Terrifying case of Amnesia

What should I be playing?

Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby Kodi on Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:23 am

Yeah, I played it. It was better than most, and it scored lots of scary points.

As I side note, I kinda think using japanese horror is... cheap. Bear with me, its not that it isn't scary, its just that its ecspecially scary to americans because of our unfamiliarity with japanese culture and ideas. If horror is heavily based on fear of the unknown, then japanese horror just has a field advantage in america so to speak.

Also, I have mixed feelings about games that render the player helpless. Yes, its a great way of putting stress on the player and forcing them to act in ways they don't usually think to do, which can cause panic and anxiety. When combined with heavy doses of creepiness, you can really get a good scare on. The problem I have with it, is that by itself, it doesn't cause fear. Being unable to defend yourself effectively with some kind of weapon or ability is gimmicky and frustration inducing if there is not enough atmosphere. Atmosphere can mean the difference between running for your life dodging unknown terrors and Pac-Man. And no, Boo scares don't count for creating atmosphere.

Just about -anything- is creepy with the correct atmosphere. In those situations, the players do a pretty good job of stressing, panicking, being anxious, and "boo" scaring themselves. Like walking slowly through a corridor with my hands shaking, and then jumping out of my seat and blowing a whole clip into pyramid head. When all he's doing is standing behind some rusty bars seperating us and Just. Staring. At. Me.

I have a theory that the best horror you can get in video games lies in the tenuous balance of indecision between fight and flight. So removing the fight part of the equation necessarily means that you respond to every situation with flight, thus sacrificing this really terrifying indecision.

Back on topic, Amnesia has gotten some pretty good reviews, so I'll probably pick it up and give it a shot. I'll write another doctoral thesis on it when I do. ;p
-Kodi
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Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby MadCat on Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:57 am

Hmm! I think Kodi has some good points. I like reading well-thought out, insightful and/or thought provoking posts like these, so please, don't feel embarrassed to have written one! (This goes for everyone, not just scary Demon Overlords.)
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Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby trebuchet on Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:59 am

I forgot to mention that we turned off all the lights in his house and cranked up the sound to boot. Also, both of us were totally willing to "drink the Kool-aid" as it were. I think Dee would have been perfectly fine had I not been pointing at his TV every five minutes yelling, "Oh my God! WTF was THAT?!?!?" Sometimes there was something there, most of the time there wasn't. We kept feeding off of each other's anxiety in this way until two grown men were huddled together in the middle of the living room, screaming. If we had stopped to think about the silly premise and, yes, gimmicky interface of the game we probably would have been wiping tears of laughter instead.

I think what the Japanese do best, in all their art forms, is in creating atmosphere. A creepy slow burn is much more terrifying to me than jumpy, over-the-top kind of stuff. I think Fatal Frame had a little bit of the latter and two shit tons of the former. The scene in the doll-making workshop still haunts me today. Actually, I don't really remember much of the "monsters" that we encountered. The dark, dilapidated hallways and shadowy ruined hovels stick out most in my mind.
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Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby Usaden on Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:54 am

I never got the vibe of Japanese horror from Amnesia, since I do agree the novelty of the genre is starting to wear off from being done again and again. The game itself seemed to me to have as much atmosphere as Bioshock from the combination of sounds and visuals, along with little unsettling events that occur seemingly at random.

Without giving too much away, in order to survive you have to find a balance between light and darkness. The more time you spend in the dark, the more it eats away at your sanity which will make it easier for monsters to find your hiding spots (easier to find prey that is piddling itself and whimpering in the corner), so you want to keep to the light of candles, torches, and your trusty lantern. But you only have so many Tinderboxes (for lighting aforementioned lights) and a limited oil supply for your lantern (your only portable light), and there is a transition where your eyes adjust from light to darkness. Light is your friend for keeping your head intact, but if a monster comes lumbering through, it also makes it easier to find you, so there will be times you cannot avoid the dark. I'm halfway through the game and still have not gotten more than a glimpse at a monster because when I enter an area and get the barest hint of a monster, either a growl or a half-eaten limb, my first instinct is to hide in the nearest closet until it goes away.

One of my favorite little tidbits about the game is that it's made by a small, independent studio and still manages to outscare some of the biggest blockbuster titles. But that's just me.
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Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby trebuchet on Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:49 pm

Go independents!
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Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby MadCat on Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:53 pm

I think I agree with treb in that I like the slower, creepier things rather than the "leap out into your face screaming" sort of horror. What you can't see but know is there... or what you can see, slowly advancing toward you, but you can't look away from or escape...
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Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby Usaden on Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:59 am

The 'leaping' scare is kind of a cheap tactic, and it really starts to lose its effectiveness when it starts to be overdone. Like in Bioshock, the first time I saw a Spider Splicer I yelped because I thought it was gonna eat my face. But once I got used to them, they died just as easily as the guys beside them. I will say that Dead Space kept a creepiness factor through most of the game, but it used mixed up the cheaper 'boo'-type scares with an atmosphere that kept you on your toes for most of the game. There were very few spots you actually -felt- safe, and even in those you had a lingering feeling or could hear the skittering of something creeping through the vent behind you...

And with this game, I've gone halfway through the game and only seen a handful of monsters, been chased even less, but I can always feel them watching.... waiting.... o.o
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Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby trebuchet on Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:19 pm

MadCat wrote:I think I agree with treb in that I like the slower, creepier things rather than the "leap out into your face screaming" sort of horror. What you can't see but know is there... or what you can see, slowly advancing toward you, but you can't look away from or escape...


Okay, you're going to have to stop that now 'cause you're starting to FREAK ME OUT! :shock:
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Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby MadCat on Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:32 pm

Hehe. Well, that was sort of my intent... it reminds me of the cool Lovecraftian-style dream you recounted, but I'm nowhere near the writer you are. I'm working on it, though!
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Re: Terrifying case of Amnesia

Postby trebuchet on Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:12 pm

Did I mention that your written (or, in this case, typed - but you get the idea) words were FREAKING ME OUT?!?! ;)
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