The Manhole, stylized as the Manhole, is a comical, surreal-fantasy, point-and-click adventure game developed by Cyan and published by Activision for Macintosh computers on November 24, 1988.
One of the most well-known games to make use of the platform's HyperCard technology, The Manhole has players explore a bizarre world after opening up a manhole to reveal a beanstalk. Sometimes known as a "software toy", The Manhole has no real objective, with players exploring the open world and interacting with its inhabitants and other objects at their leisure, often traveling in circular paths in a convoluted manner. It was designed by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller for Rand's daughters, and includes some edutainment (such as reciting the alphabet and describing children's books).
The game received a CD-ROM re-release in 1989, including a new redbook audio soundtrack. While it is not the first video game to be released in this format, it is the earliest known computer game to do so. Cyan later used this style and format for their later games Cosmic Osmo and Spelunx before moving on to their more well-known Myst series.
The game was later ported to DOS PC computers on December 18, 1989, to FM Towns computers in Japan on August 24, 1990, to NEC PC-98 computers in Japan on December 1, 1990, and to the PC Engine CD in Japan on March 22, 1991, all of which have new color graphics. The PC version was re-released in CD-ROM format on May 9, 1992 as The Manhole: New and Enhanced, featuring Windows support and high-color VGA graphics. The New and Enhanced version was also released for the VIS. The game later received a high-definition remake, known as The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition.
The PCE version of the game includes some bonus mini-games, including an adaptation of the Macintosh desk accessory Neko.