What scares you? Can games really give you the creepy crawlies. Duh.
Picture yourself alone at night, closing your eyes, nodding off in front your computer. Then you hear the sound of rustling, but before you open your eyes, you hear slight whispers. This is where I think the fear factor creeps in, the great unknown.
So to try and understand what survival horror is let’s look at responses from Dr. Russell Green, a consultant psychiatrist who also happens to be a video games fan.
RG: I think there’s the sort of fundamentals that trigger fear in humans. So there’s an expectation factor, and that probably is generated as much by society… one of my guesses is, especially with horror films, is you get a run of similar kind of things and the element of surprise might start to go down because you suddenly realize that this film is going to be similar to the last three you saw. So the impact is less.
RG: If you watch someone else experiencing an emotion, particularly if it’s one of the strong ones like fear, you kind of vicariously feel it. It feels a bit safer but it’s kind of the same as watching a horror film where you see the person being followed in the dark woods. You have what are called mirror neurons in your brain, it’s one of the ways you can empathize with people; you have a sort of mirror image of that emotion and you have a sense of experiencing it.
How does hardware factor in to the scares?
During the development of the PlayStation 4 hardware, the company went through a number of different models for the DualShock 4 controller, including one that sensed players' stress through sweaty hands, lead architect Mark Cerny previously confirmed.
According to Cerny, Sony tested gamepads that could detect players' galvanic skin response — that is, the conductivity of players' skin, which can indicate increased stress based on how sweaty their palms are.
How do developers try to immerse you in fear?
"There are companies using biometric testing to eke every last scream out of players," Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs lead designer Andrew Crawshaw says, "and ultimately you need the feedback of an audience to let you know if a game is scary or not."
Crawshaw maintains that this kind of testing is particularly useful for measuring the effectiveness of a very particular kind of scare, however.
"Once we knew that people felt uneasy with the storyline we were on solid ground, and we could focus on using aural and visual tricks to support (and exploit) that unease. When it came to more visceral scares, there are lots of cheap tricks you can use to frighten people and making people jump isn't all that hard. If you've created the right mood for people to be scared shitless, they end up being willing 'victims'. Once you've defined the journey you want to take you player on, defining the beats becomes easier."
What methods are necessary for the creation of fear in video games?
"The fundamental difference between film and game is the obvious one of passive observation versus active interaction," Byles tells us. "A movie, no matter how good, can only be observed and as such the emotion that you as a member of the audience can feel can only be at best empathic. That is not to belittle it at all and a skilled filmmaker can create a suspension of disbelief that transports the viewer into narrative, but there is nothing you can do to affect the outcome or fate of the characters.
"Games have the opposite starting point but are faced with other challenges. The emotion that you can feel as a player, rather than a viewer, is in the first person. It is your fear that you are feeling, rather than characters fear with which you are empathizing. First person emotion is much stronger than third, which can help to quickly build a sense of fear."
The first game that comes to mind, when I think of a good horror game is Five Nights at Freddy’s. The feelings of isolation and weakness, with things literally beyond your control that can sneak up on you at any moment is awesome.
So what are you favorite scary games? Classics like Resident Evil or Silent Hill? If you havie any great game suggestions let me know in the comments below. Happy halloween.
P.S. If your looking forward to a film that capture the essence of this, here you go.www.kickstarter.com/projects/A…
Filming in 2014, the film examines the community of horror gaming.
Konami have just announced their involvement, and if funded the film will explore the world of Silent Hill, alongside interviews and profiles of some of the world’s best horror game developers, including the teams behind Amnesia, The 7th Guest, Neverending Nightmares, Lone Survivor, Scratches, Year Walk, Among The Sleep, Dreadout, Routine, Fran Bow, and more are being added every week.www.facebook.com/PlayingWithFe…