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Atmosfear / Nightmare


Atmosfear is an unreleased SNES action game based on the Australian board game of the same name.

By: Evan G
Last updated: January 7, 2021

Atmosfear is a board game that was unique in its usage of a video that you have on while you play the game. Periodically, a character, The Gatekeeper, appears on screen and will say something that affects the game. The board game was created in Australia, so perhaps it is not surprising that the Australia-based development company, Beam Software, decided to utilize the concept into a video game.

Atmosfear was kind of a surprise find. One of the complicating factors is that the board game was originally called "Nightmare" but was changed due to trademark issues in Europe (see more on the Wikipedia page). Under this title, it was mentioned in the Pak Watch section of Nintendo Power:

Mention in the December 1993 issue of Nintendo Power

Renowned video game archivist, drx, found a prototype of this game in a collection of EPROMs that were likely originally destined for a European-based magazine. I will redirect people to the page on Hidden Palace for the full story. For a summary of the game on Hidden Palace, click here. The prototype has a date of July 12, 1994 on it.

The game is in fairly advanced state of completion, probably around the 80-85% mark. The game is primarily a shooter-platform game, though every once and a while the Gatekeeper comes in and can curse you to a minigame. Most of the levels are relatively complete, and are based on the various Harbingers from the board game (mummies, vampires, etc, some based on historical figures, some based on folklore). The settings are fairly light-hearted, and includes things like a monster disco. Like the board game, the Gatekeeper comes up at seemingly random intervals with his booming voice to punish you. The controls are fairly good, but the level design can be frustrating with gaps between platforms that are too often just barely reachable. There are collectibles like dice and skulls, but in this prototype, it is not clear what their purpose is.

If this game came out, it probably would have been remembered as a middle-of-the-road licensed platform shooter, like Alien 3 or Demolition Man. The graphics are pretty good, and the sound design works well, especially with the Gatekeeper. I would guess the reason for cancellation is that this game would have had troubles to stick out in the crowded 16-bit market, and perhaps that the board game was not popular enough to drive sales of a video game.


The GatekeeperThe stage select screen. Stages are named after characters from the board game, such as Anne de Chantraine, Elizabeth Bathory and Khufu.
The de Chantraine levelThe Gatekeeper sending you into the void
The Khufu level, unsurprisingly Egyptian themed.The Gatekeeper sending you into the void
Bathory's castle is incomplete, and this meets you at the end of where you can proceed.Baron Samedi's level is a club, complete with monster bouncers.
Gevaudan' forest, home of a legendary French monster.Baron Samedi's level is a club, complete with monster bouncers.


  • Nintendo Power, Pak Watch Update, Publication date: December 1993, Volume: 55, Pages: 112

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