<div class=header> <div class=headerrow> <div class=headercell> <div class=headerlogo> <p class=image><a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/logo/hg101logo.png" alt="Logo by MP83"></a></p> </div> <div class=headerad> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "pub-5230184257141993"; /* HG101 */ google_ad_slot = "4961941287"; google_ad_width = 728; google_ad_height = 90; //--> </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> </script> </div> </div> </div> <div class=headerrow> <div class=headercell> <div class=headermenu> <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/alpha.htm" target="_parent">Articles</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/features.htm" target="_parent">Features</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/books.htm" target="_parent">Books</a> | <a href="http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent">Blog</a> | <a href="http://hg101.proboards.com/" target="_parent">Forums</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/about.htm" target="_parent">About</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hardcore-Gaming-101/109837535712670" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/facebook.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/HG_101" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/twitter.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://ask.fm/hg_101" target="_blank"><img alt=" " src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/askfm.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.patreon.com/hg101" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/supportsmalla.png"></a> </div> <div class=searchbox> <form action="http://www.google.com/cse" id="cse-search-box" target="_parent"> <div> <input type="hidden" name="cx" value="partner-pub-5230184257141993:xfg3mydy24k"> <input type="hidden" name="ie" value="ISO-8859-1"> <input type="text" name="q" size="30"> <input type="submit" name="sa" value="Search"> </div> </form> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/coop/cse/brand?form=cse-search-box&amp;lang=en"></script> </div> </div> </div> </div>

by Keith McDonald and Sam Derboo - updated December 24, 2014

<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Gremlins 1 Adaptions

Page 2:
Gremlins 2 Adaptions

Page 3:
Post-2000 Games

Page 4:
Unreleased Games

Discuss on the Forums!

Back to the Index


When looking for a Christmas present for his son Billy on his way home from a sales trip, the unsuccessful inventor Randall Peltzer ends up in the basement antique shop of an old Chinese man, where he discovers the cutest animal he has ever seen - a furry little creature with huge eyes, called a mogwai. Naturally he must have it, but the old man refuses to sell it, as it holds a great danger. When Peltzer finally purchases the creature in secret from the man's grandson, he is given three warnings: never expose it to bright light, never get it wet, and under no circumstances feed it after midnight.

Of course all three of these things soon go wrong, and not only does Gizmo - the name Billy gives to the mogwai - spawn a bunch of other mogwai that are not nearly as quiet and qute as him after the neighbor's kid splashes water on him, before long the bad mogwai break out and get an after midnight snack, which turns them via a cocoon stage into green, reptile-like monstrosities who soon put the entire town of Kingston Falls.

If you eat by sticking your head into a plugged blender, you just had it coming.

The film Gremlins has a unique tone somewhere between horror and comedy. Even after their mutations, the gremlins are ridiculous creatures that like to play silly but torturous games, know how to have a party and leave Billy's would-be girlfriend Kate Beringer unharmed because she's there to serve them booze. But with them it's a thin line between mischievous and murderous, and the movie has surprisingly dark moments as well. Yet at the end of the day, director Joe Dante and his team have the most fun at destroying the little bastards, and so gremlins get microwaved, blended, shot, beheaded (with the removed head volleying into a lit fireplace for good measure) and burned in sunlight. The dissonance is amplified by the fact that all the mayhem takes place on Christmas, the supposedly silent night. If Gremlins is a horror movie, it is certainly one of the most intentionally fun ones.

The sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, is an interesting beast. Joe Dante wanted to avoid making a by the numbers continuation of the story, so he consciously went out of his way to make a sequel that not only parodied its predecessor, but defied practically all narrative convention. Unfortunately, despite upping the ante in terms of special effects and puppetry, the movie failed to win over audiences; critical reaction was mixed and it failed to break even at the US box office. To this day opinion is divided on whether the movie is a highly enjoyable live-action cartoon or a disjointed mess that should never have been made at all.

The New Batch's highlight are the mutated gremlins.

Even though there have been no more Gremlins movies afterwards, every so often someone tries to revive the franchise, mostly by banking on Gizmo's merchandise potential and selling new mogwai plush dolls. Sometimes these mostly tetherless resurgings are accompanied by new games. In total, there have been nine released Gremlins video games and two that never made the market. Some of these are genuine efforts, others shameless rip-offs, but almost all of them are quite distinguished from each other.

Gremlins (Movie)

Gremlins (Movie)

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Movie)

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Movie)


Gremlins - Atari 2600 (1984)

Cover

Even though the console market had more or less crashed by the time the first Gremlins movie came out, Atari still delivered a tie-in for the venerable Atari 2600 in parallel to the more advanced computer versions. Unsurprisingly, the game is a simple two-screen affair that has little to do with the events in the movie, but at least it tries to somehow make the franchise relevant to the gameplay.

In the first screen, hungry mogwai come running along the roof of a house, only to descend upon a row of eight burgers someone apparently meticulously placed on the pavement. A blop of pixels we can only assume is supposed to be Billy from the movie runs around frantically to catch them - this is where the player comes in. The spiel continues until either all after-midnight snacks are munched and the corresponding mogwai have morphed into gremlin cocoons, or no more are left for this stage.

Then, the scene changes and the freshly hatched gremlins come storming at Billy, who has to shoot them with pixels to stop them. Getting caught here results in the loss of a life. Afterwards, the same procedure keeps looping with subsequently higher difficulty levels, although it is possible to skip levels, apparently based on performance. Either way, the game caps out quickly and becomes a pure test of endurance afterwards, so there's not much of a point to play beyond the first five minutes except for the most compulsive of high score hunters.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Gremlins (Atari 2600)

Gremlins (Atari 2600)


Additional Screenshots


Gremlins - Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, IBM PC, Apple II (1984)

Atari 5200 Cover

Commodore 64 Cover

Commodore 64 Cover Backside

Next to the coarse Atari 2600 title, Atari also produced a completely different game for its "next gen" console and its mostly compatible 8-bit computer line. Atarisoft even published it for the competing computers, but aside from a different color palette (the IBM PC being the most ugly due to the CGA limitations), most versions are indistinguishable. Only the Apple II graphics are changed a bit to fit the lower resolution, but with all those moving objects on screen, it suffers a lot from flickering.

The game's stages are still contained to one single screen with no scrolling, but the essence of the gremlins lore was condensed much more effectively here, even though game is pretty much an adaption of only one specific scene in the movie. Early in the film's third act when the gremlins finally start wreaking havoc on the town, Billy comes home, finds his mother attacked by the little monsters and grabs a decorative sword from the wall to slice one of them apart.

So the entire game takes place in the Peltzer family's living room, where Billy carries a sword to kill gremlins, which he only did once for a few seconds in the movie. But that's not the sole goal here: Many of the creatures have not yet transformed, so he has to catch them and put them back into their cage, before they can get hold of some food and turn nasty. But that still doesn't mean they're secured: If Billy leaves it unattended for too long, a gremlin might open it to let the mogwai out again.

The procedure is the same in every stage, but the parameters change a lot. Separating walls make the hunt more difficult, puddles of water of course cause both gremlins and mogwai to multiply if they walk over them, and the ever dreaded food that's lying on the floor turns mogwai into gremlins. Eventually, a refrigerator is placed on screen. If left alone, it only leaks out water from the freezer department, but when a gremlin reaches it, it starts tossing out more food. A violently malfunctioning cornpopper does the rest to make Billy's life as miserable as possible.

Gremlins (Atari 8-bit)

A stage ends when there are no more critters running around freely, upon which the player is awarded exponential bonus points for every captured mogwai. This makes for some interesting dynamics on the mogwai hunt: Do you go for the gremlins first to play it safe for Billy's life and risk losing more mogwai to after midnight snacks, or try to make your way through to catch as many mogwai as possible? Or maybe you want to wait for one of them to step on water so you can collect an even higher score for his spawn? There are also a few bonus stages that are all gremlins, so you can just hack away at them for a change, or only mogwai that have to be put back in their cage before sunrise.

Atari's "high end" version of Gremlins is still a rather primitive game even by 1984 standards, but at least it makes the best out of its limited resources. What amounts to little more than a classic arcade style pure high score hunt ties in with the license as much as it could hope to, and thanks to a number of fresh ideas inspired by the movie, it's a reasonably fun score contest in it's own right, too.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Gremlins (Atari 8-bit)

Gremlins (Atari 8-bit)

Gremlins (Atari 8-bit)


Comparison Screenshots


Additional Screenshots


Gremlins: The Adventure - Commodore 64, Commodore 16, BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC (1985)

Commodore 64 Cover

Atari's Gremlins games where just crazy gremlin slaying and didn't follow the movies too closely. But one year later, Adventure International, Scott Adam's company for the cerebral gamer, jumped into the fray and created a text adventure that is... more crazy gremlin slaying, most of all.

If there ever was such a thing as an action text adventure, Gremlins: The Adventure is certainly it. Like Atari's offerings, the game opens when the gremlins have already begun to run amok in town, and Billy starts in his bedroom with one of the green nuisances throwing darts at him. He can dodge them on end, but the only other action that will not get him killed instantly is running down the stairs where he can reenact all the iconic kills from the movie, filling in the kitchen slaughter for his mother as there are no human NPCs in the entire game. It's all a bit boring, though. It's as simple as "GET SWORD. KILL GREMLIN.", and since all kitchen appliances are activated with Mr. Peltzer's super remote control, the kitchen scene is all just "PUSH BUTTON. PUSH BUTTON. PUSH BUTTON..." All the while your greatest enemy is still the text parser. Adventure International's games were never known for their exhaustive grasp of the English language, and the ways to input correct thoughts in ways the game doesn't understand are innumerable.

Gremlins: The Adventure (Commodore 64)

Afterwards the game opens up a bit more as you get to explore Kingston Falls, and despite the sparse graphics and next to no flavor text, it's quite athmospheric just by being a playable reconstruction of the movie's areas, with all the iconic locations like the movie theatre or Dorry's Tavern. All the while Billy searches for ways to kill the gremlins en masse, hordes keep closing in on him and soon come and kill him if he doesn't scare them away with a camera or keep them occupied by running the projector at the cinema. There are a few more intricate puzzles in the game, but it's mostly trial and error, as often it's not really possible to guess what will kill you and how beforehand. In the end, even following the movie too closely will kill you, as you have to think one step ahead of the gremlin leader Stripe to take out the green threat once and for all. That's hardly enough to make it one of the adventure game greats, though. The game is still wholly average, sometimes frustrating, sometimes stupid and only occasionally delightful.

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Adventure International

Publisher:

  • Adventure International

Designer:

  • Brian Howarth

Genre:

Themes:


Gremlins: The Adventure (Commodore 64)

Gremlins: The Adventure (Commodore 64)

Gremlins: The Adventure (Commodore 64)

Gremlins: The Adventure (Commodore 64)


Additional Screenshots


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Gremlins 1 Adaptions

Page 2:
Gremlins 2 Adaptions

Page 3:
Post-2000 Games

Page 4:
Unreleased Games

Discuss on the Forums!

Back to the Index