The Nintendo version of Maniac Mansion is an odd duck in the best possible way, sporting loads of charm and a number of unique features. Part of its popularity is that it’s the version that many played first, but there’s more going on here, or SEGA CD The Secret of Monkey Island would be held up as some sacred cow (No offense, Dom).
A major distinction of the Nintendo version is its soundtrack. Typical of its time, the original PC version of Maniac Mansion was a relatively silent affair, with its audio consisting of little more than a title theme and the odd ambient sound effect. Wall-to-wall music wasn’t really a thing for the SCUMM games until Monkey Island 2, but it was very much the norm for Nintendo games.
So when the Maniac Mansion console port had just about wrapped up its development, the publisher, Jaleco, was wondering aloud where all the music was. Eleventh hour marching orders for a full-bodied soundtrack came down, and project lead David Warhol, something of a game composer himself, brought on three local musicians to split what ended up being a workload of twelve tracks.
To provide an in-game justification for all this music, the seven playable teenagers were given a CD player as a default inventory item, each loaded up with a genre pastiche representing his/her favorite fictional band. Serving not only the requirement for a fuller soundscape but also functioning as a kind of character-building conceit, the end result is surely one of the most varied of all 8-bit soundtracks, and who better to speak about it than the composers themselves? This is where I stop typing and link you to the article.