• What happened to the Horror Genre?

    There's been a disappointing trend as of late with "survival horror" games. Back in the day most horror games were classic point and click adventure games. Now? Now they are FPS games that use cheap scare tactics to push the "horror" genre on unsuspecting players.

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    I have nothing against a good horror game, but there is a clear difference between "horror" and "startling." For the most part, however, I've seen an unsettling amount of horror games that are just startling games, and not really scary. Games don't need to use cheap scare tactics to render emotion out of gamers. In all honesty, most gamers get so into their games that they are pretty easy to get emotionally connected to the games they are playing. I'm a fine example of this type of behavior, I submerge myself into the games I'm playing.

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    You may have been there before, in CS or TF2 or any other game where its 1 vs 5 and you're the last man standing. Most people in that situation panic, their breathing gets a little heavy, they shake a bit, their hearts are racing, waiting for someone to come around that corner and get a shot off. It's reactions like this that make the games fun, and it's an easy thing to do to a gamer.

    Back when I was younger, I played 7th Guest on our old PC. It was one of my favorite games growing up that I would play with my mom or sister. Growing up, this game was genuinely scary. It wasn't the "face randomly pops up on the screen and yells real loud" scary, it was a "good creepy story about a creepy house owner who did creepy shit" scary. It was primarily story driven, and the story was like a ghost story that produced these emotions.

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    Some people don't like point and click games, so naturally FPS games took over, but there's still a chance to do something great here. Look at Amnesia; it was an award winning first person survival horror game. Unseen enemies, no weapons, environmental changes that would worry you about going into certain areas, blurred vision, the sound of your character breathing heavily, and the constant feeling of vulnerability produced this feeling of fear in the gamers that played it. It didn't need to resort to dumbed down tactics to get a scream out of a player.

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    This article was supposed to be a review of Cry of Fear; an FPS survival horror game that was on steam as a standalone 3rd party game. However, the game was covered in "popping out to scare you" startle tactics that pissed me off more than it actually scared me. Now, to be perfectly honest it startled the shit out of me and resulted in me saying something along the lines of "fucking shit fuck, god damn it." But again, I felt more pissed by it than actually scared. There was some good potential here, because I had just walked through a black maze of rooms with a camera using the flash to light up dead bodies. Which is exactly the difference between "horror" and "startling" that I'm looking for in this genre.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Vexon's Avatar
      Vexon -
      I thought Amnesia and Penumbra were great horror games.