Of all the 1980s slasher movies to get video game related, hellraiser was excluded – but not for lack of trying. At a time when movies like Halloween and Friday 13 had games on the NES and Atari 2600, Clive Barker’s cult classic might have fit in perfectly, but never saw its corresponding game. Such a project was considered, at least, by a developer called Color Dreams, although the game never materialized.
In the late 80s, Color Dreams was founded to develop unlicensed Nintendo games. The Japanese gaming titan has always been very protective of its intellectual property, up to and including Nintendo’s lawsuits for destroying game ROMs in recent years. Color Dreams was eventually renamed – twice, due to the low quality of its games – but the company claimed avoiding such lawsuits was a sign of its legitimacy. The unfinished hellraiser is considered a “lost” NES title, and everything related to it is still quite nebulous.
YouTuber RETRO OR DIE discusses Color Dreams and its hellraiser game, with fleeting evidence and often more rumor than fact, though its investigation sheds light on the fate of the game. Indeed, Color Dreams had begun early development on a hellraiser NES tie-in game, though the project was scrapped for a host of reasons. Besides being the first and only hellraiser video game, it would have included a potentially revolutionary hardware advancement. It was not to be, however, and now hellraiser The NES only exists as rumor and speculation.
Hellraiser game would have been an NES innovator
It is unclear exactly how far in development the hellraiser game may have been. Even today, when definitive information is more readily available, video game rumors tend to circulate widely; around hellraiser, very few facts are certain. However, the game was a legitimate project – marketing had begun, as evidenced by a November 1990 issue of Video games and computer entertainment magazine which featured a small ad for the game. Unfortunately, nothing more was ever revealed, and the project was inevitably forgotten.
A 2001 interview with one of the founders of Color Dreams provides additional information, which in some ways makes the game’s non-existence even more disappointing. hellraiser, in addition to taking its place among horror movie-related games, was to include a “super cartridge”, an external processor that would complement the graphics capabilities of the NES without alerting the NES’s own processor. It wasn’t the weirdest project on the NES, which had a space station Jesus game, but could have kickstarted other significant advancements in gaming hardware if it had worked. Unfortunately, super cartridges were much more expensive to manufacture and the SNES was just around the corner. Developing unlicensed Nintendo games was doubly risky, and all hope hellraiser the game had quickly collapsed.
Whereas Extraterrestrial, Nightmare on Elm Streetand a whole host of other classic horror films received the first home console tie-in games, hellraiser was kind of left behind. Some of these franchises ended up investing heavily in games, to the point that contemporary titles like Alien: Isolation or 2017 Friday the 13th: the game are commonplace. hellraiser would eventually make its way to games, though. Behavior Interactive’s asymmetrical horror game Dead in broad daylight introduced Pinhead as a killer in 2021; this title has long served as a meeting place for horror protagonists and iconic killers from all kinds of franchises, from Michael Meyers to stranger things“Demogorgon. Thus, although players cannot take advantage of a dedicated space hellraiser game, the film’s legacy lives on. Moreover, it is possible that the recent wave of hellraiser remakes will lift the franchise out of its cult popularity in the mainstream horror landscape – if that happens, it seems almost inevitable that some game developers will see the film as a ripe target for an adaptation aimed at terrifying gamers.
Source: RETRO OR DIE/YouTube
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