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CHILLER – A Macabre Masterpiece

What kind of blog would we be if we didn’t capitalize on today’s holiday with an appropriately Halloween-centric blog post? That’ why today we’re going to feature an uncommon game that you may not know a lot about – CHILLER! So get your gun ready and take aim for this classic!

Read more after the jump!

There have been plenty of spooky games released during the classic arcade era, but probably none as unusual and macabre as the creepy light gun game produce by Exidy in 1986. Exidy, whose name is a combination of the phrase “Excellence in Dynamics”, was no stranger to controversy having already produced the infamous “Death Race” driving game.  That title, introduced 10 years prior, was the first game to cause a national uproar over violence in videogames. Apparently, Exidy didn’t take much of the public reaction to heart and proceeded to create arguably one of the most grisly games in existence.

What’s the big deal you ask? Well, it’s just your regular old gun-toting horror game with the point of torturing people in gruesome ways to earn points. (Good times!) It’s a standard target-shooting game, but in this one players aim the cabinet mounted light gun firing at specific targets – namely restrained torture victims.

From Wikipedia:

The game consists of a series of screens representing various dungeon and horror movie settings. Most screens feature helpless victims bound or restrained by a variety of medieval torture devices. The player must figure out how to kill every victim in as short amount a time as possible; although it is possible to simply shoot the victims to death, this process takes a considerable amount of time, as even headshots simply result in chunks of flesh and bone being blown away, leaving the victims alive. Rather, the challenge lies in finding ways to activate the various torture devices, resulting in quicker, bloodier deaths.

The game has four basic scenes: The torture chamber, the rack room, the haunted hallway, and graveyard. If you complete all four rounds, including the slot-machine bonus screens, then you are granted an extra target-practice section as an added bonus featuring decapitated heads and other ghoulish delights!

This game is not as widely known as some of Exidy’s other target-based shooters such as Crossbow, namely because it sold very poorly. Surprisingly, arcade owners in 1986 weren’t big fans of senseless violence and torture of innocents. Because of its rarity, this game is highly sought after by collectors bringing upwards of $600-800 for a nice example.

 

This game was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990, but even though it was four years after the initial arcade release, Exidy chose to tone down the game to make it more marketable. This included removing nudity and censoring severed body parts. Despite its best efforts, Exidy would only release a few more arcade titles with the last being released in 1989.

 

Preston Burt

The co-host of the Gameroom Junkies Podcast, Preston is a writer and designer living outside Atlanta, GA. He has an affinity for VHS tapes, and an obsession with arcade games and pinball machines. He is a contributing writer for GeekDad, Paste and RETRO Magazines, and a founder of the Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo.

One Comment

  1. A friend of mine got a copy of this on NES in his game store and we popped it in and played it a couple years ago. It genuinely made me feel ill while playing it. I know it seems harmless and quite cheesy, in retrospect, but it really had a bad effect on my conscience. Especially the torture room scene. I would add the NES game to my collection if it came along cheap, but I would never play it. Ugh.

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