Few games for the NES have been better treated by hindsight than Friday the 13th. At the time it was regarded as a terrible game with difficult play and nearly impossible to win.
But even then there were things about it that indicated that there might be a little more going on then than was first apparent. Publisher LJN was known for making terrible games, but they outsourced their work to different companies that often weren’t actually that bad, just given weird properties for video games (The Karate Kid? Jaws? T&C Surf Designs??) and approaching them with experimental gameplay. And for their part, all of LJN’s games are technically sound, and manage to hit their 60fps frame rate targets, which is much more than you can say for many other NES games, including some from big manufacturers like Capcom, like Ghosts & Goblins and 1942, both implemented by Micronics, or Strider, which as we’ve noted before is a mess.
The critical reappraisal for Friday the 13th began with TripleZeroFilms made a well-produced 76-page PDF strategy guide for it, that exalted its good qualities. There is a Metafilter thread, from user Pope Guilty, on it that may also be of interest.
It has come time, as we all knew it must, for Jeremy Parish to collide with Jason’s axe, and as befits the game’s redemption, his video is divided in half, first about its reception at the time, then later now that it’s appreciated a little better. Just don’t turn it off after the 8 minute mark, there’s still more than half of it to go!
The masked axe-slinger: Friday the 13th, NES Works 113 (Youtube, 18 minutes)