Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design

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May 28th, 2006

Game Idea #22: Haunted Hotel

Prepare to scare…

High Concept:

They say the old hotel is haunted… and they might be right. When new owners fix up and re-open the place, those strange occurrences start up again, and guests start fleeing town faster than they used to. But there’s a twist in this game! You don’t play as a guest… you play as the Haunted Hotel!



Why it needs to be made:

There are already tons of games that try to scare the pants off of you. It’s time you got a chance to try to scare the pants off the game!


There’s nothing a haunted house likes more than being left alone… so the goal of Haunted Hotel is to get all of the guests to check out. As the hotel you can use every dirty trick in the book to scare the guests: blood in the bathtub, skeletons in the closet, even a free-roaming full-torso apparition (that’s a ghost in laymen’s terms). The more scared a guest gets, the more likely he is to check out early.

Every guest is scared of slightly different things, and your goal is to tap into their deepest, darkest fears to scare them right out of the building. Of course your nemesis is the new owner of the hotel, who has wits of steel and isn’t scared of much. As you practice scaring guests you can find combinations of scares that just might work on the boss. Can you get him to completely close down the hotel for good?

Why it will be fun:

Everyone is scared of something, and it could be very rewarding to unleash your own personal fears on an unsuspecting game character. And everyone can relate to the idea of defending your turf. How would you like it if a bunch of strange people came into your house uninvited and started making themselves at home?

Final thoughts:

I have this strange image in my head of dumping hundreds of spiders onto some poor chap’s head… just after he’s fallen asleep. Thanks to Devin for the help and inspiration on this one.

10 Responses to “Game Idea #22: Haunted Hotel”

  1. Patrick Dugan commented:
    posted May 28th, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    You should Google Ghost Master, I worked with the lead designer on the thing, and it seems to implement your concept fairly well.

  2. Patrick commented:
    posted May 28th, 2006 at 3:07 pm

    Sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out.

  3. meexia commented:
    posted May 29th, 2006 at 11:32 pm

    ghost master looks like a combat game, only reverse roles (be the bad guys instead of the good guys). i feel Patrick’s ideas is more of a mix between simulation and adventure type of games (e.g. solve some puzzles and get clues to find out what’s the fear of each person).

  4. Morgan commented:
    posted June 4th, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Wicked concept. I’ve told several friends about this idea. They all agree.

  5. Chan commented:
    posted June 15th, 2006 at 5:55 am

    Check out the Sega Genesis game Haunting Starring Polterguy by EA.
    IT’s very similar to your idea. You play as the invisible ghost kid to trick the family. The goal is to scare the whole family (parents and 2 kids) make them move out of the house. almost everything in the house can turn into scare things like bloody painting, flying dishes, monster mouth carpet etc.
    More funny thing is you follow the family whereever they move to. So every level is a different house with different household objects to play with.
    Worth to check it out.

  6. Jake commented:
    posted June 15th, 2006 at 7:31 am

    There was a game like this on the Nintendo or Sega. I can’t remember the name of it, but you basically had to scare the people out of the home and new people would move in. You did things like throw knives around the house if I remember correctly.

  7. Chan commented:
    posted June 15th, 2006 at 10:24 am

    Jake, this is the game I was talking about “Haunting Starring Polterguy”. It was on Sega Genesis.
    It’s funny that they are people asking the name of this game in the Genesis forum in like every month. They have played it but don’t remember the name. Patrick should try to get a copy of it.

  8. Robert Penner commented:
    posted June 15th, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Be careful not to violate Nintendo’s patent on insanity:,935,954.PN.&OS=PN/6,935,954&RS=PN/6,935,954

  9. Jonathan Hill commented:
    posted June 18th, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    The haunted hotel game sounds cool, you would also have to be careful not to be too obvious, as it might attract the “ghost tourist” crowd, or maybe it could attract a tv crew shooting one of those take a idoit psychic to a haunted house type “reality” shows.

  10. Anonymous commented:
    posted November 21st, 2006 at 9:08 am

    I think someone should create a game where players can build and run hotels and motels etc… They can be the hoteliers or they can be the tourists.

    They can choose the environment they like:
    1. A big city with 5 stars hotel or budget motels.
    2. Farmstay in a rural area with farm animals.
    3. Loghouse by the lake
    4. Mountainshed
    5. Haunted castles

    Playing as the hotelier,

    a)Users will be able to choose from the available furnishings and facilities provided. There must be certain criteria to be met for the customers to be pleased.

    b)They must be able to run the hotels in a profitable way. And customers must give the hotel good rating. Then they can proceed to another stage, probably by buying over another plot of land to build another hotel or expand their current premises.

    c)For customers to be pleased with the hotel, they must provide good services and facilities. Make sure there are some fun activites the tourists can engage in.

    Playing as the tourists:
    a)If the gamer is a tourist, he can choose to be four types of tourist.
    1. Back-packer with limited budget
    2. Moderate budget on leisurely short trip
    3. Businessmen on business trip with limited time for leisure.
    4. Very rich tourists on a spending spree and they intend to buy luxurious items.

    b)The game can include tourist activites such as mountain hiking, sheep shearing show, skiing, group shopping in city area, fishing, going to the zoo or museum. All these activities can be organised at the hotel front-desk.

    c) Tourist must buy and spend within their budget. They can choose to have a credit card to use or exchange currency at the foreign currency exchange stalls.

    d)At the end of their trip, they must give a rating to the hotel.

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