During a year where we get not one, but TWO Friday the 13ths, I thought it might be worth taking the time to go through a few gaming moments that still very much give me the heeby mcjeebies; as it really is no secret to anyone that I am a giant wuss when it comes to scary video games.
Resident Evil came out in 1996.
It was tense, terrifying, and wholly unlike anything else at the time. But one thing that it managed to slam dunk was making my heart stop. The game had a fixed camera, so you only saw what the developers wanted you to see, and this meant that sometimes you walked into a situation that you couldn’t possibly see coming. At one point, you are walking down a lovely corridor, and as you pass a window and the camera angle changes, A SKINLESS ZOMBIE DOG COMES FLYING THROUGH IT TO ATTACK YOU.
In that brief moment, the sound of shattering glass announces the change in situation – during a time where snap aiming guns was NOT a thing – and you now have to somehow rotate and fire at the unfortunate canine. I swear I clenched my butt so hard I took a bite out of the couch I was sitting on.
Resident Evil 2 is currently being remade, and though it doesn’t have any window dogs, the original did have a skinless zombie mutant man with a crazy tongue smashing through an interrogation room mirror, so that will likely be just as pants-poopingly scary.
I felt my heart stop for the briefest moment
A Xenomorph That Plays By Its Own Rules
I play a lot of games. This one, I instead chose to watch someone on YouTube play it because I couldn’t deal with it.
Alien Isolation was made by people who cared a lot about the original Alien film, so much so that they didn’t want to make a game. They wanted to make an interactive ALIEN movie. So, the gist of the game is that you are a scared young woman who is stalked by the scary alien from the scary movie on a scary space station.
The reason the game terrifies me is that the Xenomorph doesn’t have set rules. In most games enemies will adhere to specific behaviours – they walk from here to there, maybe interact with a thing, then perhaps walk back to where they started. The may repeat. The alien in this game is unpredictable and makes up its own mind. It doesn’t have specific rules – it does whatever it wants to, appears where-ever and will stalk you for the hell of it. Meaning you could end up hiding under a table, and it might walk up to it and choose to just…wait.
The tension is enough to make my heart explode. You never know where it’s going to come from, where it’s going – it just does whatever it pleases. You can’t LEARN it. Ew.
Mr. Friendly over here doesn’t play by any ‘real’ rules
Technically It’s A ‘Video’ Game
So, we are talking about scary, VIDEO games. And I wanted to mention one that actually used a video…cassette.
In 1991, the board game Nightmare was released as part of the creatively titled AtmosFEAR series. To play, you actually had to put on a video cassette tape, with each player doing what the GATEKEEPER on the video said. Depending on what character you chose it would affect how the game played out.
The reason I wanted to mention this, is because it got me good. I remember when I was a younger man playing it, and the Gatekeeper said something to the effect of ‘PLAYER 2, COME CLOSER, I HAVE SOMETHING SPECIAL TO SHOW YOU.’
So my friends urged to get closer.
‘CLOSER STILL’ the video man said. ‘CLOSER!’ until I was inches from the screen.
Then this decrepit zombie-like man roared with anger, and said ‘NEVER COME THAT CLOSE TO ME AGAIN, YOU MAGGGOT.’ A young me reacted pretty well because I jumped like a madman. Aaaand my mates gave me a hell of a lot of shit for it.
In fairness, I really SHOULD have seen this coming
Our own fearless leader, Zach Jackson did mention that he feels that Outlast is a great deal scarier than Alien Isolation. I heartily agree with him – hence why I have never played that fucking series.
I even took the time to share my fears live on the radio with Dan from Chilli FM. Take a listen to the audio below as I try to justify the heartstopping dread I feel during some gaming moments:
At this point I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I am not a brave man.
Happy Friday the 13th everybody.