Critical Miss: Telegraphing

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To be entirely honest I think the telegraphing is because the industry does not have the guts to do real horror games anymore. It's similar, but not identical, to how they show you the monsters coming in "Alan Wake". Fear is a negative emotion and freaking out gamers is liable to be an even worse freakout to casual observers, and the gaming industry is really afraid of the criticism with everything else going on. Hence the arguements for cheeseball "psychological horror" and the like.

I think the death of horror gaming really came with "Silent Hill 2" as praised as that game was, people tend to forget that it was one of the first PS-2 games, and the demos for it caused an outcry because of the flayed children monsters that were a stable of the original game's rogues gallery. They were TOO disturbing, and the developers of Silent Hill 2 removed them instead of fighting properly under the grounds of it being an "M" rated game. After that the censorship sharks smelled blood and pretty much swarmed the game industry, especially when it came to horror games, and nowadays all we get are telegraphed action games, or crappy "psychological horror" games that really try and rip off Steven King's later work which is amusing when you consider how generally criticized it is.

I actually paid money and downloaded "Amnesia" for example, largely because of the huge number of reviews I was getting. An unplanned purchuse that sort of hurt because despite all the games I buy $20.00 can be a lot of money to me being disabled. I *DO* give it points for some neat ideas and an interesting atmosphere, but really I can't say there is any kind of satisfying payoff. What's more in playing that game I feel like my character is borderline retarded in addition to having amnesia. I wouldn't be surprised if there is one day a director's cut that shows that it really wasn't a past century, and the truth is that a short bus crashed outside, and a delusional retard stumbled away with a head injury and started walking around some poor guy's house lighting fires to deal with his scotophobia while periodically collapsing and screaming delusionally about unbeatable monsters. ;)

To be honest it goes back a ways, but I think the last horror game that I thought was actually creepy was probably "Rule Of Rose" for the PS-2. That was actually pretty differant, but at the same time, it involving children (which is what made it creepy) caused a degree of outcry and as a result it means that we're unlikely to see anyone do anything similar again, or at least not with a US release. The bottom line is that genuinely creepy/scary = complaints = game industry backing down and correcting itself to make sure they don't do anything similarly disturbing again.

I think the violin music and showing the approaching monsters in Alan Wake and such isn't done for psychological purposes, as much as to defang any chance that anyone could be scared and reduce potential criticism.

gaiaquasar:

Captain Pancake:
like fuck am I going to translate that!

somebody else can though and I'll be semi-interested.

Good point though, although the first time it happened there was some genuine fear.

It was hit earlier, but I actually decoded it before I read the comments. (Yay me. God, I'm bored).

It says "Cory Rydell and Grey Carter will bury their burdens in blood / www.escapistmagazine.com"

true to form, I found that semi interesting!

Musical cues to a monster being there can work if the monster is either incredibly hard to kill or is impossible and has the possibility of killing you in one hit from out of nowhere.

The Regenerators from Resident Evil 4 are a good example of this. While there isn't a musical cue at first, there's the heavy rasping breathing that you hear when one is around. And when it becomes aware of your presence, the music kicks in. Which has a very prominent psychological effect. Not to mention the creature was hellishly hard to kill.

They were so clever when they made up that alphabetical system. A new letter for every old letter. SHIT IS CRYPTIC.

Nice touch, translating the end message like that.

Soo... Chad will have to wait next week for his revenge?

Monsters aren't scary because they can't hurt you. If they jump out they can startle you but that's a poor excuse for a horror game. If you want scares you need to telegraph monsters arrival. What messes it up is playing the same note over and over until it becomes rote.

OMGZ DID YOU EVEN PLAY DED SPAZE!?!? ISACC WOULD NEVAR SHOOTS THEM IN DA BALLZ IT DOSE NO DAMAGE AND WAZTES AMMO!

xD But i do have to agree, the music, dramatic sounds, and following necromorph attack does get you into a bit of a loop.
You can almost always guess when you need to back into a corner and cower for your life.

NLS:
Haha, that would be pretty cool if they had necromorphs playing actual instruments.

Very Classy of them to orchstrate their own theme though XD

The "Oh shit" had me laughing, BOOM HEADSHOT in the worst way possible.

That was pretty funny. After typing this up, Im going to look at it again and laugh at it some more.

i really liked this one! ive only ever watched ppl play horror games cause i get REALLY INTO EM.

PS. i also loved how the aimer was positioned on one of the necromorphes dick.

That was fucking hilarious! LOL

you know whats sad, we will never see the end of the story arc.
I'm going to kill myself now.

actually depends on the monster. Those charging bastards are annoying, until you realize that they are some what predictable. nice attempt to have them flank us, but maybe you shouldn't have them telegraph their attack by peeking out to glance at us.

Homerun on that this one XD

i've always thought Silent Hill 1 did it best with the radio static. Almost no music and just an eerie static noise when monsters are near. Also the fact you only had a lead pipe and maybe a kitchen knife helped with the dread.

The second you get the means to dispatch you're enemy efficiently it ceases to be scary telegraphing or not :(

I played the demo of Dead Space 2 through without any sound on. I could predict where all of the monsters were gonna come from, and shot them down almost emmediately when they appeared without having to have the musical cue. I was thinking to myself "Oh my god, this is boring..."

Then the next day I go to school and everyone in one of my classes is talking about how AWSOME AND SCARY it is, and I'm just like, *facepalm* -_-

The_ModeRazor:
Dead Space 1 wasn't scary, and I haven't played the seconds.
Actually, I don't really remember any 'scary' games. Maybe the first time a Yao Guai jumped in my face, but even that was just 'wow', not a jump.

I prefer terror to horror. So S.T.A.L.K.E.R is my poison.

I would call S.T.A.L.K.E.R. more profanity laden frustration than anything that might be either terror or horror. When some soldier NPC ganks you for the umpteenth time because even though you have the same or better quality gun and armor than they do, they have a magic accuracy canceling button, I think I am perfectly within my rights to say "fuck this game" after about 50th separate time this happened.

Hahaha, I lol'd at the necromorph holding the violin.

matrix3509:

The_ModeRazor:
Dead Space 1 wasn't scary, and I haven't played the seconds.
Actually, I don't really remember any 'scary' games. Maybe the first time a Yao Guai jumped in my face, but even that was just 'wow', not a jump.

I prefer terror to horror. So S.T.A.L.K.E.R is my poison.

I would call S.T.A.L.K.E.R. more profanity laden frustration than anything that might be either terror or horror. When some soldier NPC ganks you for the umpteenth time because even though you have the same or better quality gun and armor than they do, they have a magic accuracy canceling button, I think I am perfectly within my rights to say "fuck this game" after about 50th separate time this happened.

Good thing I played a different S.T.A.L.K.E.R then. Was it Clear Sky? I didn't have that problem in SoC, and I didn't have it in CoP. Clear Sky I never played.
I was actually always kinda relieved when having to fight humans, 'cause I'm a far better shot than the AI, and because at least I get some loot out of them :D

I remember a similar gag in a comedy film with Leslie Nielsen and that means Isaac Clarke looks like Leslie Nielsen under his helmet. FULL CANON ACTIVATE.

This webcomic seems to be rapidly turning into an unrelated parody series. It feels like it's been a long time since we've had any continuity from Erin's job as a reviewer, it just seems to be spin-off after spin-off.

...Which isn't entirely a bad thing. They're pretty funny, i really liked the Bioshock reference in the previous comic, and this one has some truth to it.

Although i think the music is really there to startle you and make you panic, as opposed to setting a creepy atmosphere. When monsters jump out, it's normally a loud obnoxious shriek that makes you jump or give you less than perfect aim because it's distracting and makes you panic. The comic kind of implies that you start hearing a riverdance song or something each time you get attacked.

Therumancer:
To be entirely honest I think the telegraphing is because the industry does not have the guts to do real horror games anymore.

While I agree in part with your post, I would not go so far as to say something this extreme. At every moment a player is at the mercy of the mechanical systems of the game. Murdering a player in an instant is trivial. Giving them an impossible task is the easiest of all possible tasks. Presenting an enemy that is impossible to beat is easier than producing one with any semblance of weakness. But these things are not exactly fun.

A player who is killed by a trap or ambush in a single player game should feel chastised for not noticing the signs telling them of the doom that lay ahead. In some way, every danger significant enough to really harm the player ought to be telegraphed in some fashion. This could be as simple as revealing the surprise just a little bit too soon (thus giving them time to react), it could be with music or audio, it could be some small graphical detail. While I agree that the "dynamic music" of Dead Space 2 (Remember when that was a new feature in games?!) makes it just a little too obvious, it performs it's function just fine.

So, while I agree that few games really try to be scary (and that the level of information given to a player regarding their environment and dangers lurking therein is a big part of this), I tend to think that instances where a danger is not telegraphed ought to be the rare exception rather than the rule.

The_ModeRazor:

matrix3509:

The_ModeRazor:
Dead Space 1 wasn't scary, and I haven't played the seconds.
Actually, I don't really remember any 'scary' games. Maybe the first time a Yao Guai jumped in my face, but even that was just 'wow', not a jump.

I prefer terror to horror. So S.T.A.L.K.E.R is my poison.

I would call S.T.A.L.K.E.R. more profanity laden frustration than anything that might be either terror or horror. When some soldier NPC ganks you for the umpteenth time because even though you have the same or better quality gun and armor than they do, they have a magic accuracy canceling button, I think I am perfectly within my rights to say "fuck this game" after about 50th separate time this happened.

Good thing I played a different S.T.A.L.K.E.R then. Was it Clear Sky? I didn't have that problem in SoC, and I didn't have it in CoP. Clear Sky I never played.
I was actually always kinda relieved when having to fight humans, 'cause I'm a far better shot than the AI, and because at least I get some loot out of them :D

No it was SoC. Trying to use the ironsights was an exercise in futility for me. I actually enjoyed fighting non-humans because it was a challenge without resorting to outright bullshit. After a while of fighting human stalkers and military types, I started to suspect that the firearm mechanics were ruled by some sort of sadistic random number generator.

Double Post. Grr.

music only workds when the player doesn't notice it. it has to get to the back of their minds.

K4RN4GE911:

Scrythe:
CORY RODALL AND GREY CARTER WILL BURY THEIR BURDENS IN BLOOD

WWW.ESCAPISTMAGAZINE.COM

God, I know that is a lyric to a song, but I can't place my finger on it. Can anyone help?

OT: This comic was a complete riot for me. Kind of reminds me of how Yahtzee described Dead Space's brand of horror. "The man in a scary mask going 'Abloogy woogy woo' across a brightly lit room, walking towards you slowly while plucking a violin string, then slapping you in the face with a T-bone steak."

Its Here We Are Juggernaut by Coheed And Cambria

OT: I thought the scariest part of dead space 1 was when you are flying away at the end and the necromorph jumps out at you. I totally didnt call that and i jumped so high.

matrix3509:

The_ModeRazor:

matrix3509:

I would call S.T.A.L.K.E.R. more profanity laden frustration than anything that might be either terror or horror. When some soldier NPC ganks you for the umpteenth time because even though you have the same or better quality gun and armor than they do, they have a magic accuracy canceling button, I think I am perfectly within my rights to say "fuck this game" after about 50th separate time this happened.

Good thing I played a different S.T.A.L.K.E.R then. Was it Clear Sky? I didn't have that problem in SoC, and I didn't have it in CoP. Clear Sky I never played.
I was actually always kinda relieved when having to fight humans, 'cause I'm a far better shot than the AI, and because at least I get some loot out of them :D

No it was SoC. Trying to use the ironsights was an exercise in futility for me. I actually enjoyed fighting non-humans because it was a challenge without resorting to outright bullshit. After a while of fighting human stalkers and military types, I started to suspect that the firearm mechanics were ruled by some sort of sadistic random number generator.

Vanilla Stalker suffered from some insane AI (picking you out with a pistol shot from 50 feet away when you're hiding in a bush in the dark) and some really dodgy gun physics. The big mod (I've forgotten the name now) fixed all of that, made the guns more damaging, the combat more exciting and the game look phenomonal. Grab it if you can.

Sound and even music cues can be used effectively to invoke horror. You know the monster is somewhere, you can hear it, but don't know where it is.

But if it works like a signal that will let you know the threat is coming at you, and you know the silence means there are no threats around that's very detrimental to the horror atmosphere.

The only good violin music is death-scene violin music!
...
DeusEx for example...

So true. So twistedly true.

And it's always the air vents...ALWAYS.

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