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Video board game whereby players race around the board collecting keys. Each key gives the player a certain ability, from not having to roll to get out of the black hole (think of the 'jail' square in Monopoly) to being nigh-invincible when on your home square (your sanctuary). Players are assigned numbers and characters randomly before play begins, for purposes that become clear later on. The players all wrote down their greatest fear on wipeable, reusable cards, which were shuffled and placed in a pile in the centre of the board.

Available characters were:

Hellin - The Poltergeist
Anne De Chantraine - The Witch
Khufu - The Mummy
Elizabeth Bathory - The Vampire
Baron Samedi - The Zombie
Gevaudan - The Werewolf

All of this sounds pretty easy, except that you play this game in the same room at a TV and VCR, with the included tape playing on the screen. The tape has a counter that ticks down from 60:00 to 00:00. This is accompanied by creepy atmospheric music and is interspersed by The Gatekeeper, some strange old man who runs the game. He pops up every couple of minutes, meanwhile the game stops play. He assigns names ("Come here, maggot!") and challenges to different players, depending on their character, number, age or simply who's turn it was when he appeared. As the time went on, he became more and more freaky-looking, and his voice went squeaky in a "tortured screaming" sort of way.

One of the best parts of the game was the fate', 'chance' and 'time' cards. They included the obligatory 'get out of jail free'-style cards as well as giving you the power to take a key from other players. The time cards were the best though, because you had to keep an eye on the on-screen clock and perform your action at a certain time, such as

Scream as loud as you can. For every player you scare in this way, take a key.

The game also used time cards that countered other time cards, such as

If anybody screams, they lose all of their keys.

The game generally became chaos in the dying seconds of the clock as the game ended when the clock reached 00:00. Anybody who could collect all six keys and then get to the centre of the board, drawing a greatest fear that isn't their own won. If it was your fear, you were out of the game.

There were 3 expansion packs released with new videos and rules.

Atmosfear II: Zombie
Atmosfear III: Witch
Atmosfear IV: Vampire

These expansions were all "presented" by a character that you could play, and they invariably got it the easiest throughout the game.
There was meant to be an Atmosfear V: Mummy being released but the company who published the games went bust shortly before it was released. Everything mentioned up to now went by the name of Nightmare inside the United States, but everywhere else it was called Atmosfear as far as I can gather.

Atmosfear: The Harbingers gave a new twist to the game, as you started out without a character and had to get to a square that allowed you to change into one fast. The board was segmented and split into six double-sided pieces, one for each character. As soon as you reached a square that allowed you to turn into a "Harbinger" as they were then called, you flipped that segment of board over and started hunting for keys. If you didn't get a character by the end of the first ten minutes, you became a Soul Ranger, and could only collect keys by stealing them from other players, and couldn't leave the unflipped sections of board until you stole your first key. The game pretty much played the same as the original after that, except you could "dice-duel" with other players and steal their keys.

There were two other add-ons to the Atmosfear universe, the Soul Rangers add-on for Atmosfear: The Harbingers, and the Atmosfear: The Duel Card Game, neither of which I owned and know nothing about.

There are rumours of a DVD re-release from the people who made the game, A Couple A Cowboys Ltd, which will probably include the Gatekeeper running the show once again.

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