Atari Are All Alone In The Dark Haunted House

Perhaps Atari is being meta. That’s my theory. Two old, undesirable game series returning, both about things that should be dead coming back to life. Again. It’s awfully clever.

So it is that we have yet another attempt to revive the never-good Alone In The Dark, and the Atari 2600 cartridge game, Haunted House. Both now have their first trailers, below. Neither seeming to have much to do with Atari’s recent declaration that it was to focus on the extraordinarily specific choice of making “LGBT and social casino” games.

Alone In The Dark is fondly remembered by some for being in 3D. Which is a bit like fondly remembering a childhood infection because the antibiotics were banana flavoured. It first appeared in 1992, then saw a series of sequels throughout the 90s. As the Atari brand began its endless game of hot potato, it was revived for the first time in 2001 with Alone In The Dark: The New Nightmare to a festival of mild interest. It remained buried for another seven years, and then burst forth once more in 2008, once more entitled Alone In The Dark. And once again the world cried, “Eh, if you like.” Another six years and it’s back yet again, and this time it looks like this:

Although the trailer appears to show a Getting Eaten In The Pitch Black Simulator, screenshots show it’s more a third-person horror shooter all over again.

This really is the best screenshot they released.

Haunted House, meanwhile, is whoever-actually-owns-Atari really digging to the dustiest corners at the back of the IP cupboard for something to sell. Originally released in 1981, there was a previous dismal attempt at exhuming it in 2010, that time as a top-down inaction game. This time out it appears to be first-person, boasting puzzles.

Quite what that has to do with this –

– I’m not sure.

This is a very peculiar pair of announcements for a company that only in June declared that it was now going to focus on making games for “LGBT, social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube”. No more word has been heard of the promised Pridefest since its asset-less announcement in July, but instead we’re getting long-dead survival horrors. Very odd.

Both games are due out before Winter, which is awfully soon after their announcement two weeks ago. Maybe both will be utterly brilliant, and everyone wearing those Atari t-shirts will be the coolest ones there are.

24 Comments

  1. gschmidl says:

    Wait, there was another AitD in there? Wow.

    The new one looks like crap, and the material on their website doesn’t even pretend to be anything but the most generic tripe humanly possible:

    “The son of the nation’s most influential religious leaders, the Priest trained from a young age to combat the forces of darkness.”

    “The daughter of the Chief Engineer of the world’s leading computer hardware manufacturer, the Engineer was born to work with electronics.”

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    Alone in the Dark 1 was fantastic for its time. The wolf? werewolf? angry badger thingy? crashing through the window is imprinted forever as a moment of pure horror in my brain. For me it was the first contact with Lovecraft themes in games, and the constant oblique camera angles were very effective in creating a creepy mood.

    The rest of the games in the series weren’t much I agree, and these latest remakes….eh, we will see I guess.

    • gschmidl says:

      I thought so, too, but taking another look recently convinced me otherwise — the “puzzles” you need to intuit for evading certain attacks are complete nonsense, and combat is janky as hell.

    • Ryuuga says:

      Indeed, the first Alone in the Dark game is one of those games I’ll never forget – I loved the atmosphere, it was a clichéd haunted house, for sure, but a wonderful one. Everything from the visuals to the hopelessly difficult and awkward combat, the music, the Lovecraftian vibe, the lamp that you had to fiddle with in the dark rooms, the jump-scare sound effect when a monster appeared.. it all went so well together, it really had me on the edge of my seat. That dangerous, demented haunted house, where there is barely a moment of safety, where you die at the drop of a hat, strewn with references to Lovecraft.

      It may not have aged well, but then again, very few games that do not tickle the retro-blocky fancy have (and nothing against those games, I like them too).

    • 7vincent7black7 says:

      I played the last Alone In The Dark on the 360 and I actually enjoyed it myself. I liekd the open world.

      Now the combat I was not particularly fond of, and getting hit and not being able ot dodge, but having to shuffle off and hope I survived, I’ll admit was not my favorite part of the game. And my god, by the end of hte second time I had to burn all those tree-like things to expand my psychic powers, I wanted to punch something.

      But pretty much every other mission I enjoyed. Teh voice acting was decent, and I liked the main character guy. The puzzles weren’t all that hard most of the time mind you. So I can see why so many of you would dislike the game compared to the first one, which I imagine is a lot like old Tomb Raider games where challenges were actually challenging and too strong for my blood. :3 However, I’d have ot say that my favorite part of the game was the story in gneeral. The ending choices, I thought were pretty cool.

      • MkMax says:

        the 360 game was alone in the dark 2008 (the fifth game), they are talking about alone in the dark 1992

    • Gotem says:

      I still remember the part when you have to take a potion that makes you smaller to enter a mouse hole, and if you don’t hurry the potion wears out, I had to stop playing for awhile after that

      • Ryuuga says:

        Was that in the first game? I sort of vaguely remember it..

        One of my enduring moments from that game was the sound that the strange giant larvae-something monster made when biting / eating the player. Brrrr..

    • Pazguato says:

      Agreed. I replayed the original Alone in the Dark last winter and was more scared than with most of the last horror games. It’s a great game and a true seminal classic like Fallout or Monkey Island.

      By the way, I found the 3d artwork charming although not as widely revered like pixel art these days. The BSO is outstanding. Moreover remains one of the few media examples that really understands and loyally captures Lovecraft writing.

      Shame on you, John Walker :P

      • apa says:

        This x 2. AITD rocked originally, and still did when I replayed it a couple of years ago.

        Let’s not criticize John’s opinion. After all you cannot argue about one’s taste – but can remark on bad taste ;)

    • alexheretic says:

      To be fair he wasn’t that damning if you consider the truth that banana medicine was amazing

  3. MkMax says:

    Alone in the dark: Illuminator ? oh come on, you can come up with something better than that!, you might as well stick the year number in there if you are going to be that lazy, sigh

    Amnesia was far closer to the original games than resident evil 5/left 4 dead btw, combat was barely an option and often the worst option, and the horror came from being ALONE…. in the dark, that machine gun straight out of COD in the lead picture doesnt fill me with confidence either

  4. Philomelle says:

    Studying the website to Alone in the Dark, it appears to be an attempt to compete with Horrors of the Gilded Age for the title of greatest Left 4 Dead rip-off of 2015. Which actually doesn’t bother me as much as another aspect of the franchise.

    Now, I might be remembering wrong with the New Nightmare, but I’m fairly sure that both recent games end on a cliffhanger. While the New Nightmare ends on a typical horror “premonition”, AotD 2008 quite literally cuts off mid-scene, with no explanation on what is actually happening. Both games had sequels promised to them that were never delivered, with the story that is never finished.

    It seems that the only thing about this franchise that is left alone in the dark, is in fact its narrative consistency.

    • czerro says:

      Well, nothing about this inspires confidence. AitD reboot was actually ‘announced’ 2 weeks ago. That means they announced a beloved but oft rebooted and detested IP literally weeks before it hits the shelves. It’s now 2 weeks later and we still don’t know anything about it. New Nightmare was a pretty terrible and shameless RE clone. And 2008 seemed intended to recreate all aspects of the cringe-inducing frustration that was the Uwe Boll film, as an interactive experience.

  5. ArtyFishal says:

    I think the first three Alone in the Dark games are better than any of the survival horror Resident Evil games. I think they beat them in terms of intensity, intrigue, scares, and writing. Superior in every way but presentation, and even so, their polygonal graphics and garish color schemes do still hold a certain charm.

    That being said, this new one seems to be taking the title a bit literally.

    • MkMax says:

      they are not taking the “alone” part literally

      “The game is going to be a four player cooperative experience with four distinct player characters working together to solve a mystery in an action-horror setting”

    • Pazguato says:

      Well said, sir.

  6. Glottis1 says:

    Eh, Alone in the dark undesirable and never good? I have always considered first AITD games to classics. Even the one released in 2008 had a lot of potential to be great.

  7. Big Murray says:

    They really forgot that Alone in the Dark is meant to be a creepy Lovecraft thing.

  8. SpacemanSpliff says:

    The gay pride parade sim would sell better.

  9. Veeskers says:

    Actually, the original AITD was great, it just also happened to be in the hands of a publisher that didn’t understand its best qualities at all and cranked out unworthy sequels, banking on name recognition.
    It deserved better than to be a whipping boy for infogrames/atari, uwe boll, and silly snarky ignoramuses :)

  10. somnolentsurfer says:

    So, in this game Edward Carnby is gay, and Emily Hartwood’s coming out as transgender?

  11. rexx.sabotage says:

    Are you cribbing on that lame joke we did in the comments a few weeks ago when Alice posted this same noise? if so, it needs more roller coasters.

  12. thatfuzzybastard says:

    Point the first: The Atari 2600 Haunted House was rather delightful, and arguably an important progenitor of the whole survival-horror genre in the way it made powerlessness fundamental to gameplay.

    Point the second: The 2010 Haunted House had some major bugs, and sound problems, but it was a solid bit of fun, and did some neat things with its stealth/exploration gameplay.

    Ergo: You, sir, are wrong!