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Night Trap is back: Original producers revive controversial full-motion video game via Kickstarter

Above: The original Night Trap

Image Credit: Sega

Night Trap is back.

The original creators of the 1992 game plan to bring it back through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Night Trap prompted a virulent reaction among politicians like former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who characterized the game as “ultraviolent, sick, and disgusting.” It was a horrid interactive movie video game where monsters chased and killed young women at a slumber party. While Night Trap sold a million copies, the controversy around the game made it one of the most memorable titles in video game history. Now the creators want to know if a remake of the “classic” title will stir new interest.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Tom Zito, the original executive producer of Night Trap and former CEO of Digital Pictures, in a statement. “We have had an increasing number of fans contact us about improving and re-releasing the game, so we finally decided to take the first step and raise the funds needed to bring the title back.”

Zito said that fans are calling for a new version of the game, and the creators have listened. Zito’s new company plans to raise $330,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to fund the rerelease of the title, which originally debuted in 1992 on the Sega CD console.

Night Trap is considered as the first full-length interactive movie, and it sold its million copies from 1992 to 1995 — a big number for those days. But it also spurred 1993 senate hearings on video game violence, and it eventually led to the creation of the industry’s own ratings system, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which slaps a kids’ suitability rating on every video game published.

It’s a horror movie spoof that uses full-motion video. It tells a story of a group of girls having a slumber party and becoming the targets of vampire villains. Players set traps to capture the vampires and save the girls from having their blood sucked. The player has to know when to activate the traps and have correct color codes for the traps to work properly.

Digital Pictures executives testified at the hearings that the object of the vilified game was to save women, not kill them, as the senators thought. They felt like the politicians incorrectly misrepresented the game and unfairly branded it as an example of extreme violence in video games. But several retailers pulled Night Trip from the shelves.

Night Trap was produced for $1.5 million and filmed as an interactive movie in 1986. It was originally intended for Hasbro’s ControlVision video game platform, but it was never released, and the game wasn’t finished. Zito’s company, Digital Pictures, purchased the video footage and finally released the game for Sega. In 1994, the game debuted on the PC and the Mac.

With the new version, the creators plan to upgrade the quality of the video to high-definition and improve overall gameplay using technology that wasn’t available when the game first came out. The Kickstarter campaign will run for 30 days.


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