What makes a game scary?

Discussion in 'Video Games and Technology' started by jorod74, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. jorod74

    jorod74 Psycholagnist (Ret.)

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    I own the original PS1 Resident Evil. the acting is bad and all, but there are truly spooky moments in the game. so much, that i refused to ever play it in the dark or with headphones- try that just once. if you are man enough, it can be fun. For example, a screen where you are alone in a hall, and can't see anything but the spot you are standing in, and yet you hear from your left earpiece, footstep, the slide of the foot along the floor, a long, weak moan, and repeat...yet it never walks into view. it just threatens to show up....

    but what do you think makes for a scary game? or what would you put into a game to add a real chill factor?

    btw, I can't play Fatal Frame, either.
     
  2. Lord Of Tetris

    Lord Of Tetris Well-Known Member

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    I think Bioshock is the scariest game I've played in a long time. Silent Hill 2 is probably the scariest game I've ever played. Both games do a good job of establishing a story and setting of pure dread.

    It isn't so much a "silent walking down hall BANG A MONSTER APPEARS!" scare (although that does happens). Bioshock and SH2 just finds ways to disturb you through genuinely threatening images that are far more effective than "how many teeth does this monster have?"

    I'm really trying to walk a thin line between descriptions and spoilers.
     
  3. TheIncredibleHulk

    TheIncredibleHulk Find Gary Busey!

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    The price? ;) 


    The interrogation room in RE2 always got me. Everything's going great, till you walk past the mirror and a Licker crashes thru it. Made me jump everytime.
     
  4. EvaUnit13

    EvaUnit13 REBUILD

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    Scary images and surprises
     
  5. jdre_124

    jdre_124 Super Dick

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    Honestly for me besides the first encounter with a Big Daddy, the Surgeon, and the statue splicers, Bioshock was pretty short on "HOLY FUCK" moments.

    Really to me, what makes a game scary is it's combat system. A game can have as many "Pop out" moments that it wants but if you have a system were I can have access to weapons with alot of ammunition the fear diminishes. It's like why would I be afraid of a zombie if I have a shotgun?? Now take away the shotgun or make my ammo scarce and then I am scared. It's just knowing you can't fight back or that if you do there are consequences. This is probably why I found portions Bioshock and RE 4 to lack any sense of dread.

    That and the respawn system. Another fault of Bioshock, because I could continue to respawn and fight the same Big Daddy with a wrench if I wanted to and after a while he would die. Make it so that if I die, I'm going to have to actually use some thought, while taking on a challenge, other then throwing my dead body at it then you change the entire game.
     
  6. Cruellock

    Cruellock Disney Villain

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    You don't know scary until you've played Nosferatu: Wrath of the Malachi. It's got the creepiest atmosphere, vampires drop down on top of you or raise up out of coffins ala Graf Orlok, and the screams they make... Plus demon gates that will pump out non-stop monsters..

    And you're armed with either a sword-cane or a gun with very limited ammo. And the game is timed... But hey, that's not all, because the castle has multiple maps so it's never the same game!

    So yeah, if the surprise monsters don't freak you out, the lack of weapons and the fact that your ending gets worse the more people you fail to save certainly can freak you out. I tried playing it at night in a pitch black room with headphones on. Freaked the heck outta me, and it takes A LOT to do that.
     
  7. TJOmega

    TJOmega The Plastic Addict Content Contributor

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    For a good horror game, you need a setting of unease, music that keeps you alert for sudden sounds instead of something that you can groove to. It takes a sense of not knowing what's around the next corner and knowing you're not in control and you might not survive the next step. You also need a sense of desperation, like only having one pistol and hard to find ammo in the older Resident Evil games, so even if you think you know what's next, you still don't know if you can handle it. Bottom line, it's all about uncertainty.
     
  8. GigatronSama

    GigatronSama Mr. Insomnia Veteran

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    I'd say atmosphere is most important. You don't even need a monster on screen to create a feeling of unease and fear. A good example is Eternal Darkness. You can be standing in an empty room but the game is still messing with you with voices in the background, and outright hallucinations. It goes out of its way to mess with you. The freakiest is when you're running from something and you get to a door only to hear "click click" and you can't open the door.

    Another good use of atmosphere is RE4. It starts out not too creepy, but after you beat Del Lago and the rain starts pouring down, you feel a sort of oppressive atmosphere like the game has just stepped up the threat level a notch. Though the castle isn't too intimidating the labs in the island are freaking creepy, especially wondering if there's a regenerator around the next corner.
     
  9. Liege Prime

    Liege Prime Well-Known Member

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    For scary, I'd recommend either and both of the Condemned games. I never jumped so much from any two games. It's also a mind f**k to a degree, but not to the degree of Silent Hill. I think what makes them so scary is how aggressive the enemies are and how they pop up from nowhere. And lets just say that the second one had one of the scariest scenes in a game involving a bear and a ski lodge. The environments are actually well thought out, especially in the second one. They use a lot of odd filters and aural effects to evoke responses as well.

    I still say the Silent Hill series is my favorite survival horror/adventure horror series, but for pure scare factor I think I'd give it to condemned.
     
  10. smangerbot

    smangerbot The Holy Zombie Jesus TFW2005 Supporter

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    silent hill creeped me the hell out. th eopening levels of bioshock were damn scary too, i was actually affraid to leave that pod in the beginning.
     
  11. Gordon_4

    Gordon_4 The Big Engine

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    AvP2 in Marine campaign had some very creepy moments much like Alien and Aliens: low ambient noise, little background music and the best one of all, the motion tracker's blips.

    Hell first few levels you don't see any Alien combat but I near shat myself several times.
     
  12. Trailbreaker77

    Trailbreaker77 Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    The developer? example: Aquaman!

    I have never played a Silent Hill game, I plan on giving it a try on the PS3.
    Fatal Frame messed me up for a couple days.
     
  13. Melkava

    Melkava Well-Known Member

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    Fatal Frame 2 was pretty intense for me.
     
  14. Prowl

    Prowl Well-Known Member

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    TB, I can't judge it without playing it, but I'm warry about SH on PS3 because the developers have completely changed (so saiths the interviews in Qore).

    That may still be a very good thing, but I'll reserve judgement.

    Play SH2 and 3. Best moment in a Silent Hill for me, and probably scariest moment in any game was done with nothing but Sound. And the best thing about SH, that none of the other have had until after SH is the use of elements simply to throw your nerves, in that not everything that goes bump actually attacks you.

    In SH2 you walk into the underground gallows of an old Civil War Prison. While walking through the very dark corridor, you hear footsteps behind you, you turn with your flashlight, and nada, then just as you relax, you hear them behind you again, all while the lonely noose is looming in the distance.

    I hope the Devs of SH understand that it's not all about jumps or surprise monster attacks, Silent Hill is a lot about atmosphere and clever use of sound.
     
  15. smangerbot

    smangerbot The Holy Zombie Jesus TFW2005 Supporter

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    the sound sthe radio made when bad guys were near used to make me pee myself.
     
  16. BlitzFire

    BlitzFire Well-Known Member

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    ill be honest and say that the "hell" levels of Diablo 1 scared the shit out of me. Why?

    1. The music was creepy
    2. The crying baby sound they added made it creepier
    3. I got to hell on a fluke so my character was really not powerful enough for the hell levels, making it scary to want to go in any room

    I lived at home with my parents at the time and I used to sneak down to the basement to play at night so I was playing with headphones on and in the dark...creepy stuff

    seriously, try to get your character down there as quickly as possible so that hes not all mighty and powerful. and don
     
  17. Prowl

    Prowl Well-Known Member

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    Exactly, a game with graphics like SH1 can still scare the piss outta you, because sound makes you imagine what's not really there, and you aren't going to imagine cute things. Silent hill gives you hints of what its nasty abominations look like, and then the sounds just make you imagine what's around the corner. I really really hope the devs for the next one get this. Though judging by the Qore interviews, it seems like they do.
     
  18. seeker311

    seeker311 The Collector

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    I think it has to do with the lighting, music and just suspense factor. Resident Evil 1 and 2 both had that and I would never play it in the dark either when I first got them. Resident 4 is spooky too. Silent Hill and the walking legs always creeped me out. Currently Im playing Bioshock and though it really isnt a horror video game, it does have its creepy moments. The 2 games that I have asked my wife to stay up with me because they freak me out are Condemned and FEAR.
     
  19. Prowl

    Prowl Well-Known Member

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    Condemned was really cool. I still wanted to play the second one. Hats off to Sega for doing a good job on that one.

    Didja now?

    They have an opportunity, with this generation's capabilities, to make an excellent frightfest from hell, out of Colonial Marines... we'll see if they deliver.
     
  20. UltraDevmodious

    UltraDevmodious Well-Known Member

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    Well the only games that have actually made me jump were the resident evil games and the first dino crisis. I played dino crisis in the darkā€¦the first encounter with the t-rex breaking thought the window damn near gave me a heart attack. Haha. One year at thanksgiving ( my mother has our family over for thanksgiving every year) I had my cousin try dino crisis and that part made him scream like a little girl it made him jump too I was rolling!
     

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