Night Trap was already one of the worst games ever made. Can it hold its title on Switch?

Posted on April 22, 2018

The Nintendo Switch is fast becoming the definitive destination for re releases and retro gaming. Packed with classics from SNK, Sega Ages on the way, Nintendo Arcade Classics, Namco Museum and more. Although by far one of the more surprising (or bizzare?) announcements definitely has to be that Night Trap is heading the way of Nintendo Switch as a 25th anniversary re release. Yes, the same game that the then head of Nintendo USA had vowed would never see a release on a Nintendo console. The game he described as having no place in society, my how things change.

You could easily be forgiven for having never heard of Night Trap. It was after all originally released on Sega Mega Drive CD, then banned and pulled from sale. Before being released again as a Sega Mega CD 32X game (yes you had to own all three consoles for it too work..) and ported for 3D0, PC and Mac in the 90’s. In those days, multi media was the buzz world and full motion video was a big deal. The result was a wave of generally really horrible ‘interactive movies’ that could barely call themselves games. But still, we had CD’s that developers could put grainy video on. So implement video they did. So what exactly is Night Trap and why is this a big deal?

Night Trap is one of the aforementioned ‘interactive movie’ genre that was trending at the time. In Night Trap you play the role of a special agent tasked to watch over teenage girls, who have unwittingly visited a house full of danger. You watch live surveillance footage of the house and trigger traps to protect the girls from harm. The player can switch between rooms to listen to conversation and pick up clues. Night Trap features multiple endings depending on the choices made during the game and which girls survive the events of the game.

As with many of the multi media games of the era made on the comparative cheap, there was certainly no Oscar for best acting or cinematography awarded at the time of release. In fact, the game was in development for approx 5 years before its first release. Meaning the footage was shot in 1987 so you can be sure it has a distinct B Grade flavour to it. The thing with cult classics is that sometimes they are so bad they go full cycle to charming, however in other cases they tend to be just bad. For a game that has often been included on lists of the worst games EVER made, a Switch appearance is a curiosity that is for sure.

Can something really be that bad it that it comes full circle 25 year later and can be considered good? Night Trap could be considered¬†influential by some and it does have a reputation for cult greatness. But it can’t be denied that the game built its folklore on controversy and given the systems that it saw release on, there will be more gamers with opinions than actually played the game. Could the fact that it is so bad and the acting so horrible that the violence and controversy of the past will just seem silly now?

Perhaps the only positive of this will be that we can now experience the cult badness of the game first hand and that it may result in a re release of Double Switch the pseudo sequel. Which happened to star Cory Haim.