May 24, 2007

Alien Carnage Released as Freeware

Back on October 10, 1993, we released a title that was unique in our company history. It was the only game that ever got released twice - each time with two different names. That's right, I'm talking about Halloween Harry, which was later renamed and re-released as Alien Carnage in the fall of 1994. We've been involved with many games in our history, but this was the only one to undergo a name change after it had been released. In hindsight, the name change probably wasn't the best move, but at the time it was felt the Halloween Harry name made people think it was merely a "Halloween themed game". Still, the game had one of the more unique final bosses in one of our titles (I won't spoil it if you don't know), and it is still a lot of fun almost 14 years later.

As with a lot of our games from this era, time and computers marched on, passing the game by. Alien Carnage had issues with running under Windows, and as such was discontinued from our product line on April 21, 2000 due to the aforementioned technical problems. It's been dormant with us since then. There actually was a sequel produced entitled "Zombie Wars" (which we didn't have anything to do with). But today we're here to bring the character of Halloween Harry back. Today we're releasing Alien Carnage into freeware with the permission of John Passfield. John participated in our Legacy Interview series last year, and at that time was not ready to release Alien Carnage as freeware. But now he is, and here's the game!

John is still active in making games both on his own in the casual games market, and as well with Pandemic. In fact, John is about to release a new game entitled "Brainiversity". If you want to see what John's up to, you can check out his website, "Passfield Games", as well as his blog, "Game Musings". Both have further information on Brainiversity, which is about to have an imminent release. Here's a small screen capture of one of the sections of Brainiversity, which is a game that is designed to stimulate your brain with 16 different activities covering Language, Memory, Math, and Analysis. Brainiversity should appeal to folks who were fans of our Math Rescue & Word Rescue titles from some years ago.

We've got a few words from John Passfield & Scott Miller about Harry/Carnage. There's more from both of them in the readme that comes with the freeware download, this is just a portion.

John Passfield:

Halloween Harry, the tough as nails marine from Alien Carnage, is 22 years old this year. He was the star of a game I wrote on the Australian Microbee computer system and released commercially in 1985. I was still in high school at the time and was super excited to have sold my second computer game (the first was called "Chilly Willy", a clone of the classic arcade game, Pengo).

Then, through sheer luck, we hooked up with Scott Miller and George Broussard from Apogee and before we knew it, the hottest shareware publisher on Earth was publishing us. Back in 1993 when Alien Carnage was first released, we had the honor of being one of the best selling shareware games of the year - an honor that we held on to until a little old game called "Doom" was released a few months later!

It's been almost 15 years since Alien Carnage was released, and the guys behind it are all still involved in making games. Robert Crane is preparing to release his first casual game from his site, while I've just released my second casual game, Brainiversity, which you can download and play from

Well, I hope you enjoy taking a trip down memory lane with Alien Carnage.


John Passfield

Scott Miller:

Halloween Harry was a project I particularly liked because games with both flame throwers and zombies were few and far between back in the early 90's! This was also our first project working with a team in Australia, the country where I grew up during my high school years, so this project re-established my connection to my favorite country outside the States. (We would later work with two more teams in Australia, riding the roiling wave of their fast cresting development community.)

The people we worked with on this project were creative, professional and collaborative, and many (maybe all) still work in the game industry today. It cannot be underestimated how important it is to work with collaborate creative types, where the best ideas win. And that was definitely the case with the Halloween Harry team.

We later changed the game's name to the unfortunately generic Alien Carnage because sales for Halloween Harry were below expectations, and we feared that people thought this was a seasonal Halloween game. Looking back, probably the real killer was Doom, which clearly set a new standard for shareware games, a standard that took a few years for everyone else to catch up to. Still, this was a well polished, fun game that deserved a wider audience, and even today is worth a try.

Scott Miller, founder & owner
Apogee Software, Ltd.

If you'd like to read more about Alien Carnage, you can do so via this archived catalog page for the game on our website. You can also read this interview over at "Classic DOS Gaming", which goes into further detail on the history of Halloween Harry.

And finally, what you've wanted - the download links:

While you're downloading, you should make sure you have the current version of DOSBox. DOSBox is a program that facilitates running of these older DOS games on Windows 2000/XP/Vista. You will probably need this. :)

Please be aware that this game is being released as freeware - not public domain (or even abandonware which is illegal). You're welcome to enjoy playing the full game, but this means that copyright is retained on the game, and you're not "free to do what you want" with it. Having said all that - enjoy Alien Carnage!

To wrap things up, here's a screen capture from John's original Halloween Harry game from 1985. It's quite different from what was released under the same name with us in 1993. :)

Posted by Joe Siegler on May 24, 2007 at 2:34 PM | Permalink | Discuss this story on our forums
News Categories: The Classic Games