Horror/scary games: do you like/play them? đź‘»

Continuing the discussion from Have you ever played a text adventure game? Would you play it?.

We were talking about “Stories Untold” and horror games.

That retro style and the presence of old objects in the scene (an old computer, an old TV set) plays a role in the first story. It’s a clever game.

I can relate to that. I have never liked jump scares and I find them a cheap way to scary the player, but I can accept a few of them and I try to find games that do not use many of them.

What really has a big effect on me and the part that I like the most is the suspense that the game builds.

I have also enjoyed games based mainly or exclusively on a general, pervasive and persistent uneasy sensation, like the games developed by Jonathan Boakes. I like them because the author doesn’t rely on monsters, danger, blood, violence or any kind of graphic content. Everything is based on eerie settings, suspense and a few ghosts. Unfortunately the graphics of some of his older games is not very good , but it’s something that I can accept.

This is the part of horror games that I “like”: increasing the suspense or the sensation of danger.

I have found a way to balance the enjoyment of that sensation and the unpleasant effects of the jump scares that can follow: I avoid earbuds (which I usually use when I play games) and I lower the volume a bit. I still get scared but at least sudden powerful sound effects don’t give me an heart attack.

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I enjoyed “reveal the deep” and “the last door”. Some jump scares, but more clever than a loud soundeffect.

I still need to play “the lost crown”, which seems promising too

No. I don’t like horror games and don’t like to get/be scared. :slight_smile: So I played very few games with “horror”. I know, that I’m pretty much alone with that. :slight_smile: But why should I let me get scared (fear and scare are a stress situations!)?.

Alone in the dark, back then.

In the last three years, I have played 999, Virtue’s Last Reward, Zero Time Dilemma.

I agree. Though I did quite enjoy Cluck Yegger (in Escape from the Planet Poultroid). This is a mini game spin-off from the (very slowly) forthcoming Space Venture game by The Two Guys from Andromeda, aka creators of the Sierra Space Quest games. Apparently the episodic jump scare format is very similar to Five Nights at Freddie’s (which I haven’t played). I liked the challenge of making it through seven nights without being murdered by rabid chickens, but by night 5 my nerves were too shot.

I like atmospheric games (like Limbo and She Wants Me Dead) but not so much straight-up horror.

I liked Alone in the dark, at least the beginning before it turns into an awkward mass shooter.

And speaking of scary games I also liked Penumbra and Amnesia (by the same indie team). A very well thought out story, survival game style.

I quite enjoyed Among the Sleep. The game did a pretty good job of putting you in the mind of a small toddler, afraid of getting caught while doing things you weren’t supposed to, and the “monster” was pretty scary too.

Having only recently replayed Silent Hill 2 (I´m currently going for all the endings and am at 4 out of 6 now) I´ll advocate that it´s one of the most fascinating and best written pieces of fiction of all time and the fact that it is a video game that draws you directly into it´s world elevates it to a whole new level. It´s full of the most dark and disturbing imigary, symbolism and psychological manipulative effects that will eat deeply into your soul. Simply one of the most haunting gaming experiences you will ever have.

Horror games like horror films might be the biggest genre in the indie market. And there is some great stuff out there. And also some cheap stuff that´s either jumpy scary or just outright pretentious.

Because getting scared releases adrenaline, endorphines and dopamine. The moment after the shock makes you feel good. It´s the reason people in the theater or at Ghost Houses and dark rides immediatly laugh after screaming. The feeling of relieve after the immediate shock and be great. Then there is the catharsis theory that says that says experiencing fictional terror let´s you release feelings you´d otherwise might release in more harmful ways. There´s literally tons of books on the subject. I´d highly recommend reading Stephen King´s Danse Macabre.

Nope. Not me. If someone scares me, I feel angry, stressful and tensed - but not good.

What? From what I have watched, most people react in a more harmful way after seeing a horror movie/playing a horror game. They need to release their stress level and I don’t want to see that.

It doesn´t work the same for everyone. You´d probably have to delve into the nature vs nurture debate why that is though.

Yes that´s the opposing mimesis theory, which I´m not really in favour of.

@milanfahrnholz : I can understand Someone’s position on this matter because my relationship with horror games has always been a bit problematic. Generally, being scared has an immediate negative effect on me and I don’t like at all the sensations felt in that specific moment. What I like is the sensation of suspense that comes before that moment and the sensation felt after it, when I relieve my stress.

Another problem is that if my experience is very immersive, as it usually is with narrative-based games, I feel that the scares might be actually harmful to me. I can play games that give to me a constant sensation of uneasiness and I can tolerate a few jump scares but I’m pretty sure that playing stuff like “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” would literally give me an heart attack.

As you said, it doesn’t work the same for everyone and at the end we try to do the things that we enjoy, so choosing which horror games to play and which games to reject is an important part of my enjoyment.

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Both Amnesia and Penumbra have really great stories which unveil through snippets you find in a maze. One of the best I encountered.

There aren’t many scares per se, it’s the dense atmosphere that ties your virtual legs. You have to work with the light because it’s so precious.

You need to think logically where you want to venture because you burn your oil once and then you’re exploring the deep dark corners centimeter by centimeter bumping into things and IT could be anywhere.

So you’re there standing in the corner well lit and getting ready to fire the lamp and dive into the darkness because you know you can’t stay…

Finding another piece of the meaning of the whole world or just a good old crowbar feels so good good :slight_smile:

Which pretty much confirms what I said. So it does work in a mostly positive way for you.

You´re really underrating your body´s capabilities here, I think. Look at it from a primal standpoint. When you heard the sabretooth tiger growling from around the corner the sudden sensation you felt was to make you run away very fast, hence the adrenaline. The shock is supposed to make you stronger not weaker. We wouldn´t be here if our ancestors alll had succumbed to their fears.

But today it´s different since we´re surrounded by this big comfort zone that some feel uneasy to get out of and others still feel the strong primal need to experience once in a while, that is why people jump out of planes with parachutes or from bridges with ropes attached to their legs.

Again it might be near impossible to figure out how that seperation worked but there is this big spectrum of people who feel very different about such things from people who enjoy to be just a little bit scared to people who outright need to feel near death experiences.

I´m not holding it against anyone but I still feel if you don´t like to be scared in the least you might be somewhat in the minority, I was just trying to explain the phenomenon why it´s so popular for so many others to people who don´t understand it at all.

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I generally don’t like very much those kind of games (and movies too) because of a very different reason: it is difficult to scare me with fiction. And if I don’t get scared as the author wanted, I suspend my disbelief and I simply don’t have fun.

The only two games I really got scared with were Alone in the Dark and Phantasmagoria. I liked them a lot.


I would distinguish two kinds of suspense: The suspense like in Hitchcock movies where you want to know how the story ends. Here you are “thrilled”. This suspense doesn’t lead to negative stress.

The suspense in horror movies is much more simpler and is only there to set you under stress. This stress is much more negative because your whole body fears about the next action. You are in a defensiveness (“the lion is in the bush and right about to jump onto you”). This kind of suspense makes your body ready to run away. And this stress situations isn’t good at all - especially if you are stressed over 2 hours and dream about it for several nights.

You can have this positive experience cheaper, if you hit one of your fingers with a hammer. When the pain is going away you have a similar feeling. I assume you agree with me, if I say that this isn’t very healthy…

I don’t think that he does. :slight_smile: Have a look at pets or animals: If you stress or shock them too much, they will die. We are also animals, our threshold of being “shocked” is just a little bit higher.

And I still don’t understand, why these people are constantly hammer their virtual fingers. :wink:

It doesn’t seems so to me. If this kind of experience was mostly positive or even mostly enjoyable, I would have played more horror games. The few that I played were quite light, in the scare department, and I never finished any of them.

I assume that you think that there is a minimum quantity or set of body capabilities that belong to every human on the planet. I find this scenario unlikey.

It does lead to negative stress for me (by the way, the existence of “positive stress” has been questioned by some doctors in the last years). “Rear window” is one of my favorite movies and I watch it well aware that the suspense that I feel leads to a kind of stress that doesn’t do any good to me.

I can feel stressed during my job but that kind of stress is a stimulus to do better and often it leads to better performances. Stress felt while watching a movie is not converted into a useful stimulus, because I’m passively watching a movie.

Yes, you are right. From my own experiences stress isn’t good at all and I would agree that it can’t be positive (in a sense to make you feel better). But the stress occurring during a Hitchcock move is different from that of a horror movie. I haven’t the right words for this, but maybe instead of “positive stress” I could say “not that extremely negative stress”. :slight_smile:

Of course! Watching a scary movie and hitting your fingers with a hammer, totally the same thing!

Stupid domesticised wimps!

No, everyone is different and I would never encourage you guys to damage your pacemakers!

That´s good to know, otherwise I would feel really bad now…

In terms of the (positives) feelings after the shock/hammer.

Edna will find you! (And the gas for the chainsaw.)

No because the hammer can permanently physically damage your finger.
If you´re a grownup and permantly feel scarred by something you saw on a screen in a fictional movie, you have serious problems. Enjoying the adrenaline rush of something that doesn´t permanently physically harm you is not masochism, no matter how often you try to tell me that.

How is your (presumed) lawsuit against @RonGilbert for giving you a near heart attack with Edna going by the way?