Two of the most successful horror films of all time --
Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre
-- became the first horror video games to enter the video game
market (unless you count Atari's Haunted House as the first) when
Wizard Video, the Los Angeles-based distributor of the games,
began selling the two titles in March 15, 1983. Charles Band,
president of Wizard Video and director of over 14 motion pictures
himself, described their movie-based VCS games as "camp"
entertainment and hoped to break new ground in the area of video
game publishing. Prior to publishing video games, Wizard Video was
involved in the home video cassette market and was responsible for
distributing Texas Chainsaw Massacre in Beta and VHS formats.
In Halloween, the player assumes the role of the
character played by actress Jamie Lee Curtis, a babysitter for a
family in a strange house who tries to save children from a crazed
In Wizard's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the player
takes the role of "Leather Face," who, armed with his deadly chainsaw,
eliminates victims in an outdoor field before his weapon runs out of
gas. At the end of the game, demonstrating his tongue-in-cheek tone,
the victims come back to give "Leather Face" a kick in the pants.
As one could have guessed, Wizard's games did not exactly take the
2600 world by storm. A combination of poor distribution efforts
coupled with reluctance from retailers of carrying the games on
their store shelves (many of them kept the games under the counter)
prevented the two games from approaching the level of success
achieved by its motion picture counterparts (both of which grossed
almost $100 million at theater box offices).
Wizard also announced Flesh Gordon for the VCS, an
X-rated game derived from the movie Flash Gordon.
Discouraging sales figures for their first two releases, however, gave
Wizard a clue and they packed it in before further digging themselves
into a financial black hole.
- Flesh Gordon (not released)
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The