The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Video Game)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was one of the first horror genre video games and one of the first video games to be based on a movie license. Released on the Atari 2600 back in 1983 it was developed by VSS, Inc, Published by Wizard Video Games, with lead design by Ed Salvo (who also worked on the Halloween video game in the same year).

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Video Game puts the player in control of the movie’s antagonist Leatherface, then sets them on a murderous rampage across Texas. As video games go the objective is pretty much a standard affair, kill everything, in this case, teenage Texans.

Now we’re not sure if this is canon but in the video game, Leatherface and his trusty chainsaw are conjoined into some sort of hellish cyborg which is fuelled by the blood of teenagers, should the chainsaw run out of fuel they both die. This does add a bit of logic to why he’s such a murderous bastard but still doesn’t explain the creepy mask. If I needed the blood of teenagers to stay alive I’d probably try and lure them in rather than scare them off by wearing some nightmare fuel outfit. Perhaps use a mockup of an off-license with a bench outside, then get them when the tallest one asks “Oi mate, can you get us some cigs?” FYI it takes the blood of 5 Texan teenagers to refuel a chainsaw, B&Q don’t stock it (I did ask) and I’d hazard a guess neither do hardware stores in the USA hence the murder spree. 

Given that the game was released in 1983 and even then the Atari 2600 was hardly a graphical powerhouse, the visual representation of the sparse Texan landscape is pretty accurate, it’s flat, littered with trees and fences with the odd cow skull laying around. The same can’t be said for the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface sprite which looks like a pumpkin wielding an industrial size rampant rabbit, the sound is similar too (so I hear). The rest of the sprites are serviceable given the era and technological limitations. For a video game based on such a violent movie, there’s a distinct lack of blood and given the controversy of the game at the time is a strange omission. 

Another take from the video game, and again I’m not sure this is canon but Leatherface can be stopped by wheelchairs, fences, tumbleweed and the cow skulls you’ll find littering the Texan terrain. So if you do find yourself being pursued by the mask wielding maniac try any of the above for better chance of escape. That said, given that this information may not be canon don’t blame us if you end up as the cheek on an elaborate Halloween costume.

Here’s the real kicker. My first search result to buy the game was for just the manual and that was $65.00! Other sites are showing that you can get a physical copy for somewhere between $114.00 and $420.00. Unless you’re a huge fan of the franchise and a completionist when it comes to merch I’d recommend watching a few minutes of the game on Youtube, then watching it again on x2 speed to get the whole experience. If you really do need to get a Leatherface kick from a video game you can find the character as DLC in Mortal Kombat X and Dead by Daylight.

The arbitrary Dead Northern score for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre the game, One Lone Star.

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