Jump to content

The Manhole

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Manhole
Cover art for The Manhole: CD-ROM Masterpiece Edition
Developer(s)Cyan Worlds
Designer(s)Rand and Robyn Miller
EngineMultimedia Applications Development Environment
Platform(s)Mac OS, TurboGrafx 16, MS-DOS, FM Towns, Microsoft Windows, iOS
ReleaseNovember 24, 1988, December 18, 1989, May 9, 1992, June 8, 1995, July 5, 2007
(Steam) (PC only)
  • WW: August 18th, 2010[1]
(GOG.com) (PC only)
  • WW: Jan. 21, 2011[2]
  • WW: August 7th, 2010[3]

The Manhole is an adventure video game in which the player opens a manhole and reveals a gigantic beanstalk, leading to fantastic worlds.


A screenshot from the Macintosh 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 a CD-ROM version based on the floppy disk game.[5] This version was the first computer game distributed on CD-ROM (although there had already been two games released in late 1988 in Japan for NEC's PC Engine game console on its CD-ROM² format).[6][7][8][9] It runs in black-and-white on the 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 Broderbund, 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 three months using StrataVision 3D. In 2007, the game was released on GameTap.[10] As of February 2011, the game is available from GOG.com,[11] iTunes,[12] and as part of the "Cyan Complete Pack" on Steam.[13]

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.


Describing The Manhole as "the first children's software to require a hard disk", Macworld in March 1989 stated that its "realistic sounds, the fantasy-filled graphics, and the stack construction are truly impressive". The magazine "highly recommended [the game] for young children[, and] it's hard to imagine a playful soul of any age who wouldn't enjoy exploring the mind-tickling world inside The Manhole".[14]

The Manhole won a Software Publishers Association Excellence in Software Award in 1989 for Best New Use of a Computer.[15]


  1. ^ "Cyan Worlds' Games Available Via Steam". CyanWorlds.com. 2010-08-07. Archived from the original on 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2012-05-05.
  2. ^ "Big Weekend Sale on Cyan Games at GOG!". CyanWorlds.com. 2012-01-21. Archived from the original on 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2012-05-05.
  3. ^ "Announcing The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition for iOS". CyanWorlds.com. 2010-08-07. Archived from the original on 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2012-05-05.
  4. ^ Visionaries PROFILES Rand and Robyn Miller
  5. ^ Digital Interactivity Archived 2006-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "[I ♥ the PC Engine] Fighting Street @ Magweasel". Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  7. ^ "[I ♥ the PC Engine] No-Ri-Ko @ Magweasel". Archived from the original on 2015-05-03. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  8. ^ Kohler, Chris (24 September 2008). "Sept. 24, 1993: Beautiful 'Myst' Ushers In Era of CD-ROM Gaming". Wired Magazine.
  9. ^ Sipe, Russell (November 1992). "3900 Games Later..." Computer Gaming World. No. 100. p. 8. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  10. ^ "The Manhole". Gametap. Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  11. ^ "The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition". GOG. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  12. ^ "The Manhole: Masterpiece". Apple AppStore. 27 January 2022.
  13. ^ "The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition on Steam". Steam.
  14. ^ Beekman, George (March 1989). "HyperCard Entertainment Stacks". Macworld. Vol. 6, no. 3. pp. 190–192. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  15. ^ Scisco, Peter (August 1989). "the Envelope, Please". Compute!. Vol. 11, no. 8 #111. p. 6. Retrieved 11 November 2013.

External links[edit]