Saturday, April 25, 2009

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Video Game

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Video Game
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE VIDEO GAME - Atari 2600 - Title Screen

Yes, that's right: a Texas Chain Saw Massacre video game. Sometime in the year of 1983, a small programming company by name of Wizard released the first violent video game for the Atari 2600, based on the hit film by the same name. Unlike most of the other games at the time--and in fact unlike most of the games today--you play the villain. As Leatherface you run through the pastures of your little farm and slice and dice young innocents with your chainsaw. It doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Unfortunately, it doesn't. While it is initially a novel concept, the thrill of the kill wears off quickly and you're left with just a mediocre game. There's not much to it and if you are fortunate enough to locate this game, expect to become frustrated quite quickly.

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE VIDEO GAME - Atari 2600 - Screen Shot

Remember, this is an Atari game so don't expect anything too fantastic in the graphics department. Leatherface looks rather like a Peanuts character and for some reason wears a pastel blue full-body suit (which, incidentally, matches the chainsaw.) You side-scroll through the game chasing your human prey and when you kill them they fall over on their side and blood puddles up beneath their head. You only have three tanks of fuel, which are slowly depleted each time you rev the saw, either to attack or to cut yourself free from obstacles (fences, tumbleweeds, cow skulls, and of course a million wheelchairs courtesy of Franklin.) Each victim killed scores you 1,000 points, which, as they say, can be cashed in for valuable prizes. 5,000 points will give you extra tank of fuel and once you reach 10,000 points the game play speeds up. There is no "ending" to the game. You just keep going until you run out of fuel, and when that happens one of the would-be victims bum rushes poor Leatherface and kicks him in the ass. I swear to God.


Why would Leatherface put up with this nonsense? I'll tell you why: parental pressure. It seems that the whole "violence in video games" controversy was just as hot then as it is now, and Wizard thought that if they were to throw a little levity into the mix it might ease some concern. Apparently it didn't, seeing as how most retailers refused to carry the title and the original game cartridge is extremely rare today. Most people have never played it and many never even knew it existed.


TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE VIDEO GAME - Atari 2600 - Game Cartridge

And whatever happened to Wizard? Well, thanks to the fact that nobody actually purchased their wares, they quickly went out of business and were never heard from again. All that is left of their little legacy are video game versions of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Halloween, which is a much better play. They also programmed a take on Flesh Gordon, but unfortunately it was never released.

Thanks to the ingenuity of gamers today, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre can easily be played by downloading the ROM off of the Internet and loading it into your trusty Atari 2600 Emulator. You do have one, don't you? A little poke and peek around the web should turn up what you're looking for, but be forewarned that due to some bizarre legalities, it is a crime to download the ROM unless you already own the original Atari cartridge. Why would you download the ROM if you already own the cartridge?

Therein lies the beauty of the judicial system.

--J/Metro

2 comments:

  1. Fuckin' A, man. Good stuff; I'd never heard of this as an Atari game before. An eye-catching, interesting post.

    Word verification is 'Remar', as in James Remar, baby. Too sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sir Astro,

    Have you checked out the Halloween atari game post? Equally interesting, but the game is infinitely more playable.

    --J/Metro

    ReplyDelete

What do you got to say about it!?

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails