I received Atari’s Haunted House for my birthday back in 1981. I really enjoyed it, but it was not the game I really wanted that birthday. For some reason, I got it in my head that what I needed was Atari’s port of Berzerk. To be fair it might have had a little something to do with that Atari Force comic that was packaged with the cartridge.
So my Father drove me to our local store and I gave my Haunted House to the clerk and explained I wanted to trade it for Berzerk. The clerk was a teenager and he fixed me with a smirk as he said, “Yeah, this Haunted House game is no fun at all.” So he hands me Berzerk but then the Electronics Manager comes over and asks why I was trading Haunted House for the new game and not another copy of the original game. I didn’t know what to say and I was getting the sinking feeling that I was about to have to hand Berzerk back over but my Father put his hand on my shoulder and said, “This Haunted House game is too easy for my Son, he beat it within 10 minutes. For the money we spent we want something that will last longer.” That was that and I went home with my new cartridge.
To be fair I really do like Haunted House and I am quite happy to have it in my collection. But thanks to Atari Mania we can now get a look at this Atari Haunted House Alternate Artwork. It is a very different perspective that ups the creepiness factor. Even as a an adult, looking at the distressed look on the woman’s face gives me the creeps.
Perhaps one of those reasons for the artwork variation is name changes. Haunted House went through a couple of different names during programming. It was Mystery Mansion, Graves Manor, and Nightmare Manor, before Haunted House was chosen.