In North America every single licensed NES game looked the same; same cart, same label shape, same grey color. This was not the case in Japan, were the licensing policies of Nintendo of Japan where much less strict. Publishers were not required to have their carts manufactured by Nintendo, so they were free to to vary their cart color, size, packaging, and even the shape and appearance of each individual cart, as long as it fit in the Famicom cart slot.
The Famicom version of Maniac Mansion is among the most unique variations I have seen. The game’s box is a clear plastic sleeve, with the label on the cart itself serving as the cover. The manual is tucked nicely in behind the cart in a moulded plastic tray,
The uniqueness does not end at the packaging, the cart itself is also quite interesting. The cartridge is a larger than average cart that has a dust protector that seamlessly fits on the bottom of the cart.
Another interesting feature, which I have only seen on other Jaleco carts, is that there is a sticker on the back of cart which has a screenshot from the game on it, almost as if it were the back of the box. My knowledge of the written Japanese language is pretty much zero, so I can only imagine that the text is also similar to the back of the game box also.
Maniac Mansion is one of my favourite NES games, and in my opinion the quirkiness and absurdest sense of humour prevalent throughout the game itself is perfectly matched by Jaleco’s unique packaging concept for the Famicom release.