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Ajain

What makes scarey games...scarey?

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...what is it about scarey games that has the ability to scare you s**tless? I've heard that sound has something to do with it but silence in a dark hallway can be even more ominous that a slow funeral-esque march... I've heard darkness has something to do with it but it is just as ominous to have a corner ahead of you in the gorey techno-wired space station in daylight as it is with only a flashlight(you know you'll just keep the flashlight on the corner, anyway)... Graphics, I know, do need to be somewhat good because a charachter with a 3 x 3 pixel head and a 2 x 7 pixel chainsaw isn't scarey at all, but graphics make many-a games (although some games with bad graphics are better than ones with awesome graphics) so what is it? I don't get it! How are scarey games scarey!? -Ajain

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Scary games are games that make you think somethings going to happen but doesn't happen and when you feel safe something bad happens. They give hint to something is going to happen and always keep you not knowing whether something is going to happen (In resident evil remake you can see silhouttes of zombies in a hallway because they are outside, and at one point they bust through and attack you but this happens later). Also you can use sound to make a game scary like using moans or walking noises to make the player freak out and get paranoid.

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Quote:
Original post by SumDude
Scary games are games that make you think somethings going to happen but doesn't happen and when you feel safe something bad happens.


Moreover - scary game make you forget you are safe (in your comfortable armchair beside the monitor with cup of coffee/tea/whiskey/whatever). Doom 3 scared me alot that way - even when I knew there SHOULD be a monster behind the door, it scared me.

Wow, would STALKER beat DOOM3?

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Example of one of the creepiest things I saw in Doom3.

I was sitting around, catching my breath after a demon encounter (a.k.a. eating pizza and chatting with some people on my other computer). Now, I was used to hearing demonic voices and odd sounds.. which are creepy in themselves.. but there was this kid's voice.. and I saw bloody footprints making their way across the hallway and the voice said "follow me".

I think what this enounter did was scare me into thinking that something was going to happen had I followed the bloody footprints. It also seems like there's more going on to this whole thing than marines and demons. It really was a bizarre contrast..

Another thing I loved was when I went into a security room.. there was a corpse that got up from lying on the console. I have to admit that I saw it coming.. I had been shooting dead bodies in the head just to make sure.. but I didn't bother with this guy. Go figure.

Other things that do it for me are when there are things that move out of the corner of your eye. Now this doesn't do much if that's all that they do.. but if it's actually something crawling in the dark behind those pipes.. that's just sitting there waiting.. that's scary. It's the knowledge that something bad will happen.. but not knowing how or when.

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Ah yes, and one more creepy thing:

Once I was playing good old Daggerfall at late night (2 or 3 am). City Daggerfall was invaded by ghosts and specters. Every 1 or 2 minutes speakers emittted a whail. Every time it gave me a shudder :F
Can't forget that feeling...

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I think this can be summed up in one word : Immersion. There is no particular 'scary trick' that will make your game scary; you need to create immersive gameplay in a world that happens to be horrifying.

My personal favourite is Thief; there is nothing quite so scary as being Garrett and creeping around a temple filled with guards who are ten times your superior in combat. "Halt, infidel!" It makes me jump out of my seat.

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Or subliminal flash horrofic images on the screen, ala that game, whose name i forget ... where the guy can turn into a monster.

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To me, the scariest game wouldn't be one where you see lots of blood and guts and monsters with stomachs sticking out of their heads. That's just gross, not scary. Maybe not even gross, if your graphics aren't good enough.

The scariest game would be set in a world of hints and subtlety. The first time I meet a monster, I don't want him to be standing over a dead body, with talons dripping blood and fangs dripping slobber. I want to hear him breathing in my bedroom closet. If I'm traveling with a companion who has creepy abilities and will later turn on me, I want to see lights flicker or go out as she passes them. I want to see sillhouettes of things flying across the stars, carnival workers who for some reason always keep one hand hidden, a child's ball bouncing down the steps of a haunted house.

I want things that make me wonder, things that make me imagine. Because what I imagine will probably be scarier than what's actually there. Even monsters with stomachs sticking out of their heads can get old if you see them every 5 minutes.

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Which games have you played that were scary?

I had 4 games total scare me (with over 15 years of gaming experience).

Those were:

a. Alone in the dark
b. The seventh guest
c. Daggerfall (elder scrolls 2)
d. System shock 2

Alone in the dark scared because it was easy to die and monsters took me by surprise. Every single monster was a life threat. However, a large part of the scare was the lousy camera being stuck at ineffective places where sometimes you couldn't see the space 1 meter in front of your character. Not a very effective method.

The seventh guest scared me mainly because of the discordant piano playing on the background (coupled with the fact that I was rather young when playing that). However the concept of ghosts wasn't scary, but being alone and being in spooky place was. There weren't any sudden scares but the general atmosphere of the seventh guest is scary.

Daggerfall dungeons scared me because of the sound engine. You could hear monsters before you saw them. Suddenly they could be in front of you and even though you knew it was near, they could scare the hell out of me. Although this was limited to the scarier creatures, such as skeletons, vampires and liches (who cares about bats & rats?). The other important scare factor in this game: Sometimes you met creatures that were way more powerful than you could handle where the only option was running. If no monster can kill you in one blow, why would you be afraid?

System shock is a beauty when it comes to scare factor. It also featured a similar sound engine as daggerfall where you would sometimes hear creatures before you saw them (it was way more effective in system shock). The things these creatures said were also horrifying. Coupled with the fact that the weakest creature of the game could still kill you at the end of the game if he managed to hit 4 or 5 times. The whole game you were very much alone, ammo and weapons were finite (weapons could break and although repairing was possible, nobody likes to mend a shotgun while being shot at), creatures could kill with ease and the both the background as the sounds your enemies made made your toes curl and your heart pump faster. I sometimes just listen to the sounds and it still gives me goosebumps. I wanted to finish this game a second time with a different type of character but I was too afraid.

If you want to make a scary game, this game has it all.

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I remember playing Clive Barker's Undying. I saw a hallway that had four large windows (two on each side). I closed my eyes and cringed as I ran between them, expecting them to shatter.

I don't think a game that has things jumping out at you all the time would be scary. There has to be something to distract you - learning about someone else's tragedy or trying to understand more about something seem to be common themes in scary movies. And being given time to wonder about the nature of what you're facing without being offered any answers can increase the fright.

When you aren't given the opportunity to decide whether you should be scared all the time or trying to bravely understand something also keeps you more open to be frightened.

There is also an artistry in sounds that can keep you in a state of unsettledness if done right. If sounds lead to rest or conclusion, it relaxes you and removes the fright, as if there is something larger telling you that you shouldn't be frightened.

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