The Vampire Diaries (of 1996)

The first Vampire Diaries books were published in 1991, but between the original novels and the television adaptation, there was a computer game.

The Vampire Diaries video game, 1996, HER Interactive
1996, HER Interactive
I lucked into a cheap copy, installed it (with help from my husband and Windows XP's compatibility mode), and sat down to guide Elena Gilbert through Fell's Church. It's an adventure game, which means you play by talking to the other characters, gathering items, and hunting for bits of scenery to click on.

The characters are real actors who appear in videos over a static background, and somehow those 90s hairstyles seem more dated to me than the old-school graphics. The acting is inconsistent, though part of that is how the dialogue was plugged in. For example, Elena has this snarky way of saying goodbye that she'd throw out at inappropriate times.

Most of the gameplay is straightforward, but navigating around the town can be frustratingly inconsistent. I also got stuck at times, usually when searching for interactive elements or characters that weren't accessible yet. The biggest problem with the occasional lack of direction was that game assets for the locations are stored on three different discs. They don't download to your computer, so you soon become familiar with this screen:

The Vampire Diaries for PC often requires switching game CDs

This shuffling is especially unfun when you have to retrace your steps for some missing clue. The constant CD swaps drove me to this walkthrough, and I'd probably have given up without its hints. I had to reference that hints page on a separate device, because when I alt-tab out of the game, it shuts down with a scold about how The Vampire Diaries uses "essentially ALL of your system resources." (That's also why the game image above is a cell phone photo of a laptop screen.)

Next week I'll go through the story, but for now, check out the game's introduction video and try to guess which of the guys shown is a Vampire Diaries fan favorite.

The Vampire Diaries game was created by HER Interactive based on characters by L.J. Smith.

Update: The follow-up post about the game's story is over here.


  1. Would you be willing to sell your copy of The Vampire Diaries now that you've played it? I've been dying to play it for the longest time, but can never find it for sale.

    1. One of the CDs got scratched, so my copy is no longer playable.

      Just to let you know in case you track it down, the game was devilishly tricky to install. We had to use a 10 year old laptop and monkey with the settings.

  2. I have a really old laptop for just such reasons. :) I couldn't bare to part with so many of the games I played when I was little! Ah well, thank you anyway. Have you thought about getting the disk repaired? One of the gaming stores, I believe it is GameStop, will fix scratched disks for a pretty reasonable price. :)

    1. To be honest, the game was pretty awful. I doubt I'll ever try to play it again. I just keep the box up with my ancient set of the paperbacks because it's a neat collectible.


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