Posts Tagged ‘video games’

Since the Resident Evil franchise is so huge now, consisting of some great games and mostly bad movies, I thought I would concentrate on one chapter of the Resident Evil saga, the one that I go back to more than any other: the 2002 remake of the original Resident Evil game.

The original was a breakthrough in game design and the father of the survival horror genre. It may not have been the first but it was such a well-crafted game that it set the bar for the Silent Hills and Fatal Frames that followed. With it’s creepy, haunted house setting, weapon scarcity, slow but lunging zombies, and exploration elements, the original game was a fun and challenging ride for any horror fan.

The remake took that school bus and converted it into a zombie killing deathcoaster.

It improved on everything, the graphics and sound being the most notable. What was once a recognizable group of human-shaped polygons was now a very realistic looking animated characters. You can almost see the “WTF” in their eyeballs.

The environments are gorgeous. Each room and area have their own intricate details. The graphical enhancement is so great that you can see the curtains moving with the wind, the lightning casting creepy shadows, and the veins in each zombie’s horrifying face. The set design feels like any Hollywood movie and is enough to give any gamer chills.

This version, originally released on the Nintendo Gamecube, also had expanded plots, new enemies, new areas to explore, new weapons, and new scares. It took everything about the original and made it better. Even the cheesy, B-movie dialogue was improved. Not great, but improved.

This game may be a few years old now and the franchise may have changed, but this game is still great on every level that it is a must play for any fan of horror.



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Boxshot: The Walking Dead - A TellTale Games Series by Telltale Games


There are a few of these games now, most are shit. Most adaptations are. Something usually gets lost in the translation from form to form, be it book to movie, movie to T.V., or T.V. to book. Video games are not immune to this as countless rushed out games have been released to take advantage of a thing’s place in our cultural zeitgeist. The Walking Dead has suffered this.

However, the Telltale Games release does an excellent job of recreating what makes The Walking Dead so good: complex characters, tough decisions, zombie fights, and a touching and emotional story that rivals anything the show or comic has come up with.

At the heart of it, The Walking Dead is about the characters, it isn’t about action. As much as we love zombie killing action, it would mean nothing without characters we care about. The game does a brilliant job of making it’s characters believable and empathetic. We get touching backstories and thoughts that are brought about by the dialogue between characters.

That’s the main gameplay mechanic in this game: choosing what to say. That may sound like it makes for a boring game and if you’re expecting a game with plenty of mindless killing, it will be. There’s a fair amount of undead action but it’s really secondary to the dialogue, which is what primarily drives the story forward. And it effects the rest of the game. Choose to give a man’s son some food, the man will back you up later. Choose to disagree with someone, they might try to kill you later. It’s a much more cerebral game than most others and will actually show you the consequences of your actions and how they effect others.

The game is not long or difficult, but it plays like a season of the show, broken up into chapters and just as riveting. And once you’ve completed it (most likely getting choked up), you can go back and see how different choices would have worked out. They won’t take you in a completely different storyline but you’ll definitely notice how your decisions affect the game world. 

Another ‘season’ of the game is coming out soon and a DLC that bridges the gap is already out called 400 Days that I have yet to get. I haven’t played the new ones yet but if it’s anything like the first one, I will be one happy camper.

 Telltale Tease The Walking Dead: Season Two

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If you don’t know about Slender Man or any of it’s derivatives, you’re really missing out. It’s a flash game you can find online or as an iOS app for cheap and will certainly deliver the chills.

The game’s premise is simple: search the environment and collect 8 pages while avoiding Slender Man. These environments are different depending on whichever version of the game you get. The one I played was a forest area with a couple buildings and cars thrown in. The graphics are good but the graphics and sound are where the game really shines. Strange noises will explode out of nowhere and you’ll turn but see nothing. Other times you’ll turn, expecting to see nothing and instead see Slender Man mere paces from you, his featureless face staring directly at you. The screen and sound roar with static that despite the knowledge it is just a game, sends shivers all throughout your body. It’s so simple but very effective.

Slender Man may be hiding between the thin trees surrounding you and the measly flashlight beam you have only penetrates so far. Similar to the Silent Hill games, the entire environment is dark except for whatever you illuminate with your flashlight. This play mechanic is SOOO good for scary games and I got chills just walking around the forest, exploring every crevice for the tiny pages.

You can probably find versions of this game for free now. However, even if you have to pay the regular .99¢, I highly recommend it.

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Like any of the best Japanese horror, the Fatal Frame games build tension through dark environments and vulnerable protagonists and enough jump scares to keep you dreading when the next one will be. Instead of guns or swords to fight with, the player’s only weapon to fight off the vengeful spirits is a camera. A CAMERA!! That’s it. Of course, it has special powers. Based on the mythology that photos steal a part of your soul, the main objective in the games is to defend yourself by capturing ghosts with your camera. This mechanic gives the game a unique perspective since, when in battle, the perspective switches from a third person view to a first person view. You, the player, are looking through the camera lens searching the environment frantically for the creepy ghosts that are attacking you. Most times, to be the most effective, you have to let the ghosts get directly in front of you and very close, to the point where you would be able to smell their decaying breath. It’s a very effective game device and chills ran down my spine several times during the coarse of playing these games.

Besides the camera angles, the environments and atmosphere help make these games a terrifying experience. With a few exceptions, the game’s action takes place in abandoned houses and villages. While exploring, the player will find some rooms are rundown and in disrepair while others are emaculate, yet all tell a story. Objects in each room are set in such a way that let’s you know something happened here, whether it’s a set of cups filled with still warm tea or an ornate doll crumpled on the floor. Strange sounds happen sporadically and scattered, hand-written notes and diary entries tell of the gruesome events that happened to the people who are no longer around. There is very little repose from the horror in these games, and even those places become suseptable eventually.

Like the Silent Hill games, running around in the dark with only a flashlight to see, prays on our fear of the dark and the unknown to great effect. I still have trouble going back to these games and playing for an extended period of time. I just can’t take the tension! They are fun though and a great way to get creeped out late at night.

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I remember playing the first game, nearly obsessively, exploring the town, searching for every power-up, trying to get all of the five different endings. At the time, I was living at my parents house and kept most of my possessions in my small room, including a chub pack of Irish Spring soap. I didn’t notice until after my obsession calmed down enough that I could move on to a different game, but when I took a shower with that soap, I would flash back to the world of Silent Hill. The game created such a fearful atmosphere of strange creatures and nightmarish environments that all my senses were on high alert. Spending all those hours fused the strangest bond between that Irish Spring freshness and the decaying world of Silent Hill to the point where it became a part of me. I still can’t smell Irish Spring without thinking of that first Silent Hill game.

Silent Hill 2 is one of my favorite games of all times, mostly because of the story and characters. The story is as good as any thriller/horror movie and sets a somber and suspenseful tone throughout. I’ve played the game through so many times and I’m really good at it but I still have to save often and I still can’t play too long in a session. The tension and fear are like a faucet running water into a mug; at some point the mug just can’t hold any more. I know where the enemies are and can easily get past them but there’s always a vulnerability aspect to your character you can’t help but be fearful for.

The concept of Silent Hill 4 was so fascinating to me that I was able to look past the changes the game made from it’s predecessors. The main character, Henry, is locked in his apartment from the inside and he has no idea how it happened. He can see his neighbors through the window and through his front door’s eyehole but he can’t communicate with them. Then a hole appears in his bathroom that leads to an outside filled with ghosts and strange creatures. He has no other choice but to go. I’m a big fan of limited storytelling so this game really appealed to me.

The other games, while not as notable, all contain the same creepy atmospheres, the same tortured and complicated characters, and the same fucking with your sense of fear of the unknown. They’re just games, I know this. But by putting the controller in my hand and making me control these characters, it puts me into that world just enough that I feel a part of it. And that is fucking scary.

There are several games now and each one





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