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08/11/2003

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jane

i confess that i am a HUGE wuss when it comes to scary games. i almost hyperventilated during "Alien vs. Predator". even Biohazard/Resident Evil was scray, as was Eternal Darkness. i couldn't finish either game. playing DOOM alone at night was enough to make me jumpy for weeks.

hell, i would even get scared at night in Hyrule when the skeleton heads came out.

Quietmob

Silent Hill has always creeped me out (in a good old fashioned scary way) but my biggest scare comes from Fatal Frame for the Xbox. That had myself and my friend screaming like scared little schoolgirls at times. They have atmosphere down pat, and being armed only with a soul-capturing camera, yeah, that's freaky.

Quietmob

Sorry about the multiple post, I swear it wasn't me. I got some "cannot create temp file" error when I posted, but didn't try to repost. Must be MoveableType having a berserker moment.

jane

that's okay, the multiple post thing happens to me all the time. sometimes the server freaks out and is too slow i think. i'm working on getting tha better! sorry about that

anton

I think any way one can convey an idea is important. If a video game impacts you an makes you reevaluate the world around you, then who cares if some reviewer says it's terrible? Subjectivity is all-important. Magus' plight in Chrono Trigger depresses me horribly; it has since before I bought the game. Personally, I find it a tremendous example of art in a medium typically seen as trivial, but perhaps it's just me.

In short, let yourself be scared. Not only does it add to the experience, but denying it simply because it's "only a game" is silly. Truth is stranger than fiction, remember?

anton

I think any way one can convey an idea is important. If a video game impacts you an makes you reevaluate the world around you, then who cares if some reviewer says it's terrible? Subjectivity is all-important. Magus' plight in Chrono Trigger depresses me horribly; it has since before I bought the game. Personally, I find it a tremendous example of art in a medium typically seen as trivial, but perhaps it's just me.

In short, let yourself be scared. Not only does it add to the experience, but denying it simply because it's "only a game" is silly. Truth is stranger than fiction, remember?

pierre

Two weeks ago, I was reading Mad Movies, a French fantasy film magazine and the only thing they were writing about that seemed really of interest was Silent Hill 3. So I bought the game and a PS2 (till now I've merely been a casual PC gamer). So I'm no hardcore gamer and even if I've to concentrate on the controls a lot, the least I can say is that I'm frightened (if anybody was around i would be ashamed), no movie or book did the same impression on me for a long time. (find myself paying a lot of attention to the controls, more than what is needed, just so I can calm down a bit)

amar

silent hill's graphics and sounds might be creepy, but (at least for #2) the pathetic dialogue and lame voice acting kept it from truly touching me. imo this is the problem with most japanese games-- the dialogue is stilted and awkward under the best of circumstances. how can i get fully immersed in a story when the characters sound so cheesy?

miles jacob

the thing i love about the silent hill games so much is that they have made terror into very specific set of gameplay, visual, and audio conventions.

for example: the light mounted on your chest just barely holding back the oppressive darkness (and casting shadows that seem to crawl along the walls like they are alive)... the graininess of the visuals making both threats and mundane objects indistinct from afar (on the psx because of the hardware limitations, on the ps2 becuase of a filter)... the way the camera swings around you wildly when you are trying to spot an enemy you can only hear... the enemies themselves which are only half recognizable in their shapes, animations, and sounds (for example: they have arms and legs, but of the wrong proportions and that bend backwards or move too fast or too slow or jerk around oddly. or they make growls and moans that sound disctincly like real animals, but backwards or at the wrong pitch or repeating too many times)... even the ever-present footstep sounds are inherently part of the terror (the change from walking on concrete to metal grating is terrifying just by itself, as it opens up the infinitely deep blackness below your feet.)... and more generally, the way you always get to know a mundane location in the real world first before you are tossed into the "perverted" alternate universe which has a specific set of modifications (metal grating on floors, giant empty pits more common, blood streaks everywhere, metal corroded).

the level design is also very much distinct from any other kind of game (even other fright-inducing games like resident evil or eternal darkness.. or marathon 1, marathon infinity, and marathon evil). the locations are purposefully very ordinary to the point of being bland. in most kinds of games i would decry such repetitive level design, but in silent hill the labyrinthine sameness is part of the terror (not remembering what's behind a door when you are running from the enemy, and having to try 10 identical locked doors before finding a way out)... and the mundaneness of the environment reinforces the horror in the same way it does in 'ringu' (nondescript hotel rooms with tvs, offices, homes, schools... but there is evil sorcery right below the surface). the link established between generic places and objects and a perverse alternate universe is very powerful.

of course it also still uses the conventions of a resident evil survival horror type game as far as the purposefully akward control and weapons (to be frightened you cannot feel like you are in control of a situation... unfortunately i think some of the weapons in silent hill like the katana and chainsaw make you feel a little too "in charge" of the combat, and take away from the scariness.. the handgun is really the most effective at maintaining your terror levels especially if you are never sure how many shots it will take :).... also like resident evil silent hill makes use of perfectly timed surprising occurances to freak you out (the phone ringing right as you notice it so it feels like it rang BECAUSE you noticed it... bathroom door opening right as you start to walk away, etc)... but i think it goes resident evil one better by making such surprise occurances entirely psychological and not the beginning of combat. i think knowing the enemies are getting closer with the increasing radio static and sound effects is more effective in the long run than surprise attacks... because once you have experienced a scripted attack once it loses its power to scare... while the constant knowledge that an enemy is out there and could leap out at you at any moment from just beyond the edge of your vision is always effective :)

anyway, those are just my thoughts as to what makes silent hill great at frightening the player. the first game really does all of this best because it melds the gameplay conventions to an appropriate plot (searching the town for someone close to you and getting more and more scared about what could have happened to that person). the third's plot is just too predictable to help the scariness much... and the second's plot, while the most complex and interesting, is just poorly paced or not scary enough in many places (the primary failing of the second one however is that the enemies are almst always visible from far away and easily dispatched... it does have a few moments of brilliance that the 1st and 3rd are lacking though, like the descent downward into the ruins of the prison... and the foreshadowing of the hotel room)

oh, and lastly... the oddness or wrongness of the human motions, emotions, and voices to me are part of the scariness... only the main characters which you play through feel somewhat natural in any of the games... all the people you meet are supposed to disturb you in their unnaturalness. these gamemakers are the masters of using technological constraints to the advantage of gameplay (graininess, fog, unnatural animation, maze-like environments, closed off paths, etc)

ClockworkGrue

I think it was Alfred Hitchcock the easiest thing to do in film is to scare someone, and that if you can't scare somebody with film, you should really just go home.

walk slow

Case

The controls are bad, but I've never seen a survival horror game with good controls. The UI was vastly improved with separate sections for weapons, items and misc.

***spoilers below***
There were two moments I loved about SH3 (I had played throught SH2 but could not finish the first one it was too damn scary).

There is one room in the alternate hospital with a wall sized mirror and a basin. The door locks when you enter it. Looking at the mirror you see blood everywhere in the reflection but it is slowly dissapating, until you realize it has gone from the reflection and is now pouring out of the basin into the 'real' side of the room. As the blood covers everything around you, you watch your own reflection become scarred and bloody as it follows your movements. After a few moments of frantically trying to get out of the room, you see your reflection freeze and everywhere around you is black with blood. We dubbed this room "the place never to speak of again". (oops)

*** big spoiler ***
The other moment was during the final cutscene when Heather is brought to her knees by the God she is bearing. She recovers and stands up looking defiant. At that momment I remarked jokingly to my friend "Geez I thought she was going to puke up the God fetus, how could Silent Hill miss a chance like that?" Then 2 minutes later... let's just say SH3 never dissapointed in being utterly disgusting.

The fog in the haunted house was ridiculous because there's no indication it would kill you, and dying to it forced us to sit through the tour again which loses all creepiness the second time through. Also we never found a map for the amusement park, don't think we missed it so we were running blind in the latter half of that stage.

The riddles (on hard) were of varying quality. The shakespeare one was ingenious, the bird/corpses was annoying (I had no idea what a Linnet was), the morbid poem was cool and although we knew what to do the exact positions on the keypad were too ambiguous.

The final boss was monotonous and generic, the game was really missing a PyramidHead from sh2

wednesday

Well, I'd have to say that Silent Hill 3 was just genius. I've been bogged down in survival horror titles recently: BioHazard, BH0, Eternal Darkness, but I think just like it says on the box (the Japanese release) SH3 is a Horror Adventure game...it kinda goes beyond survival horror and reaches into a little bit of the old school text adventure goodnes. Right next to Eternal Darkness, it one of the few horror games that actually got me all involved and scared.


One of the most stressful/scary moments in the game for me is where Heather gets out of the Shopping Mall and is trying to catch subway home. She finds the musty old newspaper on one of the ticket machines, and it ushers in more crazyness from "the other side". It was very subtle creepyness like that which really got my attention in this game.

Oh, and the PrincessHeart transformation sequence is hillarious, I still have to see the UFO ending however

Dezi

You're not the only one who is a total wuss when it comes to scary games. Whenever i play a scary game, i get goose bumps. I can't play a scary game at night or alone. I always tell my brother to play it for me, but i help him on all the riddles and stuff.
well later days

VGR

Oddly enough, I found Silent Hill 3 to be the least scariest of the trilogy.
Maybe I am becoming used to it?
However, videogames can still scare me.
Silent hill one is the worst of the three, as in, the scariest. Some parts are very difficult to play through simply because they are too scary.

Now, the game that absolutely scares me the most, to the point that I can not play it goes to Fatal Frame, by Tecmo.
Ironically, It is a survival horror game that is rated teen instead of the genre tradition of blood and gore. I still have not been able to beat it, as it is just impossible to play alone.
It mixes jump scares with atmosphere and perfect sound and uses of the camera.

My verdict? Ghosts are scarier than demons/monsters.

tony

well, I just finished the game. I have exorcised the demons.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the most horrifying game experience I've ever had. Maybe I shouldn't have played the whole thing past midnight in the dark, but it's made quite the foul smelling, blood stained, eye twitching mark on my psyche.

My friend made a comment about putting an advisory at the beginning of the game for pregnant women and the faint of heart. I agree; the only forewarning you get otherwise is the whole "violent and cruel" bit, which is foreboding but such an understatement.

Harry Potter 2 had a disclaimer because there were scenes that might be too scary for kids.

Anyway, the game has gone, and with it, a big steamy chunk of my sanity. I am ready for Soul Calibur 2 NOW.

VGR

Once again, I made it up to the hospital without a major scare..
DON'T, DON'T play the first one, Okay?

Or Fatal Frame, That is worse.

tony

Actually, I've played all of the Silent Hill games, and Fatal Frame, along with other genre mainstays Eternal Darkness, all the RE games, and the Clock Tower series. And for me, this game is the one. None of the other games came close to shaking me this badly. I don't consider myself a graphics whore, since I pretty much consider the SNES as the golden age of gaming.

I think this game just had a better atmosphere and a more complicated infrastructure. In the original SH, due to technological constraints or whatever, there was a small range of things that could trigger events: pressing the action button. In this game, if you are near a certain object in a room, or if you're in a room for a certain amount of seconds, something might happen. In this sense, you don't have to actively trigger anything, and this makes it seem more like anything can happen to you at any time.

***SPOILER***

That goddamn bathtub in the alternate hospital is the worst thing in the world. After leaving that room, I asked my friend if he would rather go through Silent Hill or just die. Without hesitating he said, "I'd die. I'd never lead a fulfilling life if I went through Silent Hill."

Tru dat!

VGR

I need to rent the bloody game again so I can see the mirror scene, But it has been spoiled for my by Game FAQ's...I'm sure I will still be freaked out.

Indy

Hey, don't worry about being called a wuss man. I'm still playing through SH3, because I'm A) Lazy, B) Scared as hell of it C) Have Suikoden 3 to play, and lastly D)... there is no D.

In terms of being freaked out, I've played the game both by myself and with my friend. I think the big thing that freaks me out about the game is the mood. The previous two games set the mood for something terrifing to happen, but it never really did anything. There was a point when I was playing recently in the Hell-Hospital where I had to open a lock. I wasn't sure of the last digit in the combonation. I highlighted it and clicked the X button. The thing clicked open and I yelped in supprise. Yes, you read right, the damned sound of the lock opening made me flinch! I feel like less of a person now...

TCG

When I played through Silent Hill 2, not a soul around me would believe me when I said how freaky Pyramid Head was, until I showed them first-hand the stuff he did. :o

Indy

Yeah PH was one creepy mother, but that dance he does in front of the closet you hide in is hilarious

tonytula

that's not a dance... in that scene, PH's actually raping one of those mannequin monsters. a funny dance would've been nice, though.

Indy

No no, after he rapes the 'legs' monster, he drags it out of the kitchen and in front of the closet where James is hiding. PH and the legs then 'throw their hands in the air cause they just don't care' and wobble around. Play through it again, it's after the rape.

tony

hey, how about that! isn't that what everyone does after a brutal allegorical demon rape?

Amanda

Wuss, doesnt even come close to what I am. I played the first one and quit once I was killed. I played this one to overcome my fears. I had my nerves shot throughout what I've finished of the game, haven't yet but I will. I mean remember the bathroom part in the beginning where you knock and something knocks back, then when you walk away the door opens. I screamed my head off when that hapened.

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