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Games Entertainment

Making a Horror Game Scary 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the zombies-and-darkness dept.
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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Making a Horror Game Scary

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  • by DaleGlass (1068434) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @09:58AM (#27029321) Homepage

    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.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.