The Best Spooky Game Moments

With Halloween coming up in a few days I figured it would be a good time to take a look at my experience with scary games. I actually didn’t start playing “horror” games until fairly recently, probably five or six years ago. So this list will probably be missing a lot of classics but that’s mostly because when I was still a youngin’ playing on my Super Nintendo or PlayStation I stayed away from anything scary, movies and TV included. So without further ado here are the scariest games and gaming moments of my life.

Being Chased By Nemesis in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Nemesis seems to just now be getting it’s credibility back as a proper Resident Evil game.. It’s pretty poorly regarded in comparison to the more scarier tense early entries and it’s not at all like the action heavy recent entries into the Resident Evil franchise. Nemesis is sort of the weird step child of the franchise, but we’re not talking about good game play or comparing the games to the other’s in the franchise, we’re talking straight up terror. I remember being absolutely terrified as a 12 year old whenever the Nemesis showed up on screen. In fact, part of that terror was the frustrating gameplay mechanics of Resident Evil. There’s nothing scarier than a 400-pound Zombie Killer lumbering towards you as your character decides to ever so slightly mosey towards the camera like a narcoleptic cowboy with a leg injury. Nemesis was also my first interaction with the “stalker-type” gameplay where a creature chases you throughout a game, a mechanic that’s become popular in new games like Slender, Alien and about a thousand indie games (looking at you The Groundskeeper).

Nemesis

I never realised how Cthulesque Nemesis looked…

Closing Your Eyes and Hoping the Alien Doesn’t See You

So this is one of those relatively new games I was talking about before. Alien Isolation essentially puts you in the classic Ridley Scott sci-fi thriller except with a few more twists. I’ve said this before to friends that have taken me to go watch horror movies but after playing horror games I can’t find movies as scary. Once you’ve had to tip-toe past the Alien and pray it doesn’t see you or you had to sprint at full-speed hoping one of those weird androids doesn’t catch up to you, watching someone else make those decisions just doesn’t carry the same weight. The most frustrating things about horror movies are the characters always seem to make stupid decisions that you never would, (Don’t go to the dimly lit basement). So it’s a lot scarier to attempt to make all the right decisions your self and have those back fire than it is to watch “Becky” go hunting for the killer alone in her pyjamas. Enough about that though, just look at the picture below, tell me those androids aren’t just…creepy.

Working Joe

The Thing in the Sewers in Horrorland

Goosebumps has a weird place in my childhood lore. I didn’t read any of the books and I think I only watched like 5 episodes of the 90’s YTV show but I was downright TERRIFIED of Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy. I legitimately had nightmares of him being below my bed. Now of course my brother loved the books and even got a computer game: Escape From Horrorland, and I remember playing it with him and even playing a few times by myself but I always seemed to get stuck in the same spot. I’ve never gone back to play it but I still remember the monster that lived in the Sewers, the animation was all weird and sporadic like it was a shambling, crawling mess of arms and teeth. Watch the video below, listen to the noises A) The Sewer Gate makes and B) The Noises the Monster makes…NIGHTMARE FUEL. 

 

Five Nights at Freddy’s…Any of Them

I’ve only played one of these games but I’ve seen enough of them to know they’re essentially the same game. I don’t understand how the concept of haunted Chuckie Cheese Animatrons has spawned a franchise as large as Five Nights but people love these games and I’d be lying if I said they aren’t scary. The concept is simple, you use security cameras and doors in combination to track where the haunted machines are in relation to you. If they get to you before you close the door you’re in for a scare. Five Nights doesn’t really put a lot into anything other than the jump scares but those are scary as all hell. There’s a vague lore but it’s pretty difficult to pay attention to any of it when your constantly checking your doors and cameras for possible animatron killers. I can’t play the game for more than six minutes because I’ll go into cardiac arrest but if you’ve never played it and you want a quick scare Five Nights is definitely the way to go. The controls are intuitive and the gameplay is centralised around just you in one room so you’re not worried about remembering 17 button combos or finding items or anything. This simplicity helps you lose yourself in the tediousness of checking the cameras right before a giant robot chicken forces your heart into your throat.

Five Nights.png

This is why Chucki-e-Cheese is Going Bankrupt

The First 12 Minutes of Outlast

I have only ever played the first 12 minutes of Outlast because the game is so damn scary, I wuss out every time. It’s a serious issue with how I play Horror games, I’m usually under the influence of several alcoholic beverages and I have 2-3 other people that are watching me play. That is to say, complicated horror games are unplayable for me. Outlast works to a point. Eventually in every play through I’m just too worried about surviving and too scared to go hunting for access keys and starting generators. I realise that’s sort of the whole point of the game, I’m just saying I am a giant wuss and I need horror games to be fairly simple otherwise I give up an watch something not scary so I can sleep that night. Outlast has everything else I could want, a beautiful game engine, creepy atmosphere and a setting that screams “Horror Movie”. This is one of those games I mentioned before where after playing it I couldn’t watch a horror movie and be scared anymore.

Outlast.jpg

This game makes most horror movies look like sitcoms

Who Slends the Slenderman?

This takes the scary cake as both the scariest and best horror game I’ve ever played. Slenderman is the boogeyman for millennials, his story born on creepy pasta forums and unlike other creepy-pasta stories, Slenderman managed to secure his place in a wider pop culture. This was due in part to the success of the Indie Horror Game Slender: The Eight Pages The game doesn’t blow you away with amazing graphics, it wasn’t until Slender The Arrival came out that Slender fans got to see the tall guy in all his properily rendered creepy glory. While The Arrival played like a legitimate game with a story, proper graphics etc. The Eight Pages gave you just the hits. There was no story, no characters, just a creepy atmosphere and a game mechanic that was built for jump scares. Normally I hate games that are built around one mechanic, but horror games are my one exception because of how they are meant to be played. I played Slender at a cottage, with the screen doors open and several friends after several drinks. What was incredible was how that game became a shared experience, we were all loud and obnoxious of course but everyone was still terrified, in fact that’s probably why we were so loud. While one friend played he jumped just by turning a corner and seeing a chair…yes a chair…That’s what this game does to you, it has some sort of an energy around it that just makes you feel like your watching a horror movie with your best friends and you’re still terrified. That seems to be what others love about the game too, take a look on Youtube, Slender playthroughs are more popular on there than Home Depot Do It Yourself Videos.

*Warning NSFW Language Below*

 

Honourable Mentions

Museum of WatchCraft: Fallout 4. Typical Fallout creepiness meets Witchcraft, No Thank You.

Tumbleweed: Red Dead Redemption. Not only is it creepy in game but there’s actual ghost stories circulating around the internet about what other players have found.

Man-Bat: Batman Arkham Knight. Arkham Knight is probably the creepiest of the Franchise, it takes place on Halloween, Scarecrow is the big bad guy and the game is riddled with jumpscares including The Joker and basically every scene involving Man-Bat.

Chateau d’Onterre: Dragon Age Inquisition. Basically the fantasy equivalent of a Haunted House, complete with pictures with eyes that seem to just follow you around the room. It’s hard to get scared when you’re playing as a time and space altering wizard but somehow it works in this level.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the list and if you haven’t played these games I highly recommend grabbing a few drinks inviting over a few friends and collectively wetting yourself all in the name of scary fun.

 

A Halloween Joke to Tell All your Friends:
Q: What’s a ghost’s least favourite room in a house?
A: The LIVING room.
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Nostalgic Gamer – Fallout 4: Does It Survive the Test of Time?

During each Nostalgic Gamer segment we’ll take a look at a game that has been out for at least a year to see if it’s appeal changes with time. Nostalgia can get the best of us sometimes but a game that you can go back to is the mark of a really great game. You could almost say a game is only as good as it’s Replay Value …hey wait…that’s the name of the blog.

Vault 111

Fallout 4 is weirdly not the fourth instalment in Bethesda’s Fallout series, thanks to Fallout New Vegas, the series is more confusing and difficult to keep up with than the Flash on speed. Despite the somewhat confusing naming convention the series has become synonymous with lasting value, something that holds up against the test of time but Bethesda’s latest instalment initially received some criticism for not looking good in comparison to the others. I downloaded Fallout 4 again about a week ago to see if I could get back into it. I actually started playing another 2015 hit, Arkham Knight but I lasted about 3 hours before I got bored and decided to start up a new file in Fallout instead so here we are. I tried not to get overly technical, so here a few observations, also this shouldn’t matter since the game is over two years old but just in case:

*Spoilers Ahead*

Story:

The main story line in Fallout 4 is a pretty confusing jumbled mess. It’s not BAD necessarily, in fact compared to a lot of open world RPGs Fallout does a pretty good job of guiding you through the nuclear ruins of Boston. The biggest drawback with the story is the timeline, which is a pretty glaring plot point, when The Institute comes into the Vault and steals your son Shaun it’s implied that this is 200 years in the future, but you are then re-frozen and wake up another 60 or so years down the line? (I’m assuming 60 because you meet Shaun later and he’s pretty old). Anyway long story short, the timeline is super confusing and while it doesn’t detract from the game, I have a hard time caring for “my son” when he’s older than me vs when I thought he was a child. Like most game’s in the franchise the main story is just an excuse to get you to travel the giant world they’ve created but still it can be a little difficult to keep up whenever time travel and cryogenic freezing and stuff enter play.

So the main story doesn’t offer much but you can play it differently depending on who you ally yourselves with. My first play-through I actually signed up with The Institute and this time I’m going with The Brotherhood. I actually think for a game like Fallout to really shine you HAVE to play it at least one more time, just to see all the different reactions characters have. Also, with the recent innovations in home AI’s like Amazon’s Alexa, the entire story line revolving around AI gone a muck is especially poignant. Don’t say Fallout didn’t warn you when your smart home tries to replace you with a robot.

Good Neighbour.jpg

Characters:

Fallout has always had really great characters and Fallout 4 is no exception. The Ghoul Hancock, the Reporter Piper and my personal favourite, 1940’s Noir Detective, Nick Valentine lead a cast of characters who help the sparsely populated world of post-war Boston feel lived in. There’s no better compliment for an RPG than me struggling to decide which characters I want to partner with. Valentine especially has a habit of dominating the screen (as if he’s an actor), whoever that voice actor was did an incredible job. There’s a few frustrations with other characters like Strong and Preston Garvey who really don’t offer all that much to the player but again you can just elect not to bring them with you.

Again, playing the game a second time offers you the chance to flesh out characters you didn’t really give a chance to before. My first play-through I ran with Nick Valentine almost exclusively and had no idea Hancock was even a character you could take with you. This time I’ve got a revolving door of partners including Hancock, Piper, Strong and Danse.

Nick Valentine.jpg

Nick Valentine is probably one of my favourite characters in a video game over the last 10 years. Just look at him, I’d watch a 2 hour long feature film starring him.

 Gameplay:

The VATS system is still there, and is still as usable as ever. I remember the first time I played Fallout I loved the VATS system instantly and it’s because it reminds me of what Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic did so well, it allowed you to get lost in the combat and feel like you’re watching a movie. Combat is never going to be an RPG’s strength but in Fallout you can elect to play it as a First Person Shooter, modify your guns and run away and play “Call of Duty: Post-War” if you want. If you do decide to play this way, however, you’re wrong and you should feel bad. Slow motion cinematic kills are better than everything else. The graphics are a big improvement but that’s pretty standard for anything on a next-gen console.

There were a few bugs I didn’t notice or remember from my first run through post-war Boston. Mainly whenever The Brotherhood started flying around it would slow my frame rate down which is pretty annoying considering that was the faction I elected to join. I also found a few of the quest and maps to not connect very well. For instance a Minutemen mission where I had to build artillery just kept telling me to build it and assign it and no matter who I gave the artillery to the mission just didn’t seem to complete. It’s not a major drawback considering how massive the game is, but you can only paper over mistakes like that for so long before the game becomes unplayable. Luckily these bugs were minimal so I can keep playing without throwing my controller in anger. The Preston Garvey quests are as annoying as ever but once you know they don’t lead to anything I really just avoided them. You can only hear “another settlement is under attack” so many times before I just become numb to it, like jeez guys learn a little independence.

garvey

 

So Does It Hold Up?

If you haven’t played a Fallout game before, Fallout 4 isn’t a bad way to join the franchise. The characters do a pretty good job of holding your hand and explaining the world around you. The combat is pretty intuitive and you can customise it to your play style. I’ve been playing for about a week now and I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Changing the way your character acts every play-through is a great way to add some extra replay value. This time post-nuclear war Darcy is a sarcastic self-centred jerk who has no time for anyone, (gosh I wonder what that would be like).

The game world is also massive so I seem to keep finding quests and areas that I don’t remember from my earlier play-throughs. This is where games like Fallout make their cake (to turn a phrase from my Millennial audience), there’s so many areas and quests etc, that the game screams replay value. It’s like going to Costco vs Whole Foods, maybe Whole Foods steaks are higher quality, maybe they taste better, but I can only get one. At Costco I can buy 700 pretty good steaks, so its that quality vs quantity argument except the quality is actually pretty good anyway. If you haven’t grabbed Fallout 4 yet I definitely recommend it, especially since it’s probably a lot cheaper than the $80 I bought it at on release day. If you’ve only played it once, load it up again on a Friday night, grab a Nuka-Cola and a bag of chips and tell your friends you’re going off to Boston.

Random Observations

-For a Game Set in Boston not a lot of characters had Boston Accents

-The Weaponry seems a lot more fun than previous games. A baseball bat that hits people heads off while fans cheer and an organ plays? Yes Please.

-The difficult really ramps up from one-shotting random mole rats to being eaten alive by a Deathclaw while your partner weeps.

-The Power Armour stuff was an interesting way to not have people wear it 24/7 but it ends up being too much of a hassle for me to EVER wear it.

-The hats are terrible in this game. Every fedora makes my lone wanderer look like a hipster who got lost attending a wedding for his craft-beer-making friends.

 

Thanks for reading! This is the inaugural post on Replay Value, I hope the Nostalgic Gamer segment is something you get some enjoyment out of because I really like reading it. Please comment, share and like this blog as I try to get it off the ground (assuming you liked the blog of course).