December 24, 2015

8-Bit Minute: Survival/Horror

I wanted to pound this out real quick for some one-on-one time. It's one of my goals to get some classic "survival/horror" games onto the site next year, but I feel like hearing about these games from my perspective may be entirely underwhelming for you... the reason being: I am - for lack of a better explanation - immune to horror.

I suspect this stems from my childhood; growing up with older siblings meant I was frequently exposed to "inappropriate" subject matter for my age, but having my family's signature "I won't let anything bother me" mantra to live up to, instead of cowering behind a teddy bear or crying as most children would, I insisted on seeing it through and finding logical reasons to not be afraid. Apart from turning me into a hyper-skeptic, this method worked out nicely for me, but alas, I'm left with inability to imagine fearful things.
To clarify: I'm very easily startled. You could literally pop out of a closet and yell "boo" and I'd jump out of my skin. I'm not stone to these types of scare tactics…
What I mean is, the grotesques designs, eerie music and effects, and all-around creepy, nightmare-inducing plots of most horror games fail to do anything for me. Instead I find myself simply appreciating the design, picking apart the sounds (trying to decide if that bone breaking was celery or wood foley work) and enjoying a good plot for what it is. I've watched friends play games like Silent Hill or Fatal Frame, and be nearly unable to finish it due to the creeps, but I've never experienced this for myself. To me it's just another challenge.

That doesn't mean I can't enjoy horror titles. Hell, Silent Hill 2 is among the best games I've ever played! But I'm kind of sad to report that I don't get the heebie-jeebies from even the most impressive horror demonstrations. Am I alone on this? Has anyone else been effectively inoculated from feeling scared? I just thought I'd provide some background on the matter, so you can get to know me a bit better and understand why I don't find anything about Resident Evil 'scary'. (I mean, let's be honest, neither do you...)

And with that I introduce the next poll. Off in the side bar (you'll have to open the full site if you're viewing on a mobile device) you'll find the poll for my first proper* survival/horror article on ATSG! Please leave a vote and let me know what you'd like me to break down first! The poll will close on December 31st - one week from today - and I'll try to play and write about the winner fairly early in 2016.

You may have expected something like this during October, what with celebrating Halloween and all, but my plate was full at the time and I don't necessarily think horror games have to be played in October anyway. But it seems for ATSG, the end of the year is the best time to do polls. Maybe I'll make that a thing. Every year will send off with a poll! Neato. Look at us bonding here, huh? Thanks for participating, guys!

*I did write about the Last of Us a while back. I suppose many consider that survival/horror. To me it was more survival/drama… and I'm really looking forward to replaying one of the more classic titles.

This guy is my hero.


  1. Lo, I can relate somewhat to your horror impotence. As an adult, who knows there's no such thing as monsters and ghosts, I find it hard to sink into the fear that a game or movie is trying to convey. I guess there are some films that can still give me the shivers, mainly due to good acting or an eerie soundtrack (I.e. The shining, the omen, Donnie Darko) but I've never truly been scared or frightened by a video game at all.

    1. That's the trouble though. I started this behavior as a child and it's only gotten worse in adulthood. I hate that I don't enjoy the genre more. :(

  2. I hear ya Lo! Im kind of the same way, especially when u think about it as just a bunch of 1s and 0s and polygons trying to scare you. I never used to be that way however... Games easily scared be when I was little. Heck, I remember being intimidated inside the Deku Tree in Ocarina of Time, and some of the creepy Mario 64 stages, haha.
    Guess its all mind tricks though. If you can put yourself into the game and suspend some logical thought, it helps a bit. Id like to see morem1st person horror games, I think that would help people like us.
    (that PT game was down right frightening)

    1. The Vulcan curse! Always logical. I find it very hard to turn off. Maybe I need to start playing games while I'm very drunk. Haha! Your Deku Tree comment somehow brought out the artist in me. I tried to recall a few "creepy" places in games and my brain immediately snapped to "that was beautiful". Gosh, I'm weird.
      I never got the chance to play P.T., didn't have a PS4 at the time. I'm not the biggest fan of first-person games but I think you may be right. That certainly adds another aspect we can't control!

  3. Yeah, I'm in the same boat regarding the way horror movies affect me. I watched so many as a kid in the 80's that they really don't affect me now. It's funny, but I'm more of a fan of them now and can actually appreciate them as a valid genre of film, while many people (including the Academy) write them off. In the same way, survival horror games don't really bother me either and I enjoy them. I'm a big fan of Parasite Eve. I played it last year for the first time, podcasted on it, and it even made the top of the list of the game I enjoyed most in 2014. It beat out some very heavy competition. Anyway, it got my vote. Best to you in whatever you play.

    1. Strange how people are quick to write off anything that involves intense artistry, like that somehow makes it less of a film. But then I guess there's people like us going "that wasn't scary at all!" and that leaves us with less to judge them on. Huh.
      Thanks for stopping by and voting!