One of my earliest memories of gaming sitting with my mums brother and playing a little something called Jack Attack on the Commodore 64.
I was about 6 or 7 when I was playing this, and though I did enjoy it a lot, there is one particular memory of it that both cracks me up and makes me feel really silly, but I feel it reflects a lot on the type of games I play today.
Jack Attack had a simple premise, get to this one location while avoiding these round circle things. If they touch you, then you die. You can't directly kill them though, so you have to manipulate these blocks to squash them. These blocks can kill you too though, so I guess that counts as an environmental hazard?
At some point what I started doing was turning down the brightness of the screen so that I could barely see myself and the enemy circles. This made the game a little scarier for me because now I had to really watch myself and look out for the "baddies", but this also made the game a lot more enjoyable for me. I would spend hours and hours pretending that these circles were monsters or demons or whatever.
Looking back at it now and giving it some thought, I think right and then there would have been the genesis of my love for horror gaming. Even though I was pretending that my character was walking around in the dark and that that these circles where monsters, all this added a different experience for me instead of just moving blocks and avoiding circles.
Soon I had my self a Family Game system or Fanicom as I now come to know it. This was the version of NES that was shipped to places outside of the States and Japan. My one came with a cartridge that had like a 100 games on it or something. This is where I was introduced to such classics as Super Mario Brothers (which I played religiously) and other hits such as Contra and Legend of Kage.
But I still remember my favorite game on this bad boy, there were two games that I played a lot and they were Ghosts n' Goblins and Frankenstein.
Ghost n' Goblins is of course a classic now, what I loved about it most at the time was that I didn't have to pretend that I was fighting demons and monsters, because now I actually was. I don't remember it being hard but now I read that it's actually one of the most unforgiving games on the NES. I always thought it was Battle Toads.
Frankenstein however was my best game on the Fanicom. The spooky music, creepy atmosphere and locations. This game was just what I was looking for. You venture into sewers and forbidden castles battling all kinds of hideous things.It's sad to hear now that Frankenstein was not as popular generally as it was to me, but I was like 8 or 9 by now - so just I guess it was easier to entertain me.
Check out the video below, that opening theme brings back so many memories for me.
Soon horror movies became a staple at my house. I grew up with my grandparents and my grandma was away overseas and it was just my granddad an I for the longest time. Every other night he would let me pick a horror movie from the local video store and we'd watch it together over dinner. the funny thing was that he didn't mind me watching the blood and gore and creepy stuff, but he'd fast forward all the sex scenes.
I continued to played a lot of other games during this time and fell in love with many other classics, but it wasn't until I met up with a family friend whose kid had a Sega Megadrive console that things really heated up for me. It wasn't because of Sonic, which came built in, but because he had Splatterhouse 2.
Boy this game was the shit for me as a kid. An out right creepy atmosphere, drenched in blood and decay, scary ass monsters and a mad doctor that kidnapped my girl friend! I had seen the comic adverts for it here and there and I never thought I would get to play it.
Plus the hero was no longer some puny little dweeb from some village or something. It was a guy who became bad ass because he had put on a mask that was possesed! Now he was smashing bad guys with sticks and fighting giant worms and running away from massive tenticle beasts. I didn't know about the Lovecraft influence back then, but Spaltterhouse 2 always came off as something a lot deeper and darker than your standard game, at least for me.
The shitty thing was that this wasn't my game and I didn't get too many chances to play it. Whenever we would go over to this family's house I would just hog the Sega till we had to leave.
My next big horror gaming fix would come much later, when my folks picked up our first PC.
I didn't care much for it until one day something went wrong with a drive or something and an IT guy came over to sort it out. I remember him asking me if we had any games on it and I said no... that's when he installed Doom 2.
End of Part 1