Halloween was never one of my favorite holidays as a kid. Sure, there was the candy and the knowledge that an entire school day would be devoted to creating G rated horror-themed art projects, but the day was always unsettling to me. Macabre themed costumes made me queasy and by the time I was old enough to appreciate the plethora of “sexy” costumes, I was too old to go trick-or-treating and too nerdy to be invited to Halloween parties. Fake blood and social awkwardness aside, playing a scary video game in between doorbell rings is always a good way to cast light on a dark All Hallows’ Eve. Without further a-boo, here are my top 5 games to play on Halloween.
Stranger Things: The Game
Since my heydays of Halloween trick-or-treating took place in the 80’s, I couldn’t pass up including Stranger Things: The Game on this list. Set in an era when Halloween costumes were made of rough cut vinyl with plastic masks that you could barely see, let alone breathe through. Stranger Things epitomizes the complex adventures a pack of kids on bikes could have during a simpler cellphone free era. The game has simple controls and great 16-bit RPG action. For a more in-depth review by our fearless leader Carl, click here.
Gabriel Knight – Sins Of The Fathers
Set in my birth place of New Orleans, Gabriel Knight – Sins Of The Fathers is a point-and-click mystery game that explores the darker, voodoo influenced side of The Big Easy. In addition to the spooky sound and shadowy art style, the game includes voice work from none other than Dr. Frank N. Furter himself, Tim Curry. I’ve been told I resemble a young Tim Curry but I don’t see it. Maybe if I put on some lipstick, guy-liner, and fishnets it will become obviously clear.
The key for any horror game to be truly piss-your-pants scary is the music. This is especially true for games from the 8-bit error. While digitized blood can be weirdly traumatic(Chiller), music can effectively set the overall tone of a game. At first, the music in Monster Party is upbeat and jaunty but as soon as you get about halfway through the first level, the music transmogrifies into a droning synth-driven murder ballad that to this day still send shivers down my spine.
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
(Game Boy Advance)
Any version of Ghouls ‘n Ghosts would be good to play on Halloween but the GBA version is special for two reasons. First, it is one of the best versions of GnG on any platform. Second, you are going to get tired of going back and forth from your computer to the front door giving out candy to what will seem like an endless stream of sugar-fueled princesses and zombies so you might as well just hang out by the front door with a good handheld game.
Let’s face it, clowns are no longer sources of comfort or comedy relief. They are evil and scary. And no matter how delicious their fries are, or how talented they are at making balloon animals, they always will be. There is no sense in trying to change this fact so you might as well embrace the reality and go on an evil clown killing spree. Twisted Metal allows you to take the wheel of a demented ice cream truck called Sweet Tooth while assuming the identity of Needles Kane, an aforementioned evil clown. Check out Michael’s retrospective on the PSone classic here.