NOTE: The youtube clips posted may contain swearing so might be best to wear headphones or turn the sound down. There is also definitely screaming and loud noises.
Those of you who've ever listened to me babble on about games in real life will very possibly have heard me mention my feelings on "scary" games.
I don't like them.
That's not to say I don't appreciate them, far from it. Many of them are excellent games, I'll just never play them as I don't like to be scared. Which puts me in a bit of a situation, as I'm sure if I could get over my inherent dislike of things going "boo" I would find some truly fantastic games to play.
Games like 2010's Amnesia: The Dark Descent. There you find yourself unarmed, as you tend to be in a lot of modern horror games, making your way through dank, unlit cellars and rooms with only a lantern to guide you. You solve puzzles and basically try and escape from the unspeakable terrors that pursue you.
Just a teaser of what Amnesia will do to you.
To look at a still screenshot of Amnesia tells you nothing about what the game is like. You have to play it, or at least watch someone else play it, to have any idea of what to expect.
Amnesia, as I mentioned earlier, makes use of one key element to creating fear. You have no weapons and no way of fighting back against the monsters you face. It's an simple, yet clever piece of design. In an entertainment medium that is so often dedicated to empowering the player and giving them the tools to deal with anything the game throws at them, to have that stripped away is quite disconcerting. It's a simple way to induce fear and it's being utilized more and more often.
The sequel, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, is the next title in the series and is due for release today on PC.
I find that mostly it's the idea of being scared that puts me off. Slender, based on the prevalent "Slender-Man" character was one of those rare horror games I actually downloaded and played (for two minutes) before retreating to Youtube again to watch other people lose their minds.
Not creepy in the slightest. No siree.....
If the idea of walking through a dark forest at night, collecting bits of paper before turning around to find a 7 foot tall man with no face and elongated arms less than a meter away appeals to you then you can find the most recent version of Slender here: www.parsecproductions.net/slender/
One small piece of hope I find though is that I've finally gotten over my Resident Evil aversion. I've found the most recent title, RE: Revelations to be highly enjoyable and very bearable for my low-fear threshold. That said Resident Evil hasn't been true Horror in a long time but that's an entry for another time.
I'm glad I find games terrifying though. Movies, TV and books haven't given me a truly good scare in a long time so it's nice that there's something that can.