I could hear my friends screaming in the distance as I hustled to connect the car battery. One of them was trying to negotiate a way out of being butchered by Jason Voorhees, but that didn’t last long. The faint begging turned to screams, then a pathetic gurgle as another one of my fellow campers was mutilated. Finally, the battery is connected and the hood is slammed. He was close, but I was almost out of there. Another shriek cuts through the air like Jason’s machete. Silence now. Am I alone? Who’s left? After a wait that feels like forever, the engine turns over and I make my way down a dirt road lit only by the car’s headlights. I’m bloody and bruised, but I’ll make it out of here with a healthy amount of PTSD and survivor’s guilt. Then suddenly, he’s there — right in front of me. I slam the breaks and put the car into reverse, but it’s too late. Voorhees drags me out of the car and grips my skull with his massive hands. The player behind the hockey mask giggles and says, “sorry I have to do this, my mom is really overbearing.” My skull pops and the round is over.
This is Friday the 13th: The Game — a hilarious and brutal game of adult hide and seek. You will play as either Jason, the classic slasher film antagonist, or one of seven camp counselors, who need to do whatever they can to escape one of the many Friday the 13th film locales with their limbs still attached. The thrill of running around a digital Camp Crystal Lake is better than some of the movies. In fact, this long-awaited title seems like a perfect extension to the series and fits well within the growing love of Twitch streaming and player-made narratives.
Back in the heyday of slasher films, Jason was hacking up campers as moviegoers freaked out in theaters or on the couch. As technologies and tastes have changed, Jason stayed dead. There hasn’t been a Friday the 13th movie in years (even counting the reboot), but horror enthusiasts still love watching a counselor get their head chopped off. It’s as American as apple pie. Now, they can be the doomed counselor falling into horror clichés and answering the question of “what would I do if I were in that situation.” The answer is: probably die. But at least you can start right back up after a few minutes in the game.