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Haunted House (Atari)





It’s time for some spooky shit. Yeah, you all know it, you all may or may not like it, it’s Haunted House. Basically Haunted House takes the gameplay format of Adventure and makes it spooky. I had originally planned to review Haunted House on Halloween, but as you can see that didn’t happen, instead I reviewed Star Fox which is scary for an entirely different reason. Your objective is to simply recover three pieces of an urn and leave the house, you will be harried by ghosts and ghouls but running away is always the answer to that problem. You have matches that you can light up to see the urn pieces, you can use as many as you want but using them raises your score, and you want the lowest score possible. Making contact with an enemy, will take one of your nine lives, you can avoid being hit by enemies by holding the scepter of apathy, when holding the scepter of apathy the enemies will do nothing to you because they couldn’t care less. Haunted house has some decent difficulty variations, especially in games 3-9 when locked doors are introduced, later difficulties will have the walls be invisible, or introduce more monsters in the hunt for your eternal soul. I haven’t really mentioned the graphics, mainly since they’re extremely basic and not really worth mentioning, they are serviceable at best. Haunted house is one of the most common games on the 2600, if you can’t find one in the wild then you’re doing something wrong, on Ebay I’m seeing loose copies for as low as $5 free shipping, and boxed copies as low as $9. It’s a fun game go get it and inject a little bit of spooky into your lives.



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This was released (early 82) just as I transitioned to computers - received VIC-20 for Xmas 81. A friend had it though, and I recall playing a few times at his house before we moved from northern Illinois to Texas that summer.


I became involved in the Corpus Christi BBS scene, so much so that I wrote BBS software for my VIC-20, launched The Dragon's Lair BBS, and became known as The Dragon Master (often abbreviated to The Dm). It was odd how many people wouldn't believe my BBS was running on a VIC, commonly citing "but it only has a 22 column screen!" as if screen resolution mattered when sending/receiving text over the phone.


Over time I migrated the software to the C= 64, then 128 at which point I tapped into the 128's PLAY command and created MusicTerm which could send music in realtime at 300 baud (it also support sprites, joystick, etc while online). From then on I maintained 64 and 128 versions of the BBS that supported the features.


In the late 80s I was in the process of writing BBS software for my Amiga 2000HD when I gained access to the internet at the University of Houston. "The web" didn't exist yet, instead we had email, USENET (forums), Archie and Veronica (search engines), FTP sites for files, and so on. Eventually the web subsumed all these discrete features. Didn't see much point in continuing that project as I could see BBSes would be obsolete in the near future even though internet access was fairly restricted at the time (you needed to be associated with the government, a university, etc). Called that right, a few years later is when dial-up internet access became available to the general public and calls to The Dragon's Lair (still running on my 128) took a nosedive.


Regrettably I decided to sell my now-obsolete 128 and all its peripherals, including the now hard-to-find 1581.

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