The Escapist Presents: Escapist On: Horror in Games

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I have discovered that the most important thing to remember when playing horror or thriller games is: Do not play them while drunk or tipsy. You are not going to get them. You might play fine but all the scares, spooks and tension passes you by completely.

I did it once in Doom. All the "gotcha"-scares that the game held suddenly had no effect so I decided to go to bed instead of playing.

Great vid people!

It's kind of cool everyone has their answer along the same lines, you know, what makes a game good-scary. Also, Silent Hill 2 gets a lot of mention...

But, one very scary thing in the vid...

The bandaid on Russ Pitts' left indexfinger? Why!!?

The way they talk about atmospheric scary games I can't help but think about Demon's Souls.

With that game no matter how many times you play it will always have the player feeling tense, most likely because there is always the chance you may die or get invaded and die or take a wrong turn and die.

Mr Ink 5000:
I'll tell you what scares me, crying of unseen babies. So makes me uneasy

That, and women's screams.

For me the most effective kind of horror is the feeling that everything that's out to get you cannot be fought against. To have a game put me into a constant state of paranoia from the mere thought of your pursuers seeing you and coming for you is way more effective than any cheap jump scare or slightly creepy atmosphere. Few games have really achieved giving me this kind of fear with only the fatal frame series (i know the camera can exorcise ghosts but they usually come back), siren, silent hill and call of cthulhu: dark corners of the earth. Any other game I can think of that might sort of create this fear usually abandons it fairly soon by giving you weapons or spells to fairly combat whatever harasses you.

All of these games (from what I remember) pretty much held up the monsters being out of your league scenario until pretty much the end. I guess this seems like the best kind of horror because I've actually felt this way in real life situations. From being attacked by a large dog that I could really only flee from (I was little when it attacked me) to even being stalked by an alligator in a swampy area. The feeling these games create make me relive these moments, making them scarier to me.

Can't help but love you Lauren. I agree with most of what everyone said, and enviroment wins out over the "BOO" factor. Even Silent Hill 1 is shat-your-pants-tastic even with blocky stretched graphics. The majority of that game is in pitch dark with knife wielding children lurking just out of sight. I started when I was fourteen and didn't finish until I was sixteen. After that, SH2&3 were a breeze.

But I do HATE when a sequel tries to renovate controls that force you to do something that you would otherwise not even attempt. For example, QUICK TIME EVENTS! Seriously, they have there place, but GAWD! In RE4 it was cool and God of War is was neat, but enough with the QTE. My X button wears out much more quickly thanks to them.

Nocturnal Gentleman:
For me the most effective kind of horror is the feeling that everything that's out to get you cannot be fought against. To have a game put me into a constant state of paranoia from the mere thought of your pursuers seeing you and coming for you is way more effective than any cheap jump scare or slightly creepy atmosphere. Few games have really achieved giving me this kind of fear with only the fatal frame series (i know the camera can exorcise ghosts but they usually come back), siren, silent hill and call of cthulhu: dark corners of the earth. Any other game I can think of that might sort of create this fear usually abandons it fairly soon by giving you weapons or spells to fairly combat whatever harasses you.

All of these games (from what I remember) pretty much held up the monsters being out of your league scenario until pretty much the end. I guess this seems like the best kind of horror because I've actually felt this way in real life situations. From being attacked by a large dog that I could really only flee from (I was little when it attacked me) to even being stalked by an alligator in a swampy area. The feeling these games create make me relive these moments, making them scarier to me.

Then again, you don't want to be submerged in a game with NO WEAPONS, like in Silent Hill Shattered Memories. Even just a board with nails would have been something. Making the scarce weapons ineffective is definately scary, but have them none-the-less.

Three examples about how I saw certain games in term of scare-factor:

The game that scared me the most was Vamire: Bloodlines. I think it was so effective because the horror was unexpected. After all you're playing a vampire, what could possibly scare you? It also had an amazing atmosphere and was first person, which definitely helped identifying myself with the vampire I controlled.

FEAR was scary at the beginning. Problem was that I felt like turning into a time-slowing super-soldier with enough firepower to level a clone army. That diminished the scare factor pretty quickly. In retrospect I consider FEAR rather schizophrenic as a game, since it tried to combine the japanese style horror of being isolated and running away from a little girl, with the hollywood style horror of facing the supernatural with overwhelming firepower.

Dead Space wasn't scary for me. I didn't finish the game because I was bored out of my mind. I'm good in guessing when something 'scary' will happen in horror movies. And since dead space follows pretty much every horror cliche (except the aiming for the head, at least some novelty here...) I was pretty much prepared every time.

Good video, although I can't agree with that one guy who kept touting Bioshock. I didn't find that game frightening at all. There were a couple creepy moments, but overall it was not scary. It had great atmosphere, but it conveyed something very different from fear/dread

Thirding Penumbra. *Excellent* horror title, and it did atmosphere better than Dead Space or BioShock.

I honestly didnt knew Bioshock was suposed to be a horror game, and i played it through, and love it.

Then again Fallout 3 always creeped me out with its abandoned buildings and subways with this music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaElyjQT2SI

So i guess "what is scary" is just simply different for every person(well, duh).

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