Since October is almost here, I felt I would like to bring this topic up.
Horror in gaming is quite a hard topic to actually define, since there are many games that try to scare people, such as Resident Evil
, Silent Hill
, System Shock
, Fatal Frame
, Amnesia: The Dark Descent
, Dead Space
, etc. However, what truly makes them scary, as not all seem to succeed?
Most horror games nowadays are focused on you killing enemies, which makes them more of an action-horror game than a survival-horror game. When your main concern is on defeating the enemies rather than surviving, I just feel as though this takes away from the atmosphere. The few attempts at being scary that they do have are jump scares, which do not really count.
Fear is described as "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid". In these regards, jump scares do not qualify. Making someone jump out of their seats is basically a cheap tactic. It is the equivalent of sneaking up on someone and making a loud noise. This is not at all scary.
Truly scary games are definitely worthy of praise. Why else do you think games like Amnesia are regarded by many as having given them nightmares? Those games rely more on your ability to survive and use your wits. While there is a bit of combat, it is secondary to surviving.
This is what I think makes a truly scary horror game. To take away the knowledge that you can kill your enemies easily, suddenly, every encounter becomes an ordeal. By adding things such as taking away your sight via making the area dark, things get worse, as aside from sound, sight is the sense we require the most in these sorts of games.
What are your thoughts?
Proud fanboy of anime/video games/scifi. Oh and of Rei Ayanami XD