Tag Archive: horror

New Ideas: Game Design

Hey guys, I’m back. Things have been… kind of hard on me personally over the past few weeks. Lots of things just not going the way I’d like, to put it mildly. But this isn’t a blog for me to whinge about my life, and I’m trying to deal with it anyways. For now, I wanted to share a new idea here: video game designs. Now, and this is important, these posts are public and for discussion and dissemination of ideas. If anyone who is making or thinking of making shows up and reads this, by all means; take the idea and run with it. Go crazy, just come back to tell me about the finished product. I’d like to see what the end result of such ideas are. Remember, free to use and spread, just don’t forget to add a little to the discussion while you’re here.

Now, this first one is on a topic that is near and dear to my heart: horror games. The idea actually came to me as I was walking home from the store at 2 am, and I can safely say my heart was hammering with anxiety over the whole thought process, being alone in the night like that.  The basic idea is, learning about a horror game makes the game worse. Here’s the analogy I came up with while on my little stroll.

Imagine for a second you have a nice house, full of rooms to keep your things in, where you can roam in peace. Now, there are all kinds of nasty things out in the wild world, so you  have locks on all the doors and windows. Inside you are perfectly safe from the horrors that lurk in the darkness out there. Hell, they might not even be near your house in particular. Better safe than sorry.
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Startling vs. Unsettling

Ah, time for another delve into the world of madness and terror. You had to know this one was coming after playing any amount of Vampire: The Masquerade again. But, we won’t be talking about that game this time. Oh no, we’re going back into Dead Space and it’s sequel, to see just how horror can be handled and the effects it creates. Needless to say, there will be spoilers in here, so read ahead at your own peril. Of course, there could always be something worse just lurking in the darkness…

Dead Space: This is the most blatant offender of the startle that it serves as the perfect place to start. If you’ve never seen or heard about it before, the basic jist is Necromorphs = Space Zombies x Xenomorphs (of Aliens fame), and like to pop out of vents at you. And play dead occasionally. But that’s basically it. After the first few times, it becomes routine, predictable. See a vent, line up a shot, nail the stupid space zombie for doing the same thing every other space zombie did. The actual fear wears completely out, and is just replaced by a startled sensation. I was startled when the family cat jumped in my lap once, that isn’t the same thing as being terrified and looking over my shoulder at every turn. Likewise, ‘cat-scares’ as their sometimes called have extreme diminishing returns when overused. Emotions quickly swing from being genuinely afraid, to just startled, to neutral, then things start getting bad for you. Even more use swings into annoyance as monsters repeat the same action and the player is forced to keep ‘falling’ for the same trap without being able to attack first or really prepare when they know it’s coming. More and more the emotion pendulum swings into anger and annoyance as the same thing keeps happening. This is why jump out scares should be used rarely to maximize their effectiveness.
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Dancing in the Masquerade

Alright, time to deliver on that promise. It’s Vampire: The Masquerade time! This is the rpg I’ve been playing lately, and I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. Several progression paths and a non-standard level up system means I’ll probably be playing it for a while to come as well. But you’re not here to just see me gush about a game, right? We’ve been there with Monster Hunter and oh god the pain that article instilled. So, today we’re just going to cover my favorite aspects of the world. The lore, the theme, and the character evolution will be what we discuss today, starting with the lore of Vampire.

The Story: First and foremost, you need to know absolutely nothing about Vampire: The Masquerade or World of Darkness (the overall setting) coming into this game. Everything will be explained to you in simple, easy to understand ways. There are seven vampire clans to pick from, each with a special history and perks, and a strength and weakness. For example, the Ventrue clan has powerful dominate abilities, but must feed from a higher class of ‘stock’, so no bums or rats for you. Nosferatu are hideously deformed by the curse and have to live in the sewers to avoid breaking the masquerade, but have unparalleled stealth to help them survive. I could go on for a long, long time covering each of the clans, but the thing is, there is something here for everybody. Each clan has distinct aspects that make them appear to be of the same overarching family, but distinct enough to be divisible into unique clans. Everything that needs to be described about your clan is told in the tutorial and allows you to practice you’re unique skills, while the interactions you have with the world around you and dialog options will tell you the story of your clan. It’s a beautiful and simple way to get the basics of the Masquerade across without you having to know of the series before hand.
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