On Video Games and Horror
(October 13, 2009)
It should come as no surprise that I love video games. Really, if you couldn't figure that out then you haven't really been paying much attention to my music. I grew up on the Atari 2600. After the crash I migrated to the NES and have been a Nintendo fanboy ever since. I have owned (and still do, actually, most of the systems are still working and hooked up) a SNES, N64, Dreamcast, GameCube, and Wii. And for the record I am still furious that Microsoft bought Rare because they made some of the best games for Nintendo's systems.
If you've also been paying attention to my music you should know I also love horror movies, ie. Blood Guts and Boobs. As a kid I was a huge fan of the Nightmare On Elm St. series, and Friday The 13th, and all of those. (Jason Goes To Hell is the only one I didn't enjoy, not counting the recent remake which sucked.) In high school I worked in a video rental store and since I got free rentals I went alphabetically through the horror section until I had seen all but about 12 of the movies before going off to college, which is right about the time my subscription to Nintendo Power expired.
About a year ago on a whim I resubscribed and have been enjoying the hell out of it. A tech geek using old media? I know, right? But I can't help it. I love it.
This month's issue featured a lot of games in the horror genre and while reading it occurred to me that I haven't played many horror games during my lifetime. Honestly I can't think of a good reason why this is the case. It just is. The only possible thing I can think of is that for whatever reason I could never get into first person shooters, and I think a lot of the survival horror games fall into that category as well so they just never captured my interest.
I have played a few. Dating back to the Atari there was a game called Haunted House which actually made me jump a few times. On the NES there were games for A Nightmare On Elm St and Friday The 13th, both of which I beat, but they never scared me. There was also the Castlevania series which was awesome, but not scary. On the GameCube I played Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem for a while which was fairly scary, but I didn't get far. I got stuck at one point and never went back to it. There was also the Buffy The Vampire Slayer game if you want to count that. It was awesome, but not really scary.
But both Eternal Darkness and Buffy were more adventure games than first person shooters, which is probably why I gave them a try. And yes, I beat Buffy. That's probably the only way I could ever beat Buffy as I'm sure Sarah Michelle Gellar could kick my ass. I'd be too busy stammering and babbling like a psycho fanboy to defend myself if, for whatever reason, she attacked me.
This month's Nintendo Power has articles on Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles and Dead Space Extraction, plus a review of JU-ON: The Grudge. Last month they also reviewed Cursed Mountain which looks interesting. Reading all these articles and reviews about horror games made me realize just how few I've actually played, and that really surprised me for a guy who loves horror.
Other than 5 minutes here and there at friends' houses I've never played Resident Evil, Silent Hill, or House Of The Dead, or any of the other popular horror games. Although, I have seen all the movies that were made based on those games. (My thoughts: Decent, good, and awful, respectively.)
So, knowing what you know about my tastes and my systems, what games would you recommend I pick up? Remember, I like adventure games and don't like first person shooters. I'm really tempted by Cursed Mountain. The Resident Evil game is probably too much of an FPS for me. The Grudge game looks interesting, and I know they're making a new Silent Hill game for the Wii. That game looks really interesting in that you have no weapons and can't kill the creatures. That plus it makes you fill out a profile at the beginning of the game and then the game changes because it now knows what scares you. Those two things should make that game terrifying unless they completely bungle it, but the preview in Nintendo Power made it sound like they did it right.