Every Halloween season I find myself talking to anyone in earshot about the twisted mid-80s arcade horror classic, Chiller. Playing it at a rundown mall in Indianapolis in 1986 was a formative moment in shaping my gaming tastes, and perhaps gave me some sort of brain damage.
It is nothing more than a torture simulator, really. You shoot the body parts off what appear to be innocent people, as they make disturbing whimpers. No context is given. It’s bloody and you can see bones and organs. Some sort of small creature waddles around gnawing on the severed limbs. And clearly the idea is that the shooter – you – should be taking pleasure in these atrocities.
What keeps me rambling on about this game every Halloween is the mystery – just WHO made this, WHERE, and WHY? Never once have I received a satisfactory answer… until this year. Turns out Luke Winkie, journeyman writer for many quality gaming outlets, is as obsessed with Chiller as I am and Kotaku gave him the blessing to do some research. To my delight, on October 4 the article “The Story of Chiller, One Very Messed up Game” posted and for many breathless minutes I consumed the roughly 3000 words of outstanding reporting. Vic Tolomei, one of the three people who made the game, is interviewed at length, answering many of the questions that have been burning inside me for 32 years. All the important angles were explored.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Luke at an event in Manhattan around NY Comic Con, and we proceeded to talk Chiller for another hour or two, finally giving me the closure I needed. Chiller can now rest in peace. – Corey