This is going to be a tricky one for me because im not sure that i’ve come across very many good horror games, for sure scary films although watch them once there no longer scary as you know whats going to happen rather than having that fear of the unknown accompany you on that first viewing.
anyway stopping myself from going wildly off track! There have been a few moments where a game will give you a good jump scare although for me thats the cheapest type of scare that anyone can do but every so often a game will come along and actually absorb you into its atmosphere and make you feel that your right there along with the character that you have control of, and its this type of horror that i believe is the better one because it means the creators actually believe in what they are doing and they are genuinely working to give you that experience of fear and adrenaline pounding through your body with anxiety.
Silent hill 2 & 3 are the very first things that spring to mind for me because 2 especially had that over bearing foreboding atmosphere that followed you throughout the entire game and the story had good pacing and you genuinely took an interest in James Sunderlands background and his unfolding story. Silent hill 3 used music to great effect to enhance the horror and experience of the player, although granted there was one example where it ruined completely and utterly, first time i heard it i couldnt stop laughing and was in stitches…The ending credit music it just tickles me because as soon as you the guy singing you cant help but laugh as it sounds so utterly ridiculous but maybe im alone in that opinion?
Those are really the only ones i can really think of that gave you that feeling of fear and absolute tension, i mean sure there are games like dead space or the latest resident evils now but there not really scary they’re action games with increasingly grotesque enemies to kill and nothing reassures you more in a horror game than being backed up by heavy ordance and a metric fuck ton of ammunition to go with it as it kind of rends the survival part of the survival horror completely pointless. You dont feel scared and worried about staying alive when your armed to the teeth thats all im saying.
As for films its a little different because essentially your the innocent bystander with no control over what is happening so you can see how film could be seen as a superior medium for horror. The aliens films always freaked me out…barring aliens 3 and ressurection which sucked, the good ones at least had that over bearing menace about them because of course a terrifying xenomorph killing machine was on the loose but also there was that feeling of hopelessness on part of the crew because they were quite helpless against it and had to use other means to subdue/kill it.
This in my opinion is quite hard to distill into a game because you need to give the player control which in turn can be a comforting feeling (at least in my opinion) because if you are in control you can affect events and tip things into your favour, like for example hoarding ammo so no matter what enemy you come across your not in danger not real danger unless you fuck up and get yourself killed like ive done many a time….
That does’nt mean it can’t be done hence the silent hill examples but its a very tough thing to get done right. Its that fine balancing that needs to be done, if the combat system is too effective or the monsters being genuine threats or just shambling bullet magnets, are you made out to be a timid wuss or an all conquering man mountain. I know about Amnesia which i have bought (a long time ago actually) i havent got around to playing it yet but i have heard plenty of good things about it, its opressive atmosphere, genuinely threatening main bad guy/monster, the scary surroundings and feeling of loneliness enhanced by the brilliant use of sounds and music the lack of any weapons meaning that you have to run and hide if you get into trouble….pretty much what i’ve been moaning about that alot of “survival-horror” lack.
I’m going to play amnesia now haha
Thank you for reading!