In a childs’ life, if he/she sees something so scary at one point in time, they could be scarred for life. For some it’s clowns, for some it’s spiders. And believe it or not, for some it’s eating bananas after 8PM at night that causes nightmares. Seriously, don’t ask, because I’m not going to get into it. So you can make fun of me all you want…. Sorry :). But with the world of modern technology for movies, tv and especially games, it is possible to be damaged by video games. Unfortunately, there are so many games these days that can actually do that to someone. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Aliens… these are just 3 of many.
But how is it possible to be scared by video games at a younger age? In the 80’s, there really wasn’t much out there to scare someone in regards to the video game industry. I mean sure, E.T. for the Atari was borderline but really, in seriousness what would it take to affect someone back then? Pacman, Dig Dug, Mr. Do, Donkey Kong.. Seriously I could go on and list probably 100 games and couldn’t think of anything that is scary. Oh wait, there was that one game that I played that caused me to have a few sleepless nights.
In 1978, John Carpenter came out with one of the many memorable horror flicks to hit the theater, Halloween. And would you believe to this day, I still have not seen it? Sure I have seen other classics in my life like Nightmare On Elm Street and The Shining, but how could I not see Halloween? I guess it was because of the hockey mask and machete put together to made me think it was real. Hell, I was only 5 years old at the time too. But even as I got older, I still won’t see it. It’s probably the music too. But back to the reason I even mentioned this movie.
Nine years later, Namco released what I personally considered to be the first real horror video game into the arcades. A game that was originally titled West Mansion was latter called Splatterhouse. Now keep in mind this is later in my life, but it still was pretty freaky! The best description of this game was located on KLOV.com.
“The player controls Rick, a parapsychology student who was murdered by undead monsters on a visit to the West Mansion (Splatterhouse). Resurrected by the “Terror Mask,” Rick must kill his way through an army of ghouls and demons in order to rescue his girlfriend.” (So, you are a good guy), ok, I’ll accept that. But the enemies that you fight are what’s really damaging. Blood ghouls, blood sucking leaches, maggots, brains, chainsaw swinging hood covered monsters and even a lava or what I though was a blood dripping face with a hand that came out of the ground. These were just a few of many different things that you fought in the game.
But for me, I didn’t care. I was playing a video game. And I figured that I had already played enough of Pac Man that was next to it. And so quarter by quarter, I kept playing, hoping that I would get another chance to beat the game. But a lot of the visions/memories of the game were starting to bet embedded into my head. So I go home and argue with my parents about going to bed and after an hour, I was out. And then the dream started.
I remember it like it was yesterday, but for the next three nights, I actually had nightmares about the game. Not sure which night it was, but I remember one dream I was playing the character but I was actually emerged into the Dragon’s Lair world. It was a seriously messed up dream . Instead of Dirk dropping down and turning into a skeleton, Rick dropped down and started to bleed. I won’t go into too many details since some of you read articles when you are having breakfast. Daphne was in the game but I never saved her, and even though it was the Dragon’s Lair world, it was still the mansion from Splatterhouse. Yes I woke up screaming a few times. I was actually talking to my parents about those nights over this past weekend and they completely remember that day. It was not fun as they remember. The first thing they did was ask if I ate a banana after 8PM. To this day, they still give me grief about my theory of bananas. But my answer was no. In fact, they reminded me that I couldn’t go to the arcade for a couple weeks after that ordeal. Funny, I don’t remember that.
Someone asked me what about Castlevania or Ghosts and Goblins or Ghouls and Ghosts. To that I replied, well first of all I actually finished those and no matter how many times I have tried, I have never beaten Splatterhouse. So the difficulty level of the game also made it hard to think about. Also, the other games were more fun than the Splatterhouse, but it was still a cool game to play. Some day, I’ll talk about the incident with Resident Evil. But not now. For now, I will go to Chucky Cheese and play the games that don’t scare me like Skee Ball or Whack a Mole. If only they still had the original one there. Times really do change, but it gives you even more reason to…..
Keep Calm and Insert Coin