quinta-feira, 3 de abril de 2014

Horror games

I love horror games. Since the primordial experiences, like Haunted House (Atari, 1982), Friday the 13th (Atlus, 1989) and Splatterhouse 2 (Namco, 1992) to the sophisticated Outlast (Red Barrels, 2013), I’ve always had a special interest for this particular genre. Maybe because I’m a big horror movies fan or maybe because fear is a good kind of element to be used in interactive narratives.

Sounds weird, but unlike other game genres, e.g. role-playing, first person shooters, puzzle, action, sport games etc., horror games focus on stimulating the player in a negative way (NIELSEN; SCHØNAU-FOG, 2013, p.45). Nowadays it’s not unusual to find a horror game as frightening as a horror movie, and one key feature in them is the player-narrative interaction.



In the context of horror game design, it has been possible to identify three specific elements as Nielsen and Schønau-Fog (2013, ps.52-53) propose: 1) a deep narrative that allows the player to invest emotions into the character; 2) a deep sense of freedom to establish a connection and a deep grade of immersion on the player; 3) and – finally – the player should feel like a victim rather than a contender. Another point to highlight on horror games is the use of “illogical architecture to turn houses, gardens and streets into great mazes which would make no sense in the real world” (NIELSEN; SCHØNAU-FOG, 2013, p.45, 2013, p.45).

The love for this subject, the inspiration on the words of Nielsen and Schønau-Fog and many other authors led me to write a book about horror games. It’ll be launched in April and the title is “HORROR LUDENS: FEAR, ENTERTAINMENT AND CONSUMPTION IN VIDEOGAME NARRATIVES”. Check the book’s cover below with Marcelo Braga’s illustration.



The main idea of my new book is that fear is one of the most ancient feelings that surround the existence of man, and, historically, it was a fruitful base so that writers, filmmakers and many other narrators could grow inspiration for their pieces. And the game universe pertains this ground. In this book, we seek to discuss, through an empirical look, the horror games panorama in contemporary times, while promoting a reflection over the billionaire worldwide industry of games, the horror genre intake and its many mediatic ramifications.

The book is in Portuguese, but I intend to publish some parts in English here on the blog. Make sure to visit for more news. Go gamers!



Reference

NIELSEN, Danny Langhoff; SCHØNAU-FOG, Henrik. In the mood for horror: a game design approach on investigating absorbing player experiences in horror games. IN: HUBER, Simon; MITGUTSCH, Konstantin; ROSENSTINGL, Herbert; WAGNER, Michael G; WIMMER, Jeffrey (Eds.). Context Matters! Proceedings of the Vienna Games Conference 2013: Exploring and Reframing Games and Play in Context. New Academic Press: Viena, 2013.HH

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