Before the immensely popular and wildly successful Resident Evil franchise took a stark and terrifying new turn as a first-person descent through survival horror with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, there was simply Resident Evil; a young, wide-eyed vision of Sweet Home director Tokuro Fujiwara that redefined what it meant to live in fear. Released on March 22nd of 1996, Resident Evil introduced the world to Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, two members of S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) who find refuge from the undead in a sprawling mansion deep within the forest outside Raccoon City. It’s here where players assume the role of Jill or Chris, both circumnavigating the confines of a gothic terrain in intersecting story-lines that would bring them both into a world of macabre experiments and nefarious barony.
For millions it became a seminal gateway into the ever-expanding world of survival horror, one that continues to prey on new generations of gamers with 27 video games spanning multiple platforms – all of which includes several light shooters and 3 remakes – as well as a series of ardently defended live-action and animated films. But before all that, there was just one, and in celebrating the 25th anniversary milestone of a game that changed the horror landscape as we know it, a handful of esteemed writers got together to revisit the original mansion and discuss what it meant to open the doors of evil.
Greg Mucci: I’m not sure about all of you, but I can still remember the first time I witnessed the dimly lit live-action segment that opens the original 1996 PlayStation mega-hit Resident Evil, which will have reached its 25th milestone on March 22nd. It was, for its time, startling, unsettling, and absolutely emblematic of the VHS quality horror I had come to relish from my local video store, featuring the ill-fated S.T.A.R.S. members taking refuge in a mysterious mansion after their helicopter crashes and one of their team members is viciously attacked by rabid dogs. What was everyone’s introduction to Resident Evil, which defined the survival horror genre for decades to come?
Trace Thurman: I was actually a bit of a late-comer to the Resident Evil franchise. I had heard of the games, but I was firmly a Nintendo kid until I got a PlayStation 3 in 2009 so I had no way to experience the first game when it was originally released. I often got it confused with the Evil Dead film franchise because, while wandering through the aisles of Blockbuster in the ’90s, my child brain conflated the cover of the first Resident Evil game with the cover of Evil Dead 2. Plus, they both had the word “evil” in the title! You understand, right?
To be perfectly honest, the Resident Evil games weren’t anywhere on my 13-year-old radar until I saw this commercial for Resident Evil 0 on TV one Saturday morning and, well, let’s just say I was hooked. Luckily for me, Resident Evil received a superb remake for the GameCube in March of 2002 (just 10 days after Paul W.S. Anderson’s film adaptation hit theaters, by the way) and Resident Evil 0 came out later that November. I asked for both of them for Christmas that year and got them. I don’t think my mom knew that video games could have content equivalent to that of an R-rated movie, otherwise, I would not have received them.
I’ll never forget starting the game and being in absolute awe of the stunning graphics in the opening cinematic. Watching the blood drip down Joseph Frost’s camera lens is probably the first time I’ve ever dropped my jaw while playing a video game, though it certainly wouldn’t be the last. It was a level of violence that I just hadn’t seen before. It was also the first survival horror game I had ever played, so after years of playing Mario games I was in a whole new sandbox.
I had stupidly chosen Chris Redfield as my character because, as many of you know, Chris is the more difficult of the two campaigns since he’s only got six inventory slots (as opposed to Jill’s eight) and does not begin the game with a gun. When I reached the iconic first zombie encounter I was terrified and, since I didn’t have a gun, completely helpless. So there I was slashing away at this zombie with my knife, only to become its dinner. I must have tried this strategy about a dozen times before I threw my controller at the screen out of frustration. It was only then that I switched out the disc for Resident Evil 0, which has a much easier introductory segment on the train (the rest of the game, however, is a pain in the ass because of the atrocious item-dropping system).
While I slowly (and I mean slowly) made my way through Resident Evil 0, I went to my local GameStop and snatched up the Brady Games strategy guide for Resident Evil to figure out just what the fuck I was supposed to do with that first zombie. Then I found out (insert crying laughing face emoji here). How was I to know I was supposed to run away from the zombie and head back into the dining room? I didn’t know that was even an option! I quickly rushed through Resident Evil 0 so that I could revisit that first zombie encounter in the Spencer Mansion and show that zombie who was boss….by running away from it.
So yes, my introduction to the Resident Evil franchise was technically Resident Evil 0, but that hasn’t prevented that 2002 REmake from being my favorite game in the franchise and, quite possibly, my favorite gaming experience of all time. So I’m incredibly excited to dig into these memories with all of you!
Reyna Cervantes: My introduction wasn’t actually the first game at all! My parents had bought me Resident Evil 2 as one of my first games for my Nintendo 64. I played it over and over until I could eventually memorize and beat it. It wasn’t until I was older and had a Nintendo GameCube that I finally experienced the remake of the first game (in arguably its best form). Being the completest I was at the time, I also played “Resident Evil: Deadly Silence” for the Nintendo DS which was a direct port of the 1996 original. Despite my first experience with the series being Resident Evil 2 on the Nintendo 64, my first actual experience with the first game was the 2002 remake for the Nintendo GameCube.
I remember being at first disappointed with the setting being a single mansion whereas the sequel was a city on the brink of destruction. Quickly though I realized this mansion was one of the most thought out and intentional game environments I had ever played up until that point. Everything in it felt intentional and I was soon memorizing where every nook and cranny was within.
The single mansion and lab environments also provided a sense of claustrophobia and dread that admittedly the sequel lacks in some areas. It’s almost Lovecraftian in its art style, and remains one of my favorite settings in a video game to this day.
Resident Evil also introduced my favorite video game character of all time: Jill Valentine. To see such a capable heroine in a video game was a real delight. She literally goes toe to toe with the worst monstrosities the game can throw at her. Her dialogue and banter with Barry Burton remains a highlight for me to this very day.
When I had got a Nintendo DS I picked up Resident Evil: Deadly Silence. An enhanced port of the original PS1 game. While it hadn’t aged the best I fell in love with the idea of playing the game portably. I also respected the original for providing the skeleton of one of the best horror games of all time.
Michael Roffman: 1996 was a strange time for horror — especially in March of 1996. Scream hadn’t come around to juice the genre, so it was really an age of exploration, particularly for pre-teens like myself. You listened to what your older cousins recommended, you traced the roots of the sixth or seventh sequel that was haunting theaters (for a weekend at best), and you spoke to friends on the playground. The genre wasn’t in vogue — horror was a fringe culture — but you got the feeling that everyone always had something to say about it. Whatever the case, all of this jabber and jockeying led to one place: the video store. So, you could imagine this young horror fan’s surprise when he started seeing zombies next to Zelda, particularly with a cover like Resident Evil.
But if we’re talking about Resident Evil, we have to also talk about PlayStation. At the time, Sony’s then-new console truly felt like an alternative movement, and was kind of billed as one, too, with slogans like “LIVE IN YOUR WORLD. PLAY IN OURS”. And whereas Nintendo was priding itself on more family-friendly fare, PlayStation was bringing in some real left-of-the-dial chaos to the living room. Twisted Metal was the opening salvo, delivering a brand of unforgiving carnage that was traditionally reserved for Grindhouse flicks, but it was Resident Evil that kicked down everyone’s doors. There just hadn’t really been anything like that before, and its appeal spread like the plague in a Romero flick. It was the game to find at Blockbuster.
Now, I’m sure veteran PC gamers will point out that Clock Tower was doing the same thing a year beforehand, and, look, they’re not wrong. But, Clock Tower wasn’t ported over to PlayStation until years after its 1995 release, and by then, Resident Evil had set the bar — and so many games tried to scale that bar. Within the next couple of years, survival horror started trickling into the pop culture lexicon, and you had developers adopting the Resident Evil model through myriad subgenres, be it Silent Hill, or Nightmare Creatures, or Dino-Crisis, or Parasite Eve, or even games based on familiar horror IP (see: The Crow: City of Angels, Evil Dead: Hail to the King). It was an exciting era for gaming, but especially for horror hounds.
If you loved the genre, you owned PlayStation, and Resident Evil was your Super Mario. For me, it totally recalibrated my approach to gaming, which had previously been: “What movie got a shitty game to buy?” Seriously, my box of NES and Genesis gear is just cluttered with shitty side scrollers of ‘80s and ‘90s blockbusters. I ate up that IP, and mostly because I wanted more from the movie. Yet five minutes in the Spencer Mansion proved to me that you don’t need IP to make a great movie game. The third-person POV. The music. The FMV sequence. The gore. It was overwhelming. It was intimidating even. Yet it was achingly cinematic, and that feeling was rapturous.
I was terrified. I was obsessed. I was all in.
Greg: Oh absolutely! It’s funny how iconic the introductory zombie became, without a single bit of personality, which I think speaks to the revolutionary use of cut scenes. That zombie felt so much more than it really was because it represented this cataclysmic shift in graphics. He showed his face lunged at you and then promptly got its head blown off by Barry yet he maintained a certain status quo the way Mario or Sonic did. Ultimately, I feel it boils down to the level of terror presented by Resident Evil’s brooding atmosphere and violence.
Which is funny you mention parental advisory Trace, because I feel like 10 year-old me was left unhampered by restriction when it came to games. This was really before the widespread use of the M rating, as Resident Evil was one of the first games to receive the M+ rating. What age were you Reyna when your parents bought you Resident Evil 2?
Reyna: Oh gosh. My parents bought me my Nintendo 64 Christmas of 1999 (RE2 had come out Halloween of ‘99 for the system). So I was about 2 weeks shy of turning seven years old. Apparently, my older brother (who’s 13 years my senior) was instrumental in helping my parents pick out what games they got me with the system (LOL), so I was playing it well before the recommended age. Probably a huge reason why it took me so many years to beat. Hard to believe just 3 years later I was showing an active interest in the remake of the first installment which my cousin had given to me as a gift when I got a GameCube.
Melissa Kay: My first exposure to the franchise was also with Resident Evil 2, Reyna! It’s hard not to immediately gush about all the ways the franchise has shaped my life (it’s a lot!), so I’ll save that for now and just start where I first discovered it.
I used to head over to my neighbor’s house every day after school because he always had all the latest cool toys and tech, including a shiny new PlayStation. He’d let me play Tomb Raider 2 occasionally when I begged, but I was mainly around to act as moral support while he played mostly uninspired (sports) games. One day I walked in and caught him playing Resident Evil 2, watching while he ran down a hallway where little zombie arms were reaching through the walls Day of the Dead-style. I was instantly transfixed. What the fuck was this terrifying game? I was already into horror movies at that age thanks to my mom, so to see something that looked that creepy in a game, was a concept my teenybopper brain could barely wrap her head around. To put it simply, I was obsessed and immediately peer-pressured him into letting us find a copy of the first one.
Meagan Navarro: I adore that this franchise is multiple games and decades strong to allow for multiple entry points into its fandom! For me, it started with the thing that gets most kids to beg their parents for Christmas toys- a commercial. The monster kid in me connected deeply with the commercial for the original 1996 PlayStation game. I needed it! I made sure mom, dad, Santa, and everyone in between knew that I needed a PlayStation for Christmas, with Resident Evil of course. I didn’t ask or want any other PlayStation game, just Resident Evil. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I don’t know about you all, the controls required a massive learning curve. I didn’t even have time to think about playing any other game. I spent so much time in the mansion lobby just trying to figure out the basics of movement before I could even confront that first zombie. That determination turned into an obsession, which eventually led to so many repeat plays that I could beat it well under two hours (the rocket launcher helps). I’ve had to play every major installment ever since.
Greg: Yes Meagan, I couldn’t agree more! I love how many of you gravitated towards the first after discovering the sequel, which ultimately was much more open and ambitious. It just shows how wildly popular the series had already become, and I also think that the sequel re-contextualizing the mansion through the use of the police station further proved how indispensable the one-use location is.
Trace: Okay but real talk: how long did it take all of you to beat the first game? Am I the only one who thought it was crazy hard?
Greg: I personally can’t recall an approximate run-time, but it was one of those games – and I’ll preface this by saying that I was adamantly opposed to using strategy guides – where I went through every crevice of every room to get every item. It wasn’t until I beat it did I begin striving for that record play-through in order to unlock the rocket launcher. Having recently finished the remake, I can safely say that the additional content made it longer but it never surpassed the original’s difficulty, which proved how gung-ho I was as a child gamer; adult me pales in comparison, unfortunately.
Reyna: The 2002 remake took me AGES to beat, particularly because of those Crimson Heads. The fact that a zombie you had taken out earlier in the game could get back up and be faster AND do more damage, made that game a nightmare the first time around.
Trace: Oh man, fuck those Crimson Heads. I can’t tell you how many times I would just stand at a door trying to remember if I had left an unburned/un-decapitated zombie corpse (or two…or three) on the other side.
Melissa: The original took me forever to beat. Probably a couple weeks, if I’m being honest. I actually kept a journal where I’d jot down certain items and keep track of the locations, and then memorize it all for fast play-throughs. I was one of those kids. And I wanted that damn rocket launcher. Also, yeah, fuck those Crimson Heads.
Michael: I never fly through a Resident Evil game. Or any survival horror title, for that matter. I’m that annoying gamer who pries through every room, clicks on every tiny detail, and spends a copious amount of time marveling at each and every new level. I’d be the worst Twitch streamer, for all those reasons. But that’s what I dig about these games, even beyond the characters (though, I do love Leon) and any of their stories.
Reyna, I like what you were saying about the style of these games. It does feel very Lovecraftian. Even Lynchian at times, though I’d probably reserve that tag for the Silent Hill titles. There’s an uncanny valley to the settings of Resident Evil that I find downright mystifying. Each locale seemingly goes on and on and on, and, for me; the game takes on a far more sinister element when you try to wrap your head around the blueprints.
Granted, this series has taken that concept to ludicrous heights (I’m looking at you, Resident Evil 5), but the thread-pulling novelty of the original will always take up the most real estate in my mind. The Spencer Mansion starts out as such a grounded construct, and the way the game slowly expands its reach really does add, as you mentioned, Reyna, an engulfing sense of claustrophobia. You feel helpless to its reach.
Having said that, I do think this expansion reveals one of the faults of the series. Looking back, every title tends to start out scarier than it finishes, and that’s namely because of where each game winds up. Now, I’ll readily admit I may be alone on Rockfort Island with this opinion, but I think a spooky mansion or an abandoned police station is far more unnerving than, say, a lab that looks like it belongs in Christopher Lambert’s Fortress.
What say you?
Reyna: This is what I find to be appealing about the Resident Evil series in particular. Rather than be a 20-hour nonstop fight for survival, the game and its designs give you the tools to turn it into an ultra-violent power trip in the final act. It’s a slow power creep that feels like overcoming a tremendous hurdle. It focuses less on the setting and more on your actions and how you have evolved as a player, from running away to conserve ammo to straight up punching a boulder into a pit of lava (shout out Resident Evil 5!)
Even when the series went back to its roots with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard the design remained and I personally believe 7 does a fantastic job in reminding people why the first installment was so good in the first place. Aside from the first-person perspective, it’s almost note-for-note the first game remade (again).
Greg: Mentioning Resident Evil’s sense of claustrophobia brings me right back to trying to open the front door of the mansion, only to be greeted by a cut-scene of a killer dog – aka Cerberus – lunging at your throat. This, coupled with moments of looking out a top floor window into the vast expanse of infinite trees truly added to this all-encompassing idea that you were trapped, with your only means of escape to venture deeper into the mansion.
This forced isolation and need to push further into the heart of darkness ultimately helped me cope with growing up as an overweight and, unbeknownst at the time, depressed kid. Here you were, pushed beyond your will into an unknown environment with limited capabilities to defend yourself against a host of macabre machinations. It was terrifying! But that helped craft your character into this relatable symbol of your own fears and insecurities. Not only could I retreat – maybe a bit unhealthily – into this video game, but I could see a reflection, not just of myself but in my own abilities to push through the terrifying unknown of growing up being a bullied and ridiculed kid. It proved in some strange way that just because you’re out of ammo (figuratively in my case) and running from the cold clutches of the undead, doesn’t mean you’re a coward; you’re just surviving, and growing up that means everything.
So did Resident Evil ever come to represent more in your life than ultimately “just a video game”?
Melissa: That’s really neat, Greg. It did for me too, absolutely. It was pretty much the reason I left Texas and moved out to LA.
I used to run a blog called “dancewithzombies” where I would write about horror, movies, toys and…yep, zombies (and clearly Resident Evil). For me, writing about this stuff was a means of escape–my life at the time was uninspired, redundant, and I continuously lost myself in nostalgia and the games that let me bask in it. I felt imprisoned in the banality of life after college; working in a career field I didn’t love, stuck in a relationship going nowhere. Trapped.
During this time a gaming site reached out and asked if I would run some retrospective articles on the Resident Evil franchise because the fifth game was about to drop. I obviously jumped at the opportunity and churned out about six or seven pieces in a week. This subsequently led to more writing about games, meeting like-minded folk all over the world, and then eventually moving out to LA to be around said like-minded folk. It changed my life so much; I celebrated my move with an Umbrella Corporation tattoo.
And as for that fifth installment: I don’t know if it was because I was just hyped for getting to write about a new game for the first time or what, but I actually had fun with it! It’s a time! Sure, it’s missing that dark claustrophobic dread that usually pervades a Resident Evil, but I loved the co-op aspect of it (and bad Jill).
Did any of you ever read those old Biohazard prequel novels?
Trace: Melissa, Resident Evil 5 is a goddamn hoot and if you’ve got a partner to play with it’s even more fun (we all know that AI Sheva is a cunt). I swear I spent hours playing and replaying RE5 with my then-partner so we could get infinite ammo for every weapon in the game (pro tip: just keep replaying Chapter 4-1 because there are tons of treasures to find in that level). Whenever someone steps in to insult RE5 I feel compelled to defend it.
I’ve actually never ventured into the world of reading Resident Evil media (though there were 2 Archives books that came out in the mid-2000s that are now out of print and I’m still kicking myself for not snatching them up when I had the chance. What I find so compelling about the franchise as a whole, is its story and lore. There are so many aspects to it, that I’d honestly love it if Capcom would publish a Resident Evil encyclopedia similar to the one Nintendo published for The Legend of Zelda. I want to know every facet of this world and I won’t be satisfied until I do!
Greg: Funny you should mention the novels, Melissa, as I’ve had them tucked away in my book wish list forever, right next to the Friday the 13th novelizations. But absolutely, Trace! The entire franchise is just aching to be given a gorgeous coffee table book. Never would I have thought, playing Resident Evil for the first time, that this game would explode into a multi-media, multi-console franchise that, aside from a few missteps (here’s looking at you, Resident Evil 6) has provided solid thrills for 25 years.
Trace: Moving back to your previous statement, Greg: when it comes to viewing the game as anything more than “just a video game,” I can say “yes” with the utmost certainty. You could say that growing up as a gay kid in the suburbs of Houston, TX was somewhat difficult. I had friends, but obviously I was closeted (up until the age of 16). Because of that, I threw myself into movies and video games as a sort of coping mechanism. There was something about these fantasy worlds that offered me a safe haven from the stressors of real life. After all, when you spend the first 16 years of your life lying to yourself and others about whom you are, it takes an emotional toll on you. But as Greg mentioned, it may have been a bit unhealthy since I was actively avoiding real life in favor of immersing myself in this fantasy world. But hey, I can’t do anything about that now, can I?
Michael: We’ve already touched upon how Resident Evil was a gateway to the zombie genre for many young horror fans. But, looking back, the games were really prescient for the horror genre itself. Nowadays, you can get shirts and figurines for just about every franchise and B-movie, but that wasn’t the case in the ‘90s. When Resident Evil first arrived, McFarlane hadn’t even launched its Movie Maniacs line yet. So, to have something that also included books and figures and everything in between, I really do think that helped push the genre into the mainstream.
I really only engaged with the lore surrounding the first two games. The novelizations by S.D. Perry were thrilling to read, particularly when you wanted to know about all of the connective tissue involving the characters. The Umbrella Conspiracy, Caliban Cove, and City of the Dead were breezy and fun, but also elevated the ensuing story, giving more gravitas to each arc. They were also achingly detailed, and for some reason, I still remember Perry writing about how Barry felt like he was going to shit his pants before arriving to the Spencer Mansion. The things we carry.
Greg: Hey, with the Friday the 13th novelizations we get a resurrected Pamela Voorhees searching for her son, who has now become a part of a traveling sideshow. With Resident Evil, we get Barry’s bowel movements.
Michael: But what I loved about this era of the franchise is how it capitalized on the best part of the zombie narrative: the breakdown. The concept of society shutting down was something I’d only read about in Stephen King’s The Stand, and to both read and play it really tickled my imagination; mostly because that’s the aspect of the Romero movies that really stuck with me. It wasn’t the gore, it wasn’t the death, and it was the disintegration of order. And that facet of the story affords so many narrative threads to tug on; you just start wondering how all aspects of life would react.
All of this is to say that Resident Evil had a major impact on me beyond the controls. Again, it arrived at the right place and the right time, aiding in my obsession over the genre. What’s more, and this might be a slight stretch, but I’d like to say the puzzles, mazes, and riddles embedded in the game — and, by extension, the survival horror genre as a whole — helped contribute to my own development towards critical thinking. Sure, I’m not looking for crests, first aid kits, and UMB No. 7 on a daily basis, but there’s something to be said about its push for a mathematical mind.
At the very least, I know how to play “Moonlight Sonata” now. So, I got that going for me, which is nice.
Greg: I love that Resident Evil has provided most of us not only an escape from the difficulties of growing up on the outskirts of social groups (or society as a whole), but as a gateway, be it “Moonlight Sonata” or a stepping stone for writing gigs. It’s as if liberating Jill/Chris from the confines of the mansion and the clutches of Umbrella gave us meaning to embrace new aspects of ourselves.
Reyna: The Resident Evil series will always remain important to me for this very reason! Whether it was going to see a new entry in the film series or staying up all night binging play sessions on the latest entry, the series has always been a part of my video game and horror taste. It’s survived massive ups and downs (looking at you Operation Raccoon City and Resident Evil 6) and that in itself is a testament to its staying power. With the looming release of Village it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon and you know what? I think that’s a great thing!
Michael: Oh, absolutely. I think we all lost our minds at that Resident Evil Village trailer. (May 7th can’t come soon enough.) Though, I will say, the string of remakes have certainly re-adrenalized the franchise. There’s something disarming about returning to these familiar terrains, only to realize they’re completely different and that the scares have been elevated considerably. I’ve legit had to turn off the games because they’ve given me scores of anxiety, and so much of that tension stems from these remakes capitalizing on our prior knowledge.
Meagan: Oh my god, I cannot wait for Resident Evil Village. I’m dying to know what’s going on with Chris Redfield; he looks so grizzled and weary. Just that detail, the potential for a hero to have endured so much to have potentially become the thing he vehemently fought against at the start transcends nostalgia. This series provided a haven while offering adrenaline-pumping thrills, but it’s grown along with us. Fears evolve with time and maturation, and Resident Evil continues to reinvent itself in timely ways that never cease to amaze. Twenty-five years-worth of complex mythology and world-building is an impressive accomplishment, but so too is the fearlessness in exploring new terrain.
Reyna: I’m excited to see where the series goes with a new gothic-inspired setting and how it tackles vampires, witches, and werewolves!
Trace: At the start of the year I began a replay of the entire franchise in anticipation of Resident Evil Village (all the numbered entries are available on the PS4/PS5 now, and it makes my anal retentive brain so incredibly happy to have all of these games on one system). Anyway, I’m currently on Resident Evil: Revelations (which takes place between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, so I’ve still got about half the franchise left to go), and what’s most impressive to me is watching the series evolve as it goes on. Yes, there are obvious missteps, but does that ever prevent any of us from being incredibly excited for whatever the next entry will be? Absolutely not.
Michael: I’ve been thinking a lot about that nostalgia while playing these remakes lately and that pseudo-spiritual takeaway is what I’ll likely carry long after I leave the confines of Racoon City. Because really, these remakes have proven that no matter how many years click by, no matter how old we get, and no matter how confident we feel going into them, we’ll still cower, we’ll still scream, and we’ll still breathe a sigh of relief when we race into the safe rooms. Apply that feeling to our own respective realities and the future begins to feel wildly unnerving … yet also exciting.
Trace: Resident Evil is the Child’s Play of video game franchises in that it’s kept the same continuity for almost 30 years and that’s really fucking impressive. The franchise has filled the majority of my life, and while I’ve never shied away from sharing my passion for it, I’ve never really sat back and thought about how important it’s been in my development as a horror fan and as a gamer (I also have an appreciation for the films, as dumb as they are).
Michael: Without sounding too much like an armchair psychiatrist, it’s as if these games use our nostalgia against us — and that’s such a clever conceit. After all, the past is mercurial, and as we grow up, we tend to find comfort in parsing through yesteryear for lessons — you know, like that Faces line: “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger.” But, hindsight isn’t always 20/20, and as Randy Meeks stresses in Scream 3: “The past will come back to bite you in the ass. Whatever you think you know about the past, forget it. The past is not at rest.”
Greg: Oh absolutely, which couldn’t be more true during this past year; a year in which uncertainty’s withered hand extended globally and brought so many looking back to comforting times. It brings me so much joy that for many of us, that was Resident Evil!
Trace: So in echoing Meagan’s sentiments, I will raise a glass to Resident Evil’s legacy, and raise another for its future, which I hope to be filled with lots of new experiments on top of moments of familiarity. I don’t think there’s any way I can see myself parting ways with the franchise, and there’s something oddly comforting knowing that it’s always going to be a constant in my life.
Meagan: And as Michael so eloquently put it, these games perfectly encapsulate that triumphant feeling of forging ahead and overcoming your fears, no matter what lies ahead. It’s way more thrilling within the confines of Raccoon City (and beyond), but facing our own obstacles seems less lonely and petrifying in hindsight. Thanks for 25 gloriously horror-filled years, Resident Evil, and here’s to 25 more!
Michael: Here’s hoping we all keep finding the mixed herbs.
Trace Thurman is co-host of the Horror Queers Podcast (Apple, Spotify) and contributor for Bloody Disgusting and Consequence of Sound, in which Michael Roffman is co-founder of as well as a producer of The Losers Club Podcast. Meagan Navarro is the lead critic for Bloody Disgusting as well as co-host of the Bloody Disgusting Podcast. Reyna Cervantes is a contributor for Bloody Disgusting and Screen Queenz, and Melissa Kay is a UX/UI game designer and writer with by-lines at Birth. Movies. Death.