That Scare Factor…?

When I was a little girl I played Resident Evil for the first time. Well, I say ‘played’ – I meant I had my nose stuck in a guide book 90% of the time so that it could tell me what horrible thing lurked behind the next door. I was basically cheating but I didn’t care. I was scared. When I was a little older, I had thrown away all the guide books and magazine walkthoughs and was shuffling my way through Silent Hill. I had a love/hate relationship with those games for years. The first, second and third Silent Hill games were the most uncomfortable, stress-inducing and horrible games to play, but I played them, and I played them again. It’s so odd.

Is it looking at me?
Is it looking at me?

Survival Horror games used to be about just that. Survival. Most of the time it will be about an average person who has been caught in an extraordinary position, like say, the dead being not quite dead, or the protagonist choosing a rather unfortunate place to go on holiday that year.

But fast forward to 2009, and the Resi games are all about muscle, steroids and hot babes. I’m not complaining about the last two games. In fact, I rather enjoyed them. But I would like to know which gym Leon and Chris have been going to, because they certainly weren’t capable of gracefully dodging lasers and beating up rocks in the first few games. Okay, so maybe Chris has always been a bit ‘ard, but Leon… hmmm, I’m not so sure. The thing is, as enjoyable and cool as these games have become, they are not scary in the slightest. And while I embrace change, and understand that some things have to evolve, I would like to see more horror games. In the Xbox 360 world of readily available guns and endless bullets, I would like to see a quieter, eerier game that psychologically knocks you about a bit.

But wait! Surely there are newer titles to take the Survival Horror crown?

Well, we have Left 4 Dead, the Condemned games, certain sections of F.E.A.R. I guess, the brilliant Dead Space and, at a stretch, Alone In The Dark. We also have the upcoming title Alan Wake (if it ever gets released), but I’ll reserve judgement for when I finally get to play it. Silent Hill: Homecoming could have been great but it was ruined by the worst control system in the world (thus making bosses that should have been easy as pie a lot harder to beat). Maybe I just want to be spoilt but I want more! I would like to feel the way I did when that dog suddenly burst through the window, or when the Tyrant came crashing through the wall. I want to amble through a quiet, almost black corridor, wondering if the distant sound I heard was a prelude to impending terror.

Horror films these days don’t seem to work. They seem to rely on make-you-jump tactics only and that’s why most of them aren’t very good.  But these tactics, although they shouldn’t be used alone, seem to work in games because you are the person in danger and it’s your life at stake! …ish.

If I stay really still he won't notice me..
If I stand really still, maybe it'll go away.







16 responses to “That Scare Factor…?”

  1. Mark avatar

    Hi Joanne, welcome to RU!

    I’m probably the most easily scared writer here, I absolutely love the atmosphere, story and ideas of Dead Space, but I get sooo nervy playing it, I’ve taken about 8 months to get to chapter 6!

  2. Kat avatar

    I’m afraid I’m too much of a wuss for horror games. L4D is the closest I’ve gotten and even then a rogue Hunter still makes me yelp >.< Welcome to Ready Up Joanne 🙂 Oh! And kudos on the cute wickle pink bunny! <3

  3. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    Hello Joanne.

    I’m fine with Resi becoming less scary, there was a time where I liked the adrenaline of being scared, but not I’m a big wuss. Although, some games you get used to the way the game scares you and it stops effecting you before the end of the game.

    I like the Resi games, I like Dead Space, but I lost all interest in Silent Hill after the third game.

    And don’t you know… Alan Wake is coming soon.. there said so.. so it must be true, right?

  4. MrCuddleswick avatar

    Hi Joanne!

    You made me do a lol with your bunny picture caption.

    My feelings are roughly the same as yours regarding the latest Resi games.

    Dead Space provided one of the only genuine chills I’ve had from games in the last few years – the very final cutscene at the end of the game.

    Bioshock did unsettle me in a few places, most notably the big twist. Rocked me world and made me feel all insecure.

  5. Kirsten avatar

    No way Mark, you can’t be a bigger shitebag than Simes! He’s the worst scaredy cat ever! Although come to think of it Dan’s a big girl’s blouse too. You shoulda seen him playing Condemned!

    The answer is easy. Play with the sound off and these games hold no fear. Whenever I get to stressed I just turn it down a bit and I’m fine again.

  6. Celeste avatar

    Definitely Kirsten; volume off, lights on, and preferably mum in room.

    But I’m hard, I don’t need to do any of that stuff. I’ve just heard it works. My friend told me…

    Nice post Joanne, welcome to Ready Up!

  7. Leon avatar

    I definitely agree with this, and although Resi 4 and 5 were good games in their own right, they did leave behind the horror aspect which was a shame since they were one of the few series to do it well. I think one of the biggest factors in horror games is having a protagonist that feels pretty much defenceless, which obviously is a tad spoiled with a ton of ammo and a ton of steroids.

    I want to see more horror games too!

    By the way, if you havent played it, Haunting Ground on the PS2 is worth playing, its more in the vein of an old Resi game.

  8. James avatar

    Mmm, tasty, satisfying survival horror: the genre of kings. Kings smeared with the blood of the damned and haunted by the whispers of torture victims, but royalty nonetheless.

    Welcome to RU!

  9. Darach avatar

    And I still have Dead Space to play too! 😀
    *runs and hides*

    *peeks out* If you like terrifying games, have you played Peggle yet?
    Oh, the nightmares >.<

    Welcome to our show, Joanne 😉

  10. Duncan avatar

    I consider myself pretty wimpish (just to throw my name into the hat for RU’s “Biggest Pansy Award”).

    I still haven’t completed Bioshock because a few hours into the game I just got too scared of the dark corners where I just knew there was a splicer waiting for me!

    Oh, and I still haven’t gathered the courage to try Alone In The Dark. 🙂

    P.s. Hey Joanne, welcome on board! Great start” *Thumbs up*

  11. Jake avatar

    I love a good crap myself moment in games, if I think there’s something coming that will result in a bout of brown trousers then I tend to slow down, fully expecting it, and still jump like a loon.

    Nice first post, Joanne. Welcome to the madhouse 🙂

  12. Sarah-Lou avatar

    Hey Jo! awesome first post

    I too am a woose when it comes to horror games…the closest i got to playing a part of one was having a go of Shadow Man on the Dreamcast…I only lasted 5mintues tho.

    I am now trying to broaden my scare horizons and am thinking of gettn Dead Space. Wish me luck!

    p.s. welcome to RU my fello no0be! 😀

  13. Del Torro El Sorrow avatar
    Del Torro El Sorrow

    Dead Space isn’t scary!

    Or even good!

  14. Del Torro El Sorrow avatar
    Del Torro El Sorrow

    Welcome to R-U by the way 🙂

  15. Lorna avatar

    Great first post! I’m looking forwards to the scares in Dad Space, although part of me knows that I will probably end up whimpering and switching the controller off. I think I managed a pathetic few minutes playing Resi for the gameCube before chickening out 🙁 😀

  16. Joanne avatar

    Thank you for all the posts 🙂
    Sorry for the late reply I have been lacking a keyboard for the last week.. but all is back to normal now 😀

    And thank you Leon I’ll nose about for that game!

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