Today is August 20, which happens to be the birthday of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, who is inarguably one of the biggest influences on modern horror and weird fiction. Lovecraft’s take on horror was unique for the time, focusing on a greater sense of cosmic insignificance and impending doom that was stitched together with a contiguous mythology centered on the Great Old Ones. The Great Old Ones were a pantheon of gods that, according to Lovecraft, predated even mankind itself and would ultimately return to deliver death and destruction upon the human race. The grandiose scale of the horror and unique bestiary has made a tremendous impact on all forms of media, from the artwork of H.R. Giger to the films of Stuart Gordon. Games are no different, with the elements of Lovecraft’s writing being given both subtle nods and outright reference in the digital realm.
Shadow of the Comet
One of the earliest games based off of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, Shadow of the Comet cribbed from stories like The Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Dunwich Horror while introducing its own story elements. Players are sent to the town of Illsmouth, where they hope to observe Halley’s Comet on its return. However, Illsmouth has dark secrets bubbling just beneath the surface which are to blame for the madness of the last astronomer who visited the town the last time the comet passed by. In spite of its age, the simple graphics and MIDI score still hold up surprisingly well when it comes to building up an intense atmosphere.