Scary Games: Why I Avoid Them Like the Plague
I’m going to just come out and say it: games with elements of horror & suspense scare the eff out of me. There I said it. And if you knew me well enough, you know that I purposely steer away from scary games and you most probably made fun of me for doing so. Why do I hate scary games that much? I actually sat down and thought about it and I hope, dear reader, you would hear me out before calling me out as a big ‘fraidy cat.
The main reason on why I can’t tolerate scary games is my uncanny ability to able to fully immerse myself in any game I’m playing. When I get behind the controls of the game, it is very easy for me to empathize with the character that I’m controlling. It gets especially easier in games with a first person perspective. So depending on the atmosphere, I get engrossed to the characters feelings and emotions. A few notable examples: Lara Croft in the latest Tomb Raider reboot. The first few hours of the game where Lara gets off from a shipwreck, trying to survive and then being attacked by the island’s inhabitants was all really tense and in a way stressful to the point that I had to stop playing after each hour because I literally felt the exhaustion of Lara trying to keep it together and barely surviving.
Another example would be being Jason Brody and crawling through the jungles of Far Cry 3. Initially you struggle to kill the pirates who kidnapped your friends but after a few hours of playing, you’re able to do vicious takedowns and stealthily pick out pirates one after the other with a suppressed sniper rifle. The feeling of empowerment was definitely the hook and it was addicting.
So now that you guys understand my whole “philosophy” and “psychology” to gaming, let’s translate this to a horror setting. And pardon the dated example, but one of my first encounters of a horror game was the very first Resident Evil, the game that propelled the whole survival horror genre which I came to dread. You’re stuck in this huge mansion, with very little to no ammo for your firearms, and the house is full of zombies and creepy monsters to boot! And of course I will bring up the most infamous scene of Resident Evil: where you walk into this narrow corridor, with huge windows to your right. Suddenly, zombie dogs come crashing in from the windows and broken glass showers you like confetti. That was my very first time that I had to pause the game to collect myself (and possibly change my pants). From then on, I swore off all forms of horror games and didn’t want to even think about the genre as a whole.
I don’t like being in situations where I am in despair, vulnerable, and helpless, which horror games like to play on. I find that being in these situations make it very stressful, which is contrary to the reasons I play videogames which is mainly to escape.
When I play videogames, I want to be in an environment where I am in control (or at least the semblance of) and live out different personas, depending on the game. Basically I just want to dive into a game and feel like a badass. Horror games give you the exact opposite experience, which is something that I don’t want to experience nor have the time for.
I really don’t get why Jed tolerates the horror genre. He even wrote a 5 part series on it! Talk about being a masochist! I would like to hear your thoughts as well if you’re a fan of the horror genre. Why do you enjoy being frightened? Is it the sensation you’re after or just your morbid curiosity of all things creepy? Please prove me wrong!