Haunted house is an early horror game for the Atari 2600. The player is tasked with finding a valuable urn within the haunted house of Zachary Graves.
The haunted house itself is divided into four levels with eight rooms on each level. The player is represented by a pair of eyes on a top-down view of the house's interior. The interior is dark, making navigation difficult; the player must light matches to illuminate a small circle around the eyes. Matches are unlimited, but scoring is based partly on using as few matches as possible. The rooms are connected by open corridors and locked doors (on harder difficulty levels). Different levels are accessed via stairs. A low-to-high musical interlude plays when ascending, and a high-to-low melody plays when descending.
Enemies include slow-moving tarantulas, faster-moving bats, and the ghost of Zachary Graves. When enemies enter a room, a gust of wind will often blow out the current match, if the player has one lit. All enemies are always illuminated, as are the player's eyes. Making contact with an enemy "scares the player to death", and loses the player one life, of nine total. Losing a life results in a death animation, where the eyes roll around briefly, and thunder sounds.
Two objects which aid the player exist: a key, and a scepter. The key unlocks doors on higher difficulties. The scepter prevents enemies from harming the player, except at the highest difficulty, where the ghost can still kill the player. The player can hold only one object at a time, including the urn, or piece thereof.
The object of Haunted House is to escape with the intact urn. The urn is divided into three pieces (broken in an earthquake, according to the instruction manual), which must be gathered together. After fixing the urn, the player must escape the house.
Haunted House is widely regarded as the first Survival Horror game, and spawned a homebrew sequel which is included on Atari Flashback consoles.