Jimquisition: The Survival of Horror

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The Survival of Horror

Dr. Jonathan Crane returns to Jimquisition and teaches us that horror is perfectly alive, despite what publishing executives may tell us.

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Wow. Thanks for the mental scarring at the end there, Jim. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for you!

I imagine all the Escapist bigwigs simultaneously laughing and crying, wonder if THIS time Jim Sterling has finally and truly gone off the deep end. I still say that the Jimquisition's tagline should be "Technically Pornography" instead of "Get Angry."

Jinjer:
Wow. Thanks for the mental scarring at the end there, Jim. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for you!

Well you're braver than me, i couldn't make it past the music :P

Also, does his scarecrow hat remind anyone else of that traveling one from Zelda?

For a second there I thought that Scarecrow had somehow pumped fear gas into my apartment, but then I saw the Aliens: Colonial Marines box and I couldn't stop laughing.

inb4 people complaining about Amnesia and similar games only forcing you to run away from monsters and using a simple engine.

These games are supposed to take the power away from you, that is the point. That is a staple of horror when its done right. A protagonist completely out of their comfort zone forced to cope with situations beyond them. It's the opposite of machismo and gun wank. They call it Flight or Fight, and most people in most situations would run their ass away from these situations or try and hide. Contrary to what other games and some parts of popular culture might tell you, not everyone is fucking Rambo.

The marketing point is brilliant. Pewdiepie is the biggest presence on all of youtube. Know what that means? The most popular youtuber is a lets player who largely climbed to the top by playing horror games. There is your advertising.

How am I ever going to sleep again, after seeing what I have seen? Damn you Dr. Jonathan Crane!

Anyway, I certainly wouldn't mind more survival horror games, although I feel lately we are missing a "middle of the road" experience, right now either indie developers make no combat horror games, or AAA studios make action packed horror games, but nobody seems to make games where fighting is difficult and discouraged, but possible, with at least a little bullet management.

For a moment, before the reveal, I was expecting Holmes' face on it, but then I remembered it was Jim's biggest fear, not fantasy.

Hallowe'en episodes are always the best. :D

On the point of the actual episode, I must say I'm reasonably hyped for The Evil Within. With Mikami at the helm it should be good.

I'm in class currently, so I can't watch right away, but after reading the comments I'm a afraid to view the video.

Love jims inclusion of the line "on its own terms". He knows that in six months when the publishers declare it didnt do well enough because it didnt sell a billion copies someones going to run up to him waving a Kotaku article saying as much going "HUR HUR HUR JIM WER RONG!"

Jim, you're a sick puppy...

On the topic at hand though, I kinda hope that triple A developers keep their mitts off horror. Watching LPers like Markiplier has shown me there is a wealth of horror out there, and frankly we don't need the likes of them spoiling it.

Things like SCP containment breach, Kraven Manor and so on don't need capital to be great, what they need is passion. They need developers who give a damn for what they're making for more than the pay cheque at the end. The Triple A industry has shown they don't have the passion needed for it.

You put LoTR and a certain other movie/book series in the same sentence. This is an outrage i demand the episode to be changed immediately. If Yahtzee could do it so can you, get on it, now!

Well there's something I didn't know before; it's possible to get instrumental knock-offs of Lady In Red, of all things.

Is it such a bad thing that the AAA industry stays away from horror games though? I personally agree with one of your earlier videos; horror is ugly. I think smaller studios with less management bullshit and a more focused approach are far more capable of producing real horror.

Don't worry Jim, I'm sure she came like a...

puts on sunglasses

...Waterfall

Well we've already seen what happens when one tries Survival Horror with a big budget, we get Silent Hill Downpour. Downpour was good in it's own way but I doubt anybody would call it a good horror game.

Also... dammit, that outro will be in my mind for days now.

October really is the worst month. Why does everything suddenly have to become about "horror" and "scary" things? Because of some bizarre American fascination with this "Halloween" thing that almost nobody else in the world gives a crap about?

This is what I like about Bethesda. They're a company that is willing to publish games that would ordinarily be passed up by other publishers because "there's not enough appeal" or "it wouldn't sell in these days". Good on them for taking stabs at a variety of genres.

Agree with all the points in the video, as for the end. I'm not sure if I think it's hilarious or if i need therapy.

It might appear a bit more... professional if Jim would start using other examples for a similar point, instead of always coming back to his own personal obsession of horror games.

There are really a shitload of genres, styles, and themes that the Industry left in the dirt, and that are picking themselves up only in the past years of growing indie publishing. Horror isn't even the most extremely ignored one.

next frictional game should be somewhat of a consolation for not having your space horror game running away from xenomorphs
http://www.somagame.com/
seems much more psychological / meta horror than alien, which is promising

Excellent video. But seeing as studios have generally failed at budgeting for games it comes as no surprise that they don't understand how to profit from a more niche market. They're still stuck in the rut of spending millions of dollars above an appropriate budget and producing games that just barely break even. So if they made a horror game they'd blow AAA budgets on it and make niche money. So they'll fulfill their own prophecy by being idiots rather than their statement being true.

There is clearly a demand for it. You figure out what kind of demand there is using the same product forecasting businesses use and then you budget according to that. You don't say, "I want to make COD money" and then budget for that on a niche game. Yet these big studios are doing that and wondering why they're failing. What's worse is you have studios like Square Enix who are going so wildly over budget that even games selling multiple millions of copies give them a loss. As long as these producers keep doing this crap, niche genres like horror will be avoided by big companies because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of budgeting and applying their current practices to horror would be catastrophic. Those who can do it right stand to progress here and they'll continue to do it until the big boys figure it out, if they do, and then it'll just be even ground in a party that smaller studios already have viable IPs in because they developed according to what they should make, not what they wanted.

As I've said all along, this is what ever CEO should be forced to read a basic summary on product budgeting:

Entitled:
It might appear a bit more... professional if Jim would start using other examples for a similar point, instead of always coming back to his own personal obsession of horror games.

There are really a shitload of genres, styles, and themes that the Industry left in the dirt, and that are picking themselves up only in the past years of growing indie publishing. Horror isn't even the most extremely ignored one.

Did you see the way this video ended?

And you still wanna talk professional?

Jim, that ending... good grief. Well, who needs sleep anyway?

I don't get AAA logic, or rather, a lack thereof. Even if survival horror doesn't make truckloads of money, there's still good money to be potentially made. You'd think AAA companies, who attempt to gouge as much money as they can, would be trying to cash in on it, but NOOOOOO. That's far too logical.

Actually I'm glad that the major publishers have dropped Survival Horror. With AAA developers now it's all about pouring in as much money as you can to overwhelm your audience with spectacle so they won't notice how little substance the game actually has. Real Horror games work best the LESS you actually reveal. Graphical limitations have actually been a bone to Horror since the first Silent Hill (the fog being there by necessity as much as maintaining atmosphere). Big Studios simply cannot justify a lower scale because they answer to investors who have no idea what video games are actually about. All they understand are Hollywood Blockbusters so that's what they get. All or nothing attitude as permeated pretty much every aspect of the american economy. And just look at the pathetic attempts at Horror they have released: Gots to have action because that's what Call of Duty has. If you want quality, stick with the guys who are making the games they WANT to make, not the guys who are making the games they are told to make.

What game-faced woman wouldn't love that slow, sensual, treatment by ultraseductive Jim?

As soon as I saw Jim in a dress, I immediately turned off the video and went straight to the comments section. I have enough trouble sleeping at night, I don't need to have Jim haunting my dreams on top of it.

Survival horror is doing much better in the independent field than in the AAA games area. The big publishers are constantly stuck in a bad business mindset that is doing more harm than good. I can't say if its from their lack of learning from past mistakes or they're trying to get as much cash out before the bottom falls out is the cause of all this misery. Although, I would not be surprised if it was the latter.

Honestly, I feel it would be best for the games industry to have the majority of the AAA publishers (the bad ones, mostly) go tits up. I know, it would hurt many people but, with the death of the bloated big boys, smaller publishers can move in, fill the void left behind, and begin offering games that are not trying to stuff so much money and needless gimmicks (I.E. putting more action into a horror title). If the industry is trying to emulate Hollywood, then it should learn how to make a product on a low budget. It's time to stop trying to be James Cameron and be a bit more like Roger Corman.

Also, somebody do a background check on Jim Sterling. I'm willing to bet five bucks that there is a document that has the words "sex offender" in it more than once. ^^;

Who's on the blow up doll... oh it's Aliens, okay... gawddammit, it's like watching a stylish hamster ride an abandoned barbie doll.

I am... surprised that this video didn't come with an age gate.

It's quite clear that you need help Jim, but for the sake of all your adoring fans, never get any.

Just wanted to point out that alien isolation having only one alien didn't sound so bad until dropping the other shoe about the clone shooter. Keep in mind that the movie Alien only had one. Being stalked through environments by a single extremely threatening alien that could be sneaking up behind (or above) you at any time is pretty much the pinnacle of what a horror game can accomplish I think.

I don't care much about horror games, especially not non-combat ones. It's not my cup of tea. I like to feel more active in games, and these games don't so much scare me as they do frustrate me. However, I want more variety out of the industry, and if there's a market I say tap that. It seems there is, so....

Red X:

Also, does his scarecrow hat remind anyone else of that traveling one from Zelda?

Actually, what it reminds me of is Scarecrow from The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers:

You only have to skip in like 20 seconds for an example of the voice.

This was one of my favourite cartoons growing up, and I immediately thought of it when Jim did the voice.

And really, where else are you going to see a main character strangled by nightmare fuel in a kids show.

Aardvaarkman:
October really is the worst month. Why does everything suddenly have to become about "horror" and "scary" things? Because of some bizarre American fascination with this "Halloween" thing that almost nobody else in the world gives a crap about?

Come now. Isn't it refreshing to see Americans scared of something other than a black guy as President and vegetables that aren't deep fried?

Ishal:
inb4 people complaining about Amnesia and similar games only forcing you to run away from monsters and using a simple engine.

These games are supposed to take the power away from you, that is the point. That is a staple of horror when its done right.

You nailed it beautifully with that last line. I would like to see a new Fatal Frame installment as well.

I've only got two comments to add to this.

One: The reason game studios said horror is dead is because FOCUS GROUPS. If nobody in the focus group they catered around a certain thing says they want horror, well then, nobody wants horror, obviously.

Two: The fact that companies only want blockbusters and can't settle for only making some money? Sounds like they all subscribe to the phrase "Go big or go home".

I'm not sure that games such as Amnesia, Outlast, or Slender are really the right path for horror games, in so much as it seems these games have gone from horrifying to merely being tense. Amnesia, or at least the Dark Descent, has a little lee-way by means of the whole insanity mechanic, but for the most part these style of horror games are horrifying only for a bit before descending into what is simply a tense experience. They aren't really horrifying the way Silent Hill games are still horrifying to this day. Perhaps it has more to do with my tastes, but I feel that in games, horror has the perfect excuse to play up the surreal angle to 11, something I feel games like the three more well known horror games of this generation fail to capture in any meaningful, or at least terrifying way.

Indeed, I feel that if we were to use a better point of comparison for good horror games, I'd probably choose SCP: Containment Breach and Cry of Fear as the big stand-outs of horror for this generation. For SCP, while it plays out very similarly to the three games I mentioned earlier, I feel it does the whole horror element the best, in part because the whole surreal element extends not just to the Objects, but the new gameplay mechanics derived from each Object's surreal nature. Upon later playthroughs sure, some of these horrific elements lose their touch, but that's sort of where the whole randomly generated rooms serves to help. You always start out with SCP-173, but who knows, maybe you happen upon the Plague Doctor far earlier than you normally do, or perhaps SCP-106 decides to make that horrifying surprise visit well before anything of note is meant to happen. For Cry of Fear, I feel it is perhaps one of the best horror games this generation, in part because it blends the resourcefulness of survival horror with limited ammo while also not going to extreme in having nothing at all. It doesn't hurt too that Cry of Fear has some pretty god damn disturbing visuals and sequences that still get to me.

Containment Breach is pretty much what I was thinking about when I made my one alien comment above. I didn't play it far enough to encounter anything but 173 but damn if that thing didn't scare the shit out of me.

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