Back in June, I wrote a piece detailing my absolute lack of ovaries when it comes to playing survival horror games. It was one of my more popular pieces, and a lively discussion was had in the comments section. As usual, Unreality readers truly brought it and gave me a myriad of scary game recommendations.
Look, I’m such an easy target when it comes to being scared. I’m a sound designer, and apart from understanding from a technical level how much sound can affect mood and emotion, I’m an extremely auditory person on a personal level. I say things out loud to help myself remember them. I quickly learn song lyrics and lines from movies. I can do a pretty great Christopher Waken impression not because I have the uncanny ability to make my chick’s voice sound like a dude’s, but because I can nail his idiosyncratic inflections.
Watch your back, Amy.
I’m also an actor and thus an immersive gamer, so I’m not afraid to open myself up emotionally to a game’s story and atmosphere. In fact that’s kind of my bag, babies. So even though I knew I’d end up terrified, I couldn’t resist checking out some of your suggestions, as well as spending a little more time on a game I had originally meant to profile in the original piece.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
I meant to give this game its due in my first piece, but I wrote up the first three profiles then thought to myself, is this an article for Unreality or a medieval tapestry?
This game is a brilliant example of survival horror. It’s got some of my favorite elements from the genre: a great score, a sanity meter, and my personal favorite, the inability to fight back. No weapons, no fists. You’ve simply got to run for your life. Added to everything is the physics based world interaction. For example, you have to grab hold of a door and pull or push it (with the mouse) to open or close it. When trying to escape monsters, this adds so. Much. Tension. Because you can (and will) do that thing from the Far Side cartoon where the kid is trying to push the door labeled “PULL” at the school for the gifted.
One of my favorite things to do with this game is search youtube for reaction videos. It makes me feel like I’m not the only wimp in the world. Here’s a good one. NSFW warning, as there’s more than a few f-bombs.
The music is not the game music, but it’s a pretty inspired choice nonetheless.
Amnesia is not available for consoles, but you can get it for PC, Mac, or Linux (kudos on the last one, game developers). It’s available through a lot of different outlets such as Steam and the Mac App Store, or you can go to the official website’s purchase page here. I believe a single purchase offers downloads across platforms. You know, so you can install this horror show on your laptop to take along on a business trip because you are a masochistic crazy person.