A Nine-Point Guide on How to Scare The3rdPlayer

20160731192339_1.jpgI would never call myself an expert on horror. I’ve watched a ton of horror films and played my weight in horror games so I’m no stranger to the tricks and tropes of the trade, either. I’ve gained enough of a reputation to be considered an aficionado, though, somewhere closer to an expert than a layman. What I do know is that after spending probably half of my life taking in an appreciated horror media is that I know what works for me and what doesn’t.

Something I’ve talked to a few folks on Twitter and in my life about is not necessarily what is done well or isn’t but what actually works to give you the creeps and keep you entertained. When it comes to films, for instance, a solid slasher movie will keep me watching while a lot of movies with possession or vampires don’t tend to strike the right chords for me. On the other hand, I know people who have the exact opposite inclinations. Some people are claustrophobic and can’t take certain camera angles. I know plenty of folks who can’t stand when movies victimize children because it feels like low hanging fruit for the sake of a reaction.

Games are a little different, though. There’s another level of immersion because you’re the one controlling the person going through the ordeal. By extension, these things are happening to you and if you want to finish the game, you’re going to go through a gauntlet of jumps, creeps, and “You Died” screens to see the end and find salvation. How do you know which horror games are for you, though? Do certain mechanics work more effectively toward embedding that dread into your bones? Are there effects that make you roll your eyes a bit or get so frustrated that you need to put your controller down for a minute to compose yourself?

Allow me to open up my own discussion with five ways that games can creep me out- and four ways a number of games have rubbed me the wrong way while trying. As always, since this is discussing a multitude of game mechanics and situations from video games, there will be spoilers below. Nothing that will ruin a game entirely, but it may take some of the punch out of some scares you might not want ruined. Consider yourself warned!
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Simple Deeds and Sufferings of Light – PC – Layers of Fear – 2016

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Layers of Fear

PC
Aspys / Bloober Team
Genre: Horror
2016

Over the years, horror as a genre has branched off quite a bit.  While the genre wasn’t exactly a stranger to symbolism or subtext, time has lent itself to certain horror offerings exercising the cerebral and dramatic.  Video games have been doing this for some time now thanks to certain developers working to deepen the artform that video games have started to be recognized as.  Games like Silent Hill and Rule of Rose have taken a whole mythos and forums full of discussion to dissect- and it’s all been amazing to watch unfold as a horror fan.

Layers of Fear is an indie effort that attempts to marry the horror genre with drama and surrealism.  While a few games have done this, I had heard a lot about Layers of Fear from my friends- and yet had heard very little about it aside from it would be right up my alley and that I needed to try it.  Given my extensive Steam library, I thought it would be a while before I got the chance to play it. In a stroke of generosity, a friend of mine gifted me a copy so I could finally check out the experience.

That was about a year or so ago.

Well, now it’s the season and in between replays of Clock Tower and Friday the 13th, I’m making it my goal to get to some of the creepier titles I haven’t had the chance to break into yet.  First up on my list ended up being this one since I was in the mood for the kind of game I had at least thought it was.  Allow me to detail for all of you the experience I had after a year of anticipation for this game and all it had to offer.
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