Fear and Loathing in the Dark Descent

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#51 Posted by AuthenticM (3732 posts) -

I finished the game yesterday night. Fuck.

#52 Posted by Rmack (1078 posts) -

Since Patrick is getting personal, I guess I'll indulge a bit. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder at a very young age. As I got older and more and more able to handle it, I found something oddly missing in my life. Some addictions later, I realized I missed being so completely afraid that I had to sort of puzzle my way out of it. The feeling of accomplishment was so much greater than anything else. I don't have those addictions anymore, and I'm on the right set of meds to keep my anxiety at bay, but I STILL think I do my best work completely terrified. It's probably why I love writing about places that have the biggest crowds or largest spectacles going on--while I don't full on have panic attacks at the sight of that stuff anymore, it still gets to me a little.

Oddly enough, games never scare me. Being in control makes me less afraid. Going into a movie where I can't brace myself, though? Still gets to me.

#53 Posted by kerse (2114 posts) -

I just bought Amnesia during the sale, waiting for the perfect time to play it (when I don't fall asleep at 8pm before its fully dark outside lol).

#54 Posted by gaminghooligan (1447 posts) -

@Mr_Skeleton: Thief and Vampire: The Masquerade both had great horror segments that tend to get overlooked way to often

#55 Posted by HarrySound (234 posts) -

Nocturne on the PC in the early 2000s??

Now that nearly made me have a heart attack and I was only like 20 back then.

#56 Posted by Terjay (813 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

@Terjay said:

The Blair Witch Project is a goddamn piece of shit. I really loved the well made fake-documentary about it though.

The one that aired on The Sci-Fi Channel? I love(d) that thing.

I can't say for sure because we don't have Sci-Fi in Finland, but it was a "real" documentary about the missing kids and the Blair Witch myth. I guess it was part of the marketing.

#57 Posted by Maffers80 (9 posts) -

@damnable_fiend said:

@Jimbo_N said:

That makes Amnesia the only game I've seen played the whole way through 3 times without actually touching myself at all.

I honestly had to read this over three times in my head before I realized what you actually meant, rather than thinking that you must be some sort of bizarre pervert. I think I've been exposed to too much of the internet :/

This

#58 Posted by Rox360 (1060 posts) -
@patrickklepek said:

@ripelivejam said:

Blair Witch is probably my favorite horror film, still so effective. never understood the backlash it received, the pacing and atmosphere are pitch perfect, and watching it for the first time with two other friends in the same room i was still left on edge. guess the kids prefer their torture porn, sped-up camera zooms, and nu-metal riffs nowadays.

The backlash was three-fold. One, unbelievable hype--this was the scariest film since The Exorcist, remember? Two, one type of scare doesn't work on everyone, and you could argue the characters were kind of annoying (I thought they did a great job). Three, the shaky cam stuff doesn't sit right with some.

I bet some people also hate it just because it was made on a budget of two shoestrings and a pine cone and made gazillions of dollars in profits.
#59 Posted by Cramsy (1168 posts) -

Great read Scoops

#60 Posted by Beatle (5 posts) -

My dad was the film teacher of the students who made blair witch. They practiced filming in our back yard haha. My dad still talks to them every now and then.

#61 Posted by Scrawnto (2450 posts) -

Even when I was a kid, I could watch horror movies with no problems. They've never made me more tense than the awkward moments in a show like The Office.

Video games are another story. I played a few seconds of DOOM when I was five or six before I couldn't play anymore. Even when I played Might & Magic VI, there was a castle I couldn't clear out because I could hear the orcs before I could see them. I rented the first Resident Evil and had to put it down when I saw the first Zombie. I stopped playing the Half-Life demo as soon as I hit the first dark room. I was so incredibly susceptible to horror in games. I've gotten better, though. I finished Half-Life 2 with only a couple girlish shrieks while I traversed Ravenholm. I managed to finish Dead Space and most of Dead Space 2. I still won't go near Amnesia, though. I watched play through it, and that was plenty for me.

#62 Posted by crusader8463 (14422 posts) -

Friend and I played that Slenderman game the other day on a whim, and he literally came close to shitting his pants. He actually started screaming and crying like in that linked video when he got attacked. I thought it was pretty dam funny hearing him over skype. Game didn't do much of anything to me, I got the chills a few times, but never screaming like that.

#63 Posted by Jayzilla (2562 posts) -

So awesome. I went to a screening of Blair Witch Project in San Diego before it came out and they told us it was found footage that they pieced together. That movie scared the crap out of me because I thought it was real for a few months. Then it got famous and I found out it was fake and I felt totally stupid.

#64 Posted by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -

I tried playing Amnesia, it made me get a major headache from motion sickness. All of those blur effects coupled with a highly sensitive mouse don't go very well together.

I played it for an hour and couldn't take any more. Not from the horror, since it wasn't very scary yet... but simply because that camera was so god damn headache inducing.

#65 Posted by Karkarov (3102 posts) -

Uh I don't know I had fun playing it. Dark Souls is a better example of a game that is not "fun". You play it for the challenge and the reward of gratification when you do in fact win. Amnesia could be all sorts of funny though, like throwing boxes at the monsters, trying to crush a roach with a chair, accidentally hitting Agrippa with a saw you were carrying. Good times.

#66 Posted by bybeach (4832 posts) -

It's an odd association..but the loneliness of Half Life is what I saw an echo of in Amnesia. I truly enjoyed Amnesia, and am grateful Patrick and Vinny kept going on about it. It took around 3 tries to really get interest going, but third was gold. Except for a couple of things I encountered( one avoided perhaps if I truly understood the mechanic). What a solid game, the graphics, the atmosphere, the situations one found them self in. That one monster I suspect was female at one time....never forget that weird trill it emitted.

#67 Posted by Strife777 (1581 posts) -

Fantastic writing as always. Good job.

I wish I liked horror games more. I can play stuff like Dead Space, but I doubt I could ever play Amnesia entirely from what I hear about it.

#68 Posted by Ben_H (3361 posts) -

The Blair Witch Project is the only movie that has ever scared me. I watched it at a birthday party sleep over when I was 13. We had already watched a few other horror movies that everyone joked their way through but when Blair Witch came on, everyone went silent and watched. I could tell almost everyone was truly scared. We ended up staying up all night playing Halo:CE because no one could sleep.

#69 Posted by Ghost_Cat (1439 posts) -

I have never seen the Blair Witch Project, but I understand what you are talking about. This was a fantastic article, and great writing Patrick. I think you have nailed on what is the strange sensation to play a real horror game.

#70 Posted by SlashDance (1815 posts) -

You know what scares the shit out of me in games ? The concept of endless fall. I remember chills running down my spine every time I fell of the map in Kula World. Still today I tend to freak out when I'm next to some kind of bottomless pit in a game.

That dream sequence in the first Max Payne where you had to jump on the trails of blood (or whatever it was) was pretty unnerving, too.

I'm not even afraid of heights in real life, but that shit scares me more than any monster.

#71 Posted by gaminghooligan (1447 posts) -

@SlashDance: That trail of blood sequence was chilling for sure...

#72 Edited by Owlright (117 posts) -

I kind of disagree with this argument that agency in making the horror happen in a video game is worse than the passiveness of watching a movie. It isn't for me anyway. Horror movies scare me because I can't make it stop. It's going to happen anyway. That monster is going to kill that person or that alien is going to pull that guy's head off whether I want it to or not. With a video game I'm safe in the knowledge that if I just let it idle, if I retreat down paths of map already tread, the story won't progress. I can have a breather. I can totally fuck up the tension and pacing. I can make it stop at any time. I am the director of the action, not a victim. None of the horrors happen without me allowing them to, just to see what they are.

I guess you could say that you could control a movie the same way with a remote, but it's still different because the movie doesn't encourage you to control it the way a video game does. Although that is part of why I like to watch them in theaters. I have no choice but to sit there and be terrified.

I get the argument, but that's not the reality for myself.

Either way, great read, Patrick. I myself am quite looking forward to Machine for Pigs. I'm hoping that that one will scare me.

#73 Posted by BSw (252 posts) -

@Jimbo_N said:

Funny timing. I was just rewarching Day[9]'s playthrough of this beast. That makes Amnesia the only game I've seen played the whole way through 3 times without actually touching myself at all. Wouldnt surpríse me if Machine for Pigs would end up the same way.

Amnesia is a game I love, but not because I have played it.

Same here. I watched a playthrough by TheRadBrad. Originally because I couldn't run it on my laptop (I tried, but this thing is not made for games), but part of me is very glad I didn't have to play it myself. Slender does work on my laptop, but I switched that off within two minutes or so. Let's see if I can build up the courage to double-click that exe-file again..

#74 Posted by Tesla (1923 posts) -

@SlashDance said:

You know what scares the shit out of me in games ? The concept of endless fall. I remember chills running down my spine every time I fell of the map in Kula World. Still today I tend to freak out when I'm next to some kind of bottomless pit in a game.

That dream sequence in the first Max Payne where you had to jump on the trails of blood (or whatever it was) was pretty unnerving, too.

I'm not even afraid of heights in real life, but that shit scares me more than any monster.

I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I accidentally jump off a building in Assassin's Creed games.

#75 Edited by happymeowmeow (205 posts) -

I agree that horror, in video games AND movies, can be used to make a profound connection with the viewer/player. It's probably a natural part of the human condition to be horrified by the world around us, and at our own inner worlds. We see our own fears reflected in these movies and videogames, and it's probably better that it's not a direct reflection. Who wants to be straight up confronted with all the horror and pain in the world? Filtered by fiction (interactive or not), it's turned into entertainment. Maybe storytelling has always filled that role.

On reflection I think there is a case for horror working in multiplayer, and that's when other humans are forced to actually BE the source of the fear. Two examples: the mod for ARMA2, DayZ, and the multiplayer aspect of the games Dark Souls and Demon Souls. In both you are in an extremely hostile world, and on top of that constantly under the threat of being ambushed and murdered by your fellow human beings, just because they can and it's fun. I mean, that's really what we have to fear most in the real world, right? Us?

#76 Posted by beepmachine (618 posts) -

I've never seen The Blair Witch Project, but I saw "It" when I was like 7 and couldn't sleep for months afterward, and developed a fear/hatred of clowns.

#77 Posted by stryker1121 (1452 posts) -

Is this article spoiler-y? I want to read but I'm playing thru the game right now and don't want to ruin the story. That said, I'm trying to get into the spirit of the game as intended, lights out, headphones in. I play for about 20-30 minutes at a time tops. It's such a relief finding a light source, and I'm still early enough in the game where I haven't encountered any monsters yet.

#78 Posted by patrickklepek (4623 posts) -

@stryker1121 said:

Is this article spoiler-y? I want to read but I'm playing thru the game right now and don't want to ruin the story. That said, I'm trying to get into the spirit of the game as intended, lights out, headphones in. I play for about 20-30 minutes at a time tops. It's such a relief finding a light source, and I'm still early enough in the game where I haven't encountered any monsters yet.

Only milld spoilers, but nothing that'll change your experience.

Staff
#79 Posted by Eddie_and_the_Fist_Monkeys (81 posts) -

@fox01313: Thanks for that quote and the films list, I think i'll be checking those out.

A good horror to me is like a good upbringing; a child might misbehave, another child will behave when his/her parents are there and misbehave when they're not, but the well behaved child will always behave as they care about how they behave unto themselves and what their parents would think should they be bold. A good piece of horror will creep into your mind when you are alone and all is calm. When the lights are on but they need to be turned off, it stays with you and becomes apart of you far longer than it has any right to. I love how we're getting more and more horror on this site even if it is just the daily musings of Patrick and some Duders.

#80 Posted by dragonboss (40 posts) -

The Blair Witch Project scared me in broad daylight, but of course, that was when I thought it was a movie adapation of a real thing and not just one of the best viral marketing campains ever. As for the Dark Descent, unfortunately it does not work for me at the moment, which I will immediately look into after this post.

#81 Edited by yellownumber5 (364 posts) -

Blair witch didn't scare me at all. I was so annoyed that they were arguing over the stupid map, that I was glad they got lost and killed. Fucking idiots.

Patrick has a point. I remembering playing Doom back in the day for the same reason. But I got desensitized. It took all the he way to modern times with things like the first Dead Space for a game to scare me again. I'd love to see these games Patrick has been writing about, but my laptop doesn't do 3d games.

#82 Edited by SpaceJamLunchbox (127 posts) -

Excellent work, Patrick! I'd been looking forward to this article for weeks, and you didn't disappoint!

#83 Posted by Christoffer (1823 posts) -

The reason I'm scared playing Amnesia is the thought of not feeling anything. I have a terrible habit of debunking a game into numbers, triggers, vision cones and other exploitable coding flaws, in my head. The last game that made me feel tense was a haunted house moment in Vampire: the Masquerade.

But yeah, I'm well aware I'm acting tough now and that I should shut up until I play Amnesia.

#84 Posted by Hazelnuttz (97 posts) -

It was only in the past couple years that I was able to muster the courage to watch The Blair Witch Project. Scary as shiznit!

#85 Posted by gaminghooligan (1447 posts) -

@Christoffer said:

The reason I'm scared playing Amnesia is the thought of not feeling anything. I have a terrible habit of debunking a game into numbers, triggers, vision cones and other exploitable coding flaws, in my head. The last game that made me feel tense was a haunted house moment in Vampire: the Masquerade.

But yeah, I'm well aware I'm acting tough now and that I should shut up until I play Amnesia.

the bedroom on the second floor. scariest shit at the time

#86 Posted by Humanity (9269 posts) -

I think the fact that you can't fight back and there literally is not a combat option eliminates the fright from the game for me. If I know that there is only one way out it's not really scary anymore, I have to hide or I'll die thats it. In other games where the possibility of fighting is an option but it would be a really tough fight - like the awesomely scary undead levels from Thief Deadly Shadows - I think that makes it even scarier. Thief especially since there is no linear path. You get dumped in a location like a for instance a burned down orphanage, and you have to sneak around past awful, awful, terrifying things that spark and moan and... well you have to sneak past some awful stuff and you CAN fight them but you're in very short supply of items that can deal damage to these things. Add the fact that you have to crawl around this area, looking for your quest item without an indication of where it might be, while those monstrosities meander about the halls.. now thats scary.

#87 Posted by Cthulad (49 posts) -

Great article. I won't play Amnesia as it is not my cup of tea, but it sounds great. I have watched others play through the game, and it was a little boring watching. Maybe one day I will play this game. As far as Blair Witch goes it was scary, but I was older when I saw it (20+), and it was a movie I could not cope with all the way through with the shaky cam. Sure scary, and great ending, but still not my cup of tea.

#88 Posted by Xymox (2088 posts) -

Great read. :) Would be nice to see some more stuff like this in this slow week of new releases.

#89 Posted by Bakumatsu (355 posts) -

Patrick I'm 100% with you on the Blair Witch thing. I was 15 back then and watched the movie with a friend. I also thought that movie was real. For 2 weeks I couldn't sleep well, always thinking about that final scene. It was such a relief discovering that the movie was just a student project. But even today, when I think on Mike standing against the wall, my heart still skips a beat and I get all nervous and sweting. Why is that? I know it was just a movie and I'm almost 30 now and I still have problems thinking on that scene. That fucking final scene. Man fuck Blair Witch.

#90 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4605 posts) -

@Christoffer said:

The reason I'm scared playing Amnesia is the thought of not feeling anything. I have a terrible habit of debunking a game into numbers, triggers, vision cones and other exploitable coding flaws, in my head. The last game that made me feel tense was a haunted house moment in Vampire: the Masquerade.

But yeah, I'm well aware I'm acting tough now and that I should shut up until I play Amnesia.

I think Amnesia does a fairly good job of not giving you any exploits to... exploit. Still, The first real 'encounter' I had in Amnesia was such a bizarre anti-climax that I almost laughed out loud; essentially there was this weird moment where neither of us seemed to know what to do, now that we stood face to face, and I simply juked around this... thing standing in a doorway and ran away. I don't think he even chased me.

That was fairly early in the game. Everything before and after that was still scary, mostly because you never really know what's going on. It's hard to exploit, because the rules are vague enough you're never entirely sure what the actual game logic is - essentially making you question the reality of your situation just as much as the protagonist.

#91 Edited by Draxyle (1855 posts) -

“What the fuck am I doing? This isn’t fun. No one is forcing me to do this.”

Yup, that about sums up my experience as well. It took me weeks to complete this game by pure force of will. I could only play for a half-hour at a time at most before I became too shell-shocked. The game is almost too good at what it does, to the point that it's an unpleasant experience overall, and that's what makes it great.

I'm definitely glad I played it; no other experience quite like it. Horror is the one genre that completely changes when put in videogame format I would completely agree.

#92 Posted by Gordo789 (358 posts) -

Playing the penumbra series right now and even that has got me pretty stressed out. I'm worried that I won't make it to Amnesia, but I'm going to try. The last time I remember being really spooked in a game was during the 1st condemned game: once in the department store where the mannequins start arranging themselves on their own around you (FUCK THAT GAME) and another time in locker room when nothing at all is really happening except the most horrible sound (FUCK THAT GAME).

#93 Posted by Brodehouse (9951 posts) -

It only awoke that old Resident Evil sense of "you're going to die anyway, don't bother being careful, just figure out where the danger is coming from and come prepared the second time". Failure is the problem with all horror games. Either you just restart and failure is merely a time sink, or you lose that character and this increases the likelihood of Bullshit. "What? How could I even-? What a bunch of Bullshit."

I've discovered recently that what I like about horror is the subject matter more than the actual sensation of being horrified. I like stories about ghosts, insanity, malign forces and eldritch monstrosities. But I don't necessarily like having my heart in my throat. I guess I prefer having an intellectual relationship with horror more than a physical; probably why I enjoy Lovecraft as much as I do. Reading a Lovecraft story features the narrator losing his mind, but you don't lose your mind reading it.

#94 Posted by Christoffer (1823 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg said:

@Christoffer said:

The reason I'm scared playing Amnesia is the thought of not feeling anything. I have a terrible habit of debunking a game into numbers, triggers, vision cones and other exploitable coding flaws, in my head. The last game that made me feel tense was a haunted house moment in Vampire: the Masquerade.

But yeah, I'm well aware I'm acting tough now and that I should shut up until I play Amnesia.

I think Amnesia does a fairly good job of not giving you any exploits to... exploit. Still, The first real 'encounter' I had in Amnesia was such a bizarre anti-climax that I almost laughed out loud; essentially there was this weird moment where neither of us seemed to know what to do, now that we stood face to face, and I simply juked around this... thing standing in a doorway and ran away. I don't think he even chased me.

That was fairly early in the game. Everything before and after that was still scary, mostly because you never really know what's going on. It's hard to exploit, because the rules are vague enough you're never entirely sure what the actual game logic is - essentially making you question the reality of your situation just as much as the protagonist.

That's good to hear. I guess some games manage to be vague enough to not be exploitable and I hope Amnesia is one of those.

I actually bought Amnesia in the Steam summer sales. So I have no excuse not to play it.

#95 Posted by shellbelle2 (13 posts) -

GREAT article! I'm addicted to fear as well, or at least the rush gets me every time. Big fan of horror games. Wish they would make more of them even though I know its a niche crowd.

#96 Posted by joshth (505 posts) -

I've never understood people who love the horror genre. To me it was like getting enjoyment out of hurting yourself. But I think now I understand a little better why some people love it so much.

#97 Posted by metalsnakezero (2297 posts) -

There is also people who play these games that aren't really afraid but are very brave and like the tense atmosphere of the game. It the same reason Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are popular is because of the tension. You should go back and play Dark Souls again Patrick if you look at it from angle.

#98 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1093 posts) -

You asshole!

When I saw you link to Communion, I instinctively knew what clip it would be. I saw part of the movie when I was a kid, and that scene you linked is the reason I never saw the whole movie. Every once and a while I STILL sit up in bed in the darkness and imagine what that would be like if it was happening at my bedroom door.

#99 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3782 posts) -

I've never seen Communion, but the scene from Signs at the Mexican kid's birthday party is similarly terrifying.

#100 Posted by bixwill (2 posts) -

Awesome article Patrick!

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