Since it’s Halloween, some of us decided to pick out a game each that terrified us most, and left the deepest impression/scar in our gaming escapades.
Gerald: My pick would be 1996 classic that debuted on the Sony PlayStation and has now spawned 23 versions of the title and a Hollywood movie. Impressive for a game that had terrible voice acting. Back in the day, I was but only 13 when I first tried out the game. Some Internet Tough Guys might beg to differ but it certainly scared me to the point that I had to stave off playing the game unless I had someone around me.
Not so scary after all some 17 years later, but the effect of horror is far greater on a young impressionable mind. Just don’t get me started on scary movies now…
Siren: New Translation
Yonk: I absolutely love horror movies and games, and some of the more disturbing ones I’ve played over the years have definitely been the Silent Hill series and Fatal Frame series. However, the one that actually sent shivers down my spine and got my heart racing was Siren: New Translation (known as Siren: Blood Curse in the US), released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2008. There’s just something about the creepy enemies’ faces and very dark environments, coupled with the helplessness one feels most of the time.
Since its almost 5 years since I last played it, I can’t quite recall much of the gameplay, but I only remember that this game’s horror factor has been etched in my memory ever since. My only regret is that I’ve never really dedicated enough time to playing it, and probably only played through less than 20% of it. Perhaps its time to get back to it this Halloween, just to see if it has stood the test of time.
Alone in the Dark
Drew: There have been many games that I’ve been too scared to play. I played a level of Fear 2 before deciding that creepy little girls are just not my thing, and I didn’t boot up Silent Hill 4 again after watching the intro sequence. But the one game that I will always remember as being my first scary game is the original Alone in the Dark.
Picture this: It’s 1992, I’m 13, and I’m over at my friend’s place. He shows me this videogame where the characters seemed to be made up of triangles. Now, it’s the 90s, so characters in videogames were supposed to be made of 2D sprites. Rudimentary polygons are nowhere near as realistic or attractive as sprites. But it’s okay, we play on.
Our ugly character is in an attic, and every step he takes makes the floor creak in an incredible spooky way. There’s a window, and before long you see something moving out there. I don’t know what it is, but my friend shows me that you can push a cupboard in front of the window to stop whatever it is from popping out. And then the trapdoor starts moving, and you have to push the chest over it to keep the monster from popping out and attacking you.
This opening sequence is so cemented in my memory that I even based an animation exercise on it (though I didn’t complete it in the end).
The point is: this game does with effective sound and a kid’s fear of the unknown to really play up the creepiness. When I went home that night, I was shit-scared of windows, doors, and anything that could reveal a monster. If I was strong enough to push my desk in front of my door, you can bet your ass I would’ve!
Alone in the Dark will probably only be remembered as the precursor to Resident Evil… but to me this will always be the really scary one.
What scared me in my youth…
mao: Trying to remember what scared me in my youth, I realised that what terrorised me most was when my imagination did what was necessary where graphics couldn’t.
So my first exploration into fear was with the King’s Quest games. Which might not be very intimidating till you realize you were playing it at 2 in the morning and every wrong step means falling into a pixelated hole where instadeath loomed.
I guess context is important. I used to read old school brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. Not the homogeneous Disney sanitised stuff but the gory and macabre versions where all kinds of horror loomed for the protagonists. Most of whom didn’t make it.
So with all that background and I’m creeping around trying not to wake the bloody house with chicken legs that Baba Yaga is inside ready to come out and perhaps make sausage out of my private parts or turn my kidneys into a pair of mittens for her goblin children, believe you me, I was absolutely terrified.
Then I saw The Elephant Man.
And had rubber mats put on top of my mattress. I think I remain terrified to this very day.