Chiller: The Sickest Arcade Game of All Time?

Could Chiller actually have been the most heinous violent video game of all time? Well the censors certainly thought so when it was released into arcades back in 1986 as a light gun game with a strong horror theme. It was banned in the UK for being gratuitously violent with no redeeming features. That’s probably a fair assessment to be honest.

The light gun was the height of cool in the arcade for a while and spawned a series of dumb “shoot everything on the screen” games. Chiller fits nicely into the category somewhere near the bottom. The basic idea was to shoot and maim as many of the onscreen vermin and human prisoners as possible within the time limit. This was the gaming equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel as all the targets were locked up in mild S&M gear in some kind of torture chamber. Stuck in vices and chains you were free to shoot their limbs off.

The violence in Chiller really was gratuitous. The victims were all motionless and naked and you just had to shoot them as many times as you could which would result in a floor covered with limbs, guts and lots of blood. By the end of each stage the targets were bloody skeletons but they continued to scream as you pumped in round after round. Each level contained secrets such as the ability to shoot the right spot and activate the guillotine or the vice and then watch as some poor woman got beheaded or a guy got his head squished.

As the game progressed some monsters and animals did make an appearance to give you a break from shooting naked people. Parts of the game look like a classic creepy haunted graveyard or castle with zombies rising from the grave and spooky hooded monks. Then they went and spoiled it with a naked, headless cheerleader.

Probably what prevented this game from being truly offensive was the terrible graphics. Actually maybe that just makes it worse. The environments and characters look like they were drawn by a child with felt tip pens, although you would worry about any child drawing things like this.

The game was developed by a company called Exidy who released a number of violent titles from 1974 until 1986. I’m not sure if Chiller was the final nail in their coffin but the fact they ceased trading after the release of this game can’t be coincidence.

You could play Chiller with two players but it was effectively turn about. The game received a very limited release in North America. A few years later an unlicensed port was developed for the NES and cleaned up considerably before release.

Looking at it now it is tough to believe that Chiller was a genuine game. On the other hand videogames have always had a dark side and you don’t tend to hear about some of the controversial games made simply because they suck so much. Chiller definitely fits into that category.

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Anonymous's picture


peoplecan say what they want but i had alot of fun playing this game when i was younger and can say that it is one of the reasons i'm such a horror fan now.i only wish it could be remade and updated with the newer graphics of today and put on xbox 360 so we could all enjoy it again.i can wish can't i.


Anonymous's picture


I played this game when I was 20 in some Hialeah, Florida shopping mall, and really loved it, but I have been a horror fan since I was 3.


teeheeheeyabitch's picture


Seriously, Chiller isn't that bad. Perhaps its due to the amount of desensitisation the world has caused for us, but... really... It really isn't that bad. To me its kinda funny.The only time it'll actually be unfunny and actually piss me off/disturb me is if they have little kids involved. Other wise, rape and murder helpless people. Who cares.


Muhammad Junaid's picture

Muhammad Junaid

Chiller is one of the sickest games I've ever seen. I mean seriously, what was even the point of the game? No storyline(NES, in an attempt to censor the game, added that the victims are monsters), but we all know that's a lame excuse, they are all supposed to be humans and we know it. I just hate that game. It is quite good that the game was old, 'cuz if it was new, people'll actually throw up.