Its been quite a while since I’ve answered one of Later Levels’ Question of the Month posts but this October question was just too perfect not to answer, so here goes!
So, the questions is:
In honour of Halloween, tell me what video game scared you the most. What is it about the elements, environments, music, or characters in the video game that scared you?
Now, long time readers of this blog know that horror/remotely scary games and I do not go well. I love horror films and I love reading scary stories but when it comes to video games, I can barely get past the main menu. I’ve tried to overcome this fear, I really have but it always ends in failure. But which video game scared me the most?
OK, stop sniggering. I actually bought the game for the every reason that I wanted to finally play, and complete, a horror game. Plus, the concept of an author searching for his wife in a creepy town, whilst being hunted by a mysterious entity, sounded right up my street…if it had been a book or film.
So, I managed to start the game up and got through the tutorial section no problem. Sure, the tone, visuals and sound were a little unsettling but it didn’t freak me out. I managed to get through the initial story set up and the wife vanishing. And then came the first night sequence. In this part of the game, you’re stranded in the middle of the night being pursued by, what I can only describe as, a psychotic shadow lumberjack monster.
Let me pause a moment and explain some of the gameplay in Alan Wake. In order to defeat the shadow monsters, you have to weaken them with your flashlight and then shoot them with your gun. The catch is, you have limited number of batteries for your flashlight and limited number of bullets. Also, if you stand under a street light, these creatures of darkness can’t harm you. This make sense with the tone of the game, right?
Back to my story, now young Thero thought it would be a great idea to play Alan Wake, alone, at night and with headphones on. Let me tell you, this game makes great use of sound. I was being pursued by the lumberjack and managed to reach the safety of a streetlight. At that moment, I freaked out. I thought I saw the monster and used all my battery power in my flashlight and all my bullets to kill the lumberjack monster. Turns out, I was shooting a tree. At that point I quit the game and to this day, my Alan Wake is still stuck under a streetlight, in the middle of the night, with no bullets or batteries.
I never played enough of Alan Wake to be able to give you guys a solid answer about the game but for me personally, the games atmosphere, use of shadows and sounds was what scared me. That and I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to scary video games. I managed to buy Alan Wake on Steam before it was removed from sale, so who knows, maybe one day I’ll return to Bleak Falls and step out from underneath that streetlight.