Category Archives: Games

8-Bit Slashers: Atari Games Based On Horror Movies

 As a byproduct of the early 80s, one of my earliest home gaming memories was the Atari 2600. This beast of a console was the first system a wee Patti owned and was shared, albeit reluctantly, between my little brother and I. I can’t tell you how many times I would get the urge to play Kaboom or Haunted House, and find my 8-bit hogging 4-year-old sibling snotting all over the joystick playing Frogger

The struggles of a one-console household is very real boils and ghouls. 

Presently, the original Atari 2600 is pretty much a dinosaur (and looks like one too) compared to the sleek Playstation 5. However, Brontasauraus console boasted some graphics that looked like sorcery in our eyes at the time. Regardless of the now outdated sights and sounds of the Atari, the gaming system launched the beginning of household video games over 40 years ago, and hell, we need to respect that. Not to mention, hosted some pretty off-the-wall cartridges that embodied the glorious horror genre within them. Four decades later, and I still haven’t seen one damn Texas Chainsaw Massacre OR Halloween video game! Unless of course, you look towards the Atari 2600.

That being said, kudos to the breakthrough video game system that honored the horror genre in 8-bit fashion. So let’s look back at some of the coolest horror-themed video games the breakthrough gamer device had in its library, shall we?!


First released by Wizard Video in 1983, The Shape was forever immortalized 2600 style with his very own Atari game. You actually don’t play as Michael Myers, but the “babysitter”, whom I can only guess is supposed to be Laurie Strode. 

The object of the game is to save the children you’re supposed to be caring for from the Boogeyman. Who, by the way, is running through the house waving a knife all to an Atari-sized version of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme. FANTASTIC. You’re given three lives which are represented by jack-o-lanterns on top of the screen, of which will disappear one by one when you are caught and killed. The highlight of this game, and I’ve been known to purposely do this just for fun, is when you’re caught by Myers. Why? Because he decapitates you (as shown in the video below). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this appears to be the very first video game decapitation in history. You only get a tiny bit of blood spurts from said kill, but nevertheless is extremely amusing.


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Another horror treasure from Wizard Video brings the Tobe Hooper classic to the Atari world in 1982. Unlike the Halloween game, gamer roles are reversed and you actually get to play as Leatherface; with a chainsaw attached to his dick. 

You basically just run across a field of cow skulls and wheelchairs trying to get to your next victim. It’s heavily rumored throughout the gamer community that the high-pitched tones you hear when a victim appears is actually supposed to be a girl’s scream. The chainsaw in the game is run on fuel, and when you press the appropriate button to run it, your fuel starts to deplete. When you run out of fuel, you lose a life. So, just an educated guess here, the point is to kill off as many people as you can before running out of gas. 

It’s a fun way to murder ten minutes of your life. But one thing that really irked me about this game other than the inability for game developers to give Leatherface’s body a different color than the chainsaw, is the fact your character gets “stuck” quite easily. The obstacles I mentioned above, as it turns out, you better steer clear of them. If even one pixel of Leatherface breathes too close to these in-game hazards, you’re stuck for a good couple of seconds. It’s a total pain in the ass. 



Developed by Fox Interactive Games in 1982, Atari Alien has no shame in hiding that it is, in short, a basic rip-off of Pac-Man. However, instead of dodging ghosts through a maze, you’re running from Xenomorphs, which is just way cooler anyway.

The in-game maze is supposed to be designed to look like the inside of a spaceship, and said ship is infested with adult aliens laying these eggs all over the place. Just like Pac-Man, the pellets littering the screen are eggs and can be destroyed by simply running over them. There really isn’t too much else to explain, as it really is just Pac-Man with aliens. Though if you enjoy the classic arcade game, as a horror fan you’ll likely get a kick out of something different from that floating yellow head.


Frankenstein’s Monster

Published by Data Age for Atari in 1983, Frankenstein’s Monster, for me TBH, is one of the more entertaining games to come out of the 2600 era of gaming.

The basic object of gameplay is to build a wall surrounding the monster before he comes to life. To do this, you have to climb up and down the screen grabbing bricks one by hellish one. Along the way, you’ll encounter a giant tarantula, bats, ghosts, and a lovely pool of acid. You know, normal creepy castle shit. If you build the wall before the timer runs out, you save the village below from a monster rampage. If you don’t make it in time, Frankie comes to life and destroys every damn thing in its path, which is kind of my favorite part anyway. If you get a chance to play, let yourself lose at least once. 

Young GamersBiH


Birthed by Activision in 1985, Ghostbusters for Atari 2600 comes one year after the theatrical release, and is fuckin’ fun as hell. 

You immediately begin by trapping ghosts in front of buildings, which in most cases, takes the form of Slimer. All the while, a synthetic Atari version of the Ghostbusters theme plays in the background.  The graphics when ghostbusting aren’t half bad considering the console, and the driving sequences with the Ecto-1 are not as stretched out as other versions.The greatest part, however, is when you finally get to the end and fight Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It’s goddamn hilarious because he just kind of jumps around in front of a building like a little kid.


Oh, the sweet, sweet nostalgic not-so-great, but still cool as hell video games of yesteryear. They just don’t make them like that anymore…

Terminator: Resistance – For Fans It’s Become The True ‘Terminator 3’

It’s not uncommon for franchisees to lose their way from the initial lore that made them legendary in the first place. Sometimes a filmmaker is just lucky and catches lightning in a bottle. If he manages to catch it again with a follow-up movie then he’s just a legend at that point.

James Cameron did so with Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The same cannot be said for the movies that followed in his steps though.

Sometimes it’s just not possible to capitalize on the success of an original concept. And any attempts to do so fall by the wayside.

image via Terminator 2

Case in point ask any horror fan which is the best Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie and they’ll point back to Tobe Hooper’s very first film. To my knowledge there have been 7 movies to follow TCM and, though, admittedly, some are fun to watch and entertaining, none of them come close to the original’s raw style and horrific grit.

It’s not easy to build upon success like that without just (exhaustively) repeating the formula rather than adding to it, allowing it to grow without it getting weird.

It’s also not uncommon for fans to find and latch onto mediums – outside of movies – as true successors to the legends they grew up loving.

One more example before moving on – HELLRAISER.

Hellraiser has suffered through enough sequels. Many of them were never intended to be Hellraiser films in the first place, but in order to keep the franchise’s license – and, not to mention, for the studio to sell really shitty horror movies – they shamelessly slapped the infamous Hellraiser title and a Roman numeral at the end of it to inferior projects and put Doug Bradley back in the makeup to appear as Pinhead in one or two scenes.

Most Clive Barker fans know these aren’t true Hellraiser films. They don’t match the lore Barker established.

But then in 2011, BOOM comics released Clive Barker’s Hellraiser that followed the story of little Kirsty Cotton as she seeks out to complete her hellish journey with the Lament Configuration and the insidious Order of the Gash. This comic book run is sensational and a must-read for fans of the first two films. Much like how Halloween (2018) works for Laurie Strode these comics work for Kirsty and goes into some amazing and unexpected places but feel so genuine and authentic that many fans – myself included – consider these to be the lost sequel we all deserved.

The comics are so well done that even Clive Barker himself calls them the true Hellraiser III.

Sometimes we find better continuity outside of the films.

In today’s case, it’s in a video game.

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

Released back in 2019, Terminator Resistance sadly passed under the radar and was not well-liked by critics. But slowly it’s been finding a rampant fan base of late, and, like the nuclear flood of Judgment Day, I’ve been swept up in the pure metal and might this game has to offer.

There have been some noteworthy Terminator games in the past. Pretty sure some of your guys fed plenty of quarters to that beloved Terminator 2 arcade cabinet. How could we not play that thing for hours? Our first mission was set in the dystopian warscape where man fights machines to the death.

image via Terminator 2 arcade game

Damn that was cool! That’s the thing that I always remember most from that game. But to be fair, Terminator, though built for great games, doesn’t have the best record for good games. I think that could be why TR passed by all of our notice.

And if it weren’t for me being such a fan of Civvie 11 over on YouTube I may have never played this game and missed out. Civvie gave it a good review and I immediately went out to get it. And right now it’s available on Steam, Xbox, and PSN. For $40 it’s not a bad way to spend your weekend.

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way and answer the most important question. Is the game good? Yes. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, but holy shit it is very good. It’s a shame it wasn’t given a bigger budget or more time to work out a few animation bugs or included a more open world base to walk around in. These are minor gripes, and at times it feels like it’s a Terminator game set in Fallout. I swear I kept getting Skyrim vibes while playing it though.

What makes this game great though is the intense nostalgic morphine jolt you’ll get pumping down your retro feels while playing this game. This is a project built upon love and admiration for the first two Terminator movies.

image via Terminator 2

The game menu starts playing the classic Terminator theme, and yeah, ok, that feels good. But soon as you choose to start playing you are thrown directly into the nightmare scape of that violent new world where machine armies cross abandoned cities to terminate all human existence. You are part of the resistance and fight for John Connor!

Music from the original movie will start playing as you duck away and hide from T-800 troops marching sardonically through the night. It looks just like how Cameron filmed the war scenes too. I had moments when I forgot I was playing a game and felt like I was part of the movies.

Yes, I said you have to hide from T-800 soldiers because, like in the movies, you start off with weapons that are not able to take one down. You are really up against an army of Terminators and your choices have consequences.

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

And your choices do have consequences. In your fight for the future, you can build friendships and later be responsible for their deaths or survival.

Game mechanics include crafting your own weapons, skill learning that will make you a master lock picker and/or give you the ability to remove proximity mines and then use them against the metal assholes wanting to kill you. I can’t deny how satisfying it is to set a trap and see a T-800 walk right into one of my mines and KABOOM!!!!

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

But you gotta be picky over which skills you want to build up first.

You can also hack turrets for some unexpected little WTF moments. Early in the game, I hacked one and it ended up taking own an HK Aerial while I was off doing my thing. I watched it shoot down one of those things and it crashes to pieces! Then I got to go loot the fuck out of its wreckage,

Who’s a good little turret? Yes, that’s right. You are.

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

You start off with your basic bullet-based weapons that can take down smaller machines. And you do get a pretty sweet shotgun that gets things done nicely. As you advance you start to carry more sophisticated weapons like a plasma rifle. But then you get some of the biggest and baddassiest weapons like the purple glowing plasma weapons seen in the movies.

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

You’ll be tasked with taking down an HK Tank and a few of those flying Hunter Killers too. Pipe grenades come in handy in a clutch and you’ll even face off against the Infiltrator, the Arnold character Kyle Reese sees in a nightmare in the first movie, the one who invades the bunker.

And that’s where this game really outdoes itself and excelled over my expectations. From the music, the lighting, the sound effects, and the overall look of everywhere you go and everything you fight. It’s all rooted in the Terminator’s lore and makes you feel entirely swallowed up in the future world Cameron introduced us to.

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

Story-wise you are the one who gets ahold of the CPU chip making it possible to reprogram a T-800 unit to serve as protector…you feeling T2 yet? And I couldn’t contain my stupid glee when I spoke with John Connor for the first time. But then, towards the finale of the game, you actually meet the man himself. And guess what? It’s the real Jon Connor! The guy we see at the beginning of T2 Judgment Day.

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

Not stupid Nick Stahl or that other moron idiot fuck from Genysis. We stand before the real Connor,

You join the fight on the frontline and punch a hole straight into the fields outside Skynet’s HQ. Gotta say standing in front of that damned pyramid felt intimidating.

Yes, time travel elements are used in the story, just like a good Terminator plot should have, but is not the main drive. At no point do you get tossed back into the ‘80s or ‘90s. You start in the war and stay there for the whole game.

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

And because of that, and thanks to the perfect atmosphere, music, and story it really does play as the conclusion to the first two films we didn’t realize we needed. I think deep down every fan wanted a movie based on the future war. One that would lead up to Kyle Reese being sent back in time, one that would involve the hijacking or a Terminator CPU and the T-800 protector. All of that is in this game.

The game ends with you standing with John Connor at the TDP, or ‘time machine’ if you will. Kyle has already been sent through and so has the T-800. So you end at the beginning of the events of Terminator 1 and 2, tying the knot and making you feel 100% complete lore-wise.

I’m not joking You could finish this game and then watch the first two movies back to back and feel nostalgic seamlessness.

And expect a buttload of Easter Eggs. In one mission you have to invade a medical facility where Skynet is doing some bad experiments on people. You walk into one room with a dead human subject left in the chair. And it looks exactly like Robert Patrick…the fucking T-1000!

image via Teyon  and Reef Entertainment: Terminator Resistance

It left me feeling dazed and awed. Like what the hell were they doing in here? Is this man THE roots of the T-1000? Their model for the next stage of Terminators? The game has moments like that everywhere though!

As a fan, I’m very satisfied with it. I’m playing through again hoping to see anything else I may have missed. If you’re a fan of the Terminator and a gamer you won’t want to miss out on this. For many of us, this is the truest sequel to Cameron’s immortal lore.

image via Terminator 2

In closing this really does feel like the true successor to T2, what T3 should have been. A story set in the future and that leads up to the time-traveling events of the first couple movies. A completed trilogy set in past, present, and the future. This game is a huge accomplishment and compliments the lore beautifully.

Go play it! Play it violently!!!

Interview with Fossil Games. Retro Horror Games Fans Will Not Want To Miss Out On!

“Go back to the 80s and solve the mystery of what really happened in the events that unfurled before the Camp Sunshine massacre years later.” – Fossil Games

Camp Sunshine, available now on Steam, is a riotous return to the glory of ’80s slasher films, which is my absolute favorite genre! Fossil Games created one helluva fun experience!

Expectations are high for their upcoming title, Sunshine Manor , a prequel to the previous game. After playing Camp Sunshine (which has gone on to sell over a 100K copies!) I can’t wait to see what gory surprises the team has in store for us next. I had the privilege of sitting down with Fossil Games to get to know the madness behind the magic.

About the Games

Manic Exorcism: After playing Camp Sunshine it’s abundantly clear you guys are horror fans. Not just that, but there is a lot of love for ‘80s culture and ‘80s slashers in this game. When making the game what movies were most influential over the project?

Fossil Games: Definitely Friday the 13th, as that’s how the game began life (as a fan game). I’d have to say Part 4 and Part 6 are my favourites and that’s what really inspired everything but then we began adding more, and more, and more and eventually it became something in its’ own right! 

Manic Exorcism: Being horror fans yourselves, what are your personal favorite movies?

Fossil Games: There’s honestly just so many, most recently we really enjoyed Host and The Invisible Man. A little further back it was anything Ari Aster had put out … but after those it’s all about the ’80s horror movies for us! Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Child’s Play – all of them!

ME: And each of those titles find themselves in the game.

ME: One of the first things I noticed was the plethora of Easter Eggs. Made me fall in love with it that much more right away. What were some of your favorite Easter Eggs to include?

FG: Oh man, all of them were great fun. From the sweater in the boiler room, to Bigfoot, the Aliens and all of the posters. It was great fun trying to cram as many in there as possible!

ME: I was glad to find the Silver Shamrock Masks.

ME: On the topic of Easter Eggs were there any you couldn’t include and wish you had? For that matter, do they get an appearance in the upcoming Sunshine Manor?

FG: For Camp Sunshine we kind of reached a limit where they began to become obvious, so the ones we canned we put to one side and they’re going to be in Sunshine Manor

ME: Another thing that stood out was the soundtrack. Perfectly eerie! Who was behind that and what were the inspirations?

FG: That would be us! We’re huge retro synth fans and so writing the music was so much fun! We grew up listening to bands like Tangerine Dream etc. so it kind of comes naturally.

ME: So Sunshine Manor is a prequel to Camp Sunshine. Do you recommend playing both games in any particular order?

FG: Nope, you can play them in whichever order you like! 

image via Steamstore

ME: What do you want fans to take away from both games?

FG: From Camp Sunshine we’d like people to feel on edge, and vulnerable. You have no weapons and are being hunted down all the time. 

FG: For Sunshine Manor we want the player to feel trapped and on edge, this time around you do have psychic powers to protect you – but there are a whole lot more enemies on the look out for you and even more dastardly tricks that we haven’t revealed yet!

ME: What connects both games?

FG: Now this is going to be difficult without giving the plot away completely! However in Sunshine Manor we go through the story of Clement Aitken, our universes Mr. Rogers and what he did to gain his fame … and what it ultimately cost. 

ME: How do both games differ from each other?

FG: In Camp Sunshine, you were very much unarmed and vulnerable whilst a maniac with a large knife was hunting you down. In Sunshine Manor you now have Psychic Powers that you can call upon to cast out the nasties in the demon realm, and also give yourself a little bit of breathing room from the evolving Mansion and Shadow Man.

FG: The two stories are intrinsically linked though, and each game sheds light on the other. It’s been fun!

Game Style

ME: The RPG style of gameplay and art design can’t help but remind me of some classic retro games – namely SNES titles. Earthbound readily come to mind. The NES Friday the 13th too. What video games most influenced you? 

FG: Definitely Earthbound, but then others like Zombies Ate My Neighbours too – the NES was just a classic machine with it’s own look and feel to each game so there was just so much to choose from! 

via Fossil Games

ME: Given the chance to introduce newcomers to the blood-splattered environments of your games, what other games would you compare the Sunshine games to? 

FG: One of our discord members said it the best … Earthbound meets Splatterhouse

ME: That’s perfect! 

ME: I might already have guessed this one, based on the copious amount of guts and gore, but what audience are both games targeted towards? And let it be known, those of us here at Nightmare Nostalgia love blood, guts, and gore. 

image via Steamstore

FG: Well the guts and gore are pixellated which I think takes away the real-ness of it really, but we’d have to say if you have a weak stomach or are averse to some weird stuff going on then maybe our games aren’t the best choice … we like to get weird! 

ME: We love it weird! Our readers can handle this no problem.

ME: Are there any plans for Sunshine merchandise?

FG: Oh definitely, at the moment we have our Sunshine Anthology which includes a soundtrack cassette, sweatbands and a VHS case but we have been looking at other things too. We’d love your suggestions!

image via Fossil Games

ME: I love that kind of stuff. Maybe a comic book?

ME: Do you manage any social media pages for fan discussion and announcements?

FG: We have Facebook and Twitter and we love talking to people on there about anything and everything it doesn’t have to be about our games, even just what movies we’ve watched recently.

ME: Any plans for DLC?

FG: DLC isn’t something we’d ever look at doing. All of our games (so far) have been complete stories so adding in content has never been something we’ve wanted to do. 

image via Fossil Games

ME: Do you see these games becoming a franchise? Are there plans for a sequel? Where would you like to see the games go? 

FG: They were always going to be a series of games with a set story – and yes, we have plans for a third game. Every good horror franchise has to have a trilogy! 

ME: Are there secret endings?

FG: There are a boatload of secrets in each game, it’s one of things we really like doing – seeing what we can get away with. Even after four years from release, there are still secrets in Camp Sunshine that (as far as we’re aware) no-one has found.

ME: What should gamers be most excited about for Sunshine Manor?

FG: Honestly, I think it’s going to be the tension we’re aiming for. Of course there are going to be scares and spooks, but there is always this pervading tension that is bubbling away with everything you do … it’s almost like the Mansion is waking up!

ME: Even though it’s a long way off can you share anything about the third game in the series? 

FG: Oh we can tell you a little bit … it’s going to have the word Sunshine in the title!

ME: What would be a dream project come to life for you?

FG: Oh man, there’s way too many! Finishing off this trilogy will be an absolute dream and then we’ve definitely got ideas for some weird and wonderful stuff in the coming years too! 

Sunshine Manor is the eagerly awaited prequel to the cult horror RPG smash, Camp Sunshine – which sold over 100K copies worldwide on PC and is set to release on all major formats in 2021. There’s also a playable prologue chapter available of the game on Steam – so players really can play before they pledge on this very special title.” – Fossil Games

I’ve had a blast playing Camp Sunshine for hours. It was my horror game fix this October. Looking forward to seeing what the team brings us in the years to come. Sunshine is definitely Manic approved.

I want to thank Fossil Games for taking the time to let me sneak behind the curtain and see what all they’re up to. Stay tuned, Nasties for all of those retro goodies and horror fixes.