Night Trap, one of the most controversial and most talked about games of the 90s is back, in a move that is quite honestly just as shocking as the reaction it received 25 years ago. Yes, it’s 25 years ago that Night Trap helped put in a motion a battle between the games industry and those in society concerned about violence in games. One that ended with the formation of the ESRB in America.
So, is there any better way to celebrate this anniversary than through a 25th Anniversary Edition? Possibly, but nevertheless courtesy of developer Screaming Villains, the campy Horror FMV game is returning by way of the PlayStation 4. What’s more, there’ll also be a physical release thanks to publisher Limited Run Games, and you’ll even be able to select one of three different covers, all based on the three US Sega CD releases.
First released in 1992 for the Mega-CD/Sega CD, Night Trap was developed entirely through the use of Full Motion Video, something only made possible due to the move to CD-ROM technology. Consisting of over 90 minutes of video, players must help to remotely save a group of young women who are being targeted by a group of Vampires known as Augers. All in all, it wasn’t very good, as you can read about in our RetroSpective, and was actually only good at being one thing – controversial. So controversial that there were United States Senate hearings about the game and its content.
As such, I suppose one of the more interesting aspects of this return, is how the ESRB have rated a game that many in the 90s thought was the height of debauchery, and needed banning. Well unsurprisingly Night Trap 25th Anniversary Edition been rated T for Teen, with the ESRB mentioning that the game includes violence, blood and suggestive themes. Quite honestly, this is probably the rating it deserved all along, but still, not seeing an AO or Mature rating does make for some interesting analysis of one of the gaming industry’s most hotly debated topics.
Unfortunately for Night Trap and its original developer Digital Pictures, the controversy only had a minimal impact on keeping Night Trap in limelight, and both drifted off into obscurity soon after the heat had died down. This wasn’t for any want of trying though, as Night Trap’s original developers actually tried to bring the game back as a HD remake via Kickstarter. Sadly they only reached 12% of their $330,000 goal, and the campaign itself was heavily criticised.
However, it seems like Night Trap is set to be one of those gaming stories that never goes away. Something especially true now that Screaming Villains have finally been successful in returning it to the mainstream. Night Trap may be a terrible game, but it’s also important to the industry, and is ultimately a game that anybody interested in understanding the history of our industry should experience for themselves.
Night Trap will return this Spring for PlayStation 4 in both digital format, and a limited print run. In the meantime though, Screaming Villains have made Night Trap’s distinctly 80s theme song available for all to download free of charge via their website. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Interested in learning more about Night Trap? If so then check out some of our other coverage on the controversial horror title: