Now I'm really interested as to what kind of game this will turn out to be. With exchanging this many hands, it could hopefully breath new creative life into the product. Or turn it into an even greater train wreck.
ghostNPC's forum posts
@winsord: similar things could be said to owning a physical copy of Parappa the Rapper and a CRT. Due to lag of input on LCD screens, you can't get the same perfect experience anywhere else than on the original setup. Not that Patrick is making that point in the article, just my observation.
The most scared I've ever been with a game was playing Thief: Deadly Shadows - specifically during the ship level full of undead and the infamous Shalesbridge Cradle. Now normally I'm not that scared of the game itself but rather cheap jump scares that will make me, well jump, but in the case of those two areas I was genuinely frightened of just moving about or being seen/heard by the creatures lurking the halls.
People remark how Amnesia is scary because you can't fight back, and ironically that is the reason why it's not scary to me - because I know there isn't a way "out" of the scenario. You either hide or you die, it's very binary. In the case of Thief, the fear came from the fact that I could fight the undead, but I was largely outnumbered and only special types of arrows would kill them, of which I had a really short supply. It was the fact that I wasn't cornered into a binary situation and could move about as I pleased that scared me infinitely more in those levels.
Extraordinary. I never thought of this. The more agency and options given to the player, the more petrified he/she will become of actually making a decision. It turns it less into a 'game' per-say but more of a survival situation. It pushes your 'self' further into your character if the world is a more reactive presence, giving a stronger fear of failure/death. Afraid of Monsters mod for Half Life had a very similar feel to this, for almost the same reasons.
Horror games seem to run into a very simple yet obvious problem; game mechanics. Of these are games we're talking about, so you need some sort of mechanic in order to have a working experience with the medium. But like all systems, it can be broken. My experience of playing through the Silent Hill series was that of figuring out the perfect length in which to swing my weapon so that I would have no problems defeating the enemy. I started to see the predictable movements of my enemies. The world broke down and I could see all of the mechanics of the game. I was taken out of the world that they tried to create.
What can my character do, how do I win, and how can I fail? When you start playing a game, everyone consciously or subconsciously thinks this through. It's just people's ways of exploring a world that is new. Personally, as someone who's played a lot of horror games, I can't help but figure out the structure of the game so that I can defend myself. It's just a way of mentally defending myself against the anxiety; and I know I'm not alone on this.
Of course that's not everyone's path. It all depends on the mindset going into a game. Some people can always look past those mechanics and suspend their disbelief naturally better than others, without even knowing that they do that. But for those of us who can see the matrix and dance around the AI, I'm glad for games that are ambiguous in their mechanics throughout, or really play with the fact that they are a video game with mechanics. Experiment12 and A Mother's Inferno, for example, did this spectacularly. They were vague, weird and very disturbing in a meta sense.
In the impending holiday coming up, I thought I'd take a chance and dig a little deeper into horror games. Why do they scare us? Why do some do nothing for us?
But to start off, I'm curious; What is the scariest game you have played (not your favorite, but something that really terrified you), and what is it about that game that scared you?
In my opinion (and I'm sure a lot of others') Amnesia was the scariest game I've had the pleasure of getting through. But the biggest question is, why? What was it about all the elements thrown into that grotesque melting pot that made for the perfect heart stopping concoction, and what exactly were those elements of horror? In the end it's all about removing mental safety nets. Among the various things that horror games do to set up a creepy environment (trapping the antagonist in an abandoned or hopeless location/situation) helplessness of being unable to defend yourself was probably one of the most effective things to ever happen for a horror game, and Amnesia did it wonderfully. Removing that mental safety net meant that you, as a person, no longer had any feeling of strength, any feeling of control over any situation that the game threw at you. You were literally left cowering in a corner somewhere (sometimes outside of the game as well :P ).
So, what games do you think are the scariest, and why?