I don’t know why I always confused the word survivor with survival. They sound so much alike. For a long time, I kept thinking of Survivor Horror instead of Survival Horror. Well, I guess technically…The survival Horror genre is all about the survivor. I wrote a post reflecting on my childhood experience with Friday the 13th for the NES in celebration of Halloween.
I recall the first game my brother and I played together was Friday the 13th on the NES, released in 1989. I believe my love of Survival Horror games started on Friday the 13th because of its memorable Cabin Theme music. I am still surprised my parents allowed us to play considering my dad disapproved of anything scary. But the more you tell a kid no, the likeliness the kid will break the rule. As my dad said, “Children are damnation.” Apparently, all children are a pain in the ass to raise. But I often wonder, how the heck did we end up with this game! Oh wait, it’s because my brother’s a mama’s boy, and mama’s boy always gets what he wants.
First off, the game takes place on Crystal Lake campground. There are three male counselors and three female counselors that the player can control. The player controls one counselor at a time. There are fifteen children total but they are all spread out and can be found in the cabins. The main objective of the game is to destroy Jason because he kills children! If all the counselors and children are dead, it’s game over. This game is harder than Dark Souls. No kidding.
The game sounds straightforward and you might be wondering why the game is scary to a kid. It’s the environment. Looking at the map, and the way the campground is laid out forces the player to go round and round until he or she dies or destroys Jason. My impression of the campground reminds me of an eternal hell. All the cabins look the same, and the landscape doesn’t change much other than there is a shift from day to night time, and backtracking seems never-ending. Strangely, this game made me recall a time when I was about 5; my family visited a family friend during the summer. I remember all the houses looked the same in the neighborhood. I don’t know why I stood out on the porch but once I stepped out into the yard, closer to the street, I lost my way. It was the most terrifying feeling. I often wonder, when the developer created Friday the 13th the way it did, did Jason kill children in the movies? My only conclusion is they did it to scare children. From an adult perspective, I cringe just thinking if I had a child who is like me–a child who loves to wander off and go to places independently. I was lucky I never ran into someone like Jason because Jason “doesn’t play favorites.”
Looking back, I thought it was clever that the music sounds upbeat on the trail, but sounds eerie in the cabin because naturally if you are running from something, you probably want to hide. I think home is the place where we all feel the safest. But these cabins have no furniture, and it felt like a maze just walking through it, pressing the button forward, left, right, then coming to a dead end, to a window, or sometimes to a fireplace. I felt nervous that Jason could appear anytime and when he did, the sound always startled me. I would throw the controller to my brother and then he threw it back to me. Just look at the picture below. It’s a toddler trying to run away from a big purple monster!!! I guess Mom was always right, adults can be really scary.
Overall, the game was difficult and felt never-ending. Jason kept getting stronger. The Player has to beat him three times in three separate days. But once the pixelated Jason is defeated, he looks cute and reminds me of a distressed child. I want to pick him up and cradle the poor thing and say, “Stop being a bully. Learn how to be nice to other kids for crying out loud!”
Anyway, Happy Halloween to those who celebrate it. Stay safe little children because a good mother is only trying to protect you.