Sunday, December 11, 2011


It's been around for a while, but I haven't talked about it so I will now. I'm gonna recommend Amnesia: The Dark Descent. And if you're not going to play it, or am too much of a wuss like me to play it, I'm going to recommend watching Day9 play it. It's not only very amusing, it's like a crash course in fantastic game design, and fear.

I found it very interesting, on top of getting to "play the game" through him, to see my own reactions together with his and see where they overlapped and stuff. It's obviously very different playing the game and watching someone else do it, but watching it is as much as my nerves can take (I am a huge scardycat in games) and I knew from the earlier games from the company that they are absolutely awesome at what they do - which is to slowly, gently, carefully wrap you in dread and leave you standing in front of a door going "no, fuck this, no, no no I'm not gonna open it, no".

It also struck me that you have to accept the conditions of fear to actually feel fear. It becomes very obvious in a game or movie, because you can go "this is just a game, those are just pixels, I'm not going to care" and kill the whole game, pretty much. It's harder in a game because you're going through the motions, which fools your brain into thinking that it's actually happening more than just watching a movie. And it can still freak you out once or twice, but only because nobody's completely immune to surprise. However, most of the game builds of dread, and dread only works if you play along with the conditions. I am scared as fuck in games because I can be scared as fuck in games, it's okay. In real life a little fear is a good way to protect yourself, but being scared out of your mind is mostly detrimental to the effort, so I try to cast off the conditions as best I can. Neither of those two are chosen; it's just how my brain has decided it should be, so I can't play scary games and I dismiss most real life fear within seconds - the more abstract the harder to dismiss. I'm trying to figure out exactly what the conditions are; it's clearly something about wanting a certain outcome, like survival, and being only partially or only under the illusion of control of the situation, yet not leaving it completely to chance, and that there must be a chance of success however small.

Anyway enough rambling. If you're going to ignore both recommendations, go look up a "best moments of day9 playing Amnesia" on youtube or something because it's really too good to miss.

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