The folks over at United We Game have decided to do a Simul-tober month where the contributors for the site guest blog on each participating person’s personal blog to write about horror and video games. Halloween is in the month of October, so what better way to celebrate than trade stories about what scares them in games or which horror video games they have played and liked the best. I, unfortunately, am not participating in Simul-tober month at UWG, but I have been reading my fellow bloggers’ own take on the horror genre. Be sure to read them too if you want to get into the spirit of Halloween. One particular post that got me thinking about scares and video games was The Duck of Indeed’s guest post over on CheeeseToastieandVideoGames’ blog.
The Duck talks about how there were certain video games, which aren’t classified as horror, that scared the Duck. The post then proceeds to list a number of instances where the Duck’s skin crawled. This got me into thinking about if there was a time I got scared from video games I’ve played that aren’t in the horror genre.
Personally, I’m not a fan of horror films and this would extend to my refusal to play any video game that is in the horror genre. I don’t like jumping out of my seat and I hate having this feeling of dread nag at me, as I slowly inch closer to a dark and creepy corridor where just about anything can attack you at any second. I’ll admit I am a scaredy cat. Always have been and always will be. But just because I haven’t played any horror video games, unless you count Telltale’s The Walking Dead or a few rounds of Left for Dead 2 with my friends as horror (neither I find scary), it doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten scared with other video games I have played.
There are really only two moments I can think of from two separate video games I have played where I was freaking out. I was either shrieking in my seat or jumping from anticipation. The moments I’m talking about come from Mass Effect 2 and Borderlands. If anyone has played these two games before, you must be scratching your head and thinking, “Mass Effect 2 and Borderlands? What’s so scary about those games?” Read on and I’ll answer that question.
In Mass Effect 2, there’s a DLC mission called Overlord where Shepard is called to investigate and put a stop to a Cerberus experiment gone wrong. This experiment involved fusing a human volunteer with a virtual intelligence, which then created a murderous “VI overlord” running loose within the Cerberus lab. What I found scary about this particular DLC was the VI itself. Each point I advanced further to get to the source of the problem or explored terminals to get clues as to what exactly happened in the lab, there were moments in the game where the VI’s face would show up briefly and “scream” in anger or agony. The scream was the most skin crawling sound I had ever heard. The garbled noise, screechy feedback sound was enough to make the hairs at the back of my neck stand on end. I dreaded hearing the sound every time I got to a new part of the lab. A killer VI running amok is creepy enough, but that scream? I get shudders just thinking about the sound.
Borderlands may seem like an unusual choice for a scary moment, but it makes perfect sense if you’re not a fan of bugs. When you play the game, you and your friend are traipsing all over Pandora completing main mission objectives or side missions. Taking a stroll or a ride around Pandora isn’t exactly of the leisure kind. You encounter all sorts of dangerous creatures to fight, aside from the gangs of Psycho Midgets and the like, running around the barren wasteland.
Among those dangerous creatures are the various bug species you find. It’s bad enough that we have disgusting creepy crawlies you don’t want startling you to death when you open a kitchen cabinet or drawer. Imagine what it’d be like if these small bugs were magnified to ten times the size. That’s some pretty scary stuff. The worse ones are the bugs that remind me of cockroaches. The long antennas, bug eyes, and fuzzy legs are something I like to steer clear of. The very thought of having any of these crawling on me would have me screaming in no time. You can probably guess what my reaction must have been like when me and my friend have to fight these to satisfy a mission objective.
Even the scariest moments in games aren’t what you usually expect them to be, a point that was made in the Duck’s post. Luckily for me, this self-proclaimed scaredy cat only has to deal with the moment of fear or dread temporarily before the game resumes back to its usual, non-horror self. Did you ever have a game moment where a scene just scared the crap out of you or left you uneasy when you didn’t expect it to?