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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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