Lights, camera... Vampire!
If you browse the internet as often as we do at RGG then you will, daily, see people standing on soap boxes moaning. Part of this is a natural bi-product of social media where anyone can post anything under an avatar, free from a real life challenge.
People with agenda's and often zero knowledge of the actual conversation or subject matter love to wade in preaching moral rights and wrongs to those who are part of the actual event. You would think that an entertainment medium built on fantasy and make believe would get a pass, but you would be wrong. It's not a new thing either.
Sega get a little bit saucy on CD...
These days you would get arrested watching girls through hidden camera's... To be clear though, rightly so!
Back in the 1990's as retrogaming games were becoming more realistic due to the emergence of CD-ROM and FMV (full motion video) companies had to be a bit careful about the content of their games, with film footage in them games were becoming more like films themselves and as such were starting to be graded age rating style.
Sega with their awesome (yeah I said it, what!?!) Mega-CD / Sega-CD unit were really pushing games that relied heavily on the FMV hook and a company called Digital Pictures were knocking out tons of games with this in mind, all of which scored pretty low in reviews but sold quite well. Truth be told these games highlighted why CD-ROM gaming was different to cart based entertainment and as such have become a really important chapter of the industry itself.
One such game however at the time was accused of crossing the line between shock tactics and bad taste, this game was of course the 1992 (North America) 1993 (Europe/Japan) controversy bandwagon that was called 'NIGHT TRAP' The newspapers in the UK especially had a field day with this one and actually managed to completely cause uproar with parents most of which didn't even know what the game was about or even have the console. The thing is that in the UK parents are some of the easiest folk to manipulate into joining some form of campaign, they love to stand on soap boxes.
The game is very much a B-Movie creature feature style affair surrounding a family that has invited a group of girls to stay the night for a slumber party type thing. Previous parties have ended with 5 girls going missing so a special unit is set up to monitor the house and an undercover agent is sent in to pose as a school girl.
Your job is to switch the cameras set up in the house to spot what is going on and soon enough you find out that the family is no ordinary bunch of middle American Peanut & Jelly eating crew, they are in fact Vampires who are using stumbling fools dressed in black to capture the girls, drain them of blood and dispose of the bodies. In order to stop this threat you decide not to go in with massive guns and shoot lots of monsters in the face (the real american way - lol) but instead activate traps to foil the dudes dressed in black and save the girls.
As you can see the plot is filled with holes, if your team has managed to setup cameras and traps in the house where said family live then surely they would have already seen the hidden areas where human victims are being drained right??? Ahh who cares the game is great.
Gameplay is a simple matter of watching and waiting for the crap to hit the fan then activate said traps to capture the lumbering men in black. With minimal cameras it's all about making sure you follow people around and essentially watch the film unfold. The film in question of course being about a group of girls and what they get up to at a slumber party. Here's where the controversy comes from...
At the time the press thought this was essentially soft core porn because of one scene with a girl dressed in a silk night slip (nightie, whatever) and a few of the evil dudes cornering her and placing her into this neck vice thing then dragging her off. Now when you read that sentence with no imagery of course that sounds wrong however just about every single horror film ever made has a similar scene of far more graphic intensity. Did the press throw their hands in the air at Halloween and Jamie Lee Curtis letting the girls out for all to see, nope... Shut up newspapers and leave games alone!!!
Over time of course the game has fallen into the point and laugh criteria it was always mean to be. It never takes itself seriously at all and honestly people who read to much into stereotypes etc in videogames very often enter the conversation with all manner of hidden personal agenda's. leave your politics at the door is my honest take on stuff like this. It's a game, it's not real... Shut up!
What remains now is a series of fun stories about the games origins, it's place in the timeline of gaming changed along with all the other 'Digital Pictures' work during the tech explosion period of the early 1990's and the cheesy scenes where the girls dance around singing the actual title song of the game into hairbrushes. It's pure nonsense and all the better for it. Modern audiences demand complex stories but those of us raised in the original generations just needed something that was fun to play.
In the pictures placed around these words is my personal copy of the PAL version of the game as well as some screenshots of the videogame itself. There's also the Japanese cover in one of the boxes and I also own that version as well. I love the Mega-CD games catalog because a ton of it had simply no Nintendo counterpart, owning a Megadrive and a CD-ROM drive was so cool back in the day. Some real moments of genuine originality exists here. Where stuff like Night Trap is concerned just remember that it comes from a different time when technology moved so fast. Don't judge this game as an adult now, think what your 16 year old self would think if he/she got to play this. That's what I do!