The Shining has come in multiple forms: First there was the original hit Stephen King book, then there was the seminal Stanley Kubrick film, and later there was the superlative-lacking miniseries that King oversaw for television. But none were as hilariously immersive as the latest iteration: an Atari game available to play in web browsers. Players take control of the Torrances’ car as they drive to the Overlook Hotel, throw a ball around as a bored Jack Torrance slowly loses his mind, and eventually try to chase down a family in the winter tundra.
It’s a fun way to experience the Kubrick interpretation in all its 8-bit, simple keystroke glory and is a pretty quick gaming experience full of funny little moments of control. The game was designed by Pippin Barr and uses basic sounds and graphics as well as some echoes of the infamous E.T. game in its character designs. It’s surprising how much action can be boiled down to just a few simple key strokes, something that makes things entertainingly comical when all of the actions are predetermined and usually fatalistic. The game loses some points for not including a meaningless sidequest where Scatman Crothers drives to the Overlook only to be quickly dispatched, but there‘s always room for improvement.