Sure, Halloween may be behind us, but the fall and winter seasons are always a great time for spooky games. There are still a few horror games that I want to hit before leaving the genre for a while like Silent Hill and Amnesia. There is something captivating about scary settings, which is what brings us to Haunted ’86, an NES platformer that just hit Steam Greenlight for a future PC release.
Haunted Halloween ’86: The Curse of Possum Hollow is the sequel to the NES Homebrew game, Haunted: Halloween ’85, that stars a typical 80s kid taking on hordes of undead monsters that terrorize his hometown. The original Haunted ’85 launched on Steam recently, but now Retrotainment Games are seeking to bring the sequel to a wider audience. NES Homebrew has a bit of a niche audience, even though many, many gamers have fond memories of the system. So, porting the game over to Steam allows the team to share their game with way more players. While it is interesting to see a new game hit the NES cartridge, a Steam version makes it cheaper for players who just want to try it out.
The initial homebrew game, saw pretty wide success in the hands of NES fanatics. The sequel takes all the mechanics from the original game and makes them more robust, while also adding a new character to play as. New concepts include being able to pick up crates to toss at foes, a ton of unlockable moves, and some interactive backgrounds. The hero, Donny Johnston, who is clearly wearing a Pittsburgh shirt and hat will have to revisit Possum Hollow as his old rival Harry is mucking up things yet again. Both characters will be exploring new areas of Possum Hollow, with hints of the town’s past strewn about that may help foil Harry’s evil plans.
Created by a couple of Pittsburgh business owners, Haunted is a game project that came out of being surrounded by retro games in their store Cash-In Culture. Personally, I have been to one of these stores a while back, and it was a memorable visit, with plenty of solid deals and a solid selection. The two loved NES games especially, and discovered the homebrew scene on NintendoAge. From there, the two worked with a couple other friends and after some hiccups the game was finally released in October of 2015.
Retrotainment Games has definitely went above and beyond with making Haunted ’86 a worthy successor to their first NES game, Haunted ’85. We’ll be taking a closer look as the game will undoubtedly achieve Greenlight status. Until then, the original game is available on Steam and through an NES cartridge on CashInCulture’s website. As a Retro Gamer, I’ll be drooling over the NES cart. It’s definitely on my list of games to own for the system.
I love seeing these ambitious homebrew projects breathe new life into old systems. Tons of new games are being made all over the world, but these retro releases always hit me right in the childhood. It’s a great way for designers to cut their teeth with limitations at hand; being limited can force some creative movements that may have been missed otherwise. Either way, the NES is still alive and well, which says a lot about the console that saved video games in the 80s and is still kicking in 2016. I never cease to be amazed.
Vote for Haunted ’86 on Steam Greenlight here.