Friday, 5 October 2007

A discussion in horror theory In this thread on the horror gameing forum chris' survival horror quest. a user once again begs the question "should resident evil be considered striaght up survival horror>?". In my opinion its more sci-fi action orientated, but then the forums owner ,Chris, piped in and the topic lead to the possiblility of desensitization.
When weve been chased through racoon city by the nemesis, explored a haunted shinto mansion armed only with a camera and even venture into the depths of silent hill to confront peoples inner fears why should we be scared by anything nowadays anyway?
I brought forth the point that this could lead to manhunt style constant elavation of the shock factor to try and outdo previous horror games we are now desensitized to, in a way i might add i find particularly tasteless.
To which it was then pointed out not too many cuasual gamers play as much horror as i do, which is very true, but also there are so many games, like resi 4, cold fear or the suffering that you have no doubt in your mind that the protagonist will make it out of whatever hellish situation he or her is in with no trouble they cannot cope with. and i believe that is the sign of a horror game that is not accomplishing goal number one "initiating in the audience the idea that the character needs to "survive" not that they automatically will.
case in point obscure 2, these characters are just students, will very little chance of survival against the monsters overtaking the fallcreek campus, and in fact some of them do die through the course of the game, in cutscenes no less so they are meant to die with the narrative plot of the game which just makes you think "woah, if the jock (for exmaple) died, then hows the nerd going to make it through the same situation and live?. after all the greatest fear is death and fear of the unkown, so not knowing if your character will live is one sign of not a great but fantastic horror title, though of course the second factor is allways having a plot with enough intrigue and emotional development to allow you to atcually gain some sort of emotional attatchement to the characters you are playing as, there fore when they get closer to death, you heart beat starts to increase.
Though on that note i believe the third pillar that forms the foundation of a fantastic horror game is sound, or the absence thereof, no matter how realistic, or out of the date the graphics may be as long as the character devlopment is engrossing, the situation is horrifying and opens with many questions that will most likely not all be answered by the end and a memorable soundtrack then the game will scare and will be remembered as a great game.
Least thats the Danny Smith(aka: me) method of thinking on the subject.

Which is off topic by a mile, but does resi 4 count in the same genra niche as silent hill 2, resident evil 3 or obscure?, well i guess theres no diffinitive answer as everyone sees a game, as like a piece of cinema the different way so its never set in stone, which is why chris' list is constantly changing but oh well, if we didnt bitch about stuff like this thered be no reason for internet forums anymore.

and then were would we spend our time?, outside in the real world, no thanks, the real world blows.

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