Chris' Survival Horror Quest Long Walk Short Pier
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Posted by: OOPS I pooped my pants on 2015-06-27 18:15:06
There are a few good entries here but plenty others I am confused by. Like, no keycards for doors, really? Really? Might as well put "no locked doors" or "no doors, period" either for that matter. It's simply a fact of life that there exist doors that can only be accessed by keycards. I think anyone who's been to a hotel room in recent years can attest to that. It's not a cliche to have a door that needs a keycard. It's realistic. Now if you worded it as "keycard hunting" that's one thing, and I would agree to that as backtracking all over a large environment just to find keycards for various doors isn't fun but keycards in general are fine.

The plant fertilizer one... how many games besides the first RE do this? I've honestly never seen any other horror games use this, maybe I don't play enough horror games. If it is indeed a cliche, then I suppose I would agree, seeing how there would be reasonably more than one way to take down a glorified piranha plant (setting it on fire, or just shooting it in the "head" for that matter).

As a matter of fact I see a lot of "cliches" here that seem overly specific to individual games (are there that many games besides F.E.A.R. that are "military units with awkward acronyms for names"?).

And there are some I just flat disagree with. Like not having a monster charge the player. It's used a lot but I find it an easy yet effective way to induce panic assuming it's done well (RPG Maker horror games that do it I am getting a bit sick of though seeing how difficult it is to navigate in most RPG Maker games in a panic, having only the four cardinal directions for most games to work with to move). Being "stalked" by a monster instead is good but that's a different kind of scary. Which brings me to my next point...

Your game can be scary in different ways. You can induce sheer panic and terror, present high levels of tension, show something that disturbs on a psychological level, something uncanny or eerie, and sometimes just plain creep you out. There are many approaches to horror that have been used in every medium and all can be good in their own way, it's just a matter of recognizing what the game is trying to do and judging it on its own terms. Like it would not be fair to judge At the Mountains of Madness on the same terms as The Turn of the Screw, and vice versa.

And accuse this saying of being a cliche itself but also keep in mind every new idea becomes a cliche itself eventually. You can only reinvent the wheel so many times before you end up with wheels that cause your car to skid off the road or blow up after driving them. That's why I guess we have a site like TV Tropes, it goes to show everything follows some formula or another, but uses "trope" instead of "cliche" to insist that these are not intrinsically bad things, just common aspects to every work of fiction, and the number of tropes out there are too many to take proper count it seems.
well i liked it...
Posted by: Lee on 2015-05-29 10:32:03
i really liked this article - i thought it was amusing and relatively insightful in that calling out the cliches and explaining why they are cliched is of value. also, much of it can be applied to other mediums, such as cinema and writing.

like many things in life - your attitude to the article will contribute to what you get out of it. for me, it is a funny characture of many of the things that can go wrong with horror games but also illustrative of many of the simple cliches to avoid and encouraging you to think bigger than just the tropes.
A game about Michael Myers:
Posted by: Michael Metzger on 2015-05-13 21:41:55
One thing that would be a good idea is to create a first person survival horror game where you are an investigator sent to a Mental Asylum to expose the secrets hiding within the facility, and that's when one surviving patient named Michael Myers begins to pursue you through the Asylum. You can hide in lockers, under bed s,and have a flashlight for dark areas. But NO weapons. It's kind of like Outlast, just a game where the villain is Michael Myers from the Halloween Franchise. The game should be called "Michael." I hope that SOMEONE uses this idea. If you like it, please spread the word.
A film I would like to see again
Posted by: Peter Ivens on 2015-05-03 12:45:55
I am trying to trace a most beautiful Japanese ghost story film I saw years ago, possibly made for television and therefore no longer available.
It is about a group of salary men, young trainee executives on training in Paris. They are laughing and drinking in a bar, behaving rather badly.
As they come out of the bar a pretty girl walks by. One of the them, let's call him, Toshi, goes to follow her. He doesn't really but he pretends to.
His mates call him back and rib him about it.
A few later he sees the girl again on the street, then again and again, each time a little bit nearer. She stares at him with a fixed stare.
Then he feels a pain in his stomach. The doctor tells him he has cancer and that he has only weeks to live.
He then realises who the girl is, she's the Angel of Death.
After the initial shock, he gradually accepts the fact that he is going to die and finally the girl walks up to him. She has a sweet and lovely face and he has no fear as she gently embraces him (in death).
That's when the film fades...
It cannot be call J-horror. It is beautiful.
Anybody know it...?
Thank you from a first time game developer!
Posted by: Connor Hagan on 2015-04-30 11:17:44
Reading this article has forced me to think outside the box and rethink a lot of my design. Instead of doing the same tired gameplay elements I'm going to try something risky and new for a horror game. I'm half considering printing this out and keeping it as a checklist to see how many of these cliches I can avoid.
Interesting Reading for "Horror/SciFi" Fans.
Posted by: REDVWIN on 2015-03-05 23:06:54
Well... it has been a while since last time Chris or anybody writes or share something here. If you enjoy the Aliens, Predator or even the Prometheus universe, this is worth a read:

How to Make a Cohesive (and Compelling) Alien Cinematic Universeā€

I think Chris will find this author's article quite interesting.

Good-day everybody! >;D
A big thank you coming from an jr. game developer
Posted by: Max on 2015-02-20 05:33:28
Just wanted to thank you for writing this article. It really helped me to improve the game I'm currently working on. It's an adventure point and click horror game inspired from my father's life...yeah...he had quite a unique experience when he was a child in an communist country.
Posted by: David on 2015-02-01 04:40:05
Hmm, this is an interesting opinion. I can empathize with your running over sneaking, as I have found many of these horror games as of late, in their complete removal of combat or their toning down of combat, are basically narrowed down to:

1. Sneaking so as not to be caught.
2. Running from everything.
3. Scripted events in which failure does not exist.

I feel that in removing power from the player, developers walk a fine line between creating a truly stressful experience or a game where you are more frustrated than scared. Outlast unfortunately looks like one of these games to me. What splendor there is to look at in its sheer visual design appears to be met in equal with an endless stream of things jumping at you and you attempting to outrun them.

I am kind of left wishing for that happy medium between a classic title like Resident Evil, with its emphasis on inventory management and making the difficult decision of when to stay and fight, and a game like Amnesia, where you are forced to be uncomfortably close to a monster and with little to do about it.
Predictability and non-combat
Posted by: Keith on 2015-01-25 05:10:43
I suppose your right Chris, but as I read your reply, another point occurred to me - It's not the lack of combat, it's the break in immersion, which leads to a break in the fear. In siren, you CAN fight. And whilst it's largely ineffective, it remains as an option. In games like amnesia though, the option is just unavailable. It's not so much the lack of combat as a lack of depth, like you said, but it's also like those invisible walls in Skyrim, Oblivion and Morrowind, "You can go no further: Turn back". It's a entirely artificial, and obviously constructed barrier, that breaks immersion immediatley.
Posted by: Riah on 2015-01-22 05:53:46
*outlasted I mean