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Night Trap
Night Trap Cover.jpg Original North American Sega CD cover art, note the content advisory on the far right.
Developer(s) Digital Pictures
Publisher(s) Sega (Sega Mega-CD and Sega 32X Versions)
Virgin Interactive (3DO version)
Digital Pictures (DOS/MAC)
Distributor(s) Hasbro Interactive
Platform(s) Sega CD/Sega Mega-CD, Panasonic 3DO, Sega 32X, DOS/Mac
Release date(s) Sega Mega-CD Version
NA October 15, 1992
EU May 1993
AUS June 23, 1993
JP November 19, 1993
Sega 32X Version
NA 1994
EU 1994
AUS 1994
Panasonic 3DO Version
NA 1994
JP June 25, 1994
PC/MAC/DOS Versions
NA October 1994
NA 1995
(Director's Cut)
Genre(s) Interactive movie
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) BBFC: 15[1]
VRC: MA-17

Night Trap is a video game that was released on October 15, 1992. It was filmed over a 3 week period in 1987 for an unreleased game entitled "Scene of the Crime". The footage was placed into archive since the game never materialized, but the footage was later used to create a game by Digital Pictures which in total reportedly cost US$1.5 million to produce.[2] This game became Night Trap, which was originally developed for Hasbro's NEMO system, which used VHS tapes instead of ROM cartridges. However, when Hasbro scrapped production on the NEMO, Night Trap was moved to the Sega CD and later brought to the Sega 32X, 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, and PC platforms with higher-quality video. The game utilized full-motion video scenes entirely and is notorious for the controversy it brewed in 1993, resulting in US Senate hearings and withdrawal of the game from the market.[3]



A group of young co-eds are staying at Mr. and Mrs. Martin's for the night. The Martin family seems like a normal American family, however, odd things have been occurring at this house. Five girls who previously stayed at the place had disappeared, so the "Sega Control Attack Team" ("Sega" changed to "Special" once the game was ported to other consoles) is called upon to protect the new guests and find out what happened. As the new wave of girls arrive for a slumber party (one of which is undercover SCAT agent Kelly, played by Dana Plato), the vampiric Augers begin to invade the Martin family house. Later on near the end of the game (If the player manages to capture all the Augers and save all the innocent victims), Kelly finds out that the Martin family are vampires themselves.


Referred to as "control", the player views events via hidden cameras set up in eight different locations, which can be viewed one at a time. As the aforementioned Augers creep into the house, the player has to spot them and use traps to capture them. At the bottom of a screen rests a small meter; when this meter fills, it is the player's signal to activate a trap in the room being viewed (i.e. a revolving bookcase or a faux seal on the floor) and capture the Auger(s) on screen, adding to the score.

The player must also have the correct security access color code selected on screen in order for the traps to work. The code is changed four times throughout the course of the game, and keeping up with the accurate code requires listening in on key conversations. Ultimately, high performance requires repeat plays in order to gain complete knowledge of the story and capture all Augers possible. Time always moves forward, cannot be rewound, and if too many vampires are missed, the game ends. The game will also end if certain characters are taken away or if the hosts of the slumber party disconnect your access to the traps.


The controversial nightgown scene.

Night Trap is now infamous because of its part in the 1990s Congressional hearings on offensive video game material. Night Trap and Mortal Kombat are cited as primary factors in leading to the development of the ESRB game industry ratings system.

On December 16, 1993, the Sega CD version of Night Trap was removed from store shelves at Toys "R" Us and F.A.O. Schwarz locations in the United States in direct response to a December 9, 1993 joint Senate Judiciary and Government Affairs Committee hearing on video game violence.[4] The hearings were covered heavily by the media and were co-chaired by Senators Joseph Lieberman (Connecticut) and Herbert Kohl (Wisconsin), during which Night Trap was cited as "shameful", "ultra-violent", "sick", and "disgusting", encouraging an "effort to trap and kill women". Contrary to such claims, players are not trapping or killing women at all; rather, they are saving them from harm.

The Congressional hearings were covered in major newspapers including USA Today, The Washington Post and The New York Times.[5] In particular, a game over scene in which the character Lisa is wearing a nightgown while captured by Augers attempting to drain her blood was found to be very offensive, given the circumstances in which she is attacked (scantly clad in a private bathroom). In defense of the game, Tom Zito (President and CEO of Digital Pictures) attempted to explain the context of the nightgown scene during a hearing session, but he claims he was silenced[5]. In the short documentary Dangerous Games (included with the PC version), the producers and some members of the cast explain that the plot of the game was to in fact prevent the trapping and killing of women. In addition, the blood draining device was intended to look very unrealistic and would therefore mitigate the violence.[5] Despite scenes in which the girls are grabbed or pulled by enemies, no nudity or extreme acts of violence were ever filmed or incorporated into the game.[5]

Additionally, Night Trap's box art was criticized by interest groups for what many believed to be a sexist depiction (see above). In 1994, after the controversy died down, the game was ported to 3DO and Sega 32X, and for PC and Mac in 1995. All of these versions were released with a new cover depicting a tame screenshot of Dana Plato from the game, with decorative artwork in the background.[6][7]


Due to the controversy over the game, Night Trap only sold through an initial print run, but was still considered financially successful[8]. Today, many consider the game to be a classic of the FMV game genre. The game's quality, however, was criticized for its single unfolding of events, which led to stale gameplay after only so many plays. Advancing in the game often meant missing out on numerous scenes by focusing on other rooms to capture Augers.[9]

The game was reviewed in 1993 in Dragon #195 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4 out of 5 stars.[10] Conversely, Night Trap was ranked the 12th "Worst Video Game of All-Time" in an Electronic Gaming Monthly article by editor SeanBaby.[11] He and other game journalists also featured the game in a 2007 episode of their comedy web series, Broken Pixels. Yahoo! Games listed it as one of the top ten controversial games of all time.[9][12] Game Informer listed the game among the worst horror games of all time in 2008.[13]

The developer, Digital Pictures, was otherwise notable for their use of interactive video in titles including Sewer Shark, Corpse Killer and Ground Zero: Texas.

Platform differences

The party sequence.

The major differences between the Sega CD/Sega 32X and 3DO/PC versions were that all references and depictions of Sega related products was eliminated from the latter versions. In order to do this, the introduction and some of the other videos were replaced with the original footage made for the game prior to its dedication to Sega CD, as it was originally scheduled for release on the cancelled Hasbro NEMO system.

Versions released after the Sega CD differed slightly in presentation. Since later versions utilized better hardware, this allowed for the video in Night Trap to be nearly two times larger than the Sega CD edition and have better resolution. Also, an on-screen map with each room color coded appeared at the bottom of the player's screen at all times in the 3DO version, although it was useless for detecting intruders. When the game was released for the Sega 32X, it saw the same improvements introduced in later versions. The CD-ROM version also includes a save feature, from which the player can access a new pause menu with a large map of the house. This version also included Dangerous Games, a brief documentary about the game and the controversy that surrounded it (YouTube link).

Discussions between director Jim Riley and Digital Leisure have taken place in an effort to produce a DVD port of Night Trap, but this has yet to produce any result. Since Hasbro sold their videogame department to Infogrames, licensing rights seem to be undeclared, arguably hindering a DVD port from being produced.

NEMO footage

Footage of the never released VHS-based NEMO video game system can be found in the Sega CD version of Night Trap when entering a button code during the credits. This footage shows Hasbro executives taking a look at Scene of the Crime (the prototype for Night Trap) in December 1987.


  • Dana Plato as Kelly
  • J. Bill Jones as Simms
  • Deke Anderson as Jason
  • William Bertrand as Eddie
  • Arthur Burghardt as Collins
  • Suzy Cote as Sarah Martin
  • Roy Eisenstein as Jim
  • Christy Ford as Megan
  • Blake Gibbons as Mike
  • Joshua Godard as Danny
  • Andras Jones as Jeff Martin
  • Jon R. Kamel as Victor Martin
  • Giovanni Lemm as Tony
  • Tracy Matheson as Cindy
  • Debra Parks as Lisa
  • Allison Rhea as Ashley
  • Molly Starr as Sheila Martin
  • Heidi Von Brecht as Swanson


  1. ^ BBFC rating of Night Trap
  2. ^ " - Article". Retrieved 2009-08-21.  
  3. ^ "Sega to Withdraw, Revise `Night Trap' - The Washington Post - HighBeam Research". 1994-01-11. Retrieved 2009-08-21.  
  4. ^ ?
  5. ^ a b c d Dangerous Games - The 1995 documentary on Night Trap. (QuickTime)
  6. ^ The Milwaukee Journal, March 9, 1995, electronic version available here [1]
  7. ^ Night Trap at MobyGames
  8. ^ The Ultimate History Of Video Games, Stephen L. Kent, October 2001
  9. ^ a b "Broken Pixels Episode 08 from GameVideos". 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2009-08-21.  
  10. ^ Lesser, Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk (July 1993). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (195): 57–64.  
  11. ^ [2] - EGM's Crapstravaganza The 20 Worst Games of All Time
  12. ^ Ben Silverman (2007-09-17). "Controversial Games". Yahoo! Games. Retrieved 2007-09-19.  
  13. ^ "The Wrong Kind of Scary: Worst Horror Games Ever," Game Informer 186 (October 2008): 121.

External links


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Night Trap

Developer(s) Digital Pictures
Publisher(s) Digital Pictures
Sega CD/Sega CD 32X:
Release date Sega CD:
October 15, 1992 (NA)
1993 (EU)
Sega CD 32X:
1994 (NA)
1994 (NA)
Genre Interactive fiction
Mode(s) Single player
Age rating(s) N/A
VRC: MA-17
Sega CD
Sega CD 32X
Platform(s) DOS
Sega CD
Sega CD 32X
Media Compact disc:
Sega CD
2 Compact discs:
Sega CD 32X
Input Sega Genesis Controller
3DO Controller
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Night Trap is a game released for the Sega CD, the Sega CD 32X, and the 3DO. It features the late actress Dana Plato from the TV series Diff'rent Strokes. It was also one of the games that helped bring forth the ESRB ratings system.



Five girls go to a party to a nice house on a lakeside. Five girls disappear without a trace... Now another five girls go there, in order to spend the vacation with the Martins, the owners of the house, in particular with the lovely Ms. Martin. This time, you should not let them die a gruesome death! Because "nice people" can sometimes turn out to be... yes, that's right - vampires. The whole house is full of traps, that are intended to catch the poor innocent girls, so that the vampires can suck their blood... ugh. Luckily, the brave adventurer is there in order to cease to be hunted and to become a hunter instead! Set the traps so that they will capture the villains themselves, using precise timing and good organization.


You control traps in various rooms where cameras are set up. When a vampire is on the prowl, you can capture one by waiting for it to step on the trap in the room you're monitoring and then just activate it. Occasionally, the house guests will change the code for the traps, so you must make sure the code for activating them is also changed. Make sure you don't miss too many vampires or let them get their hands on one of the guests, because if you do, the game will end.


Sewer Shark and Night Trap were two games that were originally developed for Hasbro's Project N.E.M.O. game system before the idea was shelved.


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