Wednesday, April 7, 2010

They Remember

With an agonizing slowness the elevator works its way up and up before gently coming to a halt. Just as I’m about to step off, I see the tiny necromorph scamper down the hall.

“Pfft, do you think I’m stupid?”

Raising my plasma cutter, I navigate Isaac Clarke with deliberate precision down the narrow ramp waiting for the tiny monster I’m hunting to lash out at me when its comrade suddenly bursts through a panel of glass to my immediate right and rushes me.

Despite my wishes to cooly say, “clever girl” I’m instead screaming, “JESUS-FUCKING-CHRIST” at the top of my lungs while rushing for a corner before lurching around to face the demon that had (perhaps literally) scared the pee out of me.

Suffice to say, “Dead Space” is a horrifying game but it is not the most horrifying I’ve ever played. That honor is reserved for Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. While I will never, ever again pick up that romp through Hell I have recently embarked on another ill-fated journey through the USG Ishimura. Even though this time around I knew what to expect – to the point where I felt more comfortable exploring areas I hadn’t on my first play through – I felt my pulse quicken as I approached one of many accessible bathrooms onboard the doomed planet cracker.

Yup, a bathroom.

It’s the same with every video game I play. I hate going into bathrooms. Now, while I’m relatively sure this fear developed as a result of the unseen enemy that shrieked at me when I attempted to leave one in Silent Hill 2 (the first horror game I ever played) I’d like to believe it’s something deeper than that. Perhaps it’s knowing I’m enclosed in a small space with only one way in and out. Maybe it’s not knowing what craziness could be in the stall next to me. Maybe I’m terrified of poop, I don’t know. All I know is that I am terrified of bathrooms in video games.

So I’m curious . . . what scares you the most in horror games? Did a necromorph suddenly leaping from a vent scare you more in Dead Space than the unseen woman singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”? Was the infamous Oven Man in Resident Evil 4 harder for you to deal with than the first time you encountered the chanting at the castle? Is the scraping of Pyramid Head’s knife more frightening than actually seeing him?

What makes your digital blood run cold?


  1. The scraping of Pyramid Head's knife is awful. The siren is worse. In RE4 the chanting was the most unnerving because I couldn't pinpoint where it was coming from. [I was not that calm, more of a "where-the-fuck-where-AREYOU?!"]

    The scariest thing for me in a game is something small that crashes behind me. The only scary part in the Condemned 2 for me was the dog that barks and then gets snatched by something. You don't see it, but you hear it and that is sooo much worse.

  2. Kendall, I am a sucker for sounds too. I will never forget playing through Silent Hill 2 for the THIRD time, walking into the Historical Society and hearing a door open, close, and then footsteps walking around. I had played that game twice before and knew nothing would happen but it still scared the shit out of me.

    That being said, I would love for you to try Dead Space ;)

  3. It's definitely more sound than sight that scares me.

    Also, I totally noticed the subject line was a "Jurassic Park" quote before I even looked at the entry itself.

  4. For me, its hearing noises and be expecting that something happen, but nothing, or for example the first time i got grabed by the tentacle in Dead Space that scared the shit out of me, by the way, Dead Space is the best horror game i´ve played in a long time, it´s brilliant!!!!

  5. Sounds are definitely what scare me the most in games. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, gets me like the chittering of a black headcrab in Half-Life 2. Just thinking about the sound make my skin crawl. And don't even get me started on the zombies that carry a half dozen of those little bastards and throw them at you.

  6. Addendum: bathrooms don't typically scare me in video games, but the bathroom scene in Eternal Darkness is, I think, the only time I've actually screamed out loud because of a game.

  7. I'm going to try dead space but up till now I have not played many horror games. IIRC the first horror related event I had in a video game was in Halo 1 with the flood. Me and my shotgun were much.

    Also going to take this opportunity to say that your blog is awesome and I just found it. Wish I knew girls that played video games.....well who knows if I do, but I wish I knew girls who were open about it and talked about video games. Would make for some good conversations.

  8. Dead Space was a big build for me.. I can't remember how many people sent me messages on Xbox when they saw me playing it to tell me how scary it was (Lyndsey being one) and it didn't disappoint. Can't wait for the sequel.. In other news, the Witches in L4D always get me on edge, especially in L4D2 and Hard Rain. Won't soon forget the first time I heard witch cries coming from two different directions.

  9. I managed to get a friend to lend me a god.....I decided to try it late at night int he relative dark having to use my headphones.......I turned it off till the safety of light and speakers. I think I'll play a safe game tonight, something I'm not afraid of, like the star craft 2 beta.

  10. Michael - Eternal Darkness has been on my pile of shame for years. I started playing a few years back when a friend let me borrow it. Unfortunately for Eternal Darkness, I was also lent Resident Evil 4 at the same time. Needless to say, I got a whee bit sidetracked with the awesome sauce that is RE4. I WILL finish that game one day though.

    Justin - Is it so fantastic isn't it? I've never been this excited for a sequel for something that scared me so badly. Dead Space is a true gem in the survival horror genre. Also? F those witches. OMG. The night Lynsey and I went for that "Sob Story" achievement where you navigate the sugar mill without disturbing any witches was one of the most tense moments of my life.

    Boggy - Welcome to the blog! Thanks for the comments and I hope you enjoy our random musings ;)

    ~ Cary