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.
I was chatting to a friend of mine the other day about The Last of Us, and how one of the best things about the game is that it grabs you right from the start with that incredibly powerful opening fifteen minutes, and how he found himself shedding a tear or two at the culmination of the prologue, such was it's impact.
I cry at films and books and the occasional piece of music a fair bit. Not necessarily because what I'm taking in fills me with a sense of sadness, it's more that I find myself rather susceptible to emotional overloads, particularly when there are multiple forces at work. You'd perhaps expect, then, that games by their very nature would be even more successful at eliciting such an emotional response, but it's a difficult thing to pull off.
Not for the following ten games, mind.
NB. Be aware that there are some pretty major spoilers for a number of games after the jump.Click here to read more...
We've had this date from the beginning. After rounding up the Top Ten Scariest Games Ever last year, it's high time that we took a closer look at the collections of pixels and polygons that haunted our darkest nightmares. With luck, there'll be plenty of familiar freaks on this creature feature, along with a couple you might've repressed...
Honourable Horrible mentions: Cherub (Doom 3), Abstract Daddy (Silent Hill 2), Alma (F.E.A.R.), pretty much everything from Shadow Hearts, Beheaded Kamikaze (Serious Sam), Crimson Head (Resident Evil), Parasite (Quake II), Slenderman (Slender), Wallmasters and Re-Dead (Zelda), Bubble Head Nurse (Silent Hill 2), Rumbler (System Shock), Simalacrum (Marathon: Durandal)
Hey, are you okay? Why are you crying? It's okay, come on, we've got to get out of here...
...whooooarrrrrgh! My organs! Oh God, what are you doing with my organs?!Click here to read more...
Developers: Konami (original devs) | Hijinx Studios (HD versions)
They always say you should never go back. And considering the gruesome nightmares of the body and mind that the Silent Hill tourist board have been selling for years, perhaps we should heed the old adage. Against our better judgment though, we’re going to go and poke its festering corpse with an HD stick.
There have been plenty of HD re-releases of late and the majority of them have been awesome. God of War, Metal Gear Solid and Sly Raccoon are still fantastic games to play. Silent Hill may prove to be a rotten horse flaying too far though.
PS2 gamers will barely need reminding that Silent Hill 2 was a pioneering powerhouse of survival horror. The lonesome soundtrack, the “what the f**k was that!” sound effects, the atmosphere and the story still stand up today. And holy shit that ending? Still one of the most emotional to come from the gaming medium, but I’m afraid the journey there hasn’t aged particularly well.Click here to read more...
I don't know about you, but in this day and age, I feel myself becoming more jaded and apathetic with each passing week. The fact is that we live in a world that constantly bombards us with stimuli at an insane pace, and it's all too easy to switch off emotionally and just go with the flow. Given enough practice, you can turn it on and off like pressing your laptop's power button; allowing you to enjoy great games or meaningful interactions with NPCs... sorry, I mean loved ones... while blissfully repressing the global economy, terrorism and rising energy prices. Shudder.
Which is why, every once in a while, I like to ruin my trousers with a game that jerks me out of reality, plonks me in an immersive, nightmarish alternate reality and proceeds to frighten the living daylights out of me. Fear is the most primal and basic instinct we have; it strips us naked, pumps us full of adrenaline and lets us know that we're alive - not just living. We're convinced that games, through their interactivity and immersion, can deliver the most effective scares of any medium.
But sadly, videogames have done a poor job of scaring us over the last couple of years because many developers and publishers have lost sight of what's really important. To this end, over the next few hundred words, we're going to discuss what makes for a great horror game... and why we love the titles that have terrified us beyond mortal reason.Boo! See, that didn't scare you. Read on to find out why...