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By Nick Reay. This, obviously, was written yesterday.

I sit here writing this listening to the protests outside the City of Cape Town’s Council buildings and I imagine what it might be like to have those masses suddenly turn undead and hunt us. What I imagine isn’t filled with Wombles and Gummy Bears I can tell you that. What has prompted these unhealthy thoughts you ask? Well Halloween –  and for many that means time to spook the crap out of each other so I’m getting the jump on it and scaring myself a day early (EDIT, after having to leave my office due to said protests turning into riots also did a pretty commendable good job).

One of the most accessible ways to scare ourselves has been through watching horror movies. Our ability to suspend disbelief – facilitated by many tricks of the director – has helped bumbling first date boyfriends for decades cop at least something – if not just humiliating klap (I’ve been told). Of course now we have games competing with movies. Sorry, let’s rephrase that. Now we have games superseding movies; at least in profits. We also have games focusing more on story which in turn allows us to be drawn in and immersed. Recently games like the Last of Us, The Walking Dead or Beyond Two Souls have proven that thin line between narrative and actual game play. Now we have games that arguably challenge classic movie telling conventions and allow a far greater ‘holy sh*t’ scare factor through a greater removal in fourth wall or ‘uncanny valley’.

We’ve seen over the past 20 years some amazing games that honour the horror genre, from the once hugely successful and gripping Resident Evil to the madness filled Dead Rising, the evolution of the genre is easily traceable through steps in technology. That being said many gamers now find themselves hesitant to leap for joy when a new horror game is announced and with the disappointments of franchises like just said Resident Evil and Dead Space who can blame them? ‘Oh but we have the Walking Dead’ you cry? Well yes, there is that but to be honest I like my games with far more interaction, more playing the game than watching for a QTE.

I still shudder when thinking of running from nightmare apparitions in Silent Hill or of beating off necromorphs in Dead Space and this is because I was the character in both their movements and narrative. If I didn’t use skill in avoiding them I would be toast, or pork, or whatever we’re supposed to taste like. Why is it that so many solid franchises are failing us when the rules are so simple. And is it something that will plague the next generation? I mean we do have a few to look forward to in the next couple of months like Dead Rising 3, The Evil Within, Dying Light or Day Z, do any of these get your blood pumping? Or do you think we are going to experience more RE6?

Halloween means demons and the like get a 24 hours pass to roam around screwing with us so in that light I’d like to ask you what old-school horror game you’d like to see spruced up and updated with the latest tech. Perhaps Dead Space using the Oculus? Maybe the Kinect to stomp on zombies heads? Do we even need new tech to achieve a deeper immersion in  gaming? Peter Molyneux seems to think so. What do you think?

Last Updated: October 31, 2013

1.1
was reviewed on PC

113 Comments

  1. Kromas

    October 31, 2013 at 14:40

    You get action-horror (fail) and survival horror. If you poop in your pants scared I would always go for survival horror. And survival horror is also more commonly indie than AAA like Slender.Now that game is scary, nay, terrifying. The last action-horror I really got me to sleep with a light on was the first Fear. I would say watch out for the indie stuff and by all means go play slender and buy the sequel.

    Reply

    • Eric

      October 31, 2013 at 16:02

      First fear. Where your nerves got shot more than your character every time you had to climb a ladder and approached the top.

      Reply

      • Kromas

        October 31, 2013 at 17:31

        I think that is what made it so good. The fact that you had no idea when it was going to happen. It is like Alien. It was amazingly scary but then it got sequels and you sorta knew what to expect.

        Reply

  2. Admiral Chief Ninja

    October 31, 2013 at 14:40

    First F.E.A.R. was really WTF

    Reply

    • ToshZA

      October 31, 2013 at 14:45

      That creepy frikkin girl. That ladder scene. Holy damn I shat myself so many times in FEAR.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 31, 2013 at 14:51

        LOL, I know exactly what you are talking about.

        Or that scene where you wade through the blood, and the bloody skeleton jumps up at you

        Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 31, 2013 at 15:03

        I remember that ladder. After I calmed down I realised I should be pleased my twitch shooting reflexes were still that good.

        Reply

        • Eric

          October 31, 2013 at 16:03

          Every time the lights flickered my twitch reflexes were tested…

          Reply

      • Rock789

        October 31, 2013 at 15:11

        Oh yes… I remember that ladder! Something so small, yet it had a massive impact (and increased my heart rate into the 200+ range!). I loved F.E.A.R. – was a great game. Thought they got it spot on!

        The ones since? They were fun… But scary? Not so much – another horror-turned-action franchise in my eyes. 🙁

        Reply

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        October 31, 2013 at 15:26

        The ladder scene *shudders*

        Or that one where she runs across the walkway like just above you. But it’s like only a glimpse? *shudders again*

        Reply

        • ToshZA

          October 31, 2013 at 15:29

          OH man. Now I wanna go through my big box of games and find those install discs. All 5 of them. Before DVD became the norm, you know.

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 31, 2013 at 15:30

            Haha, I had Directors Cut DVD

          • ToshZA

            October 31, 2013 at 15:32

            Yeah I was an early adopter. It was when 50% of my salary went to games and PC stuff. Before I had things like responsibilities.

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 31, 2013 at 15:34

            Same here, I remember buying the game to save money (sit at home and game vs going out and spending more moolah)

          • ToshZA

            October 31, 2013 at 15:38

            That’s where the other 50% of my salary went. >_> I was a party animal. No responsibilities, no exaggeration.

            Oddly enough, I have more time now to game than I did back then, just less money to spend on it.

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 31, 2013 at 15:39

            Ditto, and thats me talking with active husband, father and social responsibilities

  3. Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    October 31, 2013 at 14:41

    The original F.E.A.R needs an HD remake along with Occulus support.

    Also Horror games need to be made scary again. They aren’t scary anymore. I don’t understand how people think Deadspace is scary. Cheap jump thrills don’t count.

    A horror game needs to make my neck hairs stand on end, I need to break out in goosebumps and I need to have that unsettling feeling that perhaps I should just turn the darn game off

    Reply

    • ToshZA

      October 31, 2013 at 14:44

      I’d love to jump out of my seat again. Thereafter, be afraid to look around a freaking corner. That’s a horror game. One you’re afraid to play at night. Alan Wake was the last game to make me crap my pants. More of that atmospheric, story-driven but interactive, scary shit please?

      Reply

      • RangerMossel

        October 31, 2013 at 14:55

        Check the trailer for Outlast. It’s like the horror version of Mirror’s Edge. No weapons, you only run around in an asylum crying like the little bitch that you are.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Ninja

          October 31, 2013 at 14:57

          Haha, is that the one with the camera?

          Reply

          • RangerMossel

            October 31, 2013 at 14:58

            Yes! I am downloading it! Will hopefulle play it tonight…in the dark. With headphones.

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 31, 2013 at 15:00

            I’ll wait a bit, then steamcall you BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

          • RangerMossel

            October 31, 2013 at 15:02

            I will then post the brick that was shat to you.

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 31, 2013 at 15:04

            I’ll frame that

    • Rincethis

      October 31, 2013 at 14:44

      This was my point. They aren’t scary any more. Not the way they used to be. Is this because they are trying to lean towards the commercially successful COD?

      Reply

    • Eric

      October 31, 2013 at 16:05

      Occulus game version of The Conjuring

      Reply

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        November 1, 2013 at 06:52

        Never played it hey

        Reply

  4. Mark Treloar

    October 31, 2013 at 14:42

    Clive Barker’s undying.

    Reply

  5. Umar Moe Moe

    October 31, 2013 at 14:45

    There is a lot of life left in the Horror genre, these companies are fools I tell ya! if they think horror doesn’t sell. I for one want to see the return of psychological survival horror like Silent Hill

    Reply

    • Rincethis

      October 31, 2013 at 14:46

      Yes. Silent Hill still has a special place in my heart, and a special place in my bathroom…

      Reply

      • Umar Moe Moe

        October 31, 2013 at 14:47

        Hahaha indeed man, Silent Hill Downpour came close to going back to the good ol days…If only they had scarier monsters and better framerate, nice article btw

        Reply

  6. Uberutang

    October 31, 2013 at 14:46

    By far the most tense game I have ever played was DAYZ.
    Esp when you are new. You know not what to do, where to go. Zombie things everywhere, they sound really scary and then there are the real life players… utter bastards that will rape your corpse… Cold sweats and heart pumping moments. Have never before or since had that in a game.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Ninja

      October 31, 2013 at 14:47

      Man, I really wanna get into DAYZ.

      Is it standalone yet?

      Reply

      • Uberutang

        October 31, 2013 at 14:51

        No, not yet. Once you get the ‘lay of the land’ it becomes less tense and scary, but oh boy those early sessions was insane.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Ninja

          October 31, 2013 at 14:52

          You still jam?

          Reply

          • Uberutang

            October 31, 2013 at 14:55

            Moved on to Arma3. Will jam once there is a stable mod out for it rather. Better controls etc etc.

    • Umar Moe Moe

      October 31, 2013 at 14:48

      Excited for standalone…#foreverSP

      Reply

    • Eric

      October 31, 2013 at 16:08

      Nothing scares me more in DayZ than the knowledge that there’s another human player close to you.

      Reply

  7. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 31, 2013 at 14:47

    System Shock 2.

    Reply

    • Rincethis

      October 31, 2013 at 14:48

      In what way? I mean, would you want to upgrade that to something like the oculus platform?

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 31, 2013 at 15:00

        No, I still think OR is a gimmick. I’d like to see it in a modern engine, even back then the more organic levels & enemies creeped me out. I don’t even want to think about how those could look on modern tech. The basic concept of the game is straight from a sci-fi horror – you’re alone on a spaceship run by a crazy AI & with out of control bio-engineering. The audio was really good for the time and they also got right what lots of horror games get wrong – which is making you spend time alone; too many just throw enemies at you & ruin any sense of suspense.

        Reply

    • Admiral Chief Ninja

      October 31, 2013 at 14:48

      Indeed, those effing cloaked spiders!

      Reply

  8. RangerMossel

    October 31, 2013 at 14:52

    I dont know if you guys have seen the trailer for outlast? I thought it was rather scary! It convinced me to buy the game! Will try it sometime in the future.

    Reply

    • Umar Moe Moe

      October 31, 2013 at 14:55

      Bought it and shat in my pants. Done and Dusted and Wiped

      Reply

      • RangerMossel

        October 31, 2013 at 14:56

        LOL! Nice, that’s what I was hoping for. Tonight bricks will be shat!

        Reply

        • Umar Moe Moe

          October 31, 2013 at 14:57

          Haha, enjoy man, graphics are amazing and it’s insanely scary

          Reply

          • Rincethis

            October 31, 2013 at 14:58

            lol

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 31, 2013 at 14:58

        “dusted and wiped”

        LULZ

        Reply

  9. ToshZA

    October 31, 2013 at 14:52

    • Admiral Chief Ninja

      October 31, 2013 at 15:00

      Damn, my wrist, my spacebar….

      Reply

      • Rincethis

        October 31, 2013 at 15:08

        Your wrist you say?

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Ninja

          October 31, 2013 at 15:09

          Who’s mind swammeth in the gutter now?

          Reply

          • Rincethis

            October 31, 2013 at 15:10

            No idea what you mean. So, you call it keyboard hey?

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 31, 2013 at 15:11

            I dunno, I’m not the #foreverSP specialist 😉

          • ToshZA

            October 31, 2013 at 15:19

            Ooh ouchies. 😀

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 31, 2013 at 15:25

            Which brings us to the next question, soft touch or mechanical?

    • Mark Treloar

      October 31, 2013 at 15:04

      this may break my keyboard

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 31, 2013 at 15:07

        Hahaha

        Reply

      • ToshZA

        October 31, 2013 at 15:18

        Hahaha

        Reply

  10. Alukard Neck Nibbler PhD

    October 31, 2013 at 15:02

    Nice article, I think “beating off necromorphs” is genre of it’s own though.

    Regards immersion, personally it’s the storyline (and/or narrative) that matters – I mean you can’t get any lower tech than a book and some of them can be down right terrifying.

    Reply

    • Rincethis

      October 31, 2013 at 15:04

      Thanks! In regards to the necros I meant you had to physically do something to get them off your face, as opposed to suspense built through pacing and dialogue alone. But yes, books can do just as well! 🙂

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 31, 2013 at 15:06

        I think you just made it sound much worse by adding “do something to get them off your face” after “beating off necromorphs.”

        Reply

        • Rincethis

          October 31, 2013 at 15:07

          Gutter, your mind swimeth in.

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 31, 2013 at 15:16

            What’s your point? lol

          • Rincethis

            October 31, 2013 at 15:18

            0_o

        • Admiral Chief Ninja

          October 31, 2013 at 15:08

          O_O

          Reply

        • Alukard Neck Nibbler PhD

          October 31, 2013 at 15:31

          LOL

          Reply

      • Alukard Neck Nibbler PhD

        October 31, 2013 at 15:31

        Yeah, I know, I jest. IMO you should write some more, I like your prose and that you don’t try to hard to be funny – some of the older LG writers used to do that. You will only get better(er).

        Reply

        • Rincethis

          October 31, 2013 at 15:35

          Lol. If I spent more time writing them they would be better, it’s the fact I do them during my real job, which is writing as a communications officer 😛

          Reply

          • Alukard Neck Nibbler PhD

            October 31, 2013 at 15:50

            Yeah, in my opinion, the more you write, the more you develop your personal style. That is outside of work – where there are, possibly, mandates as to tone/style (whatever you call it) to reflect a corporate identity. It’s not your ‘voice’, as it were. I hope they let you do more articles, is basically what I am saying.

          • Rincethis

            October 31, 2013 at 15:52

            I know what you meant 😉 Was playing, I’ve been writing for years, was a journalist before this job too. But you are right, to be able to write in one’s own voice is not something we get to do all the time.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 31, 2013 at 15:58

            Keep practising little one, and one day you’ll be allowed to write a limerick! 😉

          • RooibosRince

            October 31, 2013 at 16:04

            Roses are red, violets are blue, what I plan to do to you would lead most to sue 😛

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 31, 2013 at 16:08

            lol

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 31, 2013 at 16:14

            Try this rather…

            Roses are Red, Violets are blue, They say their superior but we know its
            not true, with their pc’s and their parts they sit in their office
            chair, while I relax comfy on my couch perhaps in my underwear…

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            October 31, 2013 at 16:12

            Exactly, Dr Alukard. I envy people who can effortlessly switch between “dry corporate writing” and “funny and wity fluff”

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            October 31, 2013 at 16:08

            Yep, practice makes perfect. Personally, I’m always worried that the clunkiness of years of technical writing has stifled my writing a bit… :/

          • RooibosRince

            October 31, 2013 at 16:10

            Agreed. As @yepyouarewrongshush:disqussays the more you write, the more you develop, so when writing in NGO ‘let’s save this already fucking doomed planet’ one can lose that.

  11. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 31, 2013 at 15:14

    Now that I think about it the times I’ve been most scared in a game were usually a combination of:

    1 – Isolation, you’re on your own & haven’t had to fight/kill anything for a while
    2 – Vulnerability – knowing that when something does happen there’s a good chance you’ll die and/or open(ish) levels where the danger can come from anywhere around you
    3 – Glimpses or sounds of things moving – so you know they’re around
    4 – Ambient audio – slowly building, or even dead silence

    What’s ruined it these days is how lazy most games are with building on those things. Oh look, here’s an empty room, R10 says something will spawn when I’m half way through it… again.

    Reply

    • ToshZA

      October 31, 2013 at 15:17

      Its those unexpected moments when you’re just doing something else, and BAM WTF MOMMY!!!! that get you. Music is subtle, leading you up to it, but subtle so you don’t notice. Empty rooms provide just that, emptiness. But when you come out, disapointed and suddenly there’s a frikkin THING there, that’s scary shit.

      Reply

    • Rincethis

      October 31, 2013 at 15:31

      What ruined it for me in DS3 was the flipping microtransactions… In a horror game? WTF?!

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 31, 2013 at 15:37

        Maybe that WAS the horror.

        Reply

        • Rincethis

          October 31, 2013 at 15:41

          It was for OVG. MAN, he brought rage to a new level on some of the stages, I created pretty decent weapons without having to pay, we had the same items, but he was, well… Doff! Haha 🙂

          Reply

  12. Rock789

    October 31, 2013 at 15:16

    Great article Nick! 🙂

    Honestly, I’d love to see a great Alone in the Dark game! The originals were right up there, perhaps super ceding, the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Even the one released in +-2000, “Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare”, I thought was really good! Had great atmosphere (you could tell coz a friend of mine, who cannot stand anything horror, would literally not watch the PC monitor when I played this… He was that freaked out!), a good story and used the AITD assets very well. I’d love an HD remake, or just a plain ‘ol new AITD game – I think it’d be awesome! Perhaps enough time has passed since the aweful 2008 remake…

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      October 31, 2013 at 15:20

      Doesn’t Alan Wake fill this need? It looks like a similar type of game. Still on the backlog heh.

      Reply

      • ToshZA

        October 31, 2013 at 15:22

        Alan Wake was scary enough, a good story and a good game. Its the last game that made me crap myself.

        Reply

      • Rock789

        October 31, 2013 at 15:25

        You have a point there… I suppose the protagonists were kinda similar.

        Alan Wake was a great game. But scary? I dunno… I remember not being that freaked out by it. Sure, the odd jump. But nothing like the original Alone in the Dark. Alan Wake was lotsa fun – and I thought an interesting game. But not overly scary. 🙂

        Reply

  13. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    October 31, 2013 at 15:23

    Damnit LAGZ hire Nick already. Give him a proper column! “Rince it with RinceThis” or “Tea with Ginger biscuits”.

    Come on lads, do the right thing! I vote for Mr Rincethis to get his own weekly column!

    Reply

    • Rincethis

      October 31, 2013 at 15:24

      What the bot said! lol

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        October 31, 2013 at 15:37

        I’m definitely in favour of it, something different, a little rant every once in a while or just some gaming related anecdotes about OVG’s lack of gaming skills 😛 ho ho ho!

        Reply

    • ToshZA

      October 31, 2013 at 15:24

      Tea with Ginger biscuits gets my vote.

      Reply

      • Rincethis

        October 31, 2013 at 15:24

        I like…

        Reply

    • Admiral Chief Ninja

      October 31, 2013 at 15:25

      I vote for TEA WITH GINGER PUBES

      Reply

      • ToshZA

        October 31, 2013 at 15:25

        Get creative, biscuits could be crabs?

        Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 31, 2013 at 15:25

        Rooibos tea?

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Ninja

          October 31, 2013 at 15:27

          Tea with Rooibos?

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 31, 2013 at 15:28

            Right now I’m regretting just drinking some.

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 31, 2013 at 15:29

            LOOOOOL

          • ToshZA

            October 31, 2013 at 15:31

            hahahaha, I prefer Earl Grey myself, but I’m suspect about giving any more Rooibos to my son. Thanks for that.

      • Rincethis

        October 31, 2013 at 15:26

        Wow…

        Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        October 31, 2013 at 15:36

        Uh…. what the f… 😮

        Reply

    • Alukard Neck Nibbler PhD

      October 31, 2013 at 15:38

      “Teabag with Ginger biscuits”

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Ninja

        October 31, 2013 at 15:39

        Teabag with Rooibos and ginger biscuits

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          October 31, 2013 at 15:44

          TEABAGGING WITH GINGER PUBES!!! 😀

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 31, 2013 at 15:47

            TEABAGGING WITH GINGER ROOIBOS PUBES

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          October 31, 2013 at 15:45

          Reply

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            October 31, 2013 at 16:04

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH! NOW WITH EVEN MORE GINGERY!

          • Admiral Chief Ninja

            October 31, 2013 at 16:05

            LOOOOOOOOOOL

    • TiMsTeR1033

      October 31, 2013 at 16:00

      HEAR HEAR! AND TIMMEH DOES HIS HEADERS!

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        October 31, 2013 at 16:04

        I approve of this idea!

        Reply

  14. TiMsTeR1033

    October 31, 2013 at 16:16

    GIVE RINCE HIS OWN FLIPPING COLUMN ALREADY!!! COME ON LAZYGAMER.NET MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE AND GO FOR GINGER!! (as Banana Jim said “RINCE IT WITH RINCETHIS” Instant classic! If you can’t see that people that you are ALL fools!

    Reply

  15. HvR

    October 31, 2013 at 16:52

    Your Cape Town undead analogy just gave me an idea for a brilliant for new terrifying zombie enemy.

    Service delivery protesting zombie, not only does it hunger for your brains but has a range attack by throwing you with poop.

    Reply

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