Parallax scrolling; a 3D environment that moves from day to night; a gripping context-sensitive soundtrack and lots of blood and gore are common elements in today’s videogames but they were revolutionary in the early 80s. With its creepy graphics, eerie soundtrack and terrifying enemies, Paul Norman‘s debut game was the first-ever survival horror game. Best played alone in the dark, Forbidden Forest has been thrilling gamers for almost 40 years. Your Commodore described it as “a superb game” while PCG awarded it Games of the Month, stating that “the atmosphere of this game is almost unbeatable”.

Developed by Paul Norman and published by Cosmi in September of 1983, Forbidden Forest really was all the things stated above, even though it wasn’t a flawless game: somewhat repetitive gameplay and way-too-long level-to-level intermissions did annoy more than one player, back in the day. I recently got back to it a gave it another shot: the feeling of fear and underpowered fighting skills was immediately there again, and so it was the fun. Sadly, the game is one of those that didn’t age too well, and it got soon frustrating.

Nonetheless, there is no doubt that this game, with its frantic action and its night-and-day cycle, coupled with all the above-mentioned features, was a true milestone, so I encourage you guys to get back to it or, at least, watch a video about its gameplay to fully understand the magnitude of the phenomenon it has been. Have fun!

[Text partially taken from Martin Grundy‘s calendars; Pictures courtesy of Lemon64]

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