Whilst mainstream horror movies have struggled to eclipse classics like Halloween, The Shining and The Exorcist, the video gaming realm has had no problem in giving us ever more shocking delights. Although old-school home computer games like Soft and Cuddly for the ZX Spectrum had to make do with clunky pixellated graphics and excruciating audio, as soon as the likes of Doom and Resident Evil came along, it was clear that video games could actually be scary.
Doom was released in 1993 and it pioneered the use of first-person perspective as the protagonist had to blast through the hellish underworld. And with extreme violence and Satanic imagery, the sheer amount of controversy that Doom generated helped it become a global hit. Resident Evil also provided gamers with plenty of nightmares upon its release in 1996. This provided the groundwork for all of the survival horror games that followed in its wake, and with over 8.5 million gamers suffering from the psychological damage caused by its incredibly sinister audio, Resident Evil is still one of the most atmospheric games releases ever.
As video gaming has become the world’s leading entertainment industry, it’s also witnessed an explosion in the sheer range of horror gaming genres. From the likes of Until Dawn that pay a faithful homage to all of those cheesy teen horror movies, to the likes of InterCasino even including a few horror-themed slots games amongst their casino games, it seems as though there’s a horror game for every taste. But one of the recent defining trends of horror gaming has been that of the ‘jump scare’ that has been a key part of games like Five Nights at Freddy’s, Slender: The Arrival, and even this year’s Outlast 2 horror game.
These jump scares provide a physical jolt to the gamer that cannot be paralleled in any other video gaming realm. And with the likes of Alien: Isolation perfecting the way that stealth is now a central part of any horror game rather than just blindly blasting the opponents into oblivion, it shows how our horror games have become a little smarter too.
But it’s the arrival of augmented and virtual reality horror games that threatens to give us the most terrifying gaming experiences yet. Augmented reality horrors like Night Terrors act like Pokémon Go but fill your home with all manner of monster rather than cute characters. And the recently released Resident Evil VR showed just how powerful this technology could be for giving us a seriously nightmarish experience.
So although the likes of InterCasino have shown that horror gaming doesn’t necessarily have to be terrifying, it seems that this is at odds with the dominant horror gaming trends!