Night Trap, once described as “filth”, hits its 25th anniversary this year and it’s still as cheesy!
The game Night Trap released by SEGA for its CD-ROM add-on peripheral for the Genisis/Megadrive in 1992, was originally caught up in a lot of controversies not long after its release.
The game had you watching a house via access with a CCTV style monitoring system. You can switch between the cameras and must protect the teenage girls, who are having a slumber party, from an attack by a group of vampires.
A US commercial for the SEGA CD device that features footage from Night Trap.
This was one of many games that used the latest technology of CD-ROMs to try and create an interactive movie. The idea that you could control the outcome of a film you were watching was tantalizing but ultimately didn’t make for great gameplay.
Night Trap along with Mortal Kombat was used as examples of violence in video games during a 1993 United States Senate committee hearing. The outcome of the hearing leads to the creation of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board which places the advisory age related warnings on the video games packaging.
Despite many rumors, the game was never banned but pulled from the shelves by retailers and then SEGA themselves a short while later. SEGA simply had the game rated by the ESRB and was then reissued back to stores with new packaging and cover art.
The SEGA Genisis/Megadrive had just enough power to process the video streaming from the CD but the colour palette was limited and the original picture was cropped severely to reduce the processing strain on the console.
Various ports were created for other systems such as the Sega 32X, 3DO with eventually PC and Mac versions also being developed. The picture quality improved slightly with every release on a more powerful machine.
Now in 2017, you can play on a PC or PS4 and see this game as it was meant to be seen. The developers, Hooded Villains, had access to a copy of the original filming tapes so you can finally see what was going on with the full 4:3 picture frame.
This diagram helps show the difference between the original master tapes and how that was shrunk and cropped for the home video game consoles back in the 1990s.
To celebrate this release, YouTube channel My Life In Gaming has also released an excellent documentary on the making of Night Trap.
You’ll discover that Night Trap was originally created to be played on a video console developed by Hasbro that used VHS cassettes rather than game cartridges but was ultimately never released. This was five years before the release of the SEGA CD version!
Also, discover that there was a failed Kickstarter campaign to bring the game back in 2014 that only raised 12% of the asking amount.
I found it compelling viewing, despite having never played to the game, to find out about its history and how we arrived at the version released this year.
Night Trap – 25th Anniversary Edition is available worldwide on PC via Steam and for North American PlayStation 4 owners via the PlayStation Store.
European PlayStation 4 owners will have to wait a little longer until mid-September.