This coming October has become something of a blessing to me in terms of video gaming. Joel Bylos has announced a standalone game based on one of my favorite areas in The Secret World, and fans of the game will likely know what area when I give the title.
Paring that teaser with the announced release date of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water and I am looking at two games that will give me lots of creepy delights in the next several weeks easily.
See, I love scary games. Scary movies don’t really do a whole lot for me because I tend to over-analyze them or get incredibly annoyed at the idiocy of the actors in them…but scary video games are just something different for me, even if they mirror the same kinds of tropes. I think the idea of being the focal point of the action is probably what delights me the most about it. I’m the one being terrorized directly, even though I’m controlling a character. I am supposed to be scared by proxy when watching a horror film, but somehow it just seems to miss the mark for me.
I don’t really know where this fascination come from. I was always a stupendously wimpy kid growing up, and I can’t really claim to be the bravest of adults now, especially when it comes to certain situations like extreme heights or most roller coasters. Those are the sorts of un-fun fright for me. Probably because a lack of control is inherent in their design. With a good scary game, even though I’m led in to a bad situation, I can at least get some control over what happens next.
Even games that are otherwise not really that great overall I tend to glean enjoyment out of because of their scare factor. The F.E.A.R. series immediately springs to mind as an example–here was an FPS that wasn’t really that great, and the story was….okay? But the entire idea of Alma and the scary setpieces that game provided are some of the more memorable ones I’ve had in gaming in a long while.
Even the Resident Evil series had their moments. At least in the early going. Now they strike me as more Hollywood spooky than genuinely spooky, but at least up until the third or so, things were really great for me as a person who loves scary games. I will always remember being chased by Nemesis and how absolutely intense those moments ended up being for me.
But the top scary game for me has always been the Silent Hill games. Even the really not-that-great ones like The Room had redeeming moments. Most of which involved looking around in the titular room in question. It’s what got me so excited when I watched the Silent Hills PT. And what got me so incredibly angry when that game fell apart from underneath everyone.
I know we’re not quite done with August, and in the area I live in the season doesn’t really arrive until maybe about middle September…but these kind of things are one of a whole list of reasons why I love Autumn. Around this point, we get to see some great attempts at bringing back the scary before and leading up to Halloween, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Scenes from The Secret World have really reaffirmed this love, and is pretty much why I’m starting to scratch the itch for the game once more. It’s not the all-time scariest thing I’ve played, but it has most definitely had its moments. I still do get a bit leery when I run by the Black House and see the Ferris wheel of the park in Kingsmouth. And I understand that there’s even better to come. Something about a parking garage and some stuff in Tokyo that I can’t wait for.
The best part about scary video games for me doesn’t really have anything to do with the violence level. More often than not, the most potent scary games don’t make you worried about what you look like before, but what’s coming up and around you to do something to you. The sounds that set you on edge and make you walk slower. The things that make you think and slow down. The stuff that gets in your head is what makes this work for me.
All in all I just had to share this with my readers in the hopes that maybe others feel the same way and we can all wear headphones and huddle around a computer screen for a good, jumpy time. I don’t often solicit for comments because I feel like a comment section is something people use if they want to, not a requirement. But that said, I’d love to hear from any readers. What’s your favorite scary game? Do you feel the same way? Do you have any good recent recommendations?