I am not a gamer. This doesn’t mean I don’t play video games. I do. A lot. But after discovering the world of Motorcitygaming.com (Our podcasting network BFFs) I came to the sad realization that I am just a casual fan of video games. It’s not that I don’t spend time playing them (just ask my wife, I get my game on!), but my depth and love of video games is a shallow pond of sorrow and loneliness… I will never fall into the world of gaming the way our friends at MCG do. I guess my completely encompassing obsession with comic books, horror movies and music would have to make do. That is until Gun Media launched a Kickstarter campaign a couple of years back for an official Friday the 13th Video Game promising a multiplayer experience which allows you to control Jason Voorhees in all his hockey mask wearing, machete wielding and camp counselor disembowel greatness! How the hell could I, a life long horror fan not be excited for this!?!? The last 2 and a 1/2 years of waiting for the release of the game have been hell. Every now and then Gun Media would release a teaser or announcement (Kane Hodder’s involvement, Tom Savini designed a Jason skin, etc) but that release day was always so far away. Then last Friday it happened. Friday the 13th: The Game was released and I was heading to Camp Crystal Lake to take care of some horny camp counselors (Woah, that did not come out the way I planned…)! BUT much like most things in my life, God hit the red light and said “Not so fast there, chubs!” (Yes, in my metaphors God body shamed).
I spent the better part of a holiday weekend playing F13 with Matt and Nik (original SJP memeber) and drinking. Take note fellas: If you want to make your wife and child proud, show up to the in-laws Memorial Day Barbecue hung over and running on 45 minutes of sleep because you were up playing a video game! Trust me, no amount of flowers will dig you out of that grave! This of course sounds like results of an epic 3 day bender of gaming/boozing greatness (and it was! Really!), but this journey was not without its speed bumps (and at times full-out road blocks).
After first downloading and installing F13 (on Xbox Live) I was ready to dive into the world of Jason and quickly fired the game up. After hitting start and selecting a quick match, I stared at a loading screen for damn 15 minutes before finally getting a Data Login Failure message. After several more attempts to login yielded the same results, I turned to the same source we all go to when something we want is not happening quick enough: The Internet. A quick google search lead me to Gun Media’s Facebook page and I quickly learned that after the launch of the game the servers crashed from the volume of people trying to login. I sent a quick message letting Gun Media know what happened and they responded fairly quickly. GM apologized and referred me to Reddit where a people were setting up Private Party matches. Not ideal, but the path to Camp Crystal Lake was clear and I was on my way.
I quickly met up with some players and began playing. My first impressions of the game were confusing. The game launches you right into a multiplayer match (as of right now, multiplayer is the only way to play. Solo campaign is coming out this Summer) with zero tutorial and absolutely no objective other than to survive or kill (Depending if you’re a counselor or Jason). Who is Jason is either randomly selected or predetermined by the party host. I prefer random. Keeps you on your toes. My first match I was a counselor and shoved right into the world. As mentioned earlier I am not the gamer I once thought I was and with no tutorial showing me the basics of the games I was lost. Another speed bump, but I was not going to give up! It didn’t take long for me to realize that as a counselor I had one goal: escape. You have 3 ways of doing that, by boat, car or calling for help. Before you can do any of those you have to find a series of items (the car needs gas, a battery and keys, etc). Any player can find these items and get them to the car and in most cases teamwork is essential to escape. You can only talk to fellow counselors when they are with in your area or you both have walkie talkies. This creates a feeling of isolation. My first instinct was to run and find my fellow players, but I quickly learned that safety in numbers in not always the best strategy. Jason is roaming the camp looking for you, so the sense of impending doom is always present and when you team up it makes you that much easier for Jason to find. When Jason finds you that’s when the real panic starts. As Jason gets closer you begin to hear that iconic music (Che-che-cha-ha-ha-ha). I will be honest and the first time I heard that music I damn near shit my pants. As he gets closer the music swells and before you know it you’re smack dab in the middle of horror movie and Jason Voorhees is knocking down the front door with an axe! While escape is often improbable, it is not impossible. You can find weapons and objects used to distract or stun Jason and high tail it out of there. Generally, when the big man sets his sights on you it pretty much spells The End for you.
Now on to the main event! The whole reason we were all so excited for the game. Friday the 13th: The Game promised you can play as Jason Voorhees in all his spine snapping, skull crushing, machete slicing greatness! I will say everything Gun Media promised they delivered on. Playing as Jason Voorhees is everything a horror fan could ever want! You start off in Jason’s cabin in front of the Pamela Voorhees “shrine” (for non-genre fans this is the shrine to Jason’s mom who was murdered in the first movie that features her decapitated head and sweater as the center piece). Pamela’s disembodied voice tells Jason to make the counselors pay and you get to work. While the mechanics of Jason are a bit clunky (the teleport feature is a bit difficult to get down) Jason is a blast to play with. I’ve read (and heard) complaints that Jason is too powerful and there needs to be more balance. To this I say “Have you ever seen a Friday the 13th movie!?!?” Jason is an unstoppable killing machine and camp counselor should not be able to kill him easily. For me the fun of this game is not trying to beat Jason, but trying to survive a damn near impossible situation. That makes those kills that much more impactful and ultimately that much more satisfying. For both parties.
I spent 3 straight nights with Friday the 13th: The Game. That’s more than any video game I have played in the last year. Maybe it’s my genre fanboyism peeking out, but honestly, Friday the 13th is just a hell of a good time. Gun Media a flat-out terrible launch. Server issues, match making non-existent and so many crashes this launch could have starred Nic Cage with bleached hair (Gone In 60 Seconds remake… Google it) it is possible it will go down as one of the worse launches in video game history. Even with all that I had a complete blast and cannot wait to get back to Camp Crystal Lake and slash up some counselors.
Friday the 13th: The Game is a must have for any and every horror buff. It is currently available through digital download on Steam(PC), Playstation 4, and Xbox One. Multiplayer mode is currently available with a single player campaign slated later this summer as well as physical copies of the game rumored in time for the holiday shopping season.