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Interactive Narratives | Scaring Ourselves - Why horror games are so much scarier than films

Matt Gardner
Alien: Isolation, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Horror games, Interactive Narratives, Silent Hill 2, Survival Horror Games

Interactive Narratives | Scaring Ourselves - Why horror games are so much scarier than films

Do be warned... potential spoilers ahoy in the video!

Last week was a bit of a shambles, and several releases, along with a press trip, and losing my voice for a day or two meant that Interactive Narratives #2 never happened, sorry about that.

But it's a new week, and a new Wednesday, and I've decided to try to tie this series in with a topical game wherever possible, going forwards, filling in gaps here and there with interviews and other features  as and when they come in. I'll still be running the interview I did with Inkle in the near future, and taking a look at 80 Days, but this week I wanted to talk about the one game that's been dominating my mind (and psyche) for the last ten days -- and that game is Alien: Isolation.

So it is that this week's edition of Interactive Narratives takes a look at horror games, and why Alien: Isolation is particularly effective at eliciting an incredibly primal emotional response: fear. I compare it with Silent Hill 2, discuss the differences between story and narrative -- the written plot and the player-driven experience -- and the importance of both to this particular genre.

Add a comment2 comments
Breadster  Oct. 8, 2014 at 19:29

Breadster here, can't seem to log in properly at the top, it just seemingly refreshes the page when I press log in.

But yeah, I've always felt games are far scarier than films just because you are in the horror, rather than just watching it.

JonLester  Oct. 8, 2014 at 20:02

Hey Breadster! I'm afraid we're suffering from a massive bug. Login and comments simply won't work using Google Chrome, and I'm afraid there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it for now. :(

Erm, should probably write something on-topic as well. Yes: great video and good points. I've never been scared as badly by a film as I was by certain scenes in Condemned, System Shock 2 and Silent Hill 2 - though the latter is one of the very few 3rd person horror games that have ever really 'horrified' me beyond the occasonal jump scare or generally tense atmosphere. It takes a masterfully written and directed game to get over the immersion-breaking disconnect of a third-person camera.

Oh man, VR is going to do some horrible and wonderful things to this genre, though will probably inspire another thousand terribel Slender knock-offs in the process.

Last edited by JonLester, Oct. 8, 2014 at 20:03

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