scheme to get all humans out of sight once and for all.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Bernard needs Dr. Fred to sign a contract in order to receive millions of dollars necessary for Bernard's save-the-world plans. Dr. Fred, however, refuses to sign, as he is too busy trying to think of a way to save the world.
  • Object Ceiling Cling: There's a slab of fake vomit stuck to the ceiling of the hotel lobby. The characters comment on it with varying shades of distaste. Eventually you have to get it loose to solve a puzzle.
  • Obligatory Swearing: Aside from a fairly explicit joke about suicide and the occasional use of the relatively harmless "damn", the game would be perfectly acceptable and appealing to all ages were it not for Hoagie's default response when examining items being "Bitchin'." It really feels like a textbook example of Avoid the Dreaded G Rating, but since the ESRB wouldn't exist for another year at the time of the game's release, this doesn't seem to be the case.
  • Obviously Evil: Look at Purple Tentacle and Green Tentacle. Purple has black frowning eyebrows, Green doesn't. Guess which one is evil.
  • Offscreen Teleportation:
    • When Bernard frees the tentacles, Purple bounces away, vanishing in the darkness. They are in a basement where the only access is a tight set of stairs. Somehow, Bernard and Green immediately give up chasing him, even though he couldn't have gotten away so fast, especially being a tentacle creature with a sticky bottom that slows his movement. Green follows him alone, making a few slimy splashing sounds until he disappears in the darkness as well. When Dr. Fred turns the lights seconds later, both tentacles are nowhere to be seen, even though they couldn't have gotten away so fast.
    • When Bernard and Dr. Fred go look for the plans, the latter goes up the stairs. If Bernard immediately picks up the plans that are hanging on the wall, Dr. Fred will then come out from the left of the screen. See Took a Shortcut below.
    • If the player puts on the tentacle costume while the kennel guard is outside the mansion, they'll be able to sneak by him and head back inside. If they immediately head to the kennel, Laverne will ask him how he got back so fast.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: When Hoagie gives George Washington an Explosive Cigar, his only response is a nonchalant "Blast! I hate when that happens."
  • Only a Lighter: At one point Bernard has a gun pointed at him, but to his surprise it's only a cigarette lighter. The end result is the same, though, because said lighter is being used to light an exploding cigar.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Not an accent, but Laverne's voice. If you try to make her look at all kind of objects "flushed" from Bernard and Hoagie, the actress will eventually speak in her normal, deeper voice (such as the Swiss bank account: "Wow, Dr. Fred is rich!").
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Bernard's. The only time we get to see his (tiny) eyes is during his Idle Animation, where he takes his specs off and cleans them. We also get to see them among his look-alikes in Sam & Max Hit the Road.
  • Orphaned Punchline: In a Bad Future where walking, animate tentacles rule the world, you can overhear a tentacle judge ending some anecdote with "...And Then I Said to her, 'That's not my suction cup'!"
  • Our Time Machine Is Different: The "Chron-O-John", a contraption that includes a car, a huge diamond, traffic lights and three portable toilet cubicles.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: This game follows the "wormhole" time-travel method, in which everyone is essentially in different dimensions and use a time-tunnel of swirling lights and colors to go back and forth.
    Laverne: This must be that Woodstock place Mom and Dad are always talking about!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Laverne disguises herself as a tentacle by using a tentacle-shaped flag that leaves her head, her arms, and her feet completely visible. Inexplicably, the tentacles think she's hot stuff. Not to mention that, to avoid tripping over her disguise, she lifts the bottom half whenever she runs, clearly exposing her legs.
  • Parental Bonus: Laverne's "goodbye" line to the future Purple Tentacle is "If you'll excuse me, I've got something in the oven." "Anyone I know?" is his reply. It's pretty bad when the more innocent alternative is that tentacles eat humans.
  • Past Experience Nightmare: Dr. Fred doesn't sleep because he has recurring nightmares of a ruinous business decision he made years ago.
  • Player Nudge: The characters will occasionally do this. Perhaps the most obvious is Laverne, who, when she's captured and sent back to the Kennel, will say "If only there was some kind of disguise". The monologues with Ted the mummy are all about this.
  • Point-and-Click Game
  • Poisoned Drink Drop: Done by Dr. Fred when you spike his coffee with decaf, as he instantly starts sleep-walking.
  • Pony Express Rider: Hoagie has to send a letter via Pony Express so that Bernard can finish his part of the quest. This ignores the fact that Hoagie was in the late 18th century and the Pony Express only existed in the mid 19th century. Not so much ignorance as artistic license, as the game has several other deliberate historical inaccuracies.
  • Posthumous Character: Played with. Dead Cousin Ted, who briefly appeared in Maniac Mansion, is now found in all three time periods (apparently he's been dead for centuries). His presence throughout history actually turns out to be very beneficial.
  • President Evil: The Purple Tentacle manages to become POTUS and then enslave all of humanity.
  • Psycho Knife Nut:
    • Bernard can use Laverne's scalpel to stab, with a maniacal expression, inflatable balloon clown Oozo and the cigar salesman... except for the latter, where he will either give up or be surprised by him noticing. If you try to use it on the sleeping conventioner, he says, "It would look like an accident... maybe later."
    • Implied to be the reason Laverne herself never uses her scalpel, as any time you try, she simply says "I can't, my therapist and I have an agreement". Try to use it on the human anatomy chart, and she says, "It wouldn't be as much fun as the real thing."
  • Puzzle Boss: Use the bowling ball on the tentacles, then trick old Purple Tentacle into shooting Dr. Fred.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: That dryer can run continuously for 200 years without suffering a single malfunction.
  • Recursive Canon: Doctor Fred never saw a penny from the TV series or the video game based on his family.
  • Red Boxing Gloves: Spring-mounted boxing glove, which is powerful enough to knock a main character across the room. Fortunately she was a bit loopy to start with.
  • Red Herring: The hubcap, the recyclatron, and the Medula-Oblongator. The playing character even wonders why they even picked up the former.
  • Remaster: Released in 2016.
  • Removing the Rival: Winning the Human Contest in the future requires that you disqualify one of your rivals by making it look like he vomited on the floor.
  • Repetitive Name: Bernard Bernoulli.
  • Ret-Gone: Laverne lands 200 years in the future, awkwardly hanging by her underpants caught in a tree. In order to free her, the tree has to be cut down before it can grow that size, causing it to disappear underneath her.
  • Reused Character Design: A lot of characters (especially Edisons) have at least one near-double, making the number of truly individually designed characters a minority.note 
  • Rule of Funny: Trumps sense or realism every time. There's even a paragraph in the manual saying so.
  • San Dimas Time: The game seems to utilize this trope to an extent: The three main characters are stuck in the present, 200 years in the past, and 200 years in the future respectively, and events that happen in the past affect the characters in the future. For example, one character in the past can convince George Washington to cut down a tree in the yard, causing the tree to vanish into a stump in future timelines and another character (who is stuck to the tree by her underwear) to immediately fall from nothing and Face Plant.
  • Satire: All of the Founding Fathers are noticeably different from the way history tends to portray them.
  • Scenery-Based Societal Barometer: As the game is grounded in the Edison Mansion and never strays far from the building despite the trio's journey through time; as such, the state of the building serves as a reflection of the time period long before you start asking questions. Hoagie ends up two centuries in the past, where the mansion is an idyllic reflection of colonial America, from architectural style to inhabitants - to the point that Ben Franklin is flying a kite on the lawn. In the present, Bernard finds that the mansion has been converted into a rather chintzy hotel, reflecting the Edison family's fall from grace, and is decorated here and there with LucasArts memorabilia; for good measure, it's now nighttime, befitting the grim state of the family finances and the fact that Purple Tentacle is free to take over the world. Finally, Laverne finishes up two hundred years in the future, where the mansion is now made of polished steel and outfitted with triangular doors - an early indicator that this is a Bad Future in which tentacles rule the world.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The premise of the game. Dr. Fred sends the trio back to "yesterday" to turn off his Sludge-O-Matic machine, preventing Purple Tentacle's exposure to the mutagen sludge, its Start of Darkness, world conquering darkness that is.
  • The '70s: Ted's room in the future mansion is filled with 70's objects such as a lava lamp and an Elvis lamp. Ted even wears a leisure suit.
  • Shout-Out: Many, as it is customary in LucasArts games. For instance:
  • Shown Their Work: The design team did the math to figure out exactly how much cash one would need to run a dryer non-stop for 200 years at 25 cents for every 30 minutes, because they knew that somewhere, somebody playing the game would also do the math and complain if the amount of cash Bernard got out of that vending machine wasn't sufficient to keep the dryer going that long (The fact that the vending machine could hold - and Bernard could move - twenty metric tons of pocket change being glossed over).
  • Shrink Ray: The Purple Tentacle invented one of these, and uses it on the heroes while chasing them, until the final puzzle of the game.
  • Shrunk in the Wash: Used in a puzzle where you must put a wooly sweater in a dryer for 200 years so it'll become wearable for a bald hamster.
  • Signature Line: Purple's "I feel like I could... like I could... TAKE ON THE WORLD!" is the most iconic and memetic one, featured prominently in game-related merchandising and apparel.
  • Slasher Smile: Bernard has one very briefly before slashing an inflatable Oozo the Clown. He'll do it again if one tries to stab the explosive cigar salesman.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: The tentacles are mutant-not embodied to a monster sentient beings, with human-like mouth, facial hair, personality and slightly lower size. The plot kicks in when Purple becomes more mutant-ish growing two little arms and getting smarter and bolder.
  • The Slow Path: Objects can frequently be flushed through time directly and immediately by the Chron-O-John, but living organic matter needs an alternate transport; thus, a hamster travels the slow path as a Hamster Popsicle. Some objects can change form with slow pathing, too - a bottle of wine left in a time capsule for four hundred years isn't going to be much like wine by the time it reaches the other end, and a sweater left in a tumble dryer fed with a mountain of quarters will have somewhat dramatically shrunk.
  • Spoof Aesop: If you want to save the world, you have to push a few old ladies down the stairs.
  • Spinning Paper: Used over the course of the game to show Purple Tentacle's rise to power in the present day. The cutscenes are tied to Bernard and an internal clock so in a game of below-average length some may not be triggered at all. They are in order:
  • Stable Time Loop: If you take the right dialogue options in the very last conversation, Purple Tentacle will reveal that he was the one who sent Dr. Fred the Sludge-O-Matic in the first place using the Chron-O-John.
    • A minor one; Hoagie is named after the sandwich, and when he meet Ben Franklin he impresses him enough that Ben promises to name an invention after him.
  • Stealth Pun: In the past, Ed's room is instead a stable. For a horse. That talks. Like Mr Ed.
  • Straight Man: Similar to many modern depictions of the first U.S. President, George Washington is a rather stoic character, especially in comparisons to the hyperactive buffoons around him. From having his dentures blown out of his head to being pranked by disappearing ink (John Hancock, in comparison will call you a loyalist, the joke offends him so much) to even having his manliness challenged by the classic "Couldn't do ___ to save your mother" line, ol' George never lets anything get under his skin.
    George Washington: (After Hoagie squirts him with disappearing ink) You rapscallion! It's lucky for you I'm so dignified.
  • Suicide as Comedy: A depressed novelty salesman attempts to kill himself by shooting himself in the head, except he's using a flag gun instead of a real one. He then gets more depressed, saying he can't even properly kill himself.
  • Swiss Bank Account: Dr. Edison has a Swiss Bank account that's almost completely depleted. One of the more significant puzzles in the game requires you to get access to the account through trickery, then find a way to get a lot of money into it, so that you can use the money to buy a really big diamond.
  • Take Over the World: Purple Tentacle, when he gets mutated, gives his iconic line:
    I feel like I could... like I could... TAKE ON THE WORLD!
  • Talking Animal: The horse in the Past mansion. No explanation how he is able to; he just explains to Hoagie that other horses probably had nothing to tell him.
    • The tentacles may also qualify, although they are only parts of an animal (octopi).
  • Taunting the Transformed: In the finale, Future Purple Tentacle arrives on the scene with his newly completed Diminuator and proceeds to shrink Bernard, Hoagie, and Lavern down to mouse-size. Though it wears off very quickly, further encounters with Future Purple will result in the trio getting shrunk all over again, usually prompting Purple to gloat and pepper them with jokes about their tiny stature, most prominently "you humans are so small minded!"
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game: Three characters working four-dimensional puzzles no less.
  • Teleporter Accident: Played with during the ending section. After the tentacles hijack two of the Chron-O-Johns, Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne all attempt to travel using the same one, despite Dr. Fred warning them not to. * When the three come out, they find themselves stuck together, apparently as some kind of three-headed monster. Once they return to the present and ask Dr. Fred to unmerge them, however, he discovers via x-ray that they haven't actually merged. They just somehow got stuck inside one set of clothes. The three, embarrassed, thankfully manage to pull themselves apart without any adverse effects.
  • Temporal Duplication: In the climax, Purple Tentacle steals one of the Chron-O-Johns and amasses an army of temporal duplicates of himself as part of his plans for world domination.
  • Temporal Paradox: There are several examples. Though temporal paradoxes are mostly averted during the main game, where the protagonists are scattered through three periods, some severe paradoxes occur after the second time-travel where the protagonists (and the tentacles) travel to yesterday.
    • The whole point of the plot is preventing an event from happening, thus erasing the need for time travel. However, it is an essential part of the gameplay that time-traveling does affect the present.
    • During the endgame (that is set one day before the present), it is possible to remove the "Help Wanted" sign from the window, (possibly) preventing Bernard from picking it up in the present. Also, the bowling ball should be in a different place.
    • According to the dialogue between the protagonists and Purple Tentacle, the Sludge-O-Matic (that turned Purple Tentacle into an evil genius) was invented by himself, who sent it back to the present to Doctor Fred. This makes their heads hurt.
  • Tempting Fate: Courtesy of Bernard.
Bernard: Well, what possible harm could one insane mutant tentacle do?
** Also when the three of them are floating through time:
Bernard: I'm sure Dr. Fred wouldn't have done this if it weren't safe.
Laverne: After all, he is a doctor.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fred in the real world: It works! I can't believe it! And they said that an imitation diamond isn't good enough.
Fake diamond breaks.
Dr. Fred: Uh-oh...
  • The Theme Park Version: The manual straight-up admits that their historical accuracy policy is "we don't have one", and in the Revolutionary America period, the developers clearly threw away the history book whenever it was funnier or otherwise made the game better to do so:
    • The Franklin lightning experiment took place nearly 40 years before the Constitutional Convention.
    • The design of the first US flag predated the Constitutional Convention by roughly a decade.
    • John Hancock and Thomas Jefferson did not attend the Constitutional Convention (Jefferson wasn't even in the country at the time).
    • The Pony Express didn't exist until about 70 years after the Constitutional Convention.
    • If asked to make a Constitutional amendment to always balance the budget, Jefferson scoffs at the notion that America would ever be in debt. The number of times in US history when America has not had a national debt is one - during the Andrew Jackson administration, which started more than thirty years after the Constitutional Convention.
    • The Cigar Salesman, Harold and Dwayne all look like people in the past (Ben Franklin, George Washington, and John Hancock, respectively), implying that they are descendants of said people. George Washington had no children, and none of John Hancock's children lived to adulthood. Franklin is theoretically possible, though.
  • Theme Naming: All Edisons have a first name containing the syllable "ed". In the present, we have Fred, Edna and Ed. In the 18th century, Red, Jed and Ned. In the 22nd century, Zed, Zedna and Ved. Plus, of course, there's Dead Cousin Ted, who's from Ancient Egypt.
  • Theme Twin Naming: The Edison twins of the past, Jed and Ned.
  • They Don't Make Them Like They Used To: The Edisons' dryer is capable of running non-stop for 200 years without suffering a malfunction.
  • Thing-O-Matic: The sludge-spewing machine, Dr. Fred's Sludge-O-Matic, which had no purpose except to pump out a sufficiently impressive stream of toxic sludge. (No mad scientist's lab is respectable without one.)
  • The Three Trials: The entire game between the prologue and the endgame. Interestingly done in that each task is set in its own time period and pursued by a different character.
  • Time Capsule: A wine bottle placed into a time capsule results in a bottle of vinegar hundreds of years later. Jefferson originally plans for a wooden log (which would result in... nothing inside the capsule in the future).
  • Time Machine: Obviously. Appears to be built around three portaloos, an old car, and a honking big diamond.
  • Time Travel: The point of the game.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Pretty much the only way to take the wacky events of the game. It runs on San Dimas Time to allow the characters to flush small, inanimate objects to each other through time via their time machines. When the time stream is altered, any changes are visible to the characters and happen with a "magic" effect and sound, and at the end of the game, the characters travel back in time to yesterday to turn off the machine that caused the Big Bad to become evil, thus causing a huge paradox and defeating the point of them even disembarking on their adventure in the first place. But that's okay. Doctor Edison's original plan (not taking into account the diamond breaking and the trio ending up in different eras) was for them to simply go back in time and turn off the aforementioned machine.
  • Toilet Teleportation: The game has three characters (Bernard, Hoagie and Laverne) who end up in different time periods, and send items back and forth via a set of porta-potties to solve problems and save the world from a giant tentacle. It's that kind of game.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bernard is much braver than he was in Maniac Mansion.
  • Took a Shortcut: When you find the super-battery plans, Dr. Fred appears from a corner of the room with no access. After he goes off to the time machine, Bernard asks "How did you get over there?"
    • That's a tame example, too: people constantly walk off one side of the screen and reappear on the other. It's occasionally given an "Um..." beat, but no one really says anything.
    • In fact, Laverne pulls it off earlier in the game, during the intro, appearing upstairs from the convention hall, which doesn't have access to the upper floors (unless she climbed up the chimney). Her explanation?
  • Toxic Waste Can Do Anything: The toxic goo dumped into the water by Dr. Fred's Sludge-O-Matic causes Purple Tentacle to grow arms and become an insane, evil genius.
  • Tradesnark™: Dr. Fred's Sludge-O-Matic™ always has a trademark at the end in text. In the design document, so does the Chron-O-John™.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: The Chron-O-John is powered by a 4,000-carat diamond. The largest uncut diamond ever found on Earth was a little under 3,200 carats.
  • Tricked into Signing: There's a puzzle requiring Bernard to get Dr. Fred's signature on a contract that he refuses to sign because he's preoccupied with trying to think of a way to defeat Purple Tentacle. One of the four possible solutions involves tricking him by claiming it's the cancellation form for a record club, in another Bernard says he is starting up a petition to ban all tentacles.
  • Two Beings, One Body: The Fly (1958) was brilliantly spoofed in the climax: three characters use a time machine at the same time (Dr. Fred even mentions the movie by name as they did this), and end up fused into a three-headed freak with Laverne's legs and Hoagie's arms. At the end of the game, however, it is revealed that they weren't mashed up at all, merely stuck in the same suit of clothes.
    Laverne: Great. Stuck here the rest of my life...listening to Bernard talking and watching Hoagie eat. Mom warned me there'd be days like this.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The Moustached Tentacle doesn't seem the least bit impressed by a huge kumquat tree vanishing right in front of him. And he never mentions it again. Because it was never there, to begin with.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Averted, as with the majority of LucasArts' adventure games.
  • The Unfought: The original Purple Tentacle isn't dealt with directly, but rather undone once his Sludge-O-Matic induced mutation is prevented. His Future self and several other alternate versions being the final adversaries.
  • Verbal Tic: Laverne will sometimes giggle psychotically mid-sentence.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Laverne can trap the cat inside the kennel by activating the barrier and will then mock the cat with an Evil Laugh. For fun, of course.
    • Subverted when Laverne revives the frozen hamster in a 22nd-century microwave oven, while delivering a Fantastic Aesop. (She explains that in her century kids who microwave their hamsters are taken away and put up for adoption, so don't do it.)
  • Visual Pun: The IRS ties up Dr. Fred in red tape. Literally. Of course, the pun is lost for foreign audiences. At least the pun isn't the basis for a puzzle, not like some OTHER LucasArts games (**cough**monkey wrench in Monkey Island**cough**).
  • "Wash Me" Graffiti: There is a filthy car in the present with a "Wash me" hint. Examining it has Bernard mention he doesn't wash his car because it always starts raining. This is supposed to be a hint that you are supposed to wash the carriage in the past.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Laverne infiltrates the tentacle-controlled future by wearing a tentacle-shaped Star-Spangled Banner. It even has sleeves and a hole for her face.
  • Well-Intentioned Replacement: Dr. Fred used an imitation diamond in the time machine, which then fails, breaks the machine, strands two people in different time periods, and sets up the main plot. Bernard's task is to find a real diamond so it'll function properly.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?:
    Bernard: Well, what possible harm could one insane, mutant tentacle do?

    Dr. Fred: It works! I can't believe it! And they said imitation diamond wasn't good enough!
    [Loud BANG! - the diamond crumbles]
    Dr. Fred: Uh-oh...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Green Tentacle is last seen tied up and at the mercy of an army of Purple Tentacles. No option is given for the heroes to untie him.
    • Nurse Edna completely disappears after Bernard pushes her down the stairs. Was she killed? Did she just keep rolling out the front door and out of the game? She is never referred to again.
  • What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: The tentacle guard to disguised Laverne, and... Hoagie to the talking horse.
  • What's Up, King Dude?: Hoagie can simply interact with important American politicians Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock and freaking American President George Washington without any difficulties, without them having any security personnel that would attend to them. He can have casual conversations with them in an almost-deserted house and even give them items including an explosive cigar to Washington.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Dr. Fred tells Laverne and Hoagie that he tied up Purple Tentacle in the basement. Lucky no-one's stupid enough to let him go... (See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.)
  • With Friends Like These...: Bernard considers Cousin Ted as his friend, despite Ted being an inanimate mummy. If the player tries to make Bernard harm Ted, he'll refuse by saying this is not the way to treat friends. Yet, this doesn't prevent him from painting him red, throwing him brutally inside an attic with a rope, and using him as a dummy to pose as Dr. Fred.
    • You know what they say: it is the mark of true friendship to aid in your friend's wacky schemes to save the world. Ted simply can't refuse to help out, you know?
    • They also say: "A friend will help you move house. A good friend will help you free a man from the clutches of the IRS by replacing him with a dead body."
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: Just before Bernard and his friends are sent to the past by Doctor Fred:
    Bernard: Have any people been hurt in this?
    Dr. Fred: Of course not! [trio look relieved] This is the first time I've ever tried it on people! [trio panic]
  • Worst Aid: Dr. Fred is unconscious and needs coffee. You do this by... opening his mouth, putting a funnel in, and pouring coffee in. Good thing this is a cartoon, otherwise Fred would be dead.
  • Writer's Block: The Founding Fathers are in the middle of one, so they've set a suggestion box.
  • The X of Y: Day of the Tentacle.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: You dispose of Dwayne, the chronically-depressed inventor, by handing him a letter that reads "You're brilliant! What a novel design. Come to Baltimore at once." This causes him to tear off in a mad rush of excitement. Too bad the letter wasn't actually meant for him...
  • You and What Army?: At the end of the game, the heroes face down an entire army of Purple Tentacles that the future Purple Tentacle pulled from other parts of the timeline.
    Bernard: You and what army?
    Purple Tentacle: Why, this army, of course!
    Laverne: ...yikes...
  • You Can Talk?: Hoagie is surprised to discover that horses can talk. The horse explains that "maybe they never had anything to say to you."
  • You Can't Make an Omelette...: One character uses the equivalent, "If you want to save the world, you got to push a few old ladies down the stairs." ...having done just that.
  • You Get What You Pay For: In the beginning, the Chron-O-John fails because Dr. Fred used an imitation diamond instead of a real one.
  • Zillion-Dollar Bill: You manage to make the Edisons fabulously wealthy by obtaining the back royalties LucasArts owes them for Maniac Mansion. Naturally, the money must immediately be spent to buy a giant diamond to repair your time machine.


Video Example(s):


Tentacle Flag

At one point during the game, Hoagie must change the flag into a tentacle shape for Laverne.

It is possible for Laverne to take the flag before it changes and if Hoagie changes the flag after Laverne picks it up, there will be a cutscene of the flag changing in Lavenre's inventory and she will remark on it.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / DevelopersForesight

Media sources: