The Manhole

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This article is about the video game. For inspection chambers/access chambers, see manhole.
The Manhole
The Manhole
Cover art for The Manhole: CD-ROM Masterpiece Edition
Developer(s) Cyan Worlds
Publisher(s) Brøderbund, Activision
Designer(s) Rand and Robyn Miller
Engine Multimedia Applications Development Environment
Platform(s) Mac OS, PC Engine, MS-DOS, FM Towns, Microsoft Windows, iOS
Release date(s) 1988, 1989, 1992, 1995, 2007
(Steam)(PC only)
INT August 18th, 2010[1]
( only)
INT Jan. 21, 2011[2]
INT August 7th, 2010[3]
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution CD-ROM (1), Steam, and

The Manhole is a computer adventure game intended for children in which the player opens a manhole and reveals a gigantic beanstalk, leading to fantastic worlds.


A screenshot from the Apple Mac release of The Manhole game.
The Manhole game world (original Mac release shown) emphasizes visual elements instead of written words.

The game was first released on floppy disks in 1988 by Cyan, Inc. (now Cyan Worlds) and distributed through mail order.[4] In 1989, it was produced for Activision as CD-ROM version based on that floppy disc game.[5] This version was the first computer game distributed on CD-ROM.[6][7] It runs in black-and-white on the Apple Macintosh line of computers. It was created using the HyperTalk programming language by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller, who founded the company Cyan and would go on to produce the best-selling adventure game Myst. The Manhole was later also released for the PC Engine and FM Towns.

The game was re-released for MS-DOS twice, once in 1992 by Activision as The Manhole: New and Enhanced (including a Windows 3.1 version) and again in 1995 as The Manhole: CD-ROM Masterpiece Edition by Brøderbund which featured the use of color, music, voice, sound effects, and some new characters. Cyan artist Chuck Carter designed all of the color graphics in about 3 months using StrataVision 3D. In 2007, the game was released on GameTap.[8] As of February 2011 the game is available from Good Old Games,[9] iTunes,[10] and as part of the "Cyan Complete Pack" on Steam.[11]

The Manhole is a notable computer game because like Cosmic Osmo and Spelunx it has no goal and no end; as a software toy the object is simply to explore and have fun.


The Manhole won a Software Publishing Association Excellence in Software Award in 1989 for Best New Use of a Computer.[12]


  1. ^ "Cyan Worlds’ Games Available Via Steam". 2010-08-07. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  2. ^ "Big Weekend Sale on Cyan Games at GOG!". 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  3. ^ "Announcing The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition for iOS.". 2010-08-07. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  4. ^ Visionaries PROFILES Rand and Robyn Miller
  5. ^ Digital Interactivity
  6. ^ "Sept. 24, 1993: Beautiful ‘Myst’ Ushers In Era of CD-ROM Gaming" Wired Magazine
  7. ^ Sipe, Russell (1992-11). "3900 Games Later...". Computer Gaming World. p. 8. Retrieved 4 July 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Scisco, Peter (August 1989). "the Envelope, Please". Compute!. p. 6. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 

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