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Making a Horror Game Scary

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the zombies-and-darkness dept.

Games 129

GameSetWatch has put up an article about the characteristics that give games in the survival-horror genre the ability to unnerve, startle, and scare players in ways that most games don't. The genre has seen a resurgence lately, with titles like Dead Space, F.E.A.R. 2, and Left 4 Dead posting strong sales numbers. What triggers your fight-or-flight impulses in games like these? From the article: "Being visual creatures, humans are most comforted by sight because of our ability to discern objects, action and consequences based on a picture. As a result, cutting visual stimuli and sticking purely to audio or speech is one of the best ways to keep a player on their toes. Even with weapons, it's very hard to find what you cannot see, and what you do not know. Even if visual stimuli is used, limiting or obfuscating the player's view can enhance the horror in a game, especially if the player sees it for an incredible short time. This can hint both at the difficulty of an upcoming encounter, or even allude to matters earlier in the narrative that the player will soon have to face."

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129 comments

How to make games scary? (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028323)

Don't make them shoot'em ups.

It's amazing how many companies don't follow that advice.

Re:How to make games scary? (5, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028347)

Don't call FPSes shoot'em ups, it's amazing how many people don't know what a shmup is these days. I've seen a thread about "best shmup" where half the responses were "Halo".

Re:How to make games scary? (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028657)

While you have a point in terms of 'accepted terminology' the OP has a point regarding the actual question. Many FPS games are setup under the "if it moves, kill it" philosophy of game design. This doesn't work well when what "moves" is suppose to scare you. If you have the power to kill it, eventually regardless of all the other work put into making it scary, it becomes boring.

How many people got bored of Doom3 once it became apparent how predicable the monster 'hiding' locations were, regardless of whether you could see the monster while you were walking up to the 'ambush' sites.

Re:How to make games scary? (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028731)

It can be done well. In HL2 you can kill anything that's a danger to you, but some parts of it are still seriously creepy. Like Ravenholm, for instance.

The scary aspect doesn't come just from the danger. It's the whole setting, the headcrabs, the zombies and sounds they make, the screams when they burn... Also the scarcity of ammunition and large amount of enemies makes it difficult if not impossible to kill them all by simply shooting them.

Re:How to make games scary? (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029203)

Also the scarcity of ammunition and large amount of enemies makes it difficult if not impossible to kill them all by simply shooting them.

I am sure some of you can kill everything in Ravenholm with the crowbar, I can not. :)

This nails Ravenholm. Even though I have replayed that level several times, it still creeps me out becuase I am always making a decision about when to fight and when to run--and then what am I running into? I know what is coming, but I have to be ready. The constant decision making is what makes Ravenholm so much fun.

I also like that most of ravenholm is bright. Extended scenes that rely on obfuscated darkness to up the "scare factor" is distracting.

Re:How to make games scary? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030009)

I don't know, the ready availability of things like saw blades made it possible to kill all of them.

But it's true -- it was in the setting, and the sounds, and the Fast Zombie screech. The environment was also, in many ways, set up to feel claustrophobic -- even moreso than crawling around vents in the original Half-Life. Some of this was the actual, physical environment -- having to sit in a corner and wait for the zombies to walk into your trap.

And some of it was the fact that even when you had a moderately open area, you would be surrounded by zombies, herding you towards the next obstacle.

So, ammo was part of it, but I don't think it was a large part. I had a friend complain that Half-Life 1 was mostly running around with no ammo -- HL2 tends to have enough, as long as you don't do anything stupid.

Re:How to make games scary? (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031523)

I usually had a ton of ammo, cause I would always save ammo "just in case" so I'd never end up using the fun guns all that much....

Also, in some areas the zombies just kept coming, so you could keep killing them, but you could never "get them all"

Re:How to make games scary? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032777)

I would always save ammo "just in case" so I'd never end up using the fun guns all that much....

I had to make a point to -- pace myself, and then say "Ok, it's time for something to explode!" and toss a grenade. The situation didn't really call for it, but I'd know there would be another dozen grenades I wouldn't need somewhere...

Gameplay mechanics (5, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028339)

Low tolerance for failure (taking a lot of damage or even dying when messing up), uncertainity where enemies are (whether a facehugger jumping out of a corner or a ghost that can teleport around you) and generally a feeling of "ohshitohshitohshit" when an enemy engages you. FEAR wasn't scary, you've got a gun and you shoot people with it, neither was Doom 3 (though FEAR was more of a tactical shooter while Doom 3 was just "eat lead, motherfucker!"). The situation must be life or death, not life or slightly less life. You simply can't have a horror game when your main character is a supersoldier with bullettime, massive firepower and lots of health who murders an entire platoon before breakfast.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (4, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028359)

Oh and something I forgot to mention: That must apply to ACTUAL enemies, not scripted events or something. Only an actual enemy with dynamic behaviour is scary, a prescripted attack is pretty much an exercise in memorization and "foreboding" sounds in the distance aren't scary because you know they aren't associated with enemies, just part of the level script. Hearing something scream means the level designer told the level to scream, not that there's an enemy hiding nearby that just randomly decided to scream. The dead world is not scary (mostly because it doesn't behave erratrically and often doesn't even attack you), the living part is.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029541)

You obviously have not played Thief 3. There you learn that the scariest enemy is the one you make up in your mind. And you don't even expect some surprising attack out of a closet that instantly kills you. When you enter THAT level you just fear what kind of enemy the game designers could possibly have made up for THIS, given the enemies they already introduced to you in much more peaceful levels.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

duckInferno (1275100) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034677)

I remember playing Theif (the first one). Around halfway through the game, after completing a half dozen "maps", I found myself in a secret basement under a church. Dark, abandoned... and of course by this time, the "theif" persona of the main character had been driven into me. Nobody knows you exist or to look for you if you go missing. Combat is not the theif's forte, with a 50/50 chance of making it out alive.

So here I am, in a secret unused basement corridor underneath an old church, at night, alone, with little more than a blackjack... and up ahead of me around the corner, I hear the familiar shuffling of chains and low moans of a zombie...

That was like 10 years ago. You want to get someone scared? Immerse them in the game, first. And take away all the guns.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029715)

Furthermore, books and films are not scary because everything that happens was put there by an author or director. Besides, fiction is not reality: whatever horrible things might happen to the character, the book, movie or game is not going to actually kill or harm you.

I recommend looking up "willing suspension of disbelief".

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034833)

People will always become used to what ever visual clues you apply. Random sudden deaths just become annoying not scary and boss monster where you have to go through some stupid repetitive rigmarole to kill them is lame.

Scary is all about hardware not software. Hardware that creates a fully immersive environment, the controls everything you see, hear and for the ultimate shock factor feel. Really want scare people, then provide a usb electro shock adapter which you attach to various portions of your anatomy so that when you get hit, whoah, you get a jolt, get killed and it's major spark time.

Fear, you will know real fear as you walk down that darkened corridor, waiting for that shock to sensitive parts of your anatomy, multilayer first person shooters would rapidly become a totally different gaming experience as players are no longer quite so willing to go running and jumping around a map ;D.

Fear in game play, what, scaring children, now is that really a worth while gaming goal?

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

Yeef (978352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035787)

"foreboding" sounds in the distance aren't scary because you know they aren't associated with enemies, just part of the level script.

I have to disagree with you on that one. Rarely, when it comes to any form of art, can you deal in absolutes. I'd say stage and audio design play a huge role in the scare factor of horror games. The prison section of Silent Hill 2 was one of the creepiest things I've ever played in a game, not because of the normal enemies, but because of the way the area is designed. In some of the cells there appears to be movement, but because the game uses cinematic camera angles you can't really make out exactly what's there, if anything.

In some of the rooms you can also hear what sounds like heavy footsteps and/or something banging on a wall. So expect a big monster, but nothing. Then, building on that expectation once you get towards the end of the area there's a huge room (the kind that you'd expect a boss battle to take place in) with nothing but a simple puzzle towards the front of the room. So of course, if you're at least a little familiar with standard video game tradition you expect that after you solve the puzzle you'll have to fight a boss; probably that thing you heard earlier, but when you do solve the puzzle... nothing happens.

The way I see it the best way to make a game scary is to build tension within the player's mind. Make then THINK something is coming but keep wondering what it is and when it'll finally show up. Then, to keep them on their toes, ensure that you play to their expectations some of the time and against them some of the time.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27037173)

Rarely, when it comes to any form of art, can you deal in absolutes.

I have to agree with you on that one. Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028385)

Doom3 did a pretty good job of achieving a lot of terrific affects that lead to various responses from the player. It affects my sons a LOT more than it affected me, but that is to be expected -- younger people are more vulnerable to fear inducing stimulation such as things popping up, sudden lighting changes. And I have to disagree with the "Doom 3 was just 'eat lead...'" comment since running out of ammo happened often enough that one definitely had to be careful which weapon to use and when to use it... and of course at the end, there was a LOT of running and "oh shit!"

But once again, "scary" is relative to the audience. Some are far more jaded than others... I was immune to the effect, but my boys were not. But the same could be said of just about any stimulus that is intended to illicit an emotional response... music doesn't tend to make me feel any particular way either (though I may avoid or change music that doesn't suit a mood already in play).

Re:Gameplay mechanics (0, Offtopic)

drik00 (526104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028451)

I'm totally being a dick here, but I have to reply to a guy named Erroneus about the difference between "effect" and "affect." Sorry man, dictionary.com is your friend.

J

Re:Gameplay mechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028543)

You are being a dick, because he used each one correctly, with only one mistake. One mistake is a typo (or an easily-overlooked brain fart), not a reason to point him at dictionary.com.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028973)

Don't be a dick on the internet, you'll ruin it for the rest of us.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030873)

'terrific affects' = facial display of emotion indicating terror.

I don't see what's linguistically incorrect here?

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

LEMONedIScream (1111839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029405)

I have a really big problem with low ammo games: I never end up using the high-end weapons until I'm at the very last fight scene; I'm usually walking through the majority of the game with a pistol, or whatever the worst weapon happens to be.

How does this contribute to the fun or value in games? I can see it fitting a title like Resident Evil quite well though, it's normal to not have to fire off your grenade launcher at an average zombie.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029547)

Well, if you had unlimited ammo of the most awesome weapon, then the game loses its challenge pretty quickly. You could just BFG the level and move on... look, a rabid rodent! BFG!!!! Now it's rabid rodent paste. It's good when they do interesting things with interesting weapons. And I also tend to hoard my best gear saving it for last. I have just come to accept that as normal gaming behavior.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029963)

Oddly, the things you list (things popping up, lighting changes and similar) are the exact antithesis of what I would like to see in a "horror" game.

Big loud noises and beasts jumping out of walls can make you jump, sure - but that's really the lowest level of horror, surely games could aim a bit higher?

Re:Gameplay mechanics (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030115)

Care to elaborate?

Surely, these are the most elementary aspects of "scary" but really, I am unsure it should go much further than that. Another aspect of Doom3 that was pretty awesome was the flying attack babies! Those cute little pupae could swarm on you and disturbingly make quite a meal of you if you are not good with a shotgun and have a place to run away to. But "fear" comes from the desire to avoid unpleasantness or otherwise shocking, jarring stimuli. I'll agree that it is very elementary, but what else might be put into games that are considered scary?

I suppose if they adapted some of the cinematic styles of The Ring or The Grudge into a game it might be interesting. But there was a game like that in the past... can't recall the name, but I am sure others will know the one I speak of... in this game, you carry a radio that detects the presence of bad guys by making this horrid static noise... when you heard it, you know bad things will happen soon. This was an aspect of horror where the anticipation of unknown bad things were about to happen brings about a fearful reaction. I never actually finished that game... not because of fear, but because of other reasons...

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030581)

I think you hit on the key point here in your post:

"fear" comes from the desire to avoid unpleasantness or otherwise shocking, jarring stimuli.

The easy, day 1 of horror school approach is the jarring stimuli you mention, which are typically hard-wired into our fight-or-flight reaction. But consider the series of events in Doom 3 when the lights go out and a demon bellows from a just-revealed compartment: You almost immediately resolve into the "Fight" status, pull out your shotgun, and apply liberally to the demon's face till it stops moving. After a few instances like this, there isn't really a vestige of a fear response, as all the lights going out mean is that there's a new Monster-In-The-Box to kill off before you move into the next area - indeed, the shocks are a sign things are going well. All you're left with the anticipation of unpleasant noises, which is far from what I'd hope for in something billed as horror.

Unfortunately, I don't really know what would make a good horror game though - the issue comes down to the fact that the things in computer games are by design beatable, and in most cases can be attempted without any sort of penalty - as the starter of this thread suggests.

This leads to a set of conflicting goals - fears comes from something being a real threat, but a video game is typically the player overcoming a series of challenges. Having them arranged such that the enemies are sufficiently powerful that the player is driven to flee and actively fear their reappearance could be an approach, but rendering the player effectively helpless in the face of adversity doesn't seem like the foundation of a good game.

Really, I don't know what I want from a good horror game - but I'm pretty sure it's more than monsters jumping from boxes.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

GhaleonStrife (916215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034669)

Clock Tower for the PSX did this... You had no idea when Scissorman would show up. And if he did, you had two options: Run, or fight him. You had maybe a 1 in 4 chance of beating him in a straight-up fight. And even if you did "win", you'd just knock him over so you can run past him, and he'd be back on his feet in a few seconds. This led to an unexplainable fear of him in me. Yes, he was the silliest looking murderer ever, but what he could do to you was genuinely terrifying.

A short guy with a pair of huge garden shears doesn't sound scary; until you realize that he is, despite his appearance, very intelligent and skilled in combat. There is not a firearm or even melee weapon to be found in Clock Tower. All you can do is hope that you can trip him or kick him in the junk so you can get past him if you get stuck in a corner. And you can only do this three times before you get exhausted and get killed the fourth time you try.

If you took the "RUN!!!1" response, hiding from him wasn't exactly easy, either. You'd think that hiding in a bathroom stall would be enough; it isn't. In the time I spent with it, I'd usually get killed every time I hid, unless I put a significant amount of distance between the two of us before hiding. For example: I was being chased down a hallway, and stopped, because I couldn't decide if the stairs were a better idea than the bathroom. I went for the bathroom as he got closer and closer. Hiding in a stall, I waited. He came in, looked stumped, and walked around a bit. Then, he did something I hadn't thought of: He started forcing his scissors through each stall door. I died instantaneously with no chance of correcting my error. I never tried that again.

So, yes. Having enemies that are more than powerful enough to kill you, without you being able to fight back is terrifying. A non-horror game managed to pull this off, and I'm pretty sure that it wasn't their intent. Breakdown had non-human enemies that required a special power to kill, or even harm. Once you realize that every weapon in your arsenal is useless against them, and they can kill you in one or two hits, you experience pants-wetting fear of them. You're forced to crawl through fallen bookcases to get away from them, hoping they don't grab your leg and kill you quickly afterward. There's a segment where two of these guys are locked in separate rooms, divided by a glass door from each other, and a glass door between them and you. Your goal is the door behind them, a steel door opened by a wheel. Pressing the button next to the door, or inside of it, opens ALL of these doors. If you didn't think to trap them, you have to run for your life.

What makes something scary? The environment, the enemies, and your range of abilities. If any of these is out of balance, it ruins everything. Your death must be an easy thing for your enemies to achieve for a game to be truly scary, but you still have to be able to hold out long enough to stun the bigger guys or kill the smaller ones for it to still be playable. It's a fragile balance, sadly.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27031873)

you carry a radio that detects the presence of bad guys by making this horrid static noise

Silent Hill 2.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030175)

I agree -- Doom 3 did a lot of things that people tend to forget (including me) when discussing how it wasn't scary. After all, while a little duct tape would've helped, the flashlight/weapon trick was very well done, the sound was brilliant...

But, it did have that problem -- it became a little too predictable, to where it was almost cliche'd where stuff would pop out of. If you creep along slowly, it's not as scary as it could be, because you're expecting stuff to pop out everywhere. If you charge in like the timedemo shows, it's not scary, because you may as well be playing a deathmatch -- too much adrenaline, too much going on, before long it's just a blur of monsters.

But at least a few of these, like the lighting... It's nice, these days, to have a horror game that doesn't need to make everything dark, but then, the moments traveling with the scientist in an area with frequent blackouts...

Re:Gameplay mechanics (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030387)

A core component of fear is "what you don't see" may get you. Darkness would seem to be requisite to that end. But I am sure other methods could work as well. There was this movie where this glass house was actually some sort of hell machine driven by a bunch of captured spirits. It was scary because not only were the spirits ghoulish, but you could only see them through special goggles! That could easily be exploited in a game... not the special goggles, but the simulation of them. The movie causes one to imagine there are lots of spirits around them that simply cannot be seen... "what you don't see..."

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028427)

I disagree, Fear 2 did scare me despite not ever feeling like I was about dead. Some of that was due to the creepy cutscenes. I'm not alone either in thinking that cutscenes or scripted events, like "ohmigod, that shadow isn't MINE!" are frightening.

Lesson: I guess some people aren't scared by scripted events, others can be.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028665)

Scariest level I ever played, to this day, was the first time I played the opening level of Unreal. 100% scripted, and I don't think you even get a gun till the next level.

Scripting done well is scary, scripting done "well you've stepped on this obvious trigger, now something happens" isn't. The key issue is ensuring the player doesn't feel like they know what's going to happen next.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028623)

To wit: have the player spend most of their time with only a melee weapon to get them through the game. "Condemned: Criminal Origins" did this really well in my opinion.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028683)

uncertainity where enemies are (whether a facehugger jumping out of a corner or a ghost that can teleport around you)

How about uncertainty period? Humans are comforted by patterns. Enemies always have their weak point or set AI strategy. Puzzles have their clues.

Why not change it around? The same creatures not hurt by the same things. Or even acting on the same AI for attck? Perhaps the bosses or whatever doing the same. Hell, change the maze to basically do variations of mirroring each other when the player dies? Or more.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029945)

Alone in the dark, anyone?

It pretty much had everything you mentioned. Way too easy to die, creepy atmosphere, odd camera angles, spooky music, and a story line intended to creep you out.

Too bad that the series stalled long ago. I wonder what it could do with a modern makeover. In horror games, perhaps borrowing FPS engines went a step too far, becoming a subset of the FPS genre. Horror isn't about killing, it's about waiting to be killed.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029999)

Tolerance for failure is definitely an issue. If you die enough times in a game, you're gonna stop caring. "Uh oh! Strange new monster! Well... let's see what it does because I can try again if I die."

Re:Gameplay mechanics (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032231)

Very good thoughts.

This is what makes, say, Clock Tower [especially the first] or Hellnight, incredibly frightening.

Re:Gameplay mechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27037023)

Operation Flashpoint is a good example. You can almost feel the taste of blood in your mouth after running and crawling for two kilometers while ducking a sniper that kills you with one bullet from half a kilometer away, or a small group of enemy soldiers that stalk you through the woods while a Hind combat helicopter is sweeping the area and BMP-armored vehicles are patrolling the roads.

Anyone remember Blood? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028361)

Wiki on Blood [wikipedia.org]

I think one of the most interesting things about this game which made it scary was it's sound effects. The designers went out of their way to make the zombies in the game either nearly silent or give off just a small amount of noise. You would turn around, and there would be one. I had the shit scared out of me so many times when I was younger. It was very Michael Myers [wikipedia.org] (the horror movie, not the comedian.)

Re:Anyone remember Blood? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028677)

I remember Blood. It *ruled*. It's a damn shame it's never been ported to a more modern platform - presumably the Build engine wasn't open-sourced in the way that the Quake engines eventually were. I may have to find a suitably-old PC to install Win 98 and a 3dfx card into.

Re:Anyone remember Blood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27032105)

The designers went out of their way to make the zombies in the game nearly silent...

Actually, the sound designer didn't work as hard on this as you might think.

Keep it scary (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028363)

Making a horror game is well and good, but when you recycle the same scare tactics over and over through an entire game, it's very easy for it to devolve into a simple action game with surprise moments. Ie, Doom 3 and Left4Dead. Both good action games that I've enjoyed an unhealthy amount of, but neither are very good horror games. Play them for a few days and they quickly stop evoking any fear because it's just more of the same.

I have not played FEAR or Dead Space -- do you think they're better horror games?

Re:Keep it scary (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028399)

Dead Space is not really a horror game at all. At best a couple startling parts maybe. Swarm attacks in a couple spots. It's no Silent Hill 1 or even RE1. It sorta played like RE4, I guess, with the highlight being stomping off limbs and heads of dead bodies.

Good game, don't get me wrong, but marketing it as survival horror is imo not correct.

Undress Britney (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028371)

The only game that has truly given me a scare was the undress Britney Spears game.

She starts out fully clothed, and you have to perform a task requiring a reasonable amount of concentration. I think it's something like move the mouse through a maze without touching the sides.

After the first round, she says something to you but you can't quite hear it so you turn the volume up. She does take off an item of clothing though.

Same again after the second round, so you turn the volume up a bit more. Or maybe this bit wasn't in there... just the first and last round

Half way through the last round a vaguely scary face appears in place of the game coupled with a loud scream - made even louder by the fact that you now have your volume cranked right up. That made me jump.

Another good one was a video I saw on youtube - a car is shown in the distance driving along a winding road until it goes behind a building or something and never comes out the other side. While you are trying to figure out why it hasn't appeared on the other side a scary face appears coupled with a scream.

While playing a horror game you expect scary things to happen, so it's not a big deal when they do. Not so much when you are undressing a pop star...

So... I guess the answer to the question is to put naked pop stars in your games.

Re:Undress Britney (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028437)

I had a similar thing happen. It was a compare game, where you had to stare at the screen and look at two pictures and try to compare one pic against another and see which was different.

I looked and looked for about 15 seconds, but couldn't find _ANY_ differences. Then a picture of that damn exorcist chick flashed up and made a helluva loud noise. That startled me pretty good. But one girl in the office saw it and literally fell out of her chair.

I think the compare thing is pretty good, because you're really looking closely at the screen and not expecting any movement or change.

Re:Undress Britney (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030645)

I found the car commercial to be great; It can be watched here [youtube.com], though since the clue has already been given, it prolly won't be as good anymore.

Re:Undress Britney (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028805)

I found a similar game [fugly.com]:
Luckily I knew what to expect to but it scared the shit out of me anyways.

Re:Undress Britney (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029283)

funny one, but with some truth :

While playing a horror game you expect scary things to happen, so it's not a big deal when they do

The scariest game levels are not those where scary things happen, but those where NOTHING happen, leaving the player on the edge

Re:Undress Britney (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029461)

Well the things you describe are really just startling. Something pops out, catches you by surprise, and you jump. Overuse of that technique is pretty much the definition or poorly made horror.

Good horror, I think, is more about what you expect to see, what you think you might have seen but can't be sure, and what you don't see at all. It builds an idea in your mind, suggests the most awful things, and then leaves you to fill in the gaps with the worst thing you can imagine. Because really, once you've seen the monster, know what it is, and know what the rules are, it's not that scary anymore.

I think that in the best horror, the monster is just a stand-in for all the horrible things that might happen to you, that you might not have even imagined yet, and that you'd be powerless to stop once they started coming after you.

Eversion; subvert expectations. (4, Interesting)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028433)

This: http://zarat.us/tra/offline-games/eversion.html [zarat.us]

Don't let the screenshot fool you. It is anything but a Mario clone. If H.P Lovecraft and Stephen King got together, and decided to make a 2d sprite-based platformer, with the intent to CREEP YOU THE FUCK OUT, it would be that. Short game, you could beat it in under an hour if you wanted, though to get the 'good' ending needs a little more work.

Seriously. If you want an example of a game that starts cutsey, but ends on the other side of screaming horror, play that. Preferably, at night, with the lights out. Just don't let a young child play it, or you'll be dealing with a kid having nightmares.

Re:Eversion; subvert expectations. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028469)

I'm not sure it's really all that scary. The first time I encountered the claws was a bit of a shock but then again I played some IWBTG before then so that was really nothing (you haven't seen paranoia until you've played IWBTG). Oh and the final stages of Eversion are annoying as hell, especially the random everting where you simply had to pray that the ground under you wouldn't suddently turn into thin air (or even worse, into a pile of ground that breaks under you with no way to get out or even die, forcing you to restart the level). The autoscroller doesn't help either with the collision detection making it almost impossible to fit through one block gaps.

Re:Eversion; subvert expectations. (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 5 years ago | (#27032719)

Slashdotted or something, at least for me. Anybody got a mirror?

Re:Eversion; subvert expectations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035219)

Not offhand, but while it's down you can check out the Commonplace Book Competition [tigsource.com], for which the game was written.

(To save you having to actually click the link: The Commonplace Book was H. P. Lovecraft's notebook of story ideas, most of which he never used. Someone got hold of a big chunk of the text and posted it online, and some people on an independent games forum got together and based a bunch of games on quotes from the book. The title screen of Eversion contains one such quote.)

Re:Eversion; subvert expectations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035069)

Am I missing something? I made it to the claw level, the game randomly crashed near the end so I uninstalled, and it wasn't scary.. at all. Is there something scary later on?

Stealth (1)

jamesmcm (1354379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028501)

I find stealth games much more scary, like Thief, System Shock 2, even Oblivion are scary when you are sneaking around and suddenly get caught unaware.

Re:Stealth (2, Interesting)

Velocivus (1376797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028661)

I would agree with that. The most intense "ohshitohshitohshit" moments I've ever had in PC gaming go to Splinter Cell vs. Mode

Being one of two unarmed* spies trying to sneak through the shadows to get by a couple of trigger itchy mercs, searching for you with flashlights. It was a combination of both the sound and the visuals, but in that 0.5 second of time from when the flashlight hit you - to when the bullets started ripping past your face... well it was just the most intense thing I've ever experienced in a game. I think my heart almost exploded every time.

Now that was versus human players, and not a horror genre. What I can take from that though, is that out of the 'fight or flight' response, 'flight' is definitely the scarier. So this run and gun thing may in some cases be taking away from that element.

This is not to say that in a horror game YOU have to be the one lurking in the shadows, but how awesome would it be in a game that if in some encounters you were actually trying to flee from what was chasing you. Running for you life looking for somewhere to hide, evade, or get through a doorway fast enough to slam it shut on your pursuer.

Re:Stealth (1)

jamesmcm (1354379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029137)

I loved playing Pandora Tomorrow over XBConnect. It was a bit too easy to learn the levels off by heart as the spy and sneak through to near the objective without triggering any cameras.

Penumbra: Overture is a pretty good horror game for having to flee. Same with Call Of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

Re:Stealth (1)

hidannik (1085061) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029277)

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth does exactly this at one point (flee and try to lock doors behind you). Never had a game induce quite that level of panic.

Haunting Ground tries it with a hide mechanic, but after the first couple of encounters it becomes more annoying than frightening.

Hans

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27030233)

I had more horror trying to get that damn game to run. In the end I had to install Windows XP 32 bit to play it.

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028673)

Tell me about it! Thief is definitely the best game I've ever played and I've played plenty - especially Thief 1 & 2. The Dark Engine was so much ahead of its time that it's unbelievable - the fan community still makes most missions for that engine instead of the modified Unreal engine used in Thief 3 (in particular, the lack of swimmable water and rope arrows made T3 suck - fans have been able to make bigger levels than the original ones, though, since we don't need to care about the memory limitations imposed by the X-box). Recently we fans celebrated the 10th anniversary of Thief 1 and there's still a constant stream of good fan missions coming out - a few every month. It's simply fantastic how immersive the games are and how they maintain suspense. I remember how I once was so immersed that I was afraid that pressing keys on my keyboard might make noise that the guards can hear...

What a suitable captcha: daemons

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028923)

No it wasn't. Unreal came out before Thief did and had a far superior engine.

That's not to say that Thief, System Shock 2 or any other game based on the Dark Engine were bad, but technically they weren't very advanced.

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028967)

The sound engine was advanced. I think THief was the first game who actually computed sound propagation accounting for walls instead of relying on the euclidean distance.

The graphic engine was not great but level design was top notch.

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27032369)

Both came out in 1998. Perhaps you mistake graphics for advanced. Someone has already pointed out to you how advanced the sound system was - it took into account room sizes, acoustics, open doors etc. when determining propagation. However, the act/react system and properties are advanced by today's standards so evidently you don't know the Dark Engine very well.

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034137)

Unreal still came out first, had superior graphics, superior AI, superior sound capability, excellent networking (Dark Engine didn't even have networking), realtime level editor, went on to be used in numerous other games and spawned several successor engines.

It's funny, because even the Unreal sound system was far more advanced than Dark Engine (the sole thing that you're trying to sell). Let's take a look:

Supports 3D positioning via distance attenuation, stereo panning, doppler shifting.
Supports software Dolby Surround sound encoding for full 360-degree panning among the center, rear, left, and right channels (requires a Dolby decoder).
Supports rich, ambient environmental sounds which can be fully controlled from UnrealScript.
Advanced software mixer supports up to 64 stereo channels of music and sound, and mixes to a 32-bit buffer internally for maximum sound quality.
Supports 8- and 16-bit samples using any playback rate from 4 kHz to 44 kHz.
Dynamic sample interpolation enables high-quality pitch shifting without distortion.
Optimized to take advantage of Intel's MMX(TM) technology, with fallback to support regular Pentium® processors.
Supports DSP-style reverb and echo postprocessing on the sound effect stream.
Aural raytracing realistically simulates the echo and reverb characteristics of complex environments. When enabled, UnrealEd pre-computes a reverb kernel for each designer-specified zone in the level.
Supports Microsoft DirectSound and legacy WinMM sound output for backwards compatibility.
Plug-in interface makes it possible to integrate other sound systems into the Unreal technology.
Supports Aureal A3D 3D sound positioning, and the upcoming Creative Labs 3D sound cards.
Supports both CD audio and realtime digitally mixed music. Game designers can mix and match soundtracks in both formats to take maximum advantage of the speed and quality of CD music and the dynamic music and Internet portability of digitally mixed music.
Smooth and instantaneous dynamic music changes for fading between songs, fading between tracks within a song, fading to silence, and instantly switching songs.
Realtime mixing of musical instruments and sound effects.
Supports volume and panning envelopes for professional composing.
Supports up to eight octaves per sample.
Supports all widely used module file formats, including .mod, .s3m, .xm, and .it.

Want more info? [epicgames.com]

Remain in denial all you want but you're simply wrong. Unreal engine buried Dark Engine in every single way.

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27035461)

Unreal still came out first, had superior graphics, superior AI, superior sound capability, excellent networking (Dark Engine didn't even have networking),

The AI is hard to compare since the games were so different. However, the Thief 1 & 2 AI is certainly better than the Thief 3 AI and Thief 3 uses Unreal Engine 2 - very modified, though, and it's beside the point anyway since Unreal 2 is so much newer.

I didn't need further proof that you're unfamiliar with the Dark Engine but you did provide it - the Dark Engine has networking but they never came up with a good multiplayer concept for Thief even though multiplayer was advertised at first since the engine supported it. Fans have, however, later taken that functionality into use (although accessing it required a number of hacks). System Shock 2 of course uses it.

Furthermore, Thief 1 didn't use the graphics capabilities to the max but I never claimed that the graphics of the Dark Engine were superior.

Finally, your point about successor engines is irrelevant. The company went under so we will never know what later versions of the Dark Engine might have been like.

It's funny, because even the Unreal sound system was far more advanced than Dark Engine (the sole thing that you're trying to sell).

You wish to interpret my post as if sound is "the sole thing that [I'm] trying to sell" since then you can copy paste that feature list even though I only said it was advanced in the Dark Engine.

And - obviously - you choose to ignore the act/react system since the system allows such interaction with the environment that present-day engines can't match it.

Remain in denial all you want but you're simply wrong. Unreal engine buried Dark Engine in every single way.

It is hard to be in denial or wrong when it is a matter of opinion. If you wish to play a more typical FPS instead of a game like Thief, you can consider Unreal a better engine. However, the fact is that the fan community has chosen to still make almost all fan missions using the Dark Engine because the result has better gameplay than with the modified Unreal 2 engine used in Thief 3. And believe me, since the graphics in Thief 3 are much better, we had high hopes of being able to mod that engine so that it could match Thief 2 otherwise when we petitioned to get the editor.

If you wish to continue this argument, you could answer the question why - despite an enormous programming effort - the much newer Unreal Engine 2 couldn't be modified so that we could've had rope arrows and swimmable water in Thief 3 (the features most sorely missed). Some betas of Thief 3 did have rope arrows but they never became usable. And they didn't even try to get swimmable water.

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27036785)

"The company went under..."

Speaks volumes. Perhaps if they had a better engine like Unreal they wouldn't have.

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028717)

Agreed: The thief level "Return to the haunted cathedral" is damn scary because you are extremely vulnerable, I don't think I've ever won against a hammer haunt (the false haunt in boneyards doesn't count) in a "fair" face to face fight.

Re:Stealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029251)

cba to log in, but "The Craddle" level in Thief3, more specifically the first part, along with the afore mentioned "Return to the Cathedral" in Thief1 must be the scariest gameplay I ever had, and all of it was down to great sound design and subjective player vulnerability.

Warning, if you intend to try the game out, don't read further (aka.

************* SPOILER WARNING *****************

The thing that made the Craddle level so scary wasn't how fierce the mobs were, or how dark it was. Actually, there weren't ANY monsters or NPCs in the first part at all! Part of the atmosphere was the setting (ex-orphanage turned mad-house which ultimately burnt down), reinforced by the artifacts you found all around, ranging from scraps of papers with doctors' orders to "treatment" paraphernalias, and the other part was the incredibly immersive sound effects : half heard whisperings, things creaking, weird non-descript howling ... and pleads for help and banging on a wooden door coming from the attic.

As long as you didn't know about the lack of real danger, nor about what was the source of the banging and pleading the (first) level was the best example of true fear-inducing gameplay you could ever have. Whoever did this level was a genius.

Dungeon Master (1)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028651)

...was the first (and prolly the only) game to scare the shit out of me.
And it bears our all the points made in the article.

Left 4 Dead horror game? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028735)

Left 4 Dead is a horror game now? Jeez, I thought it was a shoot-em-up or FPS or whatever you purists call it. Just because it has a zombie theme, it gets called a horror game. Sure, and "The Next Generation" and "Star Wars" were science fiction...instead of dramas in outer space.

savegames (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028763)

Actually it's savegames that make PC games boring. Without the ability to save game at any moment you'd be 10 times more alert and immersed in the game.

Re:savegames (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27033695)

Most survival horror games have save points instead of "save anywhere." Most famously, Resident Evil only let you save a limited number of times (saving used up an item), so you even had to make the judgement of whether you should save now, or continue on and hope you make it to the next save point, in order to conserve your saves.

Also, you could just not manually save, and only load from any "autosaves" that occur, or manually save at your own interval, at far apart intervals, so you don't just reload before each encounter before you get it right. Just because you can save whenever you want doesn't mean the game is forcing you to.

Religious items are not scary (2, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028785)

I think it is important to know that culturally specific items such religious items which are supposedly scary are not universal. Things like the Devil, angels, and demons are only scary in a particular setting. Very few people outside that world even understand WHY it would be scary.

Why is a pentagram scary? I have no idea. They are nice to look at, but why they are used all over id Software games makes no sense to me.

Skip the pentagrams for more universal items.

Re:Religious items are not scary (3, Informative)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029321)

It's not really supposed to be scary, I think, it's just decoration appropiate for the setting, which can increase the creepiness.

People aren't supposed to go "Holy crap, a pentagram". It's supposed to create associations. Pentagrams are associated with satanism, which is associated with dark rituals and invocations of demons.

A stain on the floor is not scary by itself. A blood stain is worse, especially if you find it in a dark alley. A blood stain, which makes it obvious a body was dragged into a hole in the wall, on the other hand, makes you wonder who died there, why, what came out of that hole, and whether it's still lurking somewhere. That is what is supposed to be scary.

In the same way, a pentagram isn't scary by itself, but is supposed to invoke thoughts of just what the hell has been going on in this place, and what kind of horror could be lurking behind the corner.

word association is fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034031)

Hey yeah... Lurking Horror.

Now that had some scary moments. Environmental sound effects in a text adventure, what? Well played Infocom!

If you're Resident Evil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27028807)

...you just put in atrocious controls and a broken camera system. Oh wait that's not scary it's just rubbish.

Fatal Frame (4, Interesting)

Keyper7 (1160079) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029167)

To scare the hell out of me, I absolutely love the Fatal Frame series. Some people say its strong point is having a camera instead of some powerful gun and some people say its strong point is having to look at the ghosts face-to-face and very close to effectively defeat them.

Though I kinda agree with those two theories, I think its "scare power" comes from something else: the fact that the ghosts are "innocent". In FF, like in some Japanese horror movies, the concept is that the spirits are not aware that they are dead, how scary they look and that they can hurt people: they just want to make contact.

For the sake of comparison, consider F.E.A.R.: Alma surely is scary, but there's little doubt she's one fucked up girl trying to kill you. In FF3, however, you have to deal with the ghost of a 5-year-old girl who keeps screaming "daddy, where are you" and whose attack is pulling your arm to call your attention and look at you pleading. That attitude, plus the realisation she's dead, creeps the hell out of me.

Huh? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029227)

Left 4 Dead was scary? Seriously?? It just sounded like a fun "hey let's kill a hundred of NPCs a minute" type of game to me. You know what game was really scary to me? Duke Nukem 3D, for its Octabrain. If you wanna make it scary, you need a monster slightly taller than you, very ugly, that dwells in the dark or underwater, that screams in a scary way and that you can't get rid of easily.

Zombies aren't scary, mostly when you're pointing a shotgun at them.

By the way, are there any good modern 3D games that exploit the concept of 3D Monster Maze? Trying to run and hide unarmed from a monster who's after you is awesome, but few 3D games from 1981 live up to my modern expectations.

The first Resident Evil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27029243)

...was the only game that ever scared the shit out of me. That quiet hallway where the zombie dogs come crashing through the windows? Jesus Christ, I nearly shit my pants.

First X-Com (2, Insightful)

johngault33 (1285878) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029313)

Playing the first X-Com at night was scary to me. To have your troopers get off the transport, with no idea where the aliens were was always nerve racking. You'd then use up all your action points, and with the last step, you'd see a shadowy grey just around the corner, waiting to nail you. A very creepy game indeed.

Just go back to the grandparents (1)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 5 years ago | (#27029899)

The granddaddy of them all (well, really two) have a lot to teach us: Resident Evil on the consoles and Alone in the Dark on the PC. There are really only two things that matter: the camera and the resources.

Camera: we can't be allowed to see everything. Horror movies exploit this by giving us a limited range of view, setting the movie at night, etc. RE and Alone in the Dark didn't always let us see everything; an enemy would be hiding off screen and we could only just hear them. That works. It taps into deep-seated fears in humans, the very same fears that made us hate the dark when we were small children.

Even Resident Evil 4, for all of its full 3D without pre-rendered backgrounds managed to do this right. The over-the-shoulder view caused your main character to obscure a good part of the screen. You had to stop, look around, make sure things were clear, and continue. You'd sometimes hear a sound and not see that someone was obscured by your character. In an FPS, not seeing everything would be infuriating, but it's part of the horror genre.

Limited resources: We can't be a super solider. We can't have a machine gun, we can't have a rocket launcher, and we probably shouldn't even have enough bullets for our pistol (yes, I realize many survival horror games have had all of those elements, but they're generally late in the game or included as a plot point rather than a weapon). Every encounter is supposed to be a balancing act-enemies can be killed nearly instantly with a headshot, but it requires taking time to line up the shot. Alternately, you can pump them full of easy body shots, but use 3x-6x as many bullets. While you're trying to decide what to do, the enemy is approaching. The sinking feeling you get when you hear an enemy and realize that you only have 3 bullets to deal with them is far more horrific than anything that ever appeared in Doom 3.

Meanwhile, most games won't even let you carry that many weapons; you're generally limited to a pistol and a larger weapon until later in the games. In Resident Evil, for example, even if you do manage to pick up the powerful rifle or big .357, you have to choose if you're willing to give up the group-clearing shotgun to use it.

Along the same lines as resources: your character can't be indestructible. An enemy or two, particularly bunched up, SHOULD have the ability to kill or at least seriously injure you. Having no bullets doesn't matter if you can easily tough it out through a swarm.

The type of enemy doesn't really matter. I'm sure a suitable game could be made with vampires or crazy people or werewolves or even enemy soldiers if it was done correctly. As long as game creators use a horror-inspired camera and limit your resources, you're on track to a good horror movie.

Finally note: What many people have said about FEAR, Left4Dead, etc. is true. They are not horror games. Rather, they are FPS games with monsters instead of soldiers. If you doubt it, then just run them through the camera/resources test. Shooting 100 zombies from an over-the-barrel view is the functional opposite of a horror game.

Terror and getting killed not directly linked. (3, Interesting)

OSXCPA (805476) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030149)

In the GameCube title 'Eternal Darkness' the devs. used all kinds of tricks, ranging from subtle control 'issues' to a full BSOD, unbeatable enemies, and flies crawling around the screen that looked like they were in your living room (versus artificial game constructs). The overall effect was to render the gamers perception of the game state in doubt during play - reinforcing the game rule that exposure to supernatural creatures would drive a character insane. There was an antidote to this as well, so this was no cheat. It was tempting, however, to forgo the 'sanity potion' just to see how bad the progressively creepier 'bugs' got.

Oh - and it was actually very difficult to permanently die during these episodes, although during play, the character appeared to die, but immediately 'flashed back' to where she was right when the possession/demon encounter/bug began.

Combined with the generally creepy atmosphere of the game, thanks to very good art and design, made the game scary and fun to play.

Re:Terror and getting killed not directly linked. (2, Interesting)

Sean0michael (923458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030591)

Mod Parent Up Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem was a very scary game to play. It's standout feature was its Sanity Meter [wikipedia.org], and when that dipped low you'd get all kinds of effects in game as well as ones that broke the fourth wall like fake error messages from the GameCube. As your Sanity meter dipped lower, things would start to change, like fake enemies, blood dripping on the walls, the camera angle wobbling, the screen blurring, your body exploding while casting a spell, a roach on the TV screen -- very scary and creepy. Nintendo's first M-rated game deserves a nod here.

Re:Terror and getting killed not directly linked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27032757)

Yes, that same type of "taking over your system" action was what freaked the fuck out of me during the final battle in System Shock 1.

It got progressively harder, as more of your screen dissolves while you are fighting SHODAN.

One true way (1)

Paxton (24233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030615)

If I'm creeping around corners, heart beating out of my chest, completely on edge, then putting up a big picture of Rosie O'Donnell would make the game truly frightening.

See?! I get to skip to:
        4) profit...

Aliens Vs Predator as a Marine (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27030681)

The initial level is pretty much empty. You walk and there is the creepy atmosphere and you keep walking. You walk, expecting something to jump out at you any second, but it doesn't. You walk and... wait, I think I... HOLY FUCK! DIE DIE DIE!

Then there was the one level where a large open room with a cat walk above. After nearly buying the farm about 6 times, I just stayed in there and waited. For 30 minutes. I sat, in a corner, twitching at every sound, doing nothing for 30 minutes. And I was not bored at all.

Re:Aliens Vs Predator as a Marine (1)

Ocker3 (1232550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034731)

I have to agree, AvP as a marine got my heart racing a Lot. Even with the heaviest weapons, the ability of face-huggers and aliens to come out of ducts and true-3D environments meant you had to Always be on your guard. Nervous twitching is a sure sign of a good game.

Ask what scary is... (1)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27031017)

Scripted scenes can be scary for the player if they are done well like in Doom 3, but they are only scary the first or maybe the second time. Scary noises work better for people watching the game being played, Left 4 Dead has scary noises that MEAN something and it worked for them. L4D's random element is really cool because it does keep you on your toes but that's different from the jump up from your desk and throw your controller effect that you get the first time from scripts. Since most people seem to enjoy the later type for it's replayability then seed your games with random events to keep it feeling fresh, game critics on the other hand won't be judging you based on their 5th time playing so keep some scripted events for the shock value. Make sure the weapons are useful and at fun but keep ALL of the players resources (health, ammo, armor, friendly AI) scarce. Dead Space had a nice feel to it because it didn't allow me to get comfortable with one gun and one tactic but at the same time switching to another gun didn't ruin that part of the game. If you insist on being the guy who forces the player into a corner with a wrench or a lead poll then play BF 2142, ALL melee weapons should work like the Combat Knife that is one hit one kill but it doesn't work if you're pressing up against them it requires at least some skill. Latley I've been seeing a trend in the FPS genre toward Agro damage, stuff like this wouldn't feel right in a true horror game unless maybe it had a diminishing return and even then it would cause it to lean more toward run and gun. Super-soldiers aren't fun to play this kind of game with; but I personally enjoy the chances to dominate or ambush zombies on occasion, it's a good stress reliever and reminds the player that the game is fun.

One of... (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27035529)

One of the scariest moments in Doom 3 is near the portal when everything is bloody and there are noises and shuffling. Things fall apart at certain areas giving out a loud noise. But the best part? There's no bad guys. None, its just freaky, going more than 20 seconds without a bad guy ends up being scary, because you ANTICIPATE one.

And if you dont think doom 3 is scary you didn't play on nightmare difficulty with 3d glasses. Fricken fly-babies...

Silent Hill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27037331)

All these comments and no mention of Silent Hill? In my opinion, the king series of horror/survival games. The combat and control interface (of Silent Hill 3, anyway) was not so great, but on several occasions I had to stop playing due to the overwhelming fear it summoned within me. The first of such times occurred in the subway level, at first immediately past the turnstyles, again by the blacked out platform on the next sublevel and finally the haunted platform adjacent to that one. I was like the guy above who brought up Aliens vs. Predators, immobilized and twitching at every inhuman sound, wishing to whatever powers that be to let me just curl up into a ball and die quietly.

    The game's presentation is nothing short of incredible from start to finish. Consider the application of the radio/flashlight combo you pick up in the first area. You get only a small cone of light and that dreadful static as warning that some thing lopes in the darkness around you. There are no cheap scares, either. Silent Hill 3 is probably as close to a living nightmare as you could achieve in reality if you were ever unfortunate enough to wake up in such a place, as the main character does. I've never experienced such powerful states of despair, dread, terror and paranoia.

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