I really love the colder seasons. There’s nothing more fun than playing survival horror games while being bundled in a blanket. I think the colder months really bring an element of isolation that makes playing these games or watching horror movies spookier. At least for me. I decided that I really wanted to celebrate one of my favorite seasons by doing something different here. I usually post reviews or my general thoughts on gaming demos, but I really wanted to talk about my first experience with survival horror “Friday the 13th” for the NES. After all, if not for Friday the 13th I would not be a fan of horror as I am now.
There are a lot of characters I admire in books, movies, or games. Some are the heroes who bring forth hope across a ravaged land or some just kill horny teenagers and meddling adults who come into his camp such as Jason Voorhees. I’ve been a fan of the “Friday the 13th” series since I was a young kid. I really cannot explain why, just that I am. I have a shrine in my room dedicated to Jason, and it makes me happy to see my collection. I’ve been a fan for thirty-four years and counting: ever since I saw Friday the 13th part two because I was a dumb kid. A very dumb kid.
I got into Jason really by accident due to my baby sister being misdiagnosed by her doctors when she was five and I was seven. It was a scary time as we almost lost her due to her appendix rupturing and she was in the hospital for several months because of it. Luckily, she’s fine now. Every weekend, my dad would pick me up after school and we would drive to Boston to see my mom and my sister. Every time we would head to Boston, we would each rent a movie for our hotel room. I was always relegated to Disney or other cartoon movies as they were perfect for kids. But I always wanted to watch a horror movie. I managed to sneak in “Friday the 13th Part 2” when we were at Blockbuster and my dad didn’t pay attention as he rented it. I now realize that it was a huge mistake, as I sat there on the hotel couch with my eyes wide in terror throughout the whole movie. I was so scared to even shut my eyes as I thought Jason was in the hotel room and made my dad look everywhere for him before I could fall asleep. He wasn’t happy about it and I got into some big trouble when we got home. However, the spark of being a fan was lit and it’s still burning as brightly as Jason harpooning a victim in the eye.
My parents did get me “Friday the 13th” for the NES on my 9th birthday. I honestly don’t know why since any video games I got were random with the rare occurrence if I was lucky. I was excited since I got to play a horror game. I honestly don’t remember Nintendo Power doing any type of review or blurb about this game so I was really going in not sure of what to expect and I think that might have been a good thing. I dove into reading the manual from front to back, learning the names of the councilors and writing in my notebook my grand plans of saving everyone. My grand plans didn’t fare out so well since my first attempt playing, I didn’t make it in time and ended up getting every playable character killed along with the kids. I do remember dying from the jumping zombies a lot because I was not paying attention or having Jason using the camp counselors as punching bags.
I did manage to beat Pamela Voorhees’ floating head one time but really could not make heads or tails of what to do next or even that you could dodge Jason’s attacks. I learned that you could dodge from watching the Angry Video Game Nerd which only added to my frustration of wishing I had this knowledge when I was a kid. I would die so easily just by missing the jumps in the cave because of the bats or getting attacked by Jason in the cabins. I would avoid the lake which had become rapids due to the jumping zombies. I remember being annoyed because I didn’t expect all these enemies or that Jason was kind of a dick and would appear randomly anywhere while walking. I also had no idea how massive the camp was and how easy it was to get lost. I struggled trying to figure out how to return to the cabins before Jason killed everyone. Jason was better at this game than I ever was.
I still remember how I thought this would be an easy game like Super Mario 3. Instead, it was a never-ending nightmare of aggravation and frustration. I easily quit this game several times because I couldn’t figure out how to beat Jason and beat the game. I didn’t know, until the same episode of Angry Video Game Nerd, that you had to defeat Jason two or three times before truly ending the game. Now, I can see why the developers would do something like this as it gave the game a longer playtime. I just never could beat this game as a kid and it’s a game I like to one day return to just to see if I’m a better player now that I know a lot more about this game. I still feel that I would still die by those zombies or be suckered punch back to hell by Jason. I guess one day we’ll see.
This game was my first experience with survival horror genre, one that I’ve been a fan of ever since. I have always viewed Resident Evil as my true introduction. In some ways it was, especially with the gameplay and story. Friday the 13th opened the door to survival horror and I’m incredibly grateful I had the chance to try it as a kid. It feels a bit surreal that Friday the 13th made me such a survival horror fan given the fact that I am a sucker for jump scares. I am happy that Jason had his chance to scare off a wider audience on the NES before returning to the PS4. I’m also glad that Jason has been around for so long and I look forward to his next adventure which I really hope will be soon. I know I have missed seeing the man behind the mask on the big screen and in video games.
One thought on “Camp Crystal Lake memories”
I love that picture of you! I was familiar with the series prior to the game, for whatever reasons I was watching quite a few scarier kind of movies as a kid. Probably because my sister (who was 8 years older than me) wanted to watch them, and also because my parents just wanted to watch stuff they liked. Terminator was all my mom because she loved Arnold. But Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elmstreet, Child’s Play – Those were my sister, and I happily watched along. As for the NES game, I didn’t own it back then, but one of my friends had it. That was actually one of the games I loved going back to when I was at his house. Of course I didn’t play it long enough to get frustrated, I never expected to win it at that point. Honestly I still think it’s an okay game, once you know what you’re doing, and even when I didn’t know what I was doing I got to do enough to have fun as a kid.