Atari Haunted House Stays in the Past

Atari 2600Wii Haunted House
You may remember Atari’s classic Haunted House game. It came out in 1981 for the Atari 2600.? At that time, it was considered an advanced game with scrolling graphics and pioneered the concept of multiple levels.? All pretty basic stuff now but at the time it was pretty cool.

Now Atari has put out a modern version of the same game for Wii, Xbox, and PC.? The classic game has been remade for a new generation of gamers with enriched 3D environments, interactive objects, dynamic storylines, and new characters.? You must navigate your way through 16 levels of spooky environments, find hidden treasures, solve puzzles, fight new bosses, and manipulate the environment on their way to a showdown with Zachary Graves.

I handed the game over to Thing 1 to try out to see how it measures up to today’s new standards.? The first thing we noticed was that even though the game was on Wii,? it required use of the numchuk controller which is really just a joystick.? I thought it would have allowed use of the Wii motion controllers to make it a truly modern version of the game.? Instead, it was remarkably similar to the original which I guess was the point so maybe that’s not a bad thing.? Thing 1 didn’t like that he had to use the numchuk joystick to move the character around.? I can only imagine how unimpressed he’d be with the classic black Atari joystick with the red button that I grew up on.

The game is rated “Everyone 10+” for Language, Mild Blood, and Mild Cartoon Violence. That sounds bad but really it’s pretty tame and cartoonish, no worse than the Tom and Jerry cartoons all my kids watch.

Thing 1 is not quite 7 years old and that might have factored into his take on the game. We turned it on and he had a hard time figuring out what to do at first. The screen is mostly dark because, well, you are supposed to be inside a haunted house. After we figured out how to walk around and search for items he continued to play for a bit, but soon lost interest. His comments were “It takes too long”, “It’s impossible to beat”, and “How do you even win?”.

I have to say I kind of agree with his assessment of the game. You pretty much walk around in the dark, blindly go up to objects and press the button to see if it contains a prize.? If you are into adventure games it might be more appealing.? We generally like action games like Wii Sports.

If you loved Atari’s Haunted House 30 years ago and want to bring the same game to your kids, give it a try.? Just don’t expect it to compete with the action or graphics kids take for granted in today’s modern video games.

Disclosure: I received free product in exchange for my unbiased review.

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