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