What was the first ever horror game, you ask? Well, there are some gray (or dark, foggy, and dreaded) edges to that question, but at least one answer involves a classic Atari 2600 game.
The first ever horror game is a bit of a debatable topic, as it depends on how you define “horror game” and what qualifies as the “first” game in the genre. However, here are a few contenders for the coveted title:
- Haunted House (1982) – This game, released for the Atari 2600 console, is often credited as the first horror game. It was a simple game where the player had to navigate a haunted house and collect treasure while avoiding ghosts.
- Alien (1982) – This game, released for the Atari 2600 console, was based on the popular horror film Alien. It was a survival game where the player had to avoid the alien while trying to fix their spaceship and escape.
- The Lurking Horror (1987) – This game, released for personal computers, was a text-based adventure game with horror elements. It was one of the first games to incorporate elements of Lovecraftian horror, and was also one of the first to be released on the internet.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to pinpoint a single “first” horror game, as the genre has evolved over time and has been influenced by a variety of different games and media. However, these three games are all contenders for the honor, and have played an important role in the development of the horror game genre.
No matter which title accept as the first in the horror genre, though, there’s no doubt that hunkering down to play Haunted House in a dark room on a dark early 1980s night was nothing short of terrifying.
Next up in the Atari rolodex: Are Atari games still made?