Missed yesterday, so today you get two responses!elipie
wants to know: "What's your earliest memory of gaming?"
A bunch of possible answers come to mind depending on what kind of gaming you mean. I played all sorts of board games with my parents and friends growing up -- mostly Sorry! but some Scrabble, Monopoly, and Clue: Master Detective.
My earliest experience with video games was probably on a friends' Nintendo (my parents never let me have my own), but I remember most clearly the computer that Mom and Dad bought for the house when I was 7 or 8. It was ancient even for the time, ran on DOS, and had a three-button mouse that worked with only a handful of programs, one of which was a very early version of Microsoft Works.
However, the best part was that the computer came with a whole suite of shareware and freeware games on 5.25" floppy disks. My favorite game was, unsurprisingly, based on Dracula
by Bram Stoker. You played the good guys (Jonathan, Mina, Arthur, Quincy, Dr. Seward, and Van Helsing) investigating reports of Dracula and other vampiric sightings, hoping to find where the vampire kept his lair and his vampire brides. The flavor text was largely out of Stoker's book (something I only realized in retrospect when I actually read the book in my 20s). Each team member had a special skill, but you could only bring three or four with you on a given mission, so you had to balance it out.
Ah-ha! Found someone else who'd played it.
Oooh, and another article
I also played a lot of Castle Adventure
, another ASCII-based game.
asks: "Favorite haunted house film? Or what makes for a good haunted house film?"
I like your standard, creepy, all-atmosphere-all-the-time, skin-crawling, corner-of-your-eye ghost story. It's one of the few horror genres where there's still consistently good material coming out. The Woman in Black
was excellent, as was The Orphanage
(except for one major plot hole). Over in Japan, you get Ju-on: The Grudge
, which terrifies the living crap out of me because it wantonly breaks a major rule of the genre -- leaving the house does not help
(and it's not like Paranormal Activity
, where they keep saying that, but we never see it, so it becomes the world's lamest excuse for not having an additional set).
Farther back, I've really enjoyed (or been terrified by or both) The Others, Ghostwatch
, The Changeling
(1977), The Legend of Hell House
, and The Uninvited
and the 1999 version of The House on Haunted Hill
are a lot of fun, if not particularly scary in the sort of goosebumpy way I like.
I also like the somewhat goofier "Old Dark House" subgenre, where the "ghost" is usually an unscrupulous (living) individual after the ingenue's inheritance or something. These kind of movies have rotating walls, hidden passages, death traps, searches by candlelight, and, if you're lucky, a very good murder-mystery tied into the "haunting". Some great examples include The Cat and the Canary
(both the 1927 and 1939 versions), The Bat
(1926), Horror Island
, The Black Cat
(1941) and the original House on Haunted Hill
with Vincent Price. There are some nuttier variations -- Night Monster
has a supernatural twist (but still not ghosts) and Doctor X
and The Door with 7 Locks
throw mad science in for extra fun. I'm still trying to figure out a way to vid that whole subgenre.
Finally, beyond any categorization is the batshit insane Japanese horror flick, Hausu
. I am still not entirely sure what I watched. I couldn't describe it to you. I can only tell you it is highly recommended, especially if you like a lot of surreality and experimentation and what-the-f**kery.