Ever since I started playing Video Games, I have tried to avoid the Horror Genre like the Plague! Now more than ever I find myself terrified by the thought of bringing myself to play games such as Slender, Amnesia and Outlast. Just watching the various playthroughs of them that feature on YouTube has me filling my pants with fear! I didn’t fare much better with the flash games that used to appear on sites such as Mousebreaker and Newgrounds, games such as The House and Exmortis. It’s even got to the stage where I am mistaking Work Shirts that are hung up to dry on my skylight in the middle of the night for Slenderman, and nearly dying of a heart attack when I wake up still half asleep! But what is it that is stopping me from going toe to toe with Slenderman? Or tangling up with the inmates who run the insane asylum in Outlast? I can’t put my finger on it…
Maybe its because I dislike Horror films as well so that naturally makes me have an instant distrust of anything to do with Horror when it comes to Video Games. With Horror films all the scares are fixed in place and predetermined, whereas with Horror Video Games a scare can literally come from around any corner in a variety of different shapes and sizes. I have actually attempted to take on some of the devils hordes in a couple of Horror games. In fact, a Horror game is actually in my list of favourite games and that game is F.E.A.R! I dont know what it is that actually made me play it in the first place! Maybe I just decided I should grow up that day…..or maybe I thought I was Iron Man or something! But I must say I really enjoyed it despite me jumping out of my skin once too often. F.E.A.R, if you haven’t played it, draws its influence from Japanese horror and as you may well know the Japanese are King when it comes to making people crap their pants or drop dead through fear! Drawing influence from films such as The Ring and The Grudge, F.E.A.R draws you in before giving you a sucker punch with a scare. A particular moment stood out for me in one of my playthroughs. Picture the scene. I was in a pitch black office complex, in the company of invisible super soldiers jumping and flipping off walls and ceilings trying to cut my head off. After a few blasts with my shotgun, and a few clicks of the ‘Bullet Time’ button, I managed to clear the room of these acrobatic henchmen. I clicked on my Torch (Or Flashlight if you’re American, Gavin and the other guys at Achievement Hunter argue about that a lot!) and slowly started to make my way down a corridor with glass walls on either side. Without warning a dead, possessed body came flying through one of the panes of glass! I had to pause the game and calm myself down for a good five minutes I got THAT scared!
To give credit where credit is due, F.E.A.R is one of the few horror games that I have actually played that has actually given me a scare. Whether that be the previous example I have just mentioned or the appearances of ‘Alma’ one of the games Antagonists, I could never predict what was going to happen, how it was going to happen or how I was going to react to it and that in itself seems to be quite a unique trait. However, I get the feeling that if I liked F.E.A.R, how many other great games am I missing out on? Don’t get me wrong there are other horror games I have played on, such as the equally brilliant Alan Wake and I even managed to play the first half an hour of Condemned until I handed the controller to a friend and watched him complete the playthrough (One particular part which unnerved me was the part in the Abandoned Shopping Mall with the mannequins, if you have played this game you will know what I’m talking about!), but I feel as though I should pluck up the courage to at least attempt to play through Slender, Outlast or Amnesia. Sure I have played tense games such as The Last of Us and Dead Space but those games didn’t give me a true sense of fear I felt when playing horror games and left me feeling as though the enemies in the game were actually coming after me and not the character I am playing as, this could be due to the fact that in a lot of horror games you are looking through the eyes of the protagonist and that tricks your brain into thinking that someone is attempting to murder you. Just from looking at the variety of playthroughs on YouTube etc of these games kind of makes me say to myself “Come on! Just play a Horror game just this once! They look like a riot!” instead of cowering in the corner at the mere sight of some of the iconic Horror characters out there such as Pyramid Head or Nemesis.
Maybe I am still limited by my inner ten year old, or maybe I am not as tough as I thought I was but I am determined to throw off the shackles of Horror Game oppression, look it dead in the eyes and say “YOU DON’T SCARE ME ANYMORE!”….
If there are any Horror Games you think I should tackle, please feel free to let me know in the comments below
ASTON LEWIS SHAW