Haunted House (Atari 2600)
Haunted House is perhaps the very first example of the survival horror genre. It was released by Atari for the Atari 2600 in 1982 and while graphically simple, it had some pretty sophisticated gameplay for its time. The goal is simple enough: recover three pieces of an urn and escape without dying.
The player in Haunted House is represented by a pair of eyes. Your opponents include tarantulas, bats and the ghost of Mr. Graves (the house’s late occupant). There are three items to be found in the game including the urn (or urn piece), a scepter that wards off evil spirits, and a key to open doors. The catch is that you can only hold one at a time. You can also press the fire button to light a match which you must do in order to see items near you or even to see the walls in later stages. You have unlimited matches but each only lasts a few seconds and will be blown out if a monster approaches. Escape with the urn and you win. Get hit my monsters nine times and you die.
Haunted House is an interesting and unique game for the Atari 2600. It’s definitely worth trying if you are a fan of that console or just want to see the origins of survival horror games. A remake/sequel was released in 2010 for the Wii, Windows and Xbox Live Arcade. A sequel to that game titled Haunted House Cryptic Graves was released in 2014 for Windows. These games aren’t really anything special though. The more interesting release is an official sequel titled Return to Haunted House that was developed using the source code for Adventure and released exclusively on the second iteration of the Atari Flashback console.