Haunted House

Haunted House
Company: Atari
Model #:
James Andreasen
Year: 1981

Originally called "Mystery Mansion" and then "Graves Manor".  May also have been called "Nightmare Manor".


Haunted House is one of the great "atmosphere" games of the 2600.   While it may not sport flashy graphics or killer music, Haunted House still manages to instill a sense of fear and panic in the player.   This is accomplished through a mixture of eerie sounds, a limited range of vision, and monsters who just seem to pop up out of nowhere.  All of these elements are skillfully blended together to produce an atmosphere of fear and foreboding.  


An earthquake has broken the urn of old man Graves and his spirit will not rest until the urn is repaired.  You must venture into "Graves Manor" to find all the pieces of the urn and get out alive.  Since the mansion has been abandoned for years there are no lights, your only source of illumination is a flickering match which lets you see in a small radius around you.  Although you can move around without a match, you'll need a lit match to see the pieces of the urn.  Thankfully lightning strikes will randomly illuminate the house every now and then if the difficulty switch is set to B.  The house is always lit on variation 1 however.

The mansion is made up of four floors, each consisting of six rooms each with two or three doors. Depending on the variation being played some of the doors will be locked and will require finding a key to open.  Each of the four floors is connected by a series of up and down staircases that usually appear in alcoves at the edges of the rooms, but not every alcove will have a staircase. Mapping out the mansion and making note of all the locked doors and staircases is essential to winning the game.  Variation 9 randomizes the floor plan so even the map printed in the manual won't help you!

While running though the mansion you'll encounter tarantulas, vampire bats, and even the ghost of old man Graves himself.  Since you have no weapons these enemies must be run away from.  When an enemy enters the room your match will go out, plunging you into darkness as you run for your life.  One some variations you'll lose whatever you were holding when touched by an enemy and the object will be placed in a random room in the mansion.   All is not lost however,  while roaming the mansion you may find a scepter which will protect you from all enemies (except the ghost on the higher variations).  The trade off is that you can only carry one item at a time, so in order to collect all the urn pieces you'll have to give up the protection of the scepter and use the key only when necessary. 


While it may not look like much now, back in the day Haunted House was one of few serious adventure games for the 2600 and was wildly popular.  Haunted House is a combination of adventure, maze running, quick thinking, and a few monsters who seem to always pop up at the wrong time.  It's these qualities that make Haunted House on of the most endearing 2600 games of all time.


Version Cart Text Description
8/12/81 Mystery Mansion 8/12 Mid Level WIP
9/1/81 GM 9-1 Late WIP
11/??/81 Haunted House EPROM Cartridge Loaned: Nov. 81 Final Version


Return to 2600 Software