Early video games based on licensed horror movies do not have a sterling reputation. Vintage titles based on Halloween, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Nightmare On Elm Street have been known to give players nightmares for their poor graphics, wonky controls, frustrating play, and lack of fidelity to the source material. On the surface, the 1989 game Friday The 13th would seem to fit right into that category. Like many licensed games available for the Nintendo Entertainment System, this one was published by the much-reviled LJN, a company whose logo has been repeatedly referred to as “the rainbow of shit” by popular game reviewer James Rolfe. In fact, Friday The 13th provided the basis for an episode of Rolfe’s webseries, The Angry Video Game Nerd. But hold on, says Chris McDonald of TripleZeroFilms. LJN’s Friday The 13th “is actually a fairly deep and complex survival horror game.” It’s just been misunderstood all these years. To counteract that, McDonald has compiled a thorough and beautifully illustrated strategy guide for the game. It’s such an epic undertaking that it requires its own trailer.
And superfans like McDonald are not alone in their love of Friday The 13th. The game’s turquoise and purple rendition of archfiend Jason Voorhees has inspired its own action figure. If that’s not enough, there are several revisionist reviews of the game available online. As MetaFilter user Pope Guilty puts it, Friday The 13th could just be “an unpolished gem in the extremely rough.” So dry those eyes, Jason. Your video game wasn’t a huge disappointment to a generation of fans after all. People just needed to learn how in the hell to play it.