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Worth Reading: 11/01/2013

We bid farewell to Shocktober, and look ahead to the future. It's full of links, man.

October, better known as Shocktober, has disappeared in a flash. We hardly knew ye, but I’ve gotta admit I’m a little burned out on talking about horror games so much. Even I need a break.

I'm no artist, but I tried. Happy Halloween, Ryan.
I'm no artist, but I tried. Happy Halloween, Ryan.

It was fun to open up the Spookin’ With Scoops floodgates this week to the whole Giant Bomb audience, since the website was down and, thus, the premium video player wouldn’t work properly. It pushed me to play for nearly three hours, and made me think 24 hours of horror might be a worthy goal in 2014. Who wouldn’t want a reason to play through every Fatal Frame game?

What makes Japanese horror so creepy? Fatal Frame got me thinking. (For the record, if you were wondering if a horror game from 2003 holds up, a decade hasn’t made a dent in Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly’s ability to be scary as hell.) Maybe it’s because so much of Japanese horror doesn’t try dressing up what’s most plausibly scary: the people around us. The Ring, Ju-on, Pulse, and others are so terrifying because it makes us running for the hills from the closely familiar, not a mummified creature. It’s why zombies work.

Fatal Frame, especially, was so ahead of its time. The camera “weapon” was Tecmo recognizing the genre’s advantages in limiting player agency against enemies, but unlike the current trend in horror, it didn’t make the player completely helpless. Let me tell you, though, when a ghost is screaming and running at you, a camera doesn’t make you feel very powerful.

I’ve said it a million times before, but I’m hoping for the Beetlejuice effect here: Nintendo and Tecmo should make a Fatal Frame for the Wii U. The GamePad makes way too much sense.

Please.

(At the very least, I’m excited the developer of the Siren series hopes to return to horror.)

Hey, You Should Play This

And You Should Read These, Too

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Part of the beauty in Grand Theft Auto comes from what players do within the seemingly infinite freedom provided by the world built by Rockstar Games. But GTA does not simulate everything, and it only builds in particular directions, the ones Rockstar wants to encourage. When it comes to player expression in other forms, you’re limited. Within those limitations, however, is where magic can happen. On the Media’s producer PJ Vogt passes on his intimate experience with another while playing Grand Theft Auto Online, and it gives you pause about what Rockstar might be able to do in the future, should it choose to give players more opportunities to interact with one another. (Also, On the Media is a terrific podcast about media coverage.)

“ProX drove me to an airfield and showed me a military helicopter I’d never seen before. The police were still chasing us. We left his car and flew off towards the sunset and the Pacific Ocean, out of the law’s reach.

This is the point where I realized that maybe, perhaps, I was on a date. Players in GTA rarely cooperate, with the exception of those situations where the game makes it literally impossible not to. ProX had saved me from death or arrest. And now he was peacocking, flying the helicopter low over the Pacific Ocean, and then threading it through the mountains around GTA’s version of Los Angeles.”

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One of the features I’ve been kicking around is a look as cosplay. I don’t know anything about the world of cosplay, and given the gender issues I’ve written about in the past, I’m left with some questions about it. It's about empowerment, it's about a fantasy. What else? This essay by cosplayer Maddy Myers begins to fill in the gaps. Myers is a regular cosplayer, even going so far as to participate in masquerade competitions that require entrants to develop comedic skits and pre-record audio. That’s hardcore, and sounds utterly terrifying. Her commentary on what she gets out of it is interesting:

“The high of getting to embody a character I had already pretended to be in virtual form (and longed to be in real life) felt addictive—as addictive as escaping into a videogame’s power fantasy. Everybody had recognized me, had known me, and had seen me as a hero, just as the world of Final Fantasy X-2 loves Yuna. I had performed for a crowd to applause, and I had walked around the hallways getting treated like a magical, world-saving pop star. It was easy to forget that the “me” everybody recognized and respected wasn’t me at all.”

If You Click It, It Will Play

Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away

  • If we're reviving all these other games, sure, why not another 7th Guest?
  • Can someone explain to me what the appeal is of games like HuniePop? I don't get it.
  • Been looking for a new game to scratch the strategy itch. Maybe Confederate Express is it.

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

Want Some Steam Codes for Paranormal?

  • C7I4M-BZWP6-P5T8D
  • CJ58T-VRAQB-ZAIGN
  • TL3WH-HT82I-8M7LC
  • JKMXZ-C62GL-3XN2J
  • 90N0C-ZTN9B-TDT6E

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+