Anyone who knows me would tell you my two greatest passions are horror movies and video games. I’m a nerd, and I don’t care who knows it. I’d choose a night in with a scary film or an online multiplayer over a night on the town any day of the week. So when the two elements come together, and the horror movie world spills over into video games, a man like me can get very excited. Horror games can be really chilling, especially when it involves someone or something that you’re already afraid of after seeing them in a movie. But they can also offer a new perspective for these characters when they allow you to take control of them, and see what it’s like in their shoes. And for me, there’s no horror shoes I would like to fill more, than those of Michael Myers.
Something about Myers has always haunted me since the first time I saw Halloween as a young boy. I still can’t quite put my finger on it, but he still sends a shiver down my spine. Especially when I drunkenly bump into someone dressed as him on Halloween. I’m not afraid of Jason, or Freddy, or even crazy old Leatherface. But Michael, he scares me. It must be something to do with that mask. And the relentless determination behind his stalking. He will find you. No matter what. So, with all of these deep-rooted fears of Michael hanging around in the back of my mind, you can imagine the terror I experienced when I first bumped into him in my safe place: gaming.
Michael Myers has made some great appearances in the world of video games, including one that has become one of my all-time favorite gaming experiences. From classic beat-em-ups to first-person shooters, it feels like no genre is safe from the white-faced hunter. And while I have had some genuinely heart-pounding scares whilst confronting him in-game, I’ve also discovered something I didn’t even realise I was longing for. I can BE Michael Myers. I can don the boiler suit, pull on the mask, grab a massive kitchen knife, and stalk unfortunate victims just like he does in the movies. It’s an incredibly satisfying experience and for me it’s now one of my go-to options when I’ve had a rough day. So turn off the lights, light the candle in your pumpkin, and join me as I take a look at some of Michael Myers appearances in gaming.
Halloween (Atari 2600)
One of Michaels first adventures into the world of gaming was in the 1983 Atari game Halloween, released 5 years after the first movie. It’s understandably a pretty basic game, graphics and consoles weren’t exactly powerful back then, but it’s a nice little classic to look back on today. The title of the game and the box art which featured the now iconic movie poster would both tell you the game is an official title. But if you play the game itself, none of the characters from the film, including Michael, are actually ever mentioned. But it’s called Halloween, and it looks and feels like Halloween, so I’m adding it to this article. The killer in game may not be called Michael Myers, but he has a knife and he attacks a baby sitter in a game called Halloween. It’s Michael, ok?!
In this simple take on the Halloween story, you play as a teenage babysitter (Laurie surely?) and you have to face your fears and save as many of the children in your care as you can. Save them from what you ask? A knife-wielding killer of course! The game does look very basic but it ramps up the tension the more you play. If you manage to rescue a set number of children, you go to the next level. And each time you do this, the killer gets faster. The game also wasn’t afraid to be graphic, showing a little 8bit fountain of blood spewing from where her head used to be if the babysitter is caught by the killer. It also used the classic Halloween theme tune to signify the killer’s appearance. It may be basic and it may not be 100% legit, but Michael’s first appearance in gaming is a fun start to his adventure.
Terrordrome: Rise of the Boogeyman (PC)
Terrordrome is one of those legendary games that I never quite managed to get my hands on. I’ve never been a PC gamer so I’ve never had the opportunity to play it. But I have watched many, many videos on YouTube showing off the gameplay and style of the game. It looks fantastic. It’s a fan-made fighting game, similar to Mortal Kombat, but it features an impressive collection of classic horror icons to play as. From Ghost Face to Chucky, the roster really is a horror fans dream. And of course, the game wouldn’t be complete without our man Michael Myers. Playing as him looks like a lot of fun, and it makes me wish he had been added to Mortal Kombat X alongside Leatherface and Jason.
Terrordrome features classic versus mode fighting for the casual fighter, and also a story mode for a little more depth. Playing as Michael in Story mode you get an opening story and an ending too, with 14 chapters of one on one fights in between. His story shows us the inner voices telling Michael he has a little job to do, further hinting at his madness. When you finish his story, defeating Tall Man once and for all, the voices return but are different somehow. They tell him ‘I have something more I need you to do Mikey, you will love it…’ Is this implying he is now ready to hunt down Laurie Strode? Who can say. The story is basic but this is a fan-made game so we can’t expect miracles. But where the gameplay is lacking, it is made up for in gameplay. Beating Jason Voorhees whilst playing as Michael is incredibly satisfying. Someone, please make this into a console game, I need it.
Call of Duty: Ghosts (Xbox 360/One, PS3/4, PC)
I’ve been a big fan of the Call of Duty games for a long time now, and Call of Duty: Ghosts was, and still is, my favorite of the franchise so far. And the main reason for that is the addition of a playable Michael Myers into the spooky Fog map which was released as part of the Onslaught DLC. Fog was already one of my favorite maps as it was like a spooky movie set. But then finding that you can become Michael himself and hunt down fellow players with an axe was an unexpected bonus. It felt really out of place for a Call of Duty game to have a feature like this, but I lapped it up. It added a new fear element to the gameplay and led to me playing that map in particular for more hours than I would like to admit to.
Michael plays in a similar way to the Maniac in Ghosts, a temporary upgrade to your appearance, strength and skills. You’re faster as Michael, and can take more damage, but your only weapon is an axe as opposed to the usual guns. This is the only negative for me, why is it an axe?! But it’s not a major let down, it’s still great to play as him. When you do make a kill, the victim’s soul floats up and out of their body, and you reclaim a small amount of health. Also the classic Halloween theme tune rings through the air, motivating you to stalk and kill as many victims as you can before you’re killed once and for all. Michael is stronger but can be taken down by one or two players focussing their fire. And when Michael does fall, his soul bursts out in a cloud of bats. It’s fucking awesome!
The character model for this version of Michael is great too. He looks just like the movie version of Myers, with the boiler suit and mask. Seeing him lunging towards you in-game is terrifying. When someone else on the map becomes Michael, everyone in-game hears the theme tune start up. As a long-time scaredy cat for the masked killer, this always filled me with dread. I love becoming him in COD: Ghosts, but being chased by him, not so much. COD gameplay already stresses me out as it’s intense and easy to fail, so the added pressure of Michael coming for me was a little too intense for me at times. But I’m a glutton for punishment so still couldn’t stop playing. Bring it on Mickey.
Dead by Daylight (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
And saving the best for last, we now come to Dead by Daylight. This is one of my favorite games of all time. It’s a simple premise, 4 survivors work together to fix generators in order to escape before the killer can pick them all off. You can play as the survivor or the killer, and the choice of characters is impressive. I always preferred to play as a survivor, as I was rubbish at catching them as the killer. That is until developers released The Shape DLC. Michael Myers, in all his glory. I bought the DLC as soon as it arrived and my god I was not disappointed. Playing as Michael in this game is genuinely one of the most authentic and thrilling gaming experiences I have ever had. It feels right, it looks right and it sounds right. They did so well with this character it’s hard for me to play as anyone else now.
One of Michael’s in-game perks is his stalk ability, meaning the longer you can hold a victim in your line of sight, the more your stalker meter fills. Get it fully charged, and the classic Halloween theme blasts out as you chase your victim down. It also gives you the ability to floor them in one brutal stab of your knife, it’s incredibly similar to the movie and an absolute thrill for fans of the franchise. Hunting the survivors down through Michael’s eyes is a chilling experience. It’s a first-person game when you play as the killer, so all you can see is the knife in your right hand and the victims ahead. The DLC also included a survivor modelled on Laurie Strode, so you can even hunt her down as Michael.
On the flip side, playing as a survivor and being chased by Michael is one of the scariest gaming experiences possible for me. Anyone who has played Dead by Daylight knows that being chased can get really intense. You know the killer is close as your heartbeat thumps louder and you see the red light of the killer’s view lighting up your back. So to have this, as well as the Halloween theme tune blaring out makes for some white knuckle gaming. I still never fail to have my heart racing whenever I face off against Michael. And to turn around and spot him in the distance stalking you also leads to some awesome jump-scare moments. Playing as a survivor, particularly as Laurie, feels like you’re playing a part in the actual movies. Especially when you play on the map that also came in the Shape DLC, Haddonfield.
The Haddonfield map is a great recreation of the classic Lampkin Lane where the teenage Laurie Strode lived, as well as the child Michael Myers. The map has some great touches and really feels like you’re playing on the film set. Seeing Michael lurking behind the bushes or coming up the stairs here looks incredible, and it really adds to the whole Halloween feeling of the game. It’s an intense map to play on as it isn’t as big as some of the other maps, and hiding in one of the houses can feel claustrophobic. Feeling like you’re Jamie Lee Curtis whimpering in a closet is an unexpected pleasure. The Shape DLC is such a welcome addition to the game and a must-play for any Halloween fans.