In 1981 Atari 2600 gamers took their first steps into the haunted Graves Mansion in Haunted House, the original survival horror console game. Now, nearly 30 years later, Atari prepares to drag us back, kicking and screaming.
The original Haunted House was a quick and dirty little horror game for the Atari 2600 that somehow managed to overcome the system's limitations and provide real scares to the player. The player appeared as a pair of eyes, wandering the game's four floors, avoiding spiders, bats and the ghost of Mr Graves. Sometimes your eyes were illuminated by a single match. If a monster entered the room you were in, the match would go out.
I distinctly remember being scared shitless, by this:
Seriously. I was terrified.
Luckily for me, Atari's new Haunted House looks to be a more family-friendly affair for the Wii, Xbox Live Arcade and PC. Created by children's game developer ImagineEngine, it features the original character's grandchildren, returning to the haunted house 30 years later, attempting to defend their family's legacy and restore an ancient urn.
The game will still have light sources and keys, which is a plus. It will also have boss fights, which I suppose is a sign of the times. Will it have the same spooky atmosphere?
Probably not. But hey, a nod to an old classic is a nod to an old classic, right?
Visit the new Haunted House's official web page to keep track of the game's progress.