By Sunjammer 99 Comments
So i have hydrophobia. Not proud of it, but i do. Deep water scares the bejeebus out of me, probably the one thing out there that makes me downright irrational and crazy uncomfortable, and does it ever.
Ironically, this creates a real fascination with underwater/water themed video games. Playing Silent Hunter 3 was borderline horror for me; i'd find myself keeping the camera above water because as soon as it dropped beneath the waves and the sound got muted and i couldn't see the bottom, just that black void, it was just too uncomfortable to do for long. The Bioshock intro was tough for me for this reason as well. No seeing the bottom = i freak out.
Picked up Silent Hunter 4 for cheap today, installed it, played a while, enjoyed it. Liked going to the bottom of the pacific to see the new seabed detail, something about the brighter, bluer waters of this game makes the experience less harrowing. Then i made the mistake of doing the same thing at (game) night-time. There's something about how they do water in SH4 that is really, really accurate. The way light distorts, the way particles float and drift, the way it seems so damn deep. The sensation i got was so intense i actually had to stop playing, just quit out of the game immediately.
It got me thinking of other games that have gotten that response out of me; games that are instinctively uncomfortable to play to such a high degree that it becomes physically trying to keep going.
Project Zero 1-3
These games are evil enough to make me never want to play any of them ever again. The first was a horrible experience, the second i actually finished (through a fog of alcohol, bright lights and the rule of never playing alone), and the third i have tried repeatedly to get back into but it keeps simply repulsing me. I like the sensation of fear, but i don't like to be completely mortified. It's a very difficult balance apparently, since so few get it right, and some, like Project Zero, get it TOO right. The quality of the games as games is also something that can be discussed, since mechanically they are damn near archaic, the voice acting and animation work is iffy at best, but it all comes together to create this David Lynchian dream sequence experience that is a perfect foundation for a bunch of freaky ghosts doing freaky ghost shit.
Aliens vs Predator (PC)
The marine campaign. I can barely get through the first mission, and it just gets worse from there. Some of the most sadistic "play" i've ever done. Pitch blackness and randomly spawning, screaming rapist enemies. Argh. The sequel was pretty tough to play as well, but it was more of a comic book experience and didn't feel as intimate.
The underground bits in STALKER are insane events. Some of the shit they put you through in the dark is just twisted sadism.
So what about you lot. Any games freak you out so bad you had to stop playing?