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Dead Rising began as a title which was meant to hype up the Xbox 360 launch. Although it ended up being a bit cumbersome, it was also exciting to see so many zombies on screen at one time. Dead Rising 2 attempted to up the ante, but still showcased various issues. Although Dead Rising 2 came to both PS3 and 360, it looks like Dead Rising 3 is an Xbox One exclusive (at least for now). A great deal of gameplay was shown which featured a handful of various weaponry, as well as the main character using a flare gun and flashlight. Most interestingly, it was shown that the player can call in artillery support to cut down hordes of zombies. Oh, there is a brand new lead character in the game too. The black-haired guy seems keen on whining about the zombie outbreak, which is at least slightly more interesting than accepting everything going on around him. Dead Rising 3 is available exclusively for Xbox One this holiday season. http://youtu.be/Tn9QRIM4_Oo
Marcus Estrada posted a article in Analysis & OpinionsHorror as a genre is something that has been around for a long, long time. Stories like Frankenstein, films like Psycho, and others have captured the minds of people years after their releases. Although many will shrug off horror as a fad, it always manages to come around and bring out new, enticing experiences. The same is true of horror games, although they have seen quite a shift as time goes on. Now we“ve got games like Resident Evil 6 which received critical reception and may or may not even quality as horror anymore. Upcoming titles like Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs instead look to try and recapture more primal scares. Where did horror games start? Will they ever come back to their roots? Most will suggest that Sweet Home, Alone in the Dark, or even Resident Evil started the horror game genre. However, the earliest attempts at horror were even older. They may not have sparked a fad, but they are important all the same, especially when you consider how similar they are thematically to what came later. One of the very first was Haunted House on Atari 2600 in 1982. The game had players controlling a pair of bright white eyes through a pitch black mansion. As you search for an urn which needs to be pieced together, enemies attempt to get you. Your goal isn“t to simply avoid them, though, as you“re required to collect other items in order to access new sections of the mansion. It“s an incredibly simplistic game but it set up a few basic ideas: haunted houses are scary and contain puzzles. Uninvited The Atari 2600 was home to other horror games, such as the extremely limited print run of Halloween, and a few others, but after that it was up to the computer crowd to come up with something. In 1986, a new game came to Macs named Uninvited. The point-and-click adventure took place in, you guessed it, a haunted house filled with creepy things. Again, it made sure to include puzzles for progression and a graphically impressive atmosphere for the time. The Lurking Horror was released a year later, but in stark contrast, featured no graphics. Despite being a text adventure, it managed to be quite effective at scaring the player and ultimately became a popular game. Heading into the late 1980s we will now see one of the games that everyone likes to classify as the â€œoriginalâ€ horror game... but we'll get to that in a minute. There is one more notable game that requires a mention. Project Firestart arrived in 1989, in fact, only a few months before Sweet Home. Regardless, it managed to be another title which now seems like a blueprint of the genre. Despite trying to be an action game, the atmosphere was made to be eerie. It offered up players only limited ammo as well which contributed to a feeling of weakness. In order to push the narrative, players would discover abandoned journals and learn from first hand accounts. What games do you know of nowadays that employ this same technique? While Project Firestart isn“t entirely playable today for most, it does deserve credit for being a fair contender for a blueprint of horror games. A few months later, Sweet Home arrived on the Famicom (the Japanese equivalent of the NES). It“s easy to see why people peg this as the de-facto horror template as it contains all the hallmarks, such as a haunted mansion, group of survivors, puzzles, and did in fact serve as inspiration for Resident Evil. Funnily, the game was itself based off a film of the same name, meaning it is licensed title. Regardless, it fused a horror atmosphere with RPG elements and managed to be a worthwhile adventure. Unfortunately, gamers outside of Japan have never had the opportunity to play a â€œlegitimateâ€ copy. Splatterhouse When thinking of these games, it“s easy to point out that horror has shifted away from ponderous searching into blood-soaked FPSes, but that“s not completely accurate. Even back in the 80s there were pairing horror themes with action gameplay. Massive series such as Castlevania had begun back then, as did Splatterhouse with its gory, gross, and over-the-top killings. Mostly though, attention was paid to depicting haunted houses. If you wonder why, simply look to the '80s film landscape, which was when the slasher film flourished. Slashers took place in shopping malls, markets, and more, but mostly they took place in scary buildings. Although there are even more games that peppered the '80s, the next big title is Alone in the Dark from 1992. With this title, we were pushed into a polygonal world of horror. Although the graphics appear more goofy today, they managed to bring the idea of static camera angles to the genre (which would later be used to great effect in Resident Evil and Silent Hill). The game featured two playable characters, monsters, and puzzles. Many attribute the creation of survival horror to this game, and while not entirely accurate, it“s easy to see why. Alone in the Dark definitely brought some new ideas to the table and helped developers and gamers both realize that survival horror experiences were possible in 3D. Between the end of the '80s and the '90s, many horror games made the rounds. However, there were a few notable ones before Resident Evil graced the PlayStations. Clock Tower: The First Fear arrived on Super Famicom in 1995 and brought more of the same - a haunted house. However, one huge innovation was the idea of one main antagonist. Instead of simply running from various monsters, there was one evil entity ready to stalk you throughout the entire game. No matter what you were doing, Scissorman might be right around the corner, ready to strike. Hiding or simply running was a necessity lest the protagonist fall into a panic and possibly get killed. Although non-Japan based games have no legal means of playing it, the rest of the Clock Tower series has arrived in other countries. Resident Evil Finally, in 1996 something amazing happened. A game with B-horror quality voice actors, polygonal graphics, and a weird story managed to become a massive hit. Resident Evil hit the PS1 with a bang and players couldn“t get enough. The game took place in a mansion, of course, and had two playable characters as well as zombies (and other creatures), static cameras, puzzles, and basically all the hallmarks of what was now known as the â€œsurvival horrorâ€ genre. Although very few of these features were new, they were put together in a very playable fashion. Its tank controls may not have aged well but the game is definitely deserving of praise for making horror games mainstream. From then on, horror truly exploded in the gaming landscape. Tons of games peppered the landscape, although only few became notable. One such game is Silent Hill, which also came to the PlayStation in 1999. Although it would be hard for modern gamers to really understand, at the time most viewed Silent Hill as a Resident Evil rip-off. Even covers of magazines depicted protagonist Harry Mason as a muscled, grizzly man ready to shoot the head off zombies. Of course, Silent Hill was nothing like this and instead focused on an entirely creepy town and the cult at the center of it. There was more psychological goings-on than just surviving, and that helped usher in other types of horror titles. Other games came out in this time period attempting to either cash in on tropes, or try something new. Overblood attempted to be more of a sci-fi zombie game, but didn“t catch on much. Parasite Eve took a page out of the Sweet Home book by fusing horror with RPGs, and perhaps to better effect. Blue Stinger tried and failed at being a beat ”em up like Splatterhouse. Echo Night tried to channel ghosts and give a more moody approach, but still relied on puzzles and eventual stalker character like Clock Tower was able to establish. If there was one thing in common, many developers at least attempted to keep some semblance of scariness in their games. Titles like Silent Hill 2 arrived in 2001 and only further pressed players to embrace psychological horror. With the age of the PS2, many titles arrived which played to the strengths of the original Clock Tower. Rule of Rose, Haunting Ground, Clock Tower 3, and more all paired players up against continuous stalkers. The idea that the scariest thing is to be unarmed, or poorly armed, fueled these titles and made them enthrallingly horrific experiences. Others like Fatal Frame also made use of this logic, although they did arm their protagonists with a â€œweaponâ€. Resident Evil 4 With the arrival of Resident Evil 4 (first on GameCube in 2005) we saw the genre attempting to shift. Along with zombies that weren“t quite zombies, the game became much more action-oriented. Although Resident Evil 4 managed to mix scares with action, it gave a glimpse to what the next generation of horror was set to offer. Plentiful (enough) ammo, a strong hero, and loads of zombies was something that fans wanted more of. Despite the shift in tone, it was still impossible for Leon S. Kennedy to shoot while walking. Games continued to filter into the genre but most weren“t very notable. Gamers seemed to not be very focused on the genre, even when the launch lineup for Xbox 360 featured the horror game Condemned. The genre wasn“t dead, but it seemed stagnant, until Left 4 Dead invigorated it in 2008. Despite attempts at horror action before, they most always seemed to air on the side of â€œhorrorâ€, unless they were Doom. Left 4 Dead though brought a very fast, exciting zombie shooter to the masses and it was a huge hit. Then we entered the age of zombies which is only now in recession. Zombies invaded horror games left and right as well as non-horror games, like Call of Duty. Zombies became the focus of completely un-horrific games like Plants vs. Zombies and basically lost all luster as a scary being. This evolution of zombies was one also felt by the movie industry, where film fans were angry that zombies were granted cognitive ability and now run. Fast, weapon-toting zombies entered into our games and many loved it, while some horror fans felt the genre had sold out. For a while we have lived with an overload of zombie games like Dead Rising, Dead Island, and beyond. Games like Dead Space, also out in 2008, kept many facets of the modern action-horror game but still desired to scare players. The fight between the splintering of horror was interesting, where some decried action-horror as a complete bastardization of the genre. Others believed that action-horror was the only way to go. Regardless of your opinions, it definitely seemed that the ones getting bought the most were from the action category. This is easy to see by simply looking at how Dead Space 3 appears to be jumping even further into action territory. Even the Silent Hill series tried its hand at more action-focused adventures with Silent Hill: Homecoming and Downpour. Alongside all these action heavy games, though, independent developers were rising to the occasion. Many longed for the games they grew up on, and because no big company was publishing them, made their own. From this world of indie development we“ve seen older types of horror return. Games like Lone Survivor, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and even Slender are putting the focus back on psychological or stalking scares. No matter what side you“re on, horror can maintain itself with many forms. Horror has lasted and evolved tremendously over the years. The question is now what will we see next? Perhaps we will see big companies follow indie examples and make horror games just the way they had years ago.
I like to play all sorts of video games, but I've never found myself sticking to just one genre. While on my travels, it is not uncommon for me to stumble upon a game with horror aspects. I'll play and enjoy these games just like any other, but with one small hitch - there are almost always a few kids running around as I play. Horror games become a whole different affair when a child is present. While a spooky atmosphere and a few jump-scares are just another part of the game for me, just seeing the title screen is enough of a horrifying adventure for a child. The horror genre isn't dead, and I have the proof. These are the testimonies of gaming's horror victims. Silent Hill: Downpour Yes, I own Silent Hill: Downpour. It has its problems, but overall it is a pretty alright game. When it comes to Silent Hill games, I have to sneak the disk into the system just to begin playing it. If I try to do it out in the open, I'll usually hear a chorus of shrieks and the pitter patter of children running out of the room. But sometimes I luck out and they come into the room after I've started the game up. They hate it, but they can't help but watch as the horror unfolds. There's the usual questions like, "Is this the scary game?" and the classic, "Can i turn on a few lights?" But when it comes down to just asking them about the game, here is what they had to say (in English instead of baby speak). I will never get over a Korn song getting into the game First of all, the monsters are quite a bit worse than they were in previous games. Even to a child this was apparent. When they watched me play games like Silent Hill 2 and 3, they knew I was dealing with monsters. With Downpour, the monsters were constantly referred to as "zombies." Not what you want to hear from a Silent Hill game. When it came to the scares however, the game didn't disappoint. One of the younger children simply curled up into a ball, wide eyed staring at the screen. I asked them what they though about the monster attack and they just kept asking me to turn the game off. When I told them I needed to get to a save point, they went to walk out of the room, stopped and then asked me to go with them. I could not get them to watch the entire cave sequence. Overall, the kids agreed it was pretty scary on a scale of not scary to really scary. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare I'll be honest right from the get-go. I did lie to the children about this one. Ever since I got the "horse game," the children around me have wanted to ride around the old west and get killed by wolves over and over again. How they manage to constantly find the wolves is beyond me, but they enjoy riding the horses and tipping their hat to passerby. So when I purchased Undead Nightmare it seemed only obvious that they would need to give it a try. I had gotten through the opening sequence with John Marston's family becoming zombies beforehand so they would have no idea what to expect going into the game. Despite this, one of the children asked me if it was a scary game. I'M TIPPING MY HAT TO THEM AND THEY JUST KEEP COMING! No idea how they figured that out before they even played it. But I assured them it was the same old game and that the sky was only green because Halloween was coming. They accepted this without a second thought and started riding towards town so they could tip their hat at random townsfolk. Up to the point of them riding into town, they still hadn't seen a single zombie. They could hear people screaming and they could see houses were burning, but it hadn't registered yet that something was seriously wrong. An odd looking fellow turned the corner and started to shamble towards John. And then a few more "people" came around the corner. Everyone in the room froze. Suddenly they pulled John off his horse. Within an instant of it registering in their heads, chaos erupted. The one playing the game whipped the controller at me and covered their face. Another one ran out of the room screaming "You lied! You lied! You said this wasn't a scary game!" (that time it was true) and another just covered up in a blanket saying "Turn it off." To this day I still can't get them to trust me that I'm just turning on the horse game for them to ride around in. On the scary scale, Undead Nightmare ranks at "You're a liar, this is scary." Dead Space 2 To my surprise, Dead Space 2 didn't rank that high on the scary scale for the kids who watched me play. It was described as "tense", but there weren't any big scares or blowouts. All the children just sat around biting their nails or clenching their fists waiting for the next monster to jump out and scare them. But other than that not much happened. Sorry Isaac, your problems apparently just don't cut it Of course, I kept them away from most of the violence (I played the game a bit before letting them see the areas to avoid any traumatizing scenes of gore) Some people might say this is the reason the children didn't freak out as badly compared to the previous two entries in the list, but my response to that is gore doesn't equal horror. It just equals gore. And I'm pretty sure even the kids wouldn't be afraid of that. On the spooky meter, Dead Space 2 ranks a paltry nail biter. Not bad but not really scary either. Dead Rising 2 I thought for sure they would have actually ended up liking Dead Rising 2 thanks to all the random stuff you can do and the more colorful graphical design choices, but after the surprise upset with Dead Space 2 I guess anything could happen. And let me tell you, they did not like Dead Rising 2 at all. But the timing of everything worked out perfectly. I had just gotten myself acquainted with the game's controls and the layout of the map. I had tucked myself into the corner of a clothing shop looking for a weapon. This is when the children decided to walk in. To the best of their knowledge, this was simply a cartoony dress-up game. Maybe things would have turned out different if he was on a Dune Buggy One of the older children asked if they could try it out because hey, who doesn't love some fun time free roam in a mall/casino? I simply told them "I don't think you'll like this game." Despite this, they insisted on trying it out, so I handed them the controller and waited for the magic to happen. Not even five seconds had passed when a zombie decided to burst through the store window and rush them. It let out a groan and the controller was on the ground as all the children began demanding that I turn the game off. To their horror, I informed them that I needed to get to a save point first. Five minutes later, I had made it to the save point. The entire time the kids were covering their eyes and insisting the noises they heard were just dogs and were in fact, not zombies at all. Dead Rising 2 gets a ranking of "Looks fun, but the zombies make it unplayable." If there is a moral to any of these stories, it would probably be that just because you find the horror genre lacking that doesn't mean its dead. There are still plenty of people out there who enjoy it, and others who are still terrified because of it. As always, thank you for reading.