The Game: Old Man Graves may be dead, but his ghost still haunts his spacious mansion, tormenting any treasure hunters bold enough to trespass in search of his fortune. The loot is said to be hidden in a golden urn, and while that seems like a conspicuous enough object to find, beware: bats and spiders will attack any who intrude on their terrifying territory. And even if you light your way with a candle, Old Man Graves may make a return (as in “from the dead”) appearance. If you survive long enough, you may make your money the old-fashioned way – you’ll urn it. (Atari, 1980)
Memories: An early experiment in expanding the horizons of games on the Atari VCS, Haunted House is among the best-remembered original games on the system, right up there with Adventure and Yars’ Revenge.
Haunted House broke a few barriers down by being among the first games to feature not just a maze, and not just a scrolling playfield, but a large, consistent, non-random maze bigger than could fit on a single screen. By “zooming in” on the portion of the maze the player is currently inhabiting, Haunted House gives this questing game an action component by allowing for wiggle room to escape the bats, spiders and ghosts. And with the right atmosphere, this game really can be scary, especially when that damn bat comes out of nowhere and bites you. But I’m not bitter about being bitten. Really.
Haunted House has even been revived in a homebrew, 2002’s Haunted House II 3D, on the Atari 5200.