Study Declares Dead Space 2 "Scariest 360 Game"

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Study Declares Dead Space 2 "Scariest 360 Game"

A study by UK-based videogame "user experience studio" Vertical Slice has declared that Dead Space 2 is the 360 game most likely to make you scream like a little girl.

The study, performed across four games (Alan Wake, Dead Space 2, Condemned: Criminal Origins and Resident Evil 5) on six participants between the ages of 20 and 42, attempted to discover exactly which moments of the games were frightening and exactly how frightening they really were by using a combination of interviews, post-play analysis and biometric measurements.

Each participant of the sample group was classified as either a "casual" (rarely or never playing games) or "core" (playing at least five hours a week) player. While many of the study's findings were common sense, some were more interesting: cutscenes, though frightening for some casual players, were usually seen as a moment of relief from actual danger. The study also found that the more scripted the game was, the more it frightened casual players; conversely, the less scripted it was, the more it frightened core players.

To measure fear, Vertical Slice had each of the participants play about 30 minutes of each game in a counter-balanced order to reduce bias. During play, the participants were asked to think out loud; at the same time, their heart rate, skin surface temperature, Galvanic Skin Response (which measures excitement or frustration) and, in some cases, respiration were measured. After playing, the volunteers were asked to analyze their experience. Throughout the process, Vertical Slice used interviewing techniques to elicit feedback as well. Below, you can see the "Biometric Storyboard" for each game, which graphs all the gathered information.

Perhaps the most interesting discovery, made through Dead Space 2 (the scariest game of the four for both casual and experienced players) was that fear and frustration are often linked. One of the more intensely frightening moments was when the players were chased by enemies and had difficulty navigating - however, repeated failure removed the fear and left the scene simply unpleasantly frustrating for players unable to complete it on the first few tries. Similarly, the players who had the most difficulty wielding the game's telekinesis gun experienced more frustration, but also the most fear.

Studies such as these may help game designers make better games by identifying exactly which design elements are linked to which emotions and while not flawless (the study had a small sample group of both players and games), it's nice to see the application of scientific techniques to game design.

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Unlikely. Dead Space was much more frightning than Dead Space 2, it was also quite a bit longer. And any other Resident Evil game is scarier than Re5. I personally thought Condemned: Crimminal Origins was the best of the bunch, but thats just my 2 cents.

Edit: Dooooop, 360, 360, 360, 360, 360, 360. Still DS1 was worse than DS2 in my own opinion and C:CO was worst than that

I notice they didn't include Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which probably skewed the results a bit, because from what I hear, that game is way scarier then Dead Space 2 is.

EDIT: Sorry, a typo was bugging me.

I haven't played Dead Space 2 yet (still on the first), but I find that hard to believe. Well, until I reread the title and saw "360" in it. FEAR was scarier than Dead Space (1) was, and I actually found Dead Space more funny than scary. Amnesia (yes, I know it isn't on 360) puts pretty much any other "scary" game I've played to shame.

Only played RE5 and DS2 out of those games....how did they even fall into the horror category?

I was more scared by Bioshock 1 then I was of RE5 and DS1/2.
In RE5 and DS2 it's more of a "startle" scare then "make-you-scream-like-a-little-girl" scare, seriously, every other dead body in the hallways you hadn't killed yourself was alive and waiting for you. It was predictable.

AwesomeFerret:
I notice they didn't include Amnesia: The ark Descent, which probably skewed the results a bit, because from what I hear, that game is way scarier then Dead Space 2 is.

You did the same thing I did... title is about 360 games, Amnesia is PC exclusive...

Again... only 6 people tested?

meh

I wonder what they would think of Amnesia Dark Descent.

EDIT: I know it's a PC game btw.

I guess the Xbox doesn't have very scary games then.

To be fair, Xbox 360 titles do not offer a lot of horror genre to choose from. Dead Space 2 and Dead Space are decent enough for what limited choices you have in that genre when owning that certain system. Although personally, the first Condemned (especially in the beginning levels when you have no fucking idea what is going on save rampant psychopaths running about) takes the cake of the scariest Xbox 360 title.

..Also, the Seekers always scared the living fuck out of me (or whatever they are called again, the zig-zag-charge dinosaur-like necromorphs) playing Dead Space 2. Hear the screaming, hear the footsteps, and then.. BAM! Right in the fucking gut..

Condemned was easily the scariest of those games. RE5 and Dead Space 2 were barely horror games and I haven't played Alan Wake.

Also considering someone hardcore because they play 5 hours a week is funny. I'd consider them more hardcore if they knew their shit about games and didn't play Call of Duty for 5 hours a week.

I thought Dead Space was scary, but I played on PC. So far my list goes Condemned 1 and 2, Amnesia, Dead Space series, then the original F.E.A.R

At first I was like "Naw, that's bollocks. Dead Space 2 ain't scary."

Then I looked at what it was up against, and.... yeah. Have to agree.....

Dead Space 2 wasn't scary >_>. Dead Space 2 isn't scary. Like Yahtzee said, they use gore so much it's funny (or something along those lines). Nor was Resident Evil 5. I havent played the other two, but still. And if they port Amnesia then we know the NEW scariest game.

Assassin Xaero:

AwesomeFerret:
I notice they didn't include Amnesia: The ark Descent, which probably skewed the results a bit, because from what I hear, that game is way scarier then Dead Space 2 is.

You did the same thing I did... title is about 360 games, Amnesia is PC exclusive...

Ah, I didn't realize that, my mistake. Still, Dead Space 2 is by far not the scariest thing on that console. Freaky, not necessarily scary.

Dead Space 1 didn't scare me. Dead Space 2 didn't scare me. Great games, loved them both, will play them again, loved the story of DS 2 in particular... but not the scariest thing I've ever played.

... In fact, I don't think I've ever played anything that has scared me.

They both startled me on several occasions, however. Like in the first part of Dead Space 1 when you're going down the elevator and a Slasher is charging at you as the doors open... I had just finished playing Mass Effect 1 and the long elevator rides had made me complacent. There was also later in the story when you run into Twitchers.

In Dead Space 2 I was only startled when I thought I'd killed everything in a room and then the arm of a slasher appeared over my shoulder.

But startle isn't really the same thing... A friend of mine can't finish the game because she finds it so scary but I really can't see why.

Ohh, I downloaded Amnesia: The Dark Descent... I should play once I figure out how many functions I have to assign to the keyboard...

It depends what you class as scary, actually being scarred or just something going boogy woogy woo and jumping out from behind which is what most games seem to do, even Amnesia to an extent

What a terrible study. Dead Space 2 was an Action game that only seemed like a survival horror. Dead Space 1 was way scarier. Its a shame Amnesia isnt an Xbox game because that game is way scarier than anything currently on the Xbox.

Hahahha no but seriously.

Also some people don't seem to realise that Amnesia isn't out on 360.

What?
Honestly, what?

There were only two moments that were genuinely trying to be atmospheric and scary in Dead Space 2. The rest is the equivalent of me writing "BUGABUGABUGABUGABUGA" now and again in a comment and expecting you to be frightened.

i think we are underastimating DS. We are all veteran gamers. so we know that after every corner an enemy can pop up. this takes away 90% of the scary.if you never play games OR have never played a scary game, then believe me DS can be hella scary.

I guess "Scariest 360 Game" isn't really saying much...

Well congrats to DS2 I guess. I never considered it scary (though very disturbing), but I still had a blast with it.

Condemned on the other hand scared the shit out of me. It was beautify terrifying and should of won.

I wouldn't count any of those games as horror. DS2 tried I guess... so maybe that's just bad horror.

DS2 had no atmosphere, every other hole in the wall had a monster, every dead body was a monster, dark room + space zombie does not make a game scary.

Alan Wake is the opposite, it was all atmosphere and not real substance. At least to me.

RE5 was and action game through and through, I don't see people calling COD games scary.

Condemned was an action game to me as well, but was probably the jumpiest of all the games on the list.

What? They only played a 30 min portion of each game? That's lame. I bet the didn't play the Department Store or Final boss levels of Condemned.

Zac Smith:
It depends what you class as scary, actually being scarred or just something going boogy woogy woo and jumping out from behind which is what most games seem to do, even Amnesia to an extent

Yeah, but it's no dog through a window. That got a lot of people, in fact, it still does get people.

Play Amnesia and then I'll take this seriously. I've played through Dead Space 2, and at the most, I barely jumped. Amnesia was the only game that actually had me running in terror.

I played Dead Space on the PS3 and I loved it AND found it really scary. Haven't tried DS2 yet but i heard it's more action less horror.
Not sure why they even bothered with RE5.

Nenarek:
Dead Space 1 didn't scare me. Dead Space 2 didn't scare me.

They both startled me on several occasions, however. Like in the first part of Dead Space 1 when you're going down the elevator and a Slasher is charging at you as the doors open... I had just finished playing Mass Effect 1 and the long elevator rides had made me complacent. There was also later in the story when you run into Twitchers.

In Dead Space 2 I was only startled when I thought I'd killed everything in a room and then the arm of a slasher appeared over my shoulder.

But startle isn't really the same thing... A friend of mine can't finish the game because she finds it so scary but I really can't see why.

Ohh, I downloaded Amnesia: The Dark Descent... I should play once I figure out how many functions I have to assign to the keyboard...

Just learn a few keys for the menus and the rest is handled with your mouse. It's not overly complex.

On topic, did they include XBLA titles here? I think there are a few more horror games there. That said, I use a PS3 and a PC, so I can't be a good judge.

Although I think some of the psychopaths in DR2 were pretty scary in a subtle way.

EDIT: 30 minutes is not enough to take in enough of a game to get you into the horror mindset.

...Amnesia is either an exception or a LOT more terrifying than I've been able to experience. I'm tense after 5 minutes, if that.

That's an extremely small sample size! No reputable journal would publish a study like that. One person could skew the results so far. This study is a bit more in depth and probably expensive than others, so you wouldn't need as many people as you would for more correlational research (Surveys, Questionnaires). But you'd still need to study at least 100 people and probably more than that.

As for the scariness of Dead Space...I can't say. But I'd probably have trouble playing it, as I don't handle horror well at all. Dead Rising scared me. The Re-Dead in Zelda games scare me. I steer clear of the genre.

Who the hell considered RE5 a freaking horror game?!
You know what, just to be an ass, I'm going to bitch about these games being called horror games.

Alan Wake - Could have worked. Was actually really atmospheric. But after a while you know that scary things only happen when the scary music plays. Which leads to you knowing when scary things will happen, which doesn't make them scary.

Dead Space 2 - HA! It relies on the "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ALL THE DEAD AND DECAYING STUFF! SEE HOW SCARY I AM! LOOK AT ME!" type of horror. Which isn't that good. At best its startling, at worst its any other action game.

Condemned: Criminal Origins - Ok, this game is actually scary. As was the second, before the plot went all WTF on you.

Resident Evil 5 - Who the hell considers Resident Evil games horror games anymore? I mean really.

These people would probably crap themselves if they tried playing Amnesia. Maybe even get a heart attack.

They chose some fairly ropey games to test on... DS1 was scarier.

So it's actually the scariest of the four games chosen, and not the scariest game on the XBox. You can't assert is the absolute scariest unless you compare against every other game for the XBox. This is like saying PB&J is the most delicious food in the world because out of the choices of Bologna, PB&J, Ham, and Macaroni, more people preferred the peanut-buttery goodness. Which is fallacious at best.

But more to the point: No. Dead Space 2 is not scary. At all. Not even a little. I have fallen asleep to the sound of DS2 more times than I care to count (true story).

I didn't find Dead Space 2 'scary' but it was stressful. That's probably what these guys are picking up with the frustration and suchlike. Theres a difference between getting 'chills up your spine' scared and something going ''BLARGLEBLARGLE'' in your face and you flailing ineffectually.

Too bad those games were all crap, and the only reason Dead Space 2 was scary was because it had unfamiliar things jumping out from the same vent fifty times, saying "boo".
Amnesia, though, was amazing.

Dead Space 2 is more like an action game then a horror one. But it's a good action game at that ^^ Can't see how it's more frightening then Condemned though...

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