Over the years, horror has become a popular genre enjoyed throughout the year and is not just for Halloween anymore. For cinema entertainment, Midsommar, The Invisible Man, Hereditary, and Us, have been a few popular horror films that have graced the big screen recently. In the gaming industry, it’s not just console and PC games that have been influenced by horror but slot games too. For example, there are Slot Boss casino games and slot games, such as Immortal Romance and Vampire Desire, for players to play that are influenced by the horror genre.
So, what exactly makes a great horror game? From jump scares to dark abandoned hallways, there are plenty of features that make a video game truly creepy. There are even small handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch that have some great horror games to play! Outlast, Layers of Fear, and Friday the 13th: The Game are just some popular horror titles available on the console. There are always some Nintendo Switch reviews that you can check out first before you decide to purchase a game.
Jump scares are cheap but viral-ready
The reason that Five Nights at Freddy’s was so popular was because many people posted videos of themselves reacting to it on YouTube. The unexpected and out-of-nowhere jump scares were what fans enjoyed and what made the game really popular online. Though jump scares can create a creepy and enjoyable game to play, using too many can often ruin the experience.
Creating a vulnerable character
One of the problems with modern games is that they think making people walk around without a weapon, and/or with horrible controls, is a way to create dread. In many horror games, players are slowly trying to escape terrifying monsters and are often trapped with nowhere to hide and nowhere to run. In games like Outlast, players often have to find hiding spaces and wait until danger passes. This is a great feature to help build suspense and heightens a player’s fears of being caught. If games made it too easy for you to fight off and defeat baddies, then it wouldn’t be a great game would it?
Controlling light in the right way
There have been hundreds of examples of horror games restricting light with the hopes of creating a dark, creepy, and horrifying game. Yet, the fact is that dimming the lights or offering restricted lights is not always the best way to go. It seems counter intuitive, but when people cannot see what is going on, they run the risk of becoming bored quickly after the initial feeling of fear. Plunging a character into darkness unexpectedly can create a great horror experience, but doing it far too frequently, or for too long, can sometimes ruin it.
Getting the setting just right
One of the most important features of a good horror game is making sure that you get the perfect creepy setting for the game. An abandoned building, a dark forest, or a poorly-lit basement can do the trick. However, if you put in too much creepy or horrific stuff, then the horrifying elements can lose all their appeal. There are many games that have a horrific setting, and yet after long gameplay, the user is so used to the horrific setting that it becomes boring and stale. Sometimes, the best way to create a horrific scene is to set everything else in normal reality. A bit like how Silent Hill 1 and 2 would transition from reality to the dark horror scene and then back again.
Creating a creepy atmosphere can be very difficult
Mentioning Silent Hill 2, it has to be said that it is a great example of creating a terrifying video game atmosphere. It is never about a single monster or obstacle but is more about how the town and maybe your own mind is dead set against you, and this was done through the creation of a scary atmosphere. Rather than being outright scary and horrifying, the setting was instead just a bit creepy and unsettling. To help create a great game experience for players, it’s important to know what is too little and what is too much when designing a horror game.
There has to be stakes
Just like any good game, the point of creating a good horror experience is to put something at stake. Whether it’s a time limit, solving a puzzle, or running for your life, increasing the stakes can increase a player’s interest in the game. In Resident Evil 3 players not only had to survive a zombie apocalypse but were also being hunted down by Nemesis at the same time! Often in horror games, your life stats are a crucial indicator of what’s at stake. If your health and stamina are low and you’re in the middle of combat, things are very likely not going to end well…
The console can often make the experience much better
While horror games can be great players on any type of console, sometimes fully immersing yourself can be so much better. Games available on VR enhance your player experience as you’re not as distracted by controls or your tv screen/monitor. Instead, you have a seamless view where you feel like you are in the game yourself. Sadly, there are a lot of VR horror games that have been released that are just set to make people jump with jump scares. This can be a shame because VR could become a very immersive gaming platform and wasting such immersion on jump scares alone can get a bit predictable. If you can draw people in so that they feel like part of the game, then you can use the atmosphere and detailed set designs to make the game as memorable as it is horrifying.