Writing on video games by Steve Hernandez

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Creepiness of Home Alone 2

It’s easy to be scared by things when you’re a kid. Especially by video games. The “get out” from Donkey Kong 64 and the eel from Mario 64 are two notable examples of this. Even something like a static game over screen from Donkey Kong Country creeped out plenty of players during their childhoods. One game that creeped me out as a kid was Home Alone 2: Lost in New York for the Super Nintendo. It’s easy to see why. 

The game begins with two static images featuring characters from the movie. The low resolution of the images make the characters seem uncanny and ugly. The accompanying music is also far from comforting. The track sounds sinister and as mischievous as one of Kevin’s traps. A blurry transition effect occurs as the player enters the first level. 

I think one of the reasons this game creeped me out as a kid was how erratic the first level began. The player is transported to a seemingly huge hotel with large pillars in the foreground. An adult with a robotic-like walking animation slowly approaches the player from the left side of the screen. The music is fast and creates a sense of panic that is exacerbated by Kevin’s constant running. Likewise, the constant inhaling for air that makes up his idle animation just lends to the fact that the player is in constant danger. Not only are all the adults trying to seemingly harm Kevin, sentient objects such as luggage, vacuums,  and mops are after him too. 

All of the adults in the game behave in uncharacteristic ways that come across as creepy. Maids stand on beds and toss pillows at the player. Elderly women brandishing umbrellas hop back and forth with ease. A large man wearing a coat and a hat slowly approaches the player. Nowadays, Home Alone 2 is nothing special and not even remotely scary. It’s one of many movies that were turned into a not so great 2D platformers. However, this first level did creep me out as a kid. 


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