Our two week long celebration of all things horror continues with something a little different. We’ve taken a look at two of horror’s biggest hitters: Resident Evil and Silent Hill, but now I’d like to switch gears a bit. I want to know what scares you. What keeps you awake at night? Zombies? Spiders? Caffeine?
A player’s fears are instrumental in the effect the game has on them; for example, I have an irrational fear of clowns so I tend to stay away from anything that incorporates them (with the possible exception of Condemned since that game rocks my socks). So let’s take a look at our fears, how and why certain games scare us over others, and find out what it is that makes you brings out your inner girl (no offense to any little girls reading this). So what are the approaches games use to get you invested in the game so you’ll be capable of being scared? Before surround sound and high definition visuals came around it was all about getting inside your head. Games like Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, Clock Tower and a slew of others aimed to bring you bizarre creatures, low ammo, and unfamiliar locations who’s goal was to make you feel alone, outnumbered and underpowered.
Over time though, the genre needed to widen its audience so it took a step away from the traditional ‘find the red key, unlock the door, solve a puzzle, find the blue key, etc.’ type survival horror to something more people would enjoy. Thus, the massive bloated womb of the video games industry gave birth the the gooey new sub-genre we now affectionately refer to as Action Horror.
Now the most popular route for horror games is to show off their technical abilities, and not necessarily in a “Oh-My-Golly-Gosh-Look-At-My-Massive-Dick” sort of way, though I’ve heard Dead Space is pretty well endowed. Sadly, it’s more about frames per second, physics systems, texture resolutions, and other technical mumbo jumbo that while good to have, should never be the priority. I don’t want to leave a horror game with a sense that I just played a good looking game; I’d much rather leave a game with stained pants and feeling that something’s going to jump out of the shadows and have its way with me.
So what scares you? Do flickering lights and moving shadows make you want to turn off your console? Or maybe you’re more a fan of the cheap scare tactic that keeps you on your toes by having something jump out at you and combining that with a loud noise. Or, would you rather be low on ammo, surrounded by monstrous creatures and no idea where to go? Let the world know.