Category Archives: Horror Games

Why survival horror can’t afford to be scary any more (excerpt)

Growing up I was always fascinated by horror. I read teen fiction horror books like Goosebumps or the god-awful (but always entertaining) Point Horror series. I watched Horror movies which were most certainly not suitable for my age bracket (Not a fault of my parents but the employees of the local video rental shop — who had no moral objection allowing an 8 year old to rent “Nightmare on Elm Street”). I hung out in haunted houses, wrote short stories about all kinds of beasties. Hell, I even messed around with Ouija boards and performed séances, just to see what would happen. Why bother telling you all this?

Context.

I want to convey to you, that I love horror. I always have and always will. In all its mediums, horror plays on my (mostly) unconscious desire to continuously be unnerved. Some people play video-games to relax, soak in a story or maybe to just blissfully slaughter hordes of oncoming mutants/zombies/space-nazi’s or underprivileged Middle Eastern youths. I am happiest playing games when crouching three or four feet from the TV, in the pitch dark… my eyes wide in anticipation and the controller slippery in my hand from sweat. I want to be terrified…  No. It’s more than that.

I crave the feeling of being scared.

So, you would think I’ve been absolutely disgusted by the recent destruction of mainstream Survival Horror. Silent Hill ain’t living up to its legacy and Resident Evil has become the most bombastic, balls to the wall action series this side of Con-Air.

Well, I do find it sad that the franchises listed above have moved substantially away from their roots, but when I recently went back and played Resident Evil 3 and the original Silent Hill on my Vita it all suddenly started to make sense.

Survival Horror wouldn’t work anymore. Well… not in a mainstream sense, anyhow.

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Personality Analysis in Gaming: An underused effect

Prior to playing 2PaperDolls’ Mind of Man, I didn’t know much about the field of sentiment analysis. Actually, to be completely honest, I understood nothing about the area. After playing around with Mind Of Man for a while, I couldn’t help but wonder about the application of sentiment analysis (or specifically, the MOM API) to other, more traditional gaming experiences.

In Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Dr Kaufman treats the player as if they’re undergoing a psych evaluation

Most of the time, when games use any kind of personality evaluations, it feels as though you’re playing a round of 20 Questions. It’s a mere quiz, and it’s not very subtle. Rarely, if the context is fantastic, it might feel a bit more believable. But most of the time, the data the computer gains from the player is patchy, at best.

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My Relationship with Resident Evil Part 2 – By PJ Quinn

Continued from previous article:

The Break-up

It was over. I knew it and she knew it. She wanted to try and work things out but I just couldn’t get over Code Veronica; I was hurt… and betrayed. I wanted out and finally she let me go. I told her I’d remember the good times, that she’d always be special and we’d stay friends… but we both knew it wouldn’t happen. I moved on and started having new experiences.

A couple of years went by without a word, then one day my cousin came to me all excited and asked if I’d seen her lately. I told him I hadn’t so he showed me some pics. She’d had a complete make-over and she looked real good. I knew I had to see her.

Remake

When we met again i did so with some friends, I didn’t want to be alone incase there were any awkward feelings. She looked amazing… I was hooked again. Later I got her alone and like any man who knows he’s make a mistake, I dropped to my knees tears flowing, tugging at her dress begging her to take me back. She agreed but I’m not sure if it was out of love… or to stop me slobbering on her shoe.

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My relationship with Resident Evil – by P.J Quinn

PJ Quinn is an awesome individual… who just so happens, not by choice on his part, to be my cousin. PJ and I share many similar tastes but none so strong as mutual love and passion for the Resident Evil video game franchise. On Facebook I noticed an amazing little post by PJ which summed up my feelings (more or less) on the first four titles in the series. I asked for permission to repost here and Mr. Quinn was more than kind enough to oblige. The first ever “Dev in the Red Hat” guest post is below:

Resident evil

“My relationship with the Resident Evil games has always been a pretty good one. We first met back in ’98, even though she’d been around a while longer, it was love at first sight. Sure she wasn’t the best looking and our conversations were cheesey, filled with talk of Jill sandwiches, masters of unlocking and all the weak people existing to be eaten, but, we whiled away the days in each others company; loving every moment of it. After some time she decided we needed a bigger place… something new.”

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The Walking Dead Episode 1 – A New Day Review

There is a certain challenge to reviewing an episodic adventure. I mean, you need to set the benchmark in your first review, as no matter how good or bad the events in each episode, the overall game-play is not going to change dramatically from the first episode, right? I am pleased to tell you that the game-play and narrative present in The Walking Dead is so damn good, that it will take some serious missteps from Telltale in the subsequent releases, to bring this episodic series down.

Two things might have an impact on your experience of The Walking Dead.

1:) Have you played and enjoyed any of Telltales other Adventure games?

2:) Have you read The Walking Dead comic book series?

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Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City Review

Resident Evil – A series best known as the daddy of mainstream survival horror. Raccoon City – Every Resident Evil fan’s favourite doomed metropolis. Surely a game with both of the above in the title can do nothing but succeed. I mean, that’s just awesome fan service, right? Yeah… Well… unfortunately, for Operation Raccoon City, that’s not quite the case.

Lets be clear here. Operation Raccoon City is not THAT bad. As a matter of fact, it can actually be a hell of a lot of fun. For it’s many missed opportunites and failed potential, Operation Raccoon City is a competent shooter that excels when played online with a few friends. That should be good enough for most shooter fans out there, but the problem with this game is that Capcom and Slant Six have failed to bring us an entry which delivers any of the atmosphere or “feel” of previous games in the franchise, even though it’s littered with character cameos and familiar iconography throughout.

Well, to begin, the general controls of Operation Raccoon City are fine, fulfilling the basic necessities of the contemporary third person shooter. One of the only issues I have with the controls, comes in the form of the game’s cover system. The cover is not handled by a button press; instead when you get close to an object that you can use for cover, your character will lock to it automatically. Now early on in the game this didn’t bother me and I actually thought it was handled really well – but in the games more difficult chapters, the cracks begin to show and the game becomes insanely frustrating, as you don’t have direct control of the cover mechanic and you will more often than not find your head being pumped full of Spec Ops assault rifle rounds, as you attempt to fumble your way back behind an overturned shopping trolley, which will clearly protect yout from armour piercing rounds… Right…

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Lone Survivor Review

To say that I am a fan of survival horror would be the understatement of the century. I love it. I love the shoddy controls. I love the sense of uselessness and complete sense of disempowerment. I love the quick debate in your head as you try to decide to fight or flee, as something bloodied and nasty edges ever closer to your wimpy, underpowered character. This is the stuff of my dreams … well nightmares… nightmarish dreams??

Lone Survivor is an indie survival horror title by Jasper Byrne, available for both Windows and Mac. I have no fears about stating that this game is the most polished, genuinely scary and atmospheric horror game I’ve played in a decade.

The art of survival horror, like the characters within, is seemingly being killed by the increasingly popular opinion that it’s an unresponsive, archaic genre better left in the late 90’s and only remembered nostaligcally. In recent years traditional Survival horror, in the vein of Clock Tower or Silent Hill has been dropped more and more in favour of Panic or Action horror titles like Resident Evil 4 or Left 4 Dead. Jasper Byrne is clearly a developer who understands the best elements of traditional survival horror and is more than capable of using that knowledge to deliver an amazingly chilling title, that makes horror video-games relevant again.

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Can Chiptune be scary?

Last night I found myself getting completely lost in the amazingly compelling, Lone Survivor by Jasper Byrne. If you consider yourself a fan of Horror games, I would strongly recommend you pick it up and play the shit out of it. I started playing Lone Survivor to try and gain some inspiration for my up and coming title, “Introvert/Nullify” which is, much like Lone Survivor a pixel art, horror game. One thing that struck me early on about LS, was how the sound made it genuinely terrifying… I mean, the visuals are great and everything but anytime I found myself freaking out, it was usually related to some disturbing crackling noise, or creepy wailing sirens coming through my headphones.

Image

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