A Look Back At Friday The 13th Computer Game Controversy

In the 80’s the Friday The 13th films came under fire upon the release of almost every chapter. But there was also somewhat of a controversy in the UK over the computer game. Yes, “computer game” - did I stutter? Of course when people think of a playable Friday The 13th they automatically default their noggins to the perpetually and hilariously defamed NES video game. But the franchise got its first kicks through joysticks via (checks calender year) ancient computer systems Spectrum, Amstrad and Commodore 64.

You could be forgiven for thinking the above screencap is mistakingly from a game adaptation of Ladyhawk or something, but keep in mind we’ve come a long way in the world of gaming in years since. Indeed. If the horror movie connection wasn’t enough to attract the cobbled together weekly allowances of schookids everywhere, Domark went out of their way to get some attention for the game - notably through gimmicks. A disclaimer to those with nervous compositions was issued via PR/ad materials. There was a strange competition you were rewarded with just the chance to enter, by trying to identify sound effects at the conclusion of the game. A little simpler and cooler concept were blood capsules that given away with the game. The franchise’s notoriety combined with Domark’s ace publicity team garnered a cover feature on popular Spectrum rag Crash…

Regardless if the game itself ignited controversy (pretty much every genre or gory title since the dawn of gaming has, primarily going back to Wizard Games’ Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre carts), this magazine cover sure did! Many adults (mainly readers, or parents of young readers) wrote in pulling a bit of a huffy. To Crash’s benefit, they printed the letters (none of which were actually nasty, this was before the internet remember) and addressed the issue which boiled down to that it was all in good fun, and that the magazine’s target audience were teenagers to young adults.

You can read the archived letters and editor replies here and plenty of scanned reviews of the game here.

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24 Responses to “ A Look Back At Friday The 13th Computer Game Controversy ”

  1. Yeah I remember this game, used to play this when I was about 7/8 years old.
    I remember when a camp member got killed, a gashed bloody face used to appear on the screen (used to scare me big time…lol).
    I think I still have the original Amstrad cassette cover and game somewhere.

  2. Wow. Hell, I never knew such a thing existed…I’d LOVE to own it. I still have the NES game-with original box AND booklet. It’s currently hanging from my wall like a picture or something.

    Anyways, Is there an Emulator/Rom for this? Or a link to real-time gameplay online somewhere? I mean, I understand this is years old, and most,if not all machines, may not even work anymore…but it’d be nice to see in motion…

    (Is the game play sort of like that in 1988’s “BIG”? w/ Tom Hanks? Where he stands before the ice wizard and chooses his method of attack? Or am I way off? Sorry if I am…

  3. Okay…so I used youtube and found streamers of the C64 version of this game…

    Okay, why do you (the counsler) attacke/prey/kill the innocence? Not too mention Jason didn’t even show up once while watching these vids.

    Also, I found something interesting…it was some game someone in the world made where you are Jason himself…I think the games simply called “Friday The 13th 3D”. Theres a caption “www.fraps.com” <— I think, @ top of screen… You toggle through weapons GTA style and hack n’ slash through counslers…the character select screen was neat. Jason from parts 3-8 and Pamela were available…anyone know more info on this game?

  4. I played this game on my Commodore 64 back in the 80’s. I remember the face that used to appear on the screen and I think it was the famous zombie with the machete in the head from Dawn of the Dead??? Correct me if i’m wrong.

  5. This is great info. I have not seen anything on this game since I Was 9. That magazine cover is awesome. If i remember this was better than the NES game. Anyone else remember playing both of these games and can compare?

  6. I used to play that game all the time on my Commodore 64. I’d love to find an emulation so I could play it again.

  7. Hey Corey, I think you’re talking about the game I developed.

    It’s a freeware game located on my site if you wanted to play it.

    Anyways, about the computer game, I never got a chance to play, but I’ll have to check it out now.

    The magazine cover is pretty cool though.

  8. Hey Corey, here is a link with that 3D game. i couldn’t get it to work the first time i downloaded it, so maybe i will try it again, it looks super interesting, and hell, its free. everyone check out the link for the free game download and review.


  9. Well, I don’t have a cpu or laptop myself just yet…I plan to buy one later this summer when I have the $ to do so…Trust me…I more anticipated to play this game than ANY game to be released yet…

    Just like seeing screens of LoZ:OoT, or RE4, etc…

  10. thanks for creating a fun game-I don’t care about these freeze glitches or w/e they are either…to bad an official liscenced game couldn’t come to us huh? I’m sure that the game would be flamed moreso than another film though-who cares…bring the damn game!

  11. I downloaded the 3-d game and it would let me play, I don’t know.

  12. I have a question about the 3D game. Is it completed? I played a test level before and got stuck going inside one building and couldn’t get out. I enjoyed playing the test level I got to use a shovel, looking forward to playing the completed game.

  13. who cares about the past games.with the systems that are out now dont you think were due a new game,the nintendo game came out in 89 20 years ago.with the games that are out now like resident evil among 50 others shouldnt somebody make a new friday the 13th game.like 1 idea every level would be jason from each movie(level 1)mrs.voorhees.(level 2 sackhead jason.(level 3 jason f13 3.and so on.or with grand theft auto out there you could be jason and have to kill the people that were in the movies and maybee in different and or cooler ways.come on people.

  14. Wow, I have this Commodore 64 Emulation CD-R sitting right next to my computer and sure enough, Friday the 13th was on it! It loaded up but wouldn’t play.. I’ll hafta mess around with this more, I had it for my C-64 in the 80’s and forgot all about it!!

  15. I really wish that they would make a newer version out on the Xbox 360 or ps3. That would be sweet.

  16. I had this for C64. Used to love it. And I think Savini is correct about this Dawn of the Dead image being used in the game:


  17. I like the NES game better. People either don’t take the time to learn how to play it and shit on it, or they like be bandwagon jumpers and think it’s cool to say it sucks because James Rolfe did a satirical review on it. People who can’t think for themselves will automatically think anything he reviews is bad.

  18. Hey James, I DO think for myself and I think IT’S THE WORST GAME OF ALL TIME!! You defeat Jason and it just starts over, WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!

  19. Alright! Roy made the cover!

  20. That game looked so cheesy it isn’t funny! With the way they make computer games today it puzzles me why they don’t try a “new” Friday the 13th video game or PC game.

  21. It has to be a licensing issue. Every major action/scifi/comic movie gets a game on the Playstation or X Box. I mean its not like there isn’t a built in audience for a Friday the 13th game.

  22. A new game would be great. It could have stages from all the films and give you two options: Play as the hero and try to defeat Jason/Mrs. Voorhees/Roy, or play as Jason/Mrs. Voorhees/Roy and try to kill everyone without being stopped or anyone getting away.

  23. i didn’t know they made a computer game. i had the old nes version, that i never could beat.

  24. Cool. You guys may be interested in this little video we made last Friday 13th, documenting us watching all 10 films in one day;

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