A confusing campground. Weak characters. Invisible items and weapons. Confounding play. And a purple and teal Jason?
This was Friday the 13th on the NES, a game frequently panned for being clumsy, incomprehensible, and far too hard.
And almost every modern horror game owes it a debt, whether they know it or not.
The NES Friday the 13th broke new ground in horror, establishing the use of confusion and nebulous rules to create a compelling mystery. It created pressure and despair through its clever use of hidden items, keeping players from becoming too powerful. It also created a powerful stalker in the form of Jason, using his power and shocking appearances to pave the way for the relentless monsters that would haunt our playthroughs of Amnesia, Resident Evil 3, Clock Tower, and more.
Despite its hated reputation, Friday the 13th established trends back in 1989 that would continue to shape horror to the present. It would also ask questions few other horror games would dare. Should horror be pleasant, or should it crush us with fear and hopelessness? Can we make lives truly matter in the disposable existence of a video game?
Featuring interviews with journalists and game developers of various disciplines, "YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD. – An Unofficial Analysis of LJN's Friday the 13th" is an attempt to break down the various horror elements of the game and how they make Friday the 13th into a misunderstood masterpiece, and one of the most important entries in the genre.
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