Horror Part 1 – Inspirations

The other day I shared with you my thoughts on the importance of horror as a genre, what makes it unique and loved.  Today I want to continue the horror spirit.  Who says Halloween has to end after October?  I have also read another article about how D&D influenced video games from the 90s all the way through to today.  These articles seem to pop up fairly regularly, highlighting certain games or game developers, and the consensus is clear: D&D paved the way for video games as we know them.  As there is no reason for table top games to take something back, today I am going to share some video games which can be used to inspire your games.  Today let’s look at some of the horror games that pull people in, not just in terror but in story as well.

Five Nights At Freddy’s

This is the game that has not only pulled me into a mood for horror recently, but has also caused a lot of talk of what the horror genre can be and inspired me to write my last post.  The FNAF series involves a very basic formula: as a security guard with only a few tools and no ability to move, you must discern the patterns of ever more aggressive animatronics and survive the night.  Full of dark spaces, frighting imagery, jump scares, and terrible noises this game is the definition of a horror game.  You could play the game as that, but there is so much more.  Each night introduces more information about why things are happening.  Each game does the same.  The deeper you get into the series, the deeper you get into the story and the reality of the game makes it even more disturbing.  Personally I watched Markiplier, on YouTube, play this game and was hooked because he is very funny and very into the game.  Now it sits in my steam library waiting for its turn to terrify me, and hopefully eventually the true nature of the world and all my many questions about what happened will be answered.  Although, maybe its better that they aren’t, maybe that’s what is best about FNAF.  There is always more to learn; you just want to dive in despite the inevitable heart attack.

Aliens Vs Predator 2

An older game, at least half of the games roots are steeped in terror.  The original Alien was not just a sci-fi film, but a horror film as well.  While the xenomorph and predator stories are much more about the action of the game, the marine story in this, and the other AvP games, is probably the hardest and scariest of them all.  I remember playing this campaign many years ago with guns and allies and motion trackers.  Nevertheless, the atmosphere and music raises your heartbeat and quickens your breathing.  And when marines start getting taken out and movement happens around you, well, try not to fall out of your chair.  This is definitely a game that proves how important atmosphere is to horror.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

This game I must mention because it covers an aspect of horror that gets a lot of love from fans, but generally misses attempts to being brought to wider audiences.  Lovecraftian horror abounds, but this is one of the few successful games that is specifically and outwardly Mythos.  If you need a game to get into the aspects of what makes Lovecraft terrifying, this is it.  Right off the bat you don’t know who or what to trust, what is safe or what isn’t, or what the hell is hallucination.  Trying to piece together meaningful things, sights, and information into a bigger picture is dangerously mind wracking.  Don’t concentrate on the elder things too long as there are much more important concerns immediately.  This game has a way of making you paranoid.  You want to hurry up but know you should take your time.  I should also mention to put on headphones.  Two important sound effects here are heartbeat and breathing of the character, something your own will begin t match as you get pulled into his role.

Honorable mentions for future posts:  Bioshock, Outlast, Condemned, Alien: Isolation, F.E.A.R., so many more.  I also suggest you check out Markiplier’s YouTube page.  He has a great appreciation for horror, has many horror game playthroughs, and is generally entertaining.