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Fear and Loathing in the Dark Descent

The joy and sorrow of having a love-hate relationship with fear, and the consequences of believing The Blair Witch Project was real when you were 14.

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

That’s a more or less verbatim quote while playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It was 1:00 a.m. on a weekday, and besides my slumbering dog, no one was in the apartment. I was shouting at myself, and loudly, vainly hoping to verbally deconstruct this torture I was putting myself through. After weeks of reflection, it’s still true. I can’t say any of the five or so hours I spent sneaking, hiding, sweating, and fidgeting would fall under the traditional definition of “fun.”

Amnesia is not a “fun” game. It is, however, addicting in the same way a roller coaster ride is.

Rewind to earlier this summer. In the middle of June, it was time. My fiancee was on a business trip, 2012’s new releases had reduced to a trickle, and I’d frankly run out of good excuses. “Good evening, Amnesia,” I told Steam.

When a thing appears in Amnesia, there are no options but to run, hide, and pray for silence.

One glass of whiskey, two glasses of whiskey, three glas--no, wait, stop. Two is the sweet spot, was the sweet spot. Amnesia required a small dose of liquid courage to get the ball rolling, giving enough oopmh to push one over the edge, so that upon inevitable death, you don’t hover too long over the escape key and get any ideas.

For someone who prides themselves on being a horror fanatic, I had seemingly little reason for having not played Frictional Games’ terror, thought I felt like I had a good one: I was afraid of what lurked inside. I purchased Amnesia years ago, when it first was generating buzz, and bought it out of obligation. I had heard the stories, watched a sampling of screeching YouTube videos. Oh, the water level. Oh, the closet scene. Oh, hiding in the dark. Oh, oh, oh. Who would want to indulge in such madness?

In the summer of 1999, The Blair Witch Project was released. 14 years old at the time, The Blair Witch Project was also the first, best example of viral marketing--long before there was a name for it. The filmmakers and marketers were promoting the documentary-style horror film about three kids who head into the woods in search of documenting evidence of a local urban legend and never return, as though it was constructed from bonafide piece of discovered film. Then, so the story went, someone pieced together their journey for all of us to watch. It’s a preposterous concept, but one that plenty of people bought at the time, and as a 14-year-old, I totally ate it up.

(The old website is still creepy.)

I’ll never be able to erase the final image of The Blair Witch Project from my mind. The wall, the screaming, the back-and-forth editing between the two cameras, the delay between the audio and video on the black-and-white camera, and that idiot Mike with his back against the wall. Fuck. The way people spoke of Amnesia, I suspected it was to be my video game equivalent of The Blair Witch Project. It wasn’t long before I remembered how I spent the summer of 1999, waiting until the sun would start coming up before sleep came. The crunching of leaves and sticks by animals in the backyard reminded me of the tent scenes in The Blair Witch Project. I was not longing for a relapse.

Fear, I’ve come to realize, is one of my own addictions, one that acutely reminds me I’m alive. When the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up, when it takes me an hour to fall asleep because I’m convinced there could be, might be something in the corner of the room (I have this awful, creepy scene from Communion to thank), I deeply regret everything about this addiction. The moment the adrenaline passes, though, I remember the heightened sense of awareness, adrenaline--it’s enthralling. Knowing my fears helps inform the whats and whys of my own behavior.

One of the biggest realizations I’ve had since my father passed away three weeks ago was that I’d, in part, been using this addiction to make up for the lack of anything truly horrific having happened in my life, a way of filling in some perceived, misguided gap. I felt a need to counter a sense of guilt, and I turned to stories and experiences that got under my skin. Horror, whether through books, movies, or games, allowed me to repeatedly indulge this.

Scarier still was acknowledging this part of my relationship with fear was now gone. If I’d broken my contract with the addiction, would I no longer find interacting with fear to be any fun?

It took just 20 minutes with Justine, a short and free expansion to Amnesia released last year, to realize there was nothing to that theory. Though one of the reasons I became so interested in exploring my own fears through various mediums has disappeared, Amnesia’s hooks are just as psychologically damning as they once were weeks ago.

When the camera dropped, and the credits rolled, my heart was pounding like a jackhammer.

There’s a key difference between Amnesia, and all other horror media I’ve encountered: it should be played alone. Though it can be enjoyed with another person, you’re cheating yourself out of the intensity derived from the singular experience. Simply having another person in the room allows you to validate "oh, right, this is a video game," and those brief escapes from the reality of the virtual world are enough to create a regrettable rift in what's possible.

Then again, maybe you think it's crazy to submit yourself to that. I get it. Like I said, Amnesia isn't "fun." By transferring terror to another human being, it's made manageable. Having seen to the credits, I blame no one for the latter, and it’s why I’m somewhat sympathetic to Electronic Arts and its decisions behind Dead Space 3, despite my reservations about its impact on the design as a whole.

I’ve had this conversation with Ryan on the podcast before, but video game horror has the unique characteristic of forcing the individual to engage at a profoundly deep level. In a book, when you turn the page, the story progresses, the killer moves closer, the characters keep running. In a movie, you can bury your head in the pillow, cover your ears, and pretend nothing is happening. When you eventually return, the movie will have pressed on. Nothing happens in a horror game without your involvement, and Amnesia digs its heels in further by removing the power fantasy. When a creature appears, you have nothing but the darkness to keep you safe, and even that’s killing you.

Amnesia works because of what you can’t see. The moment you’re up close with one of the game’s Predator-esque monstrosities, the game loses something. It’s that moment in the water, when you’re being stalked by an invisible thing. It’s that moment when you’re searching through a brightly lit area (almost always a safe haven), a creature appears, you hide in a closet (again, "safe"), and you hear a thing break down the door and, I guess, huff around you. It’s close, close, closer, and you’re confronted with the reality that there’s nothing you can do but wait.

I didn’t watch The Blair Witch Project again until years later, unwilling to wager that I’d emotionally regress. Similarly, I don’t want to play Amnesia again, either, and I’m not especially upset A Machine for Pigs was delayed.

Sooner or later, though, the itch will return, and I’ll want to remember what all this felt like.

Sooner or later, I’ll want to feel that alive again.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek

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

That’s a more or less verbatim quote while playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It was 1:00 a.m. on a weekday, and besides my slumbering dog, no one was in the apartment. I was shouting at myself, and loudly, vainly hoping to verbally deconstruct this torture I was putting myself through. After weeks of reflection, it’s still true. I can’t say any of the five or so hours I spent sneaking, hiding, sweating, and fidgeting would fall under the traditional definition of “fun.”

Amnesia is not a “fun” game. It is, however, addicting in the same way a roller coaster ride is.

Rewind to earlier this summer. In the middle of June, it was time. My fiancee was on a business trip, 2012’s new releases had reduced to a trickle, and I’d frankly run out of good excuses. “Good evening, Amnesia,” I told Steam.

When a thing appears in Amnesia, there are no options but to run, hide, and pray for silence.

One glass of whiskey, two glasses of whiskey, three glas--no, wait, stop. Two is the sweet spot, was the sweet spot. Amnesia required a small dose of liquid courage to get the ball rolling, giving enough oopmh to push one over the edge, so that upon inevitable death, you don’t hover too long over the escape key and get any ideas.

For someone who prides themselves on being a horror fanatic, I had seemingly little reason for having not played Frictional Games’ terror, thought I felt like I had a good one: I was afraid of what lurked inside. I purchased Amnesia years ago, when it first was generating buzz, and bought it out of obligation. I had heard the stories, watched a sampling of screeching YouTube videos. Oh, the water level. Oh, the closet scene. Oh, hiding in the dark. Oh, oh, oh. Who would want to indulge in such madness?

In the summer of 1999, The Blair Witch Project was released. 14 years old at the time, The Blair Witch Project was also the first, best example of viral marketing--long before there was a name for it. The filmmakers and marketers were promoting the documentary-style horror film about three kids who head into the woods in search of documenting evidence of a local urban legend and never return, as though it was constructed from bonafide piece of discovered film. Then, so the story went, someone pieced together their journey for all of us to watch. It’s a preposterous concept, but one that plenty of people bought at the time, and as a 14-year-old, I totally ate it up.

(The old website is still creepy.)

I’ll never be able to erase the final image of The Blair Witch Project from my mind. The wall, the screaming, the back-and-forth editing between the two cameras, the delay between the audio and video on the black-and-white camera, and that idiot Mike with his back against the wall. Fuck. The way people spoke of Amnesia, I suspected it was to be my video game equivalent of The Blair Witch Project. It wasn’t long before I remembered how I spent the summer of 1999, waiting until the sun would start coming up before sleep came. The crunching of leaves and sticks by animals in the backyard reminded me of the tent scenes in The Blair Witch Project. I was not longing for a relapse.

Fear, I’ve come to realize, is one of my own addictions, one that acutely reminds me I’m alive. When the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up, when it takes me an hour to fall asleep because I’m convinced there could be, might be something in the corner of the room (I have this awful, creepy scene from Communion to thank), I deeply regret everything about this addiction. The moment the adrenaline passes, though, I remember the heightened sense of awareness, adrenaline--it’s enthralling. Knowing my fears helps inform the whats and whys of my own behavior.

One of the biggest realizations I’ve had since my father passed away three weeks ago was that I’d, in part, been using this addiction to make up for the lack of anything truly horrific having happened in my life, a way of filling in some perceived, misguided gap. I felt a need to counter a sense of guilt, and I turned to stories and experiences that got under my skin. Horror, whether through books, movies, or games, allowed me to repeatedly indulge this.

Scarier still was acknowledging this part of my relationship with fear was now gone. If I’d broken my contract with the addiction, would I no longer find interacting with fear to be any fun?

It took just 20 minutes with Justine, a short and free expansion to Amnesia released last year, to realize there was nothing to that theory. Though one of the reasons I became so interested in exploring my own fears through various mediums has disappeared, Amnesia’s hooks are just as psychologically damning as they once were weeks ago.

When the camera dropped, and the credits rolled, my heart was pounding like a jackhammer.

There’s a key difference between Amnesia, and all other horror media I’ve encountered: it should be played alone. Though it can be enjoyed with another person, you’re cheating yourself out of the intensity derived from the singular experience. Simply having another person in the room allows you to validate "oh, right, this is a video game," and those brief escapes from the reality of the virtual world are enough to create a regrettable rift in what's possible.

Then again, maybe you think it's crazy to submit yourself to that. I get it. Like I said, Amnesia isn't "fun." By transferring terror to another human being, it's made manageable. Having seen to the credits, I blame no one for the latter, and it’s why I’m somewhat sympathetic to Electronic Arts and its decisions behind Dead Space 3, despite my reservations about its impact on the design as a whole.

I’ve had this conversation with Ryan on the podcast before, but video game horror has the unique characteristic of forcing the individual to engage at a profoundly deep level. In a book, when you turn the page, the story progresses, the killer moves closer, the characters keep running. In a movie, you can bury your head in the pillow, cover your ears, and pretend nothing is happening. When you eventually return, the movie will have pressed on. Nothing happens in a horror game without your involvement, and Amnesia digs its heels in further by removing the power fantasy. When a creature appears, you have nothing but the darkness to keep you safe, and even that’s killing you.

Amnesia works because of what you can’t see. The moment you’re up close with one of the game’s Predator-esque monstrosities, the game loses something. It’s that moment in the water, when you’re being stalked by an invisible thing. It’s that moment when you’re searching through a brightly lit area (almost always a safe haven), a creature appears, you hide in a closet (again, "safe"), and you hear a thing break down the door and, I guess, huff around you. It’s close, close, closer, and you’re confronted with the reality that there’s nothing you can do but wait.

I didn’t watch The Blair Witch Project again until years later, unwilling to wager that I’d emotionally regress. Similarly, I don’t want to play Amnesia again, either, and I’m not especially upset A Machine for Pigs was delayed.

Sooner or later, though, the itch will return, and I’ll want to remember what all this felt like.

Sooner or later, I’ll want to feel that alive again.

Edited by Christwood

Scary?

edit: I only made halfway through Amnesia. The fear was paralyzing :(

Edited by BBAlpert

Aha is this my chance?

edit: Doggone it. Also, excellent work, Patrick.

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Posted by shades846

remembering that i was 14 when that film came out too makes me feel old

Posted by Bocam

I wish I had the ability to get scared of fictional things.

Posted by joshthebear

Great write up Tricky.

Edited by TwoLines

God, the Blair WItch Project was the scariest thing I've ever, EVER saw. God damn.

Posted by Packie

I wish I had the ability to not get scared of fictional things, especially from videogames. Seriously, the opening sequence for Silent Hill 1 screwed me up quite a bit when I was a kid. It's not real of course but as Patrick said, videogames have the interactivity aspect to truly suck you in to the experience like no other medium can. I'm two hours into Amnesia and I still can't muster up the will to go back. Yikes.

Posted by Robitt

Great article! I played Amnesia alone, at night, and it definitely got its hooks in me.

Edited by Jimbo_N

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.

Posted by SgtGrumbles

@Bocam said:

I wish I had the ability to get scared of fictional things.

I think it's tied to having a non-cynical imagination so I'd choose fear over not being affected by it any day of the week.

Posted by falling_fast

I love yr writing, Patrick. great article.

"It’s that moment in the water, when you’re being stalked by an invisible thing."

I never go into deep water in games if I can help it. I've always had this irrational fear that some horrible monster is lurking down there, unseen.

Edited by Godmil

Great article Patrick. I'm, only 45mins into Amnesia, but I'm not sure I can go back to it. I'll need to bite the bullet.

Edited by golguin

I hope that Amnesia and the more recent Slender will show the industry that it is possible to make a scary/atmospheric game that appeals to a good number of people. It doesn't have to have a huge budget to deliver the tension.

EDIT: And after leaving Amnesia for a few weeks once I arrived in the water part I am currently on another few weeks break with the game. I have to get the elevator thing working, but there is one machine thing I have yet to fix in the engine room. I'm guessing I have to use the little drill on something.

Posted by falling_fast

@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 :/

Posted by Video_Game_King

@patrickklepek said:

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

That’s a more or less verbatim quote while playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Coincidentally, it's something I find myself saying with about 40% of my blogs.

Posted by RadixNegative2

Awesome read. I've found I can be really easily scared by video games (I only recently got the nerve to get through Half Life 2). I love the worlds of these games though so I always push myself to get over the fear and play through them, even if it takes me a long time. Wish I was addicted to the fear maybe that would make things easier :D

Posted by Ravenlight

I didn't expect this article to be so personal, and I think it works amazingly. What other video game website can supply a piece featuring serious self-analysis of the author's psyche?

Posted by fox01313

Great work Patrick. While I forgot that the scene in Communion (great film btw), being a longtime horror fan I still find that in the right mood I'll still get some chills with the original film 'The Haunting'.

Also here's the following quote from the filmmaker/screenwriter/H.P. Lovecraft fan, Dan O'Bannon (from Alien, The Resurrected, Dead & Buried, Lifeforce, Return of the Living Dead). Also highly recommend those films I just listed of his worth diving into. Thought it'd be a good companion to this bit from Patrick, sadly not on youtube so here's the transcribed version.

Still one of my favorite quotes from him on Dead & Buried special dvd:

"You see here's the thing, fear, fear is a sensitizing emotion, if you think about it, it's obvious that the function of an animal, organism, a human being is in danger it's survival value is in becoming really aware of where any threat might be coming from. Fear sensitizes you, your perceptions, your thoughts, you entire awareness and so if you frighten an audience they become momentarily more sensitive to everything in the film and the story, and that's one of the things that make Lovecraft's stories have such impact. Lovecraft simply isn't a catalogue of slimy frog monsters, and he's very good at creating an atmosphere of building fear, and by the time Lovecraft gets you good & scared that's when he starts to spring some of his cosmic ideas about the nature of the universe, the place of man in the universe, is there a god, is there not, the scale of the universe; and I guess his core idea is that out there somewhere things are different than they are over here. If you hit someone with this on the first page it won't mean much, but once you get the person frightened they become sensitized to anything and specifically they become sensitized to the story they're reading, the book they're seeing.

Atmosphere is extremely important to horror movies- the old house, the dark woods. I mean a horror movie which does not have a good atmosphere which the mood & setting are bland is almost ineffective, it's well known that atmosphere is important but nobody really knows why, the atmosphere is not there to support the fear, the fear is there because the writer really wants to write about is the atmosphere and he wants the reader or the filmmaker or audience to be sensitive to these old houses and old woods that he loves so much. If you're not afraid, it's just a travelogue; if you're afraid it becomes a magic wood, a magic house. This is something that I figured out about 15 years ago when I was contemplating a patch of woods and wondering why I enjoy the old woods in a horror story so much, that's when it struck me, when you are afraid you are sensitized, I loved the old woods but unless you've got me frightened they're just a bunch of trees."

-Dan O'Bannon (Dead & Buried featurette on creating fear)

Posted by TinyGrenade

Awesome awesome stuff, still scared to even boot up the game alone...maybe one day.

Posted by Deusx

This is great Patrick. I can relate to the same feeling in regards to the Blair Witch Project. That movie scarred me for life when I was a kid. Great work!

Posted by MooseyMcMan

Part of me always wants to call people who get seriously scared of movies and/or video games "wimps," but after reading this, well, I think that's unfair of me.

Excellent article Patrick. Must have been tough to write, and I look forward to hearing you complain (on the podcast) about playing A Machine for Pigs some time in the coming years.

Posted by ashenozzie

Thank you for another great read, Patrick!

If I didn't scare so easily maybe I'd give this game a try :)

Posted by Packie

@RadixNegative2 said:

Awesome read. I've found I can be really easily scared by video games (I only recently got the nerve to get through Half Life 2). I love the worlds of these games though so I always push myself to get over the fear and play through them, even if it takes me a long time. Wish I was addicted to the fear maybe that would make things easier :D

Have you reached Ravenholm? *chuckles*

Posted by gaminghooligan

Great read to start the day, thanks P-Klep!

Posted by hollitz

I got past the water part and then I had to stop. I'd been sorely disappointed in the horror offerings this generation, scoffing whenever someone would attach the label to action games like Alan Wake or Dead Space (love the games, but nothing about them is scary). Then Amnesia comes out and it's so effective that I can't even finish the damn thing.

Posted by Phatmac

Noticed a typo here: I felt a need to counter a sense of guilt, and I turned to to stories and experiences that got under my skin.

I should probably go play Amnesia now, right? After playing a short bit of Slender I don't think my weak heart can take it. I've seen enough videos of people's plights through the water level and other horrors that scare me away. I'm even scared to watch certain horror movies. :( I still want to try out my big Steam pile of games I don't play and Amensia is a priority in my pile. Anyway, great read Patrick you're really bringing some quality content on to giantbomb during these summer weeks with no games. It's like you're still in the office.

Posted by Terjay

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

Posted by Sooty

4 hours into Amnesia and the "Storage" room made me want to quit playing the damn game.

Posted by darkjester74

Sorry to hear about your father Patrick. Been through that myself, its never easy. Always interesting to see how different people cope with the loss.

Anyway, thank for the great piece, very thought provoking. Excellent work as always! :-)

Posted by Hailinel

The Blair Witch Project scared the utter shit out of me when I saw it in the theater, and I knew that it was fiction at the time. I needed to take a walk around the neighborhood after I got home because I was just too jittery.

Posted by ShaggE

I've been thinking about fear addiction for awhile now, and it really is the very definition of love/hate. For me, I think the addiction comes from the control. I don't have to partake in things like this, and when it gets intense, I know I can stop at any time. Plus, there's no real danger. It's the exact opposite of my worst bouts of depression, where I have no choice, the only solution comes with a slew of other terrible effects, and there's a very real danger.

In both cases the fear feels the same, but my ability to control it is like a "fuck you" to the times that I can't, if that makes sense.

Posted by Jimbo_N

@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 :/

Haha wow. I did not think of that. Man that is some fantastic writing by me !

Posted by Red12b

great article, man.

Edited by CaLe

I remember sitting paralysed in my seat after The Blair Witch Project ended. I just sat there almost too scared to move, thinking everything I had just watched really happened. I too was about 13 or 14. After I found out none of it was real, I was never again able to feel scared of anything in a movie. I still haven't to this day even jumped at a single scary movie. I was numbed to them. None of it is real.

Fast forward to the night Amnesia came out. I felt it again, for the first time in a very long time. Fear. I love it.

Posted by RadixNegative2

@Packie said:

@RadixNegative2 said:

Awesome read. I've found I can be really easily scared by video games (I only recently got the nerve to get through Half Life 2). I love the worlds of these games though so I always push myself to get over the fear and play through them, even if it takes me a long time. Wish I was addicted to the fear maybe that would make things easier :D

Have you reached Ravenholm? *chuckles*

Ah yes, good old Ravenholm. I think it took me 4 years of trying to get myself past that point.

Posted by MisterMouse

Really good read, always fun to peer into the mind of someone and how they work, and this work is a nice entry into Patrick's mind.

Posted by Sammo21

Blair Witch also scared me as a kid but mostly because I didn't understand, at that time, that not everything you see on the internet is real. I was totally convinced this was a real documentary for about 2 weeks after the film.

Really messed me up for that time lol

Posted by patrickklepek

@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.

Posted by GalacticGravy

Fantastic article. Thanks be to Scoops.

Edited by Triumvir

Excellent stuff.

It's probably for the best I only have an ancient laptop that can't run it, right now: considering the praise you've been heaping on it lately, Patrick, I worry my expectations may be too high.

Posted by Spaceyoghurt

A great read like always Patrick.

I'm trying to convince my brother to play this game. He is a huge horror freak and is really particular in what he consider is good or bad horror, and as such he has never felt that video games has the tools to induce the kind of fear that some of the greatest horror flicks have done. But I'm convinced that Amnesia will turn things around.

I'll not assert that I'm some sort of tough guy when it comes to scary stuff, but this game made me feel so lonely, exposed and frightened, beyond what any other game, book or movie have managed to evoke. I was in the middle of this horrible fucking nightmare. A great experience, but fun is to be found elsewhere.

Edited by ripelivejam

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.

Edited by patrickklepek

@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.

Posted by Space_Sandwich

I, too, saw the Blair Witch Project at the young, young age of 12 or 11. To this day, I have some trouble sleeping in tents. I'll still go camping and I'll still have a good time, but when we turn in for the night I'll always spend a solid five minutes planning my escape route if you-know-what happens.

This is a great write up, Patrick. I played up to the Dungeon in Amnesia before leaving to head back to Boston and away from my brother's ridiculously powerful rig. Ever since then, it's been calling back to me. That's exceptionally strange considering I'm hardly a horror fan. Getting scared is one of the more unpleasant reactions, but there's a kind of sadomasochism that's been developing around the memory of something as intense as the door after door water scene or the closet. As you mentioned, it makes you feel alive. I picture it being the video game equivalent of skydiving or bungee jumping, even more so now with it's status as something of an urban legend. Have you played Amnesia? No, but a friend of a friend did, and he hasn't been right since...

I wish my brother hadn't been in the room (Ah, who am I kidding? No I don't). I can't wait to get back home to the Bay Area and fire up Amnesia once more. Hopefully A Machine For Pigs will have launched by then and I'll have yet another chance at ruining my psyche.

Edited by DeviTiffany

Good stuff, I wish more horror games would actually try to actually be horror nowadays. Survival Horror was one of my favorite genres growing up, but I'm dishearten by many modern day survival horror games because all it seems to stand for now is third person shooter with squishy monsters. I was one of the few who didn't like Resident Evil 4 for that reason and partly blame it's success on the state of horror games now. Still, it's nice to see some developers still understand restraint, pacing, and suspense when it comes to making horror games.

I could never really get into the Blair Witch movies, I guess I understand the appeal but it never really resonated with me much. I'm much more of a Paranormal Activity person, especially PA2. I think it's a fantastic movie.

Posted by sixpin

@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 always liked the idea behind Blair Witch, but I never liked the execution of it. Partly due to my dislike for faux-documentaries and partly due to my detective father teaching me observational skills as a kid that made me figure out Blair Witch was a fake from the start (They used a 555 number in the Sci-Fi special!). I was a little older when that movie came out too. I dunno.

If I can lose myself in horror though, that fear high is pretty intense. A good dramatic build up with some intense music is hard to beat. I find myself responding more to audio cues than to any visual horror. The sound direction in Drag Me To Hell, The Shining, Alien, and Amnesia all come to mind.

Edited by Atwa

Fantastic article!  
 
Amnesia is truly my favorite game of this generation, being a huge Lovecraft and horror fan in general it really rubbed me exactly the right way.. even if it wasn't FUN at all, there is something truly special about being scared shitless.  
  
I have a very similar relationship to The Blair Witch project, I was probably far too young when I saw it and it has stuck with me ever since.. I still think about those damn stick figures in the trees whenever I go out in the woods..  

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Posted by gaminghooligan

Blair Witch was pretty solid back in a time before Paranormal Activity and it's scary pots and pans ghosts, and utter shit like that Chernoybl Diaries movie. The characters were a little extreme, but I think when you have a movie that focuses on reactions like it does the characters need to be memorable. The second B-Witch was strange if I remember right...

Edited by Mr_Skeleton

The scariest game I ever play was Thief, such an amazing game.

Edit: almost forgot to mention the Shalebridge Cradle level from Thief Deadly Shadows, I have never been so close to shitting my pants.

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