So this is a companion to today’s 30 Day Movie Challenge. ‘Cause I feel it necessary to say this: to me, horror films are in no comparison to a good scary video game. And I would much rather watch a gameplay of a horror video game than a horror movie – or more like I’m more terrified to watch a horror video game than a movie.
Video games like Resident Evil, Dead Space, Silent Hill, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Slender and Outlast have moments in them that are far more chilling than some of the best movies I’ve watched.
I’m currently watching the Game Grumps play DreadOut (an Indonesian survival horror video game) at the moment. It follows a student, Linda who is locked in an abandoned school building, she must explore the building, taking photos of ghosts and uncover the story behind the building. This game hits close to home, ’cause of the Indonesian mythology behind it. Somehow it felt like I was in on the joke when I could read the Indonesian markings on the wall.
I think what makes horror survival video games more terrifying is that, unlike in films where you’re passively watching, where your fatality is not at risk (unless a jump scare gives you a heart attack), video games is the opposite.
Putting yourself in first or third person position puts you in charge of a protagonist whom you stand responsible for for the duration of the game. They also often put you in the position of vulnerability – you cannot attack, you must run and hide and avoid. The lack of agency lends to the realism of the situation – the monster, the ghost, the predator will always be stronger than you, and the video game is not shy in letting you know this. You’re often dead within the first two hits, unlike shooter games that sometimes unrealistically give you five or six tries at shooting back before you’re dead.
Also, one thing I’ve grown to love about video game horror as opposed to some cliched horror, slasher films, is the elaborate and detailed plots, the intricate details to the storyline. And I became of this growing awareness while I was watching my brother play Resident Evil 6 – agreed, not one of the best in the series (some may argue the worst) but still laden with metaphors and symbolisms in terms of the mutations in the storyline. In fact, I wrote and analysed this in my own final year paper in university, so yes, I was a lot more than just fascinated.
So, at the end of the day, I would say go check out the game plays, if you’d rather not play one yourself. Or, I would suggest going on Steam and trying out one of them. Especially if sales are on and its going for an extremely low price (summer sale on now *hint hint*):
Maybe I can convert some of you guys from horror movie fans to horror video game fans.
Till next time!