Like the full-motion video game genre, Night Trap has been largely forgotten in the 25 years following its release. Yet this year, we saw the release of Late Shift, an entirely new full-motion video game. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Night Trap is ready to make its comeback. The controversial horror game that debuted on the Sega CD will be available on PS4 and Xbox One this spring.
Night Trap looks like a cheap slasher film, and its plays like one, too, with minimal input from the player shaping how the story progresses. It’s best known for being so violent, that it was pulled from shelves at Toys R Us, cited in a Senate Judiciary and Government Affairs Committee hearing on violent video games, and pulled from publication by Sega. This was, of course, a different time. There was no ESRB rating system, and Supreme Court was nearly two decades from granting video games the privileges of art. (Can we take a moment to appreciate The New York Times’ image choice for that story?)
By today’s standards, Night Trap is tame. But like so many remasters, the intent isn’t just to get new fans, but to preserve a historic bit of the medium. Yes, even a Sega CD game about “SCAT agents” deserves to be girded from the sands of time. It helps that the game will have a physical release.