Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

The Countdown Horror Obscura – Day 8: The Grand Finale!

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It has been quite the journey this week horror fans. Through the days of Horror Obscura we have visited various areas of deep seated fear from the virus infested Antarctic to the fear of being in a relationship. I’ve really only scratched the surface there are so many more games covering various horror themes, but I guess we’ll get to those another time. For the final entry of this series of articles I wanted to save what I consider the game that rocked me to my very core as a youngling. Retro fans, I’ve lived through many scary moments in and out of video games I’ve walked through haunted caves, played through Alien Isolation and walked home in pitch black. It takes a lot to truly terrify me. The reason for this is nothing quite rocked me to my very core more than the software I am about to speak of. Some might even not call this a game in fact it’s actually considered an educational tool in the early days of microcomputers. Just talking the title of this game will send children running to the hills in fear. You think you know fear? Then you have never played Granny’s Garden on the BBC Micro.

The Horror Obscura Finale (2015) – Granny’s Garden

grannys_garden_houseGranny’s Garden is an educational program that plays out as a text adventure game with various visual aids. It was designed as a tool to help teach basic computer skills to kids in Primary school. I remember vividly booting up this software and thinking how amazing it was that I was allowed to play a game in school time. Oh if only I knew the terror that awaited me. Your quest is to go find all the missing children within the Kingdom of the Mountains. You are consistently bombarded with text based puzzles where you would have to type the answer into the keyboard to progress.

grannys_garden_witchLingering in the corner though, was the most terrifying sprite that has ever graced gaming. Should you screw up in the game and you will. Eventually you come face to face with a full screen image of ‘the Witch,’ its just this head with the most creepy looking crappy chin you ever did see. Seriously even Hollywood hasn’t conceived anything more terrifying. This horrific sprite then does the ultimate troll moment in gaming and sends you right back to the start of the game, that’s just before cackling at you that she’s caught you. Any kids you saved are recaptured and you’re literally left traumatized. Thanks for that teacher if this was a way to convince me I should concentrate more on my Mathematics rather than wasting time playing video games then you absolutely succeeded. And that is what I did, I concentrated more on my studies and got an education. Grannies Garden is the only software possibly in history to make kids want to learn. Slender man, Minecraft‘s creepers, the Alien (xenomorph), any creepy generic Japanese long haired girl all whoosies compared to the horror of that witch.

Granny’s Garden is a work of horror genius. For starters the developers probably knew they had one of the most terrifying pieces of software and so they thought the best way to torment the children of the UK was to put this program in every BBC Micro in every school in the country. The legacy didn’t end there though this software has cursed every microcomputer to computer to even the app store today. Granny’s Garden will forever haunt the children of the world.

The Verdict: Stay in school kids.


Many thanks for reading this series of The Horror Obscura. I hope you enjoyed it, there are so many more horror games that I’ve not covered but please feel free to share your favourite horror games in the comment section below. I’ve always been a huge fan of the horror genre so writing this series was a labour of love. Till next time….

Written by jamalais

October 30, 2015 at 3:00 pm

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