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The road to Resident Evil was paved with some freaky-ass games

Resident Evil is having a moment. Not only did Capcom just develop a wild, scary remake of Resident Evil 2, but a film reboot is reportedly in the works alongside an animated series. It’s a worthy title to revisit in this golden age of genre, as the original 1996 game went a long way in helping to define the “survival horror” subgenre as we now know it. But Resident Evil didn’t come out of nowhere. As a new video essay from Something Ghoulish details, you can trace its origins back to the late ‘80s and a Japanese game that was never released stateside.

That game, Sweet Home, is often mentioned alongside Resident Evil, as the latter was essentially a remake of the former. But Something Ghoulish digs deeper into its influences—the abundance of puzzles and storytelling-via-notes—and cites another game as a key Resident Evil forebear. That game, the Commodore 64's Project Firestart, doesn’t resemble Resident Evil in story, but its focus on limited weaponry, jump scares, and musical stings no doubt had an impact.


The essay also digs into more of Resident Evil’s influences—its mansion was inspired by The Shining’s Overlook Hotel, for example—as well as the enduring impact the game had on the industry as a whole.

Fix yourself a Jill Sandwich, forget Resident Evil 6 exists, and watch the full thing above.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.