The will likely be spoilers, but should I talk about something super new I'll warn ya. But consider this a pre-emptive warning! You're WARNED!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

OG survival horror

I love that thanks to Xbox Live, I have the option to play game demos at the price of no price. I will try any game for free. Any game I say! Recently I tried out the demo of the recent remake of Haunted House because why not? The original game, made for Atari 2600 and released in 1982, is likely the first survival horror game. I don't think I ever finished it- my disembodied eyeballs trapped in the Graves mansion, dying a slow death and eventually eaten by bats. In a strange way, I hope this is my real life fate as well.

The remake maintains the same premise as the original- search the mansion for pieces of an urn and defend yourself from ghosts, bats, and spiders with nary more than the light of a match. The graphics are decidedly improved, know. You might expect that they would be considering the hardware advances that have happened over the 30 years between versions. 30 years. 30...years. THIRTY YEARS.

I can't lie, the demo was fun, if totally aimed at kids. Characters say things like "OMG!" which...blehhhhh. I'm not the target demographic, certainly, but the demo was enjoyable enough, maintaining the spirit of the original game.

Okay, secret revealed: while I did download and play the demo on a whim of curiosity, I'm really just using that fact to write something where I can post box and ad art from the original game, both of which are so good:

Beauteous! I love the way video game box art used to really fuel the imagination and despite the terrible graphics of the games (graphics, I should note, that were astounding at the time), the entire game world was fleshed out in my nerdy head. Maybe it's just kids that have that ability, I don't know. The box art was technically misleading, I guess, but to me it was always more a flavor-enhancer. Like Mrs Dash, or MSG!

Oh! And perhaps best of all is that all of this Haunted House talk led me to a startling discovery: you can play the original game on the new game's website. Perhaps my disembodied eyeballs will make it out of the mansion after all...


John L said...

The instruction book for the 2600 had an illustration of a gigantic spider that scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. I actually threw it in the trash to be rid of its menace.

Loved that game.

Anonymous said...

I miss all the awesome artwork that used to be on everything in the 70s and early 80s. Fantasy Paperbacks of today don't even come close. The original artwork on VHS covers was awesome too. There was a lot of Frazetta and Vallejo style stuff. You just don't get that anymore. I was just asking someone the other day if they remembered the cover of Tarnsman of Gor. I guess those days are over.

CashBailey said...

For me the first ever survival horro game was the text adventure, THE COUNT, for the Commodore VIC 20.

In it you're trapped in Dracula's castle and you have a limited number of days to get out before you turn into a vampire yourself.

I never ended up finishing that damn thing.