By Allison Shoaf
Horror follows a variety of storylines, but horror games delve deeper into this and allow for first person exploration, puzzles, tension, and fear. Much like movies it can hold complete immersion and much to a whole new level for a game as a player that interacts with setting and character to act and make decisions that can change which turn the ending may take. Viewer discretion is advised, titles mentioned in this article are rated R and may include spoilers for said games.
Horror, as well as many other genres, has sub-genres that have vastly different interactions for the player. The sub-genres can include survival, action, psychological, jumpscare, and reverse. There are many sub-genres in the horror scene, of many is popular psychological horror. The sub-genre focuses mainly on mental, psychological, and emotional states that the character goes through. It uses this to relate and scare the audience simultaneously. The entities that the character may fall victim to is forms of hallucination, paranoia, delusions, the supernatural, gaslighting by other characters, and sometimes even actual mental illness taking form as a giant metaphor. A different type of sub-genre is survival horror in which the protagonist must escape or survive a horrific, eerie, and violent environment. It creates an environment like that of a horror film.
Much like movie and tv counterparts, horror games are enjoyable because they shock and give adrenaline to the person playing. Over the years games have been explored involving horror. Many if not all horror games follow a specific formula. Most, if not all are first person based, there are barely any helpful A.I and heightens feelings of isolation and helplessness.
An early set game is Haunted House which was produced in 1982 where the character was put into a maze-like haunted estate and was escaping with an urn. In 1989 a game called Sweet Home was released by Capcom and helped create the well-known series of Resident Evil games as inspiration with the abandoned mansion. Adventure game developers got more gruesome with projects such as the release of 7th Guest in 1993 and featured a large amount of pre-rendered 3D graphics.
A display of genres that are also popular horror games includes Little Nightmares, Bendy and the Ink Machine, Cry of Fear, most recent Poppy´s Playtime, Phasmophobia, Spooky´s Jumpscare Mansion collection, Resident Evil game collection, Five Nights at Freddy´s game collection, etc.
The Little Nightmares games explore your childhood fears, and you play in a 2D scrolling environment. The game includes exploration, storyline, puzzles, survival, scripted fights, and several entities that one narrowly avoids throughout the game. Bendy and the Ink Machine is an interesting take on horror with its 3D environment, setting, exploration, storyline, puzzles, several entities, scripted and unscripted fights. Poppy’s Playtime is a rising star in the indie game community with new plot, setting, and in game mechanics. The game includes exploration, storyline, puzzles, objectives, survival, and several entities.
Cry of Fear is a 3D single player environment with exploration, storyline, objectives, psychological influence, and player made decisions. Spooky´s Jumpscare Mansion collection is maze-like 3D experiences with player interactions, several entities, exploration, puzzles, A.I that provides help and problems throughout the entirety of the game. Phasmophobia is a 3D multiplayer horror game with involvement in paranormal and a variety of playable maps. It is an objective based horror game that kept one running from the entity and solving a simple mystery. It is a free roam game that ended completely dependent on the players’ actions and became incredibly popular. In 1996 Resident Evil finally released and would start two-decade old franchises that would include light-gun games, third person shooters, multiplayer titles, and much more. The Resident Evil collection of games has included 3D and 3rd person view, they are storyline horror games that require one to fight entities and complete objectives.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is a horror game collection that requires one to watch security cameras and make sure electricity still runs throughout the night until six in the morning to stay alive. Though simple and repetitive sounding, it became a 2014 hit in the indie game industry. It is considered one of the best horror games made and has become a classic for those who just began gaming in the genre.
New horror games one can see coming out in 2022 are Dying Light 2, Evil Dead, Ghostwire: Tokyo, The Callisto Protocol, Resident Evil Re:Verse, The Outlast Trials, and Dead Space. During the wait one can play other games in the series or collection. One being the other latest released Resident Evil games Resident Evil Village, etc.
In an interview, Mrs. Takacs, a Lenape Teacher, and Mr. Perry, a CIT instructor, were asked about Horror Games. The questions they considered were: What do you know about horror games? Is there any horror game you favor in particular?
Mrs. Takacs did not know much about horror games at all and had not heard of any games she could name at that time. Mr. Perry, while not favoring the horror genre, did however know about it quite well and suggested games such as Resident Evil, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Clock Tower, Fatal Frames, and Yume Nikki.
Horror games can typically be accessible for any player of any skill level, unlike combat games. Only basic knowledge of the controller or keyboard is required. Horror games are not exclusive to a group of people and there is many types one can explore. There are genres and differing settings that can cater to one’s preferences.
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Sinha, Ravi. “A Comprehensive History of Horror Gaming.” Gamingbolt, 6 Apr. 2016, gamingbolt.com/a-comprehensive-history-of-horror-gaming.
Staff, TheGamer. “Horror Games You HAVE to Try in 2022.” TheGamer, 23 Oct. 2021, www.thegamer.com/most-anticipated-horror-games-2022/.