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Old 04-03-2010, 07:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Girl, Don't Open That Door

By now, we pretty much expect the characters in a horror film to make terrible decisions. When they trip while being chased by some crazed murderer, they crawl backwards when we all know we'd get right the hell up and keep running. They open the door when it's plain to everyone that the killer is right on the other side. They split up to cover more ground, and when they enter a pitch-black room, they never, ever turn the light on.

If you were confronted with the kind of obvious danger you see in horror movies, you'd run in the opposite direction and seek out safety in numbers. But in horror videogames, you pretty much have to mimic those characters' idiotic choices. You may know a monster is waiting for you on the other side of that door, but you have to open it anyways. If you decide not to willingly expose yourself to whatever terrible threat awaits, the game is over. Progression halts, life stands still and you're left un-entertained.

We get a brief and intense emotional ride from horror films and a lasting psychological impact from horror literature, but in those media we're merely along for the ride. The pleasure we get out of a horror game has to be more than the base narcotic of intentional fear. How do developers continue to entice us to make the wrong decision every time our digital lives are imperiled? The staples of Japanese horror gaming from the past 15 years hold convincing answers to that question.


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The Escapist : Girl, Don't Open That Door
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Girl, Don't Open That Door

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Close cousin Silent Hill takes a different approach, despite cosmetic and control similarities to Resident Evil. While it also relies on scarcity to establish a sense of tension, a lack of ammo or health is never what leads you into Silent Hill's scares. Instead, the game turns the typical rules of horror on their head. Rather than moving from places you've made secure into the unknown as you would in Resident Evil, in Silent Hill, everywhere you go is threatening.
And that is what I think makes Silent Hill slightly better then Resident Evil, thought both has its qualitys and downsides.
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