Jimquisition: Scare Tactics

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Only 2 games come to mind that scared me.

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
The majority of the game isn't scary. Its a very exciting & adventurous place. However that changes for me every time I had to enter the graveyard. It had nothing to do with the monsters since most could be found anywhere. Just the feeling I wasn't suppose to be there & the guilt for destroying the town's water supply.

Shadow Man
I think Dead Side was the creepiest place I've ever been to in a video game. The Sky & Ground are gray. The ponds & streams are made of blood. The enemies there I can't help that I want to help them yet I need to kill them before they killed me.
The only way out of that area was by swimming through a tunnel of laughing crying & some jingle that seemed like a nightmare about pedophiles. The areas that were suppose to be hell with the fire, lava, & bats were too vibrant to be scary. Regardless of that though I found Dead Side scary enough that I ended up playing Harvest Moon 64 just for the sake of contrast.


As for the jump scare.... Well I like being startled.... But on its own its hard to be scared when I probably already have a plan on how I'm going to kill whatever it is.


As for the things that scare me nowadays they don't come from video games like they use to. Things that tend to scare me now also tend to offend me. Like losing my finances or apartment. Whatever is being said about Windows 8. And whatever is said during presidential elections.

So much so that even if I somehow took 12/21/2012 seriously I would actually welcome it despite being Atheist. I welcome it so much so I'll be eating TGI Fridays food on the 21st of this December.

I love horror games, but I'm really too much of a pussy to play any of them for an extended period of time. It took me until the release of RE4 to not jump at every random sound or movement during games of SH and RE. And now that we have games like Slender and Amnesia? All the love and none of the balls.

I am going to have to disagree Jim, at least to a point.

Even if some of the jump scare games MIGHT require the same amount of effort, the pure psychological games require much more skill. The evidence I use to that is the fact that hardly anyone outside of silent has been able to pull it off, even after great effort, all while jump-scare games are a dime a dozen. Hell even the Silent hill games after 3 have struggled tremendously to try and capture the specific type of horror the original games offered players.

I love jump scares to, and I do think they have their place in games. But the quality of a good mind-fuck cannot even compare to that. That's the kind of stuff that slowly creeps up over you. It stays with you for a while, and it seems more disturbing the more you think about it.

That example of Pyramid Head appearing wasn't a jump scare, because nothing pop up at you. There was a quiet door sound, some footsteps and when you turned around you saw you were cornered by Pyramid Head.

Not to mention (if I am not mistaken)the first time you see him he is literally standing down a hallway, staring at you and nothing else. He doesn't attack or go after you, he is merely there to alert the player that something is stalking them. Which all just goes to show Pyramid head is anything but a jump scare.

It's a shame they changed the game before release. The original E3 videos of Silent Hill 2 showed Pyramid head randomly appearing in areas, dragging his knife slowly across the ground, all while during regular game-play in regular areas. That would have been amazing and randomly horrifying!

I really liked that episode. Very well done.

....Although I might have to contest the idea that jump scares can hold up a hold game by themselves. As Jim pointed out in the video, they can really add to a horror game, but if they're the only thing that's there, they stop being scary. They lose the horror of the unknown, and just become something mundane and repetitive. Instead of slowly approaching a closet that ruins your evening, it's walking towards a closet and thinking "geez, another jumping monster. I'm gonna have to shoot it again". I guess what I'm saying is that jump scares should be jump scares in themselves.

God DAMN that's clever

I love jump scares in games because they take effort for another whole reason:

They take effort, because there is a VERY high chance the player won't even be looking in the right direction when the music jumps and a baddie leaps out.

They'll know soon enough, sure, but the effect is lost.

In a film, the makers KNOW where the camera is going to be pointed and thus have to give you no reason to look in a certain direction. They know they have your attention and they can take advantage of it.

In a game, the developers have to WORK for your attention. They have to give you a reason to look at the spooky ghost.

Take Slender. I love the game, but of course it scares me shitless. However, the jumpscares are player created. Created by the fear of not knowing what's behind you. And needing to know.

You can play Slender without seeing him more than once or twice, but it takes INCREDIBLE effort to not frantically look around for him and stay focused on the pages.

The game makes you BEG for the jumpscares because you simply have to know. Even if the knowledge kills you, you have to know.

And THAT is what I call horror.

Awesome episode by the way.

Willem DaCrow was terrifying.

I love the dedication to the FF9 soundtrack. It fits with everything!

I'm going to have to partially disagree. While you're right that jump scares have their qualities, especially the fact that you're stressing out in wait for the next one to happen, mere build-up isn't enough. This build up is only effective when the rest of the game mechanics work into that fear and this is not the case for both Dead Space and Doom 3.

Both games not only have an insane amount of not-too-scary enemies that start becoming predictable and repetitive to kill, you yourself are armed to the teeth and able to beat up anything that looks at you funny. After a while, I found myself running through Dead Space because nothing could possibly stop me in my tracks anyway and anything that does make me jump will only temporarily stress me out. That isn't good use of scare tactics.

And there is a clear difference between high levels of fear and stress. What you described in Doom 3 (enemies possibly appearing behind you) and Dead Space (necromorphs jumping out of places) made me stress out about the fact that I could get attacked at any moment, but I wasn't truly scared later on. Only the early sections of both games were able to instill fear, mostly because the game still had a mystery surrounding it (which once again adds to that jump-scare tactic)

What makes jump scare games like Slenderman and Containment breach so incredibly scary isn't just the sheer terror you feel in between the jump scares, it's that combined with the facts that the jump scares are completely random and there is absolutely nothing you can do AFTER the jump scare either. Powerlessness adds immensely to the fear that jump-scare games use.

Dead Space monsters eventually become incredibly easy to predict and the game sometimes even let you know beforehand (Doors shut, lights and sound go off) that they're coming.

I don't have anything against games that use jump-scares, I have something against games that use jump-scares ineffectively.

It's not that I dislike jump scares.
It's that horror games tend to over rely on them to the point that it's just not scary any more. When every closet, corner, air vent, ceiling, whatever, springs monsters on you, the unknown and unexpected becomes known and expected.

Eternal Darkness is one of my all-time favourite games, and it used a jump-scare very sparingly (depending on your definition, there might have been just one), but to great effect; just as you're at ease, certain that there are no threats in the main mansion JUMPSCARE! that will put you back on your toes.

Amnesia for being known for its other tricks does jump scares very well. When you eventually do run into a monster you'll jump. When the environment suddenly changes from tranquil to ominous with a screen shake and a deep roar, etc.

It's always interesting to be introduced to a new perspective on a subject that I'm always curious about. And Jim definitely made me realize a few things about jump scares. I actually don't hate them as much now. Jim brought up some valid points, and they make plenty of sense.

Yeah for Doom 3. Though he failed to mention the bit in hell, that had some well-crafted openings that I'll always remember.

I'm I the only one not completely turned off by the Kinectonuats image, a game that uses motion controls for controlling telekinetic abilities sounds like it could be a lot of fun if done right.

The problem I have with jump scares is actually the antcipation or the "winding up". Because most if not all jump scares that are designed to make one jump are painfully obvious in their build up. It manipulates you into anticipating an event and then startles you because you couldn't predict the exact moment it would occur.

It's like a game of hand slap.

Yes, it's effective, but it's still a cheap thrill that doesn't last past the initial shock. You won't be lying awake in your bed at night because of any jump scare.

Okay, why do people forget that Survival Horror is nothing more than an action game with monsters in it? Resident Evil 6 did not betray the franchise's roots. It embraced them and made them bigger. All Resident Evil gives you enough ammo and if you are smart, you will never run out.

Jump Scares are a useful tool to elicit the appropriate fear response, but they are a very strong spice that colors the rest of the experience. Have the right amount and it keeps the tension high. Have too many and it weakens the rest of the experience. Spielberg learned this when he showed Jaws to Test Audiences. He had one jump scare about 45 minutes into the movie and it made the audience scream out loud. His instinct then was to add more jump scares. When he did, the audience did not give him the appropriate response when the shark came around. By then they got used to it.

That's the problem with horror games. They rely on too many jump scares to carry the game through.

Dead Space is not scary. A game can't be scary if you are prepared to deal with the threat. I get that the weapons are ill suited to the job because they are more tools than weapons, but that does not matter. A Sledgehammer is meant to pulverize larger rocks into tiny ones, but that does not mean it won't pound a person into hamburger. The fact that I have a chance, albeit small, removes the horror aspects of it.

Also, a gun that shoots sawblades into the enemy renders the horror elements useless. How can I be scared when I have something that awesome in my arsenal?

Great episode and I completely agree with you. I think there's room for both kinds of horror, emotional and jump scares. I nearly died at Too Human, Kinectinauts and the Time cover. Pure genius.

The thing with jump scares is this: to be effective, they need to happen when you least expect it, with no forewarning. Dead Space failed spectacularly at this because every jump scare was preceded by that retarded violin screech, plus the fact that you always knew exactly where the Necromorphs were coming from. The first thing I always did when I went into a room was to check where the vents were, because I knew that as soon as a got to within a pre-decided distance, a Necromorph was going to pop out. Lo, and behold, so it was.

Dead Space is not scary. A game can't be scary if you are prepared to deal with the threat. I get that the weapons are ill suited to the job because they are more tools than weapons, but that does not matter. A Sledgehammer is meant to pulverize larger rocks into tiny ones, but that does not mean it won't pound a person into hamburger. The fact that I have a chance, albeit small, removes the horror aspects of it.

Also, a gun that shoots sawblades into the enemy renders the horror elements useless. How can I be scared when I have something that awesome in my arsenal?

Play the game with melee attacks and kinesis then. But we know you won't, will you? You have to have every bullet you can curb stomp out of a corpse, go out of your way to grab every power node you already know is waiting for you like a good little scavenger.

OT: Thank you for giving Dead Space some cred, Jim. A jump scare doesn't last, but honestly I couldn't care less. The game does an amazing job of establishing its atmosphere and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I think this should be posted for more balanced discussion.

So people said Dead Space and Doom 3 were bad games? Who are these people I will hunt them down............... and give them a stern talking to.
Really this episode confuses me though, because there aren't many games that abuse jump scares like horror films do. It seems like if there is someone complaining about jump scares not being scary it's in a film and usually it's because they are predictable. The problem there stems from horror not having the right pacing and in all the games Jim talked about the pacing is pretty much perfect for their jump scares to get you. I just wish that he had mentioned some games that use their jumpiness in the wrong way, because I don't think I've played any. I do see what Jim was saying though, and really I have an issue with the way horror as a genre is treated. No one seems to respect it the way it should be. Public opinion seems to think that scaring people is cheap and shallow, when really it takes just as much thought and planning to be effective. So I don't know, maybe people should just..... not think that? Thank god for Jim.

DooM 3 is my scariest game ever. In fact, it's the only one I have never completed and I have no problem with ones such as Amnesia or Slender.

Pretty chilly episode too, well done!

i like good jumpsacers, the problem is that many hacks reduce those to going BOO at the most predictable moments and good ones are rare today. like remember the original saw? that had one excellent jumpscare with the closet and the camera flash, simply because you did not expect that to be there, you expected the closet to be empty and mask-guy to be behind camera-guy.
oh and good scarecrow

That example of Pyramid Head appearing wasn't a jump scare, because nothing pop up at you. There was a quiet door sound, some footsteps and when you turned around you saw you were cornered by Pyramid Head. A jump scare isn't that gradual, it hits you so fast you don't has time to process what it is, so often what scares you can be something not at all threatening.

So, you'd say that hearing something enter the room with you but not seeing it, and then turning around to discover that it, a deadly and horrifying creature, is right in your face and has you cornered with little or no way of simply escaping, doesn't qualify as a "jump scare"? Okay then.

OT: Funny video, and I agree. The first Dead Space, at least, tried to do a fair job of building up atmosphere in between each time monsters jumped out at you. I think the issue comes when it's just predictable. You see a vent, and you say "Oh, I bet a monster will jump out of that." Then you're expecting it, and depending on a person's personal mind-set obviously, they could either be dreading it or just bored and waiting for it to happen already. Doom 3, as well. I can remember the last time I picked up that game, I had loaded up my last save and gone no further than three doors when a wheelchair mutant thing was right behind a door that I opened and charged at me. Granted, I was a lot younger then, but still.

Oh Jim you so silly but so awesome.


The problem with jump scares isn't that they exist. Every scare tactic has a place and they can work. The problem is when they're so bloody obvious, you're sitting there going "4, 3, 2, 1-"*abloogy woogie woo!*

Yeah, wasn't that the issue with F.3.A.R. 3 or whatever it's called? Brightly lit cover-based shooter corridors, then you turn a corner and the lights dim and my brain goes--"Get ready for a surprise!" I don't know if it gets better later, I just got bored of that first level.

Alan Wake too. Could have been creepy and atmospheric, but every time the bad guys show up the score swells and the camera zooms in on them.

Most of my experience there comes from films, honestly I don't know of that many horror games beyond the big franchises (Silent Hill, Dead Space, Eternal Darkness, Amnesia etc.)

One prime example to list is Drag me to Hell. Some of the jump scares at in that one started to just blend together because they were happening so rapidly one after another. Began to make me question if Sam Raimi's talents had gone wayside.

Whats the game that plays at the begining of the episode? The one with the man in the gas mask.

Best.Jimquisition.Ever. I can haz ur butt-baby Jim?

I'm..I'm...impressed...? is that what this emotion is? I can usually take or leave Jimquisition (mostly leave) but this was really, actually, surprisingly good. Kudos!

I'm afraid of Jim doing more videos with his pants off and dry-humping small furry animals. :P

I'll join the chorus of "Best. Jimquisition. Ever"

That was very nice, even if I did expect a massive screamer halfway through with all the talk of jump-scares.

I don't agree with Jim's points here.
I never once felt scared playing Dead Space 1 or 2. I was certainly startled very momentarily a few times, but that's not real fear, paranoia, and dread of the kind that the Survival Horror Titans like Silent Hill 2 can conjure.
As for Doom 3, the utter predictability of the monster spawns deflated any hope the game might have had to scare you, you could always tell, -always- and it wasn't scary, it just became a chore after a while.
That's the real heart of this whole thing, when you play a Survival Horror game, you want to feel the emotions associated with horror, not check off "Scripted Sequence #557" on your list as you trudge through a fake plastic Haunted House without a single genuine feeling of terror that lasts more than .5 seconds under your belt the entire time.

I don't fully agree. I don't mind the occasional jump scare and Dead Space did a pretty good job in setting the right atmosphere but there is just too much there. The beginning was very scary but I quickly got used to it and expected the jump scares. IMO, Amnesia is still far superior. The suspense of knowing something is there but I don't know what it is and when it will attack is much more scary for me, than a body with claws and teeth attached to it, attacking me. Especially if I have really strong weapons which can easily dismember them and they should be more afraid of me.
I don't think most people don't like jump scares, it's just that when it's the only thing that's supposed to scare you in a game and when it's overused, it won't really work.
Pyramid Head is a good example of how it done well but the scary part about him isn't the jump scare. The monster in Amnesia is also very good example of that. Dead Space only at the beginning I'd say.

First off, thank you for not resorting to an ear-raping volume hike anywhere in that video (unlike Spoony, the magnificent rat bastard).

As for the rest of it... this is pretty much why I require any form of horror to also be a comedy. Jump scares barely work on me, and atmospheric scares tend to bore me. I don't consider myself highbrow for that, just incredibly jaded.

...which is why the only horror series I love is Evil Dead... because it's hilarious.

My problem with Dead Space was . . . okay, yes, I am annoyed by its constant reliance on jump scares, I'll give you that Jim. Okay, fine, so a jump scare isn't by itself bad.
But Dead Space still isn't something to praise because it's jump scares were predictable. The parameters under which the jump scares were programmed to occur was too damn easy to figure out and once I figured it out, I found I could walk down most of the halls perfectly calm because I knew nothing was going to come out and when they finally did come out, I could see them long before they did, so there was no tension.


You have the best toys.

And I mean that.

A pretty good costume, let us be clear. Not as good as the huge purple dildo sword, but still good!

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