by Austin Brewer
Surreal and sometimes unnerving, The Museum Of Anything Goes is an obscure “edutainment” CD-ROM project that was left in the shadows of 1995. Developed by Michael Markowski and Maxwell S. Robinson under the development name Wayzata Technology, this interactive showcase for PC and Mac is truly a relic of multimedia past. Having little to no web presence, it only makes this strange project even eerier.
Well for starters, they truly meant anything goes. When you start the intro, you’re greeted with wacky text effects, eyeballs, a zebra, a helicopter and a floating muppet-like face that teaches you the controls. With all this silliness on show, you would think the intended audience would be kids but as soon as you take your first step, you’re interrupted by a walking skeleton that says “Don’t go in there. Look what happened to me!" If the aim was to freak kids out, they’re doing a bangin' job.
Random visitors roam the museum halls (left) while an exhibition of
school-child interviews takes place elsewhere (right)
Upon opening the museum doors, an ominous tone plays as a girl on a tricycle rides down the hall in front of you. Talk about some freaky "The Shining” stuff. Looking at the map on the immediate left or right of the hallway, players will see that the museum offers a decent amount of things to interact with. The range of content is quite large too, surprisingly. Experiencing the content that this multimedia showcase contains will only beg the question: who was the intended audience for this game?
The map is a useful navigation tool (left) while the garden can be set up
to your heart's desire (right)
to your heart's desire (right)
So far I’ve found wacky characters and creatures, silly sounds, roaming visitors, FMV clips of what seem like vacations, interviews with school children (one of the devs was a school teacher, I believe), unsettling music and sounds, readable letters from dead people, weird or abstract musical pieces, puzzles, a customizable garden and some other disturbing things and pure randomness that I won't spoil. Trust me, you’d want to stumble upon them yourselves. There are things in this CD-ROM that are tucked away on purpose and I’m confused on why they’re even included to begin with. It's all so random. The Museum of Anything Goes' intended audience is its biggest mystery of all and I dare you to try and figure it out. You’ll probably need an aspirin for that headache.
The puzzles may be of the common variety (left) but how many games
can boast letters from the dead (right)
Generally, the interaction in this game consists of: clicking on a painting, watching compressed animations and cutscenes, dragging things around, doing activities and listening to sound clips. For example, if I click on this painting of two eyes, it transports me with a dark room with an uncanny-looking CG bear with black eyes sitting in the darkness. I click on the bear. It walks over to flick on a light switch spouting “you’re a real smarty, aren’t you?”. I am then presented with what seems like a child’s playroom. A clown, a jack-in-the-box, a toy fire truck, a bouncy ball and scrambled blocks that make a word puzzle are now visible. Every object will either make a sound or have an animation, while the toy blocks are an interactive rearranging puzzle.
The bear's eyes are souless even with the lights on.
At least they're more welcoming than that clown.
The Museum of Anything Goes has little spotlight, but Vinny from the twitch channel Vinesauce has recently played it. Otherwise, it’d still be an obscure piece of media. As for the status of the company, they went out of business in 1996 (a year after The Museum Of Anything Goes was released). I was able to track down some more stuff from Wayzata Technology. I found other CD-ROMs called CD Funhouse, CD Funhouse 10.1, Loon Magic, MusicScapes Professional, Reflections, CD School House, Gallery Of Dreams, Tony Quinn's Virtual Worlds, and many other cd projects. Whether these were published AND developed by them, I have no idea. I tried contacting their number, only to receive an offer for a free Hawaii vacation getaway. If I could track down the original developers for The Museum Of Anything Goes, I’d truly love to pick their minds.
At the end of the day, you can tell that this was a passion project for these guys. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the teacher’s students were involved in some of the designs or ideas found in the museum. It almost feels like a child’s dreams or a lunatic’s nightmares were picked apart and filtered into a collage of surrealist insanity. The problem with this showcase is that it’s best to experience it for yourself, rather than have it explained. I don’t want to give away anything or spoil the spooks, so do yourself a favor (if you like weird shit) and download this.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 189 Mb. Install Size: 394 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
The Museum of Anything Goes is © Markowski-Robertson
Cover Design and Installer created by me
Review by Austin Brewer