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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 KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:54AM (#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".

  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @03:58AM (#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.

  • First X-Com (Score:2, Insightful)

    by johngault33 (1285878) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @08:55AM (#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.
  • Re:savegames (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @09:04AM (#27029355)

    Not really it'd just piss me off and I'd never play the game again..

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