Wearing Brown Trousers

It may be the dawn of 2009, a bold and new year, no doubt to be filled with gaming goodness, but I’m still living slightly in the past, playing Dead Space. Now, I have no doubt that there are many people out there that finished this game in a weekend, but for me it’s taking a little longer.

The problem is that I am a very jumpy person. Not to say that I find things scarier than other people necessarily, but I have a tendency to quite literally jump out of my chair when an unexpected loud noise occurs. I was walking back from the supermarket along the canal path less than an hour ago, mulling over what exactly I was going to write here, when a wood pigeon shot out of a tree right next to my head. I very nearly fell into the canal with surprise.

So, with that in mind, you can see the issue I have with Dead Space, right?

Dead Space

I’m loving the game. The graphics are great, the sound is fantastically atmospheric through my surround sound system, but it’s just such hard work to play. I’ve so far never managed to play more than a single chapter through at once. I’m exhausted after an hour of sphincter-tightening nervousness at the thought of yet another thing making me jump. Jump isn’t really the word for it, though – spasm is closer. I have this image of my fiancée coming home to find me lying on the floor, all floppy and limp where my torso has leapt right off of the top of my lower half after a particularly surprising alien attack or other random loud noise.

The worst parts are where the game breaks all the rules of similar games. After eight aliens have attacked you all at once, you relax. Then one more sneaks up and nearly causes the sort of accident that requires the brown trousers mentioned in the title. You’re upgrading a weapon at the weapons bench in your “safe zone” with the save point and the store, you finish, turn round and one of them is practically getting intimate with you. What the hell? This is the safe zone, EA! The one place I thought I could relax!


The funny thing is, although the aliens do look quite incredibly scary and unpleasant, they probably could have saved a lot on character design and had the same effect on me by making a game where every fifteen seconds to fifteen minutes, a very loud bang sounds and a flag pops up that says “Bang!”. Turns out I’m about as scared of aliens as I am of party poppers.

Let’s just hope, for my sake, that if we ever do get invaded by hordes of aliens, they’ll kill us all with nice quiet laser beams and no loud unexpected bangs.







18 responses to “Wearing Brown Trousers”

  1. Lorna avatar

    I sympathise entirely. I also jump at little things…I remember chickening out of Aliens Vs Predator years ago when my shaky marine rounded the first corner and saw an Alien streaking over the walls in the distance…then the motion tracker started….possibly the most terrifying invention ever. I couldn’t exit quit enough, disgusting coward that I am 🙁

  2. Garvaos avatar

    I was the same with doom 3 when it first came out and i playedit on th original Xbox. I played the dead space demo and i almost cracked my cealing :p. Bioshock had the same effect on me too but i still can’t get enough of that game.

  3. Michael avatar

    Oh God yes, I just go through the whole game with my weapon – I’m stubbornly sticking with the Plasma Cutter, which can make things really difficult sometimes – ready; I do this both for a light source and to make sure none of the buggers get near me! I hate those tiny ones the most…

    At times, the sound seems to be right out of Resident Evil 4. Anyone else get that?

    Halloween must be a complete nightmare for you, Tony. And also funfairs. Maybe

  4. Duncan Aird avatar
    Duncan Aird

    F.E.A.R. is my ultimate ‘hit the D7 note’ game for me. The game as a whole just scares the hell out of me so even the slightest non-loud noise gets me.

    That Alma knows how to push my buttons…

  5. Tony avatar

    It’s an affliction, I tell you.

    The other day my partner knocked something over in the kitchen and I jumped so hard I very nearly threw my (brand new at Christmas) PSP across the room!

  6. blagmasterg avatar

    I cannot really relate to this in general, as I tend to be fairly immune to ‘jumpy scares’. That said I don’t tend to play much survival horror either (more cuz its not really my bag than beause it scares me.)

    However, I CAN relate to this kind of thing, from my tense nights playing Half Life at uni with a pair of headphones in the dark. The way that sound was used in that game was genius and I think mostly underappreciated. I think its mainly because of how revolutionary the game was at the time – up to that point the only FPS’s I had played were Doom, Quake and Duke Nukem 3D -basically run around gun stuff down and move on. Half Life was vastly more complex, more involved and consequently more affecting. I started out dying a lot due tomy previous experience making me run around trying to gun stuff down. Then I learned, and soon I was listening out at every junction and doorway for the telltale gribbly sounds of aliens, the feedback and chat from Marine radios and a myriad other sounds that delivered into my stereo headphones and scared the crap out of me. I swear that for weeks afterwards I heard those sounds in my sleep, as I dreamed my way through the corridors of Black Mesa clutching my crowbar and praying for deliverance.

    I guess its all down to what you’re prepared to immerse yourself in – survival horror doesn’t ‘do it’ for me generally because I find it difficult to immerse in something that doesn’t really grab me, but Black Mesa was a second home to me through uni, and for a while I lived and breathed those corridors. In fact I ma have to fie it up again i a minute and remind myself of its majesty!

  7. Tony avatar

    Sound is a huge part of games. I got surround sound for watching DVDs with, mainly, but it’s so awesome in games.

    The amount of people that spend a fortune on a huge flat-screen TV and then put the sound through the crappy speakers built into it amazes me…

  8. Jonathan Grier avatar
    Jonathan Grier

    I am fed up of people saying Dead Space is scary, it is not!!!

  9. Duncan Aird avatar
    Duncan Aird

    Not to be pedantic, but he only ever said it was jumpy. Never scary. 😉

  10. Lorna avatar

    One person’s scary is another’s hilarity…I get fed up of people saying that Billie Piper is an actress…

  11. Michael avatar

    Yeah, c’mon now, she’s a singer!

  12. Andy avatar

    Dead Space starts out looking like a good game with some nice ideas, but quickly decends in to a generic FPS which does become a little dull once you’ve played it for a while.

    And no, it’s not scary. Doom 3 was however and F.E.A.R also had it’s fair share of pant-wetting moments!

  13. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    I will be starting Dead Space this weekend. I’ll have the lights out but a duvet will be near by should I need to hide. Heard many people say positive things about this game, so looking forward to it.

  14. Jonathan Grier avatar
    Jonathan Grier

    I’m with you Andy, except from on Dead Space being an FPS.

  15. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    Did Tony just create the Ready-Up.met cartoom strip?

  16.  avatar

    I hate scary games. I’m a complete wuss when it comes to things of this ilk. Ever since those Cerberus dogs in the original Resident Evil, I just can’t play Survival Horror.

    Although I do love Left 4 Dead with a passion, but then that’s just an FPS on crack. With Zombies.

  17. Tony avatar

    Hey, Rook.

    I did create the first ever Ready Up comic strip, but it wasn’t that one!


  18. Andy Turner avatar
    Andy Turner

    You really have to give the makers of Dead space credit for putting together a fairly intense experience (I too especially hate that little killer snot ones) and their huge fat moms…rather than becoming a nervous wreck however the nerve shredding intense action seemed to turn me into a sociopathic monster (I hasten to add this is limited to the in game universe before the daily mail have me committed and video games banned.)

    During one late night voyage through the Ishamura my flat mate eventually pointed out that the twitching dismembered, decapitated lump of meat that I’d spent the last two minutes stomping on was unlikely to come back and get me the second I turned my back on it…then I turned a corner something nasty dived out of an air vent and we started the process all over again….Can’t wait for resident evil 5 where headshots start being the way to go again. (Unless it’s like 4 and about halfway through that just pisses them off.)

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