While finishing up this Halloween's selection of survival horror games, I decided to briefly play the earliest game I put in my list as survival horror. That is 1982's The Alien, by Avalon Hill, published on the Apple II, FM-7 and PC-88. At least those are the versions Mobygames confirms as existing, there may be others. The Alien is not a survival horror game by most stretches of the term, it is in fact a strategy game based off the first Alien movie.
|This screen changes around quite a bit, which I thought was cool
|I definitely understand what's going on here
|Well, why do I have the option to do anything then!?
|I'm getting Junji Ito vibes from this
Enter Nostromo, a game released in a type-in magazine. If you don't know what a type-in magazine is, its a magazine with games you type into a computer, back when every one had a copy of Basic included with it. Nostromo was released in the second issue of AX, published by ASCII, hence the name attached to the game in places, AX-2. Released sometime in 1982, by Hiromi Ohba, who would have a moderate career over the years as an audio programmer. Other people and a 1981 release date are stated online but both the magazine and the source code confirm these are not true.
|Playing card suits are an abstraction, I hope
|The "a" is the alien
|The Japanese version of The Alien, which came out in '84
What's funny is that the 1984 Alien game, by Argus Press rips off The Alien for its gameplay loop. While I can't tell if that game is popular, it mostly just pops up links to download it, I have heard that game mentioned. It just hasn't spawned the few articles that Nostromo has. That, however, is a tale for another day.