Task: Play Haunted House on the Atari 2600
Needed: Atari 2600 or emulator
Time: 15-30 minutes
Last year for Halloween I did a post on drawing pumpkins on the Atari 8-bit computer using re-defined characters sets in BASIC. This year I thought I would do a post about a Halloween-themed game. After exploring lots of different games, I picked Haunted House for the 2600. This is still one of the best scary games for any early game console. I didn’t have this cartridge back in the day, but recall playing it many times at a friend’s house. I have played it numerous times since on real hardware and on the Stella 2600 emulator. It was released by Atari in 1982.
This game is awesome because of its simple game play and overall design. The setting is a haunted house at night with no lights. Thus, it takes place in the dark which makes it extra spooky. The dark setting of Haunted House gave me some of the same spooky feelings as a kid as Night Driver for the 2600 did. It was also genius to use just a pair of eyes as the player sprite. This worked well with the limitations of the 2600 graphics and added to the spooky dark effect of the house. The basic goal is to explore the house to find the three pieces of the urn. Once located the game is won by finding the exit. The house has four different floors to explore. Of course, scary creatures such as bats, spiders, and ghosts make it challenging to complete the quest.
The cartridges are quite common and can be found on eBay for $5 to $10 or less. The ROM for Stella can be found on Atari Mania. You can also play it through the web on Javatari.
This is a must play on Halloween! An Atari 2600 classic.