It’s the second SNDG Halloween Special! This year, I’m taking on the SEGA developed versions of Capcom’s classic, Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts!
tag '31 more days of horror games'
Another article contributed by our buddy Nick Rycar. You can also hear his voice on the podcast about this episode.
I imagine this should go without saying at this point, but we’re about to embark into SPOILER COUNTRY. If you haven’t played the third episode of Telltale’s The Walking Dead at this point, you’ve only yourself to blame if I drop some plot bombs on you. Also, you’re a terrible person — go play the damn game already!
WARNING: MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS FOR WALKING DEAD EPISODES 1 & 2
Telltale’s Walking Dead game has been fantastic so far. We’ve said a lot about it around here (and here and here and here). At the risk of redundancy, I’m going to tell you about Episode 2: Starved for Help,which, honestly, I find to be the weakest of the episodes thus far.
It’s our 2012 SPOOKTACULAR and we’re joined by Bryce Wilson and Jonathon Howard to discuss our 31 More Days of Horror Games feature, the new XCom, Bryce’s pumpkin obsession, Dishonored and more! Mike promised Bryce a special voice, and throws his world into disarray! Eric disappears mysteriously! Kurt is old and picks an old record (Television’s Marquee Moon) as the Album of the Week! The horror!
Joe is back with another OOG, and he’s taking on Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti for the Famicom in the first OOG Halloween Special!
The Walking Dead is the latest episodic adventure game published by Telltale Games. It’s a point and click adventure set in the universe of the comic book series, The Walking Dead, which is distinct from the AMC television show, even though the latter is based on the former. Superficially, the Telltale game is similar to the rest of their adventure game output, but the writing and gameplay are much stronger than any of the other Telltale games I’ve tried. The seriousness of The Walking Dead universe allows them to explore more mature themes and use humor as a leavening agent rather than the main thrust of the writing. The life and death situations created by living through a zombie apocalypse and the branching nature of the storyline allow for much more complex and interesting characterization and plotting.
It’s probably going to take me longer to actually write this post than it did to play the next game in the 31 More Days of Horror Games series, Benjamin Rivers’ Home. This is not a complaint; on the show we always talk about how the length of a game is not any indication of the quality of it. A game should be as long as it needs to be to provide the experience it is intended to, and Home definitely does that.
The prospect of film director James Gunn and game designer Suda51 getting together seems like nothing but good can come of it. And that’s mostly true. Storywise, Lollipop Chainsaw is exactly what you want it to be. Gameplay? Maybe not so much.
Here is a haiku I wrote about Dark Souls:
I hate you Dark Souls.
Why do you keep hurting me?
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!
This article was contributed by friend of the site and head ninja in charge over at Dojo Retro, Natalie Newman. She runs a pretty great site over there, including an extensive series of weekly polls to determine the best games for several consoles. Check it out.
I’m sitting in my shed and am carrying on a conversation with three other people via Google+ Hangouts when I decide to break out Slender. Everyone loves to see a good reaction to a scary game, right? As the introduction starts, I make a few comments in regards to how creepy crickets can sound. That sound, though, is enough to pull me into the game.
Jasper Byrne’s Lone Survivor is one of the most unsettling games I’ve ever played. In spite of it’s 16-bit style graphics, it caused genuine discomfort in me at times. Sadly, it is punctuated by a limp ending that can leave more questions than answers.
I suppose this is as good a place as any to put a SPOILER ALERT.
For starters, you probably want to know why I’m going to talk about Team Fortress 2 for Halloween, don’t you? Or maybe a better question is: why are you such a jerk, for asking such a pointed question before even reading this? You’re probably the same person who turns their lights off and pretends to not be home when trick-or-treaters come around, aren’t you?
But, fair enough, I’ll indulge you (you jerk). Ask yourself: what is Halloween about, if not dressing up? And then ask yourself: what is TF2 about, if not the very same thing (plus shooting dudes)? Granted, my characters in TF2 have better hats than I’ve ever had on Halloween, but the point stands.
This article was contributed by our buddy Bryce Wilson, and, hey, if you buy his book Son of Danse Macabre, you can make him review ANY horror movie of your choice over at his site. (I made him review a particularly odious piece of film I happened to be in, his review is glorious.)
Everything about Alan Wake’s American Nightmare feels like a hedge. Which is understandable, though it certainly has a dedicated cult following, Alan Wake didn’t do the blockbuster numbers that Remedy had hoped for. So instead of an expensive retail game we get an Xbox Live Arcade release, testing to see if the cult would really be down for another round of shadow man bashing. Instead of a full sequel that expands and delves into the mysteries of Bright Falls we have a story that bends over backwards to assure the viewers that it has no bearing on the larger world of Alan Wake (in the words of Bubblegum Tate, “There is nothing at stake and no threat”) trapping the writer in an episode of a television show that he wrote (maybe). The subtitle may as well have been Alan Wake’s Testing the Waters.
Though I can’t really take real horror, and often look away from the screen, as far as games go, there have been very few that have given me real nightmares. I recall having a horrible nightmare after the first time I played Monster Party when I was little. I recall a huge group of grotesque monsters, a party of monsters, if you will, chasing me through a pool of blood not unlike the level introduction screen in that game. It repeated for a few days, and I never really got any sleep that week. I also remember having a serious nightmare after playing Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, but the nightmare was very much focused on the very creepy psychologist in that game. Seeing as I was, at the time, attempting to find a psychologist and was very nervous about it, that probably had something to do with the dream.
Corpse Party for PSP is also on that list. I played through the first Chapter in one sitting, and then went straight to bed. I had terrible dreams involving the gruesome kills in that first chapter. Needless to say, my play sessions were not nearly as long and not in any way before bed after that point.
This article is about a My Little Pony game. You may commence screaming in terror at any time. Once you’re done, though, please return. I’ll wait for you. That’s what friendship is all about, after all: understanding our differences, such as what makes one scream uncontrollably, and respecting those differences.
When On the Stick contributor Anthony Rogers gave me his copy of Dead Space a few years ago, I loved every second of it. I seriously regretted having not played it sooner. It was one of those situations where I had wanted to play it for a long time but just never made time for it. DS was an extremely atmospheric and tense sci-fi horror game with incredibly brutal combat and a compelling (if unoriginal) upgrade system. It was maybe a tiny bit too long (and fuck that asteroid part seriously) but it was a great game. Visceral Games took a long look at what they did with DS and trimmed the fat with Dead Space 2. It’s leaner (less filler and better paced), meaner (better setpieces), and full of…uh…preservatives? Okay forget the food analogy. The point is, it’s pretty great.
This article was contributed by semi-regular podcast contributor, Nick Rycar. You can hear him on our recent Walking Dead podcast episodes.
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is an odd duck, to be sure. On the surface it’s a byproduct of the resurgence/revival of story puzzlers on the Nintendo DS, and judged solely on its merits as a puzzle game, it falls somewhere in the fair-to-mediocre end of the spectrum. While its puzzles may not have the breadth or depth of your average Professor Layton game, I want you to imagine for a moment that, instead of helping the eponymous professor sniff out clues, Luke decided to kidnap a group of strangers, strap explosive devices to them, and force them to think their way through a series of deadly brain teasers to escape a literal sinking ship. Yup, that’s the sort of game we’re talking about here, and why it makes the cut of On the Stick’s annual spooktacular.
You might be wondering what Plants vs. Zombies, the tower defense game from PopCap Games, is doing here. With its silly sense of humor and cartoonish art style, PvZ isn’t much of a horror game. It will never fill you with existential dread. It will never gross you out with extreme gore or fill you with that same kind of visceral feeling that you get facing a freakish monster in Dead Space or Resident Evil. It won’t do any of the things that good horror games ever do. It is, however, extraordinarily addicting. And once you get started, it is scary how much time you will want to sink into it.
I eschewed Dead Space when it first came out. I had seen some preview coverage before the game came out and, at the time, I thought the enemy designs looked awful. I had no interest in spending time playing a game that looked so terrible (hey, you in the back, shut the fuck up about the games I do play – I’m making a point here). There was a decent amount of buzz after the game came out and various people I know waxed pretty rhapsodic about it (aside from the asteroid shooting mini-game – more on that later). I steadfastly ignored them and kept playing whatever I was playing.
Say what you will about the Japanese games industry, about how they lack creativity, don’t understand the world market, or a hundred other things that fill gaming blogs, but they know how to make a damn good horror video game. Last year in my Fatal Frame 2 article I talked about the way the game makes you feel defenseless by casting the player as a teenage girl with a camera. It’s a good practice, and for all intents and purposes it worked. You felt like you were weak and afraid that anything could hurt you, and who feels safe with a camera? But mechanically, it was still a weapon, and you can still kill the bad guys.
Siren: Blood Curse does not give a fuck about your power fantasies.
What will be a running theme for me this year, I have yet another game that isn’t truly a horror game. However, Thief: Deadly Shadows includes a level that stands out even above some pure horror games that I’ve played in the past: Shalebridge Cradle.
Tony Zuniga, a contributor over at Dojo Retro, has contributed today’s article on this horror classic.
I don’t recall how I first heard about Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, but I remember feeling a strange sense of wonder. While it wasn’t the first time, it still seemed very unconventional of Nintendo to release a Mature-rated title among the company’s standard bearers and a sea of child-friendly hits. Also finding out that it was going to be horror-based just fueled my intrigue even more, and I knew I had to play this game.
When we were compiling the list of games for this year’s 31 Days extravaganza, Joe mentioned Grim Fandango. I jumped on the suggestion, because I had bought the game back when it came out, but I didn’t have easy access to a PC, so I never got around to finishing it. This was my chance to finally rectify the situation. Having played through the game now, I can say that what I had originally thought when Joe suggested it was true: this isn’t a horror game. Grim Fandango is an adventure game with a film noir story and a Mexican Day of the Dead aesthetic.
I’m not exactly sure what happened in the mid-2000s, but zombies suddenly got really, really popular again. I guess I’d credit Danny Boyle’s excellent 28 Days Later with sparking the resurgence, because it was very swiftly followed by Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead, which was in turn followed by George Romero coming out of zombie retirement to make some films which, in my honest estimation, have done more to tarnish his legacy than bolster it. Be that as it may, zombies are really popular now, probably more than any other time in their history and more than any other monster, with the possible exception of vampires.
Hello, everyone! Alexis Long here. This post is a little late, as we were trying to get all the tech working properly in order to let you experience this thing I made. Anchorhead is a Text Adventure, so I figured, what better way to show you about it than a text adventure, right? So click on through and give it a try!
Let me start this by saying that no, there is not a theme going this year about licensed horror games. It just happens to be a coincidence that the first two I picked are, in fact, licensed titles. Be that as it may, Alien is certainly a game worth mentioning for the exact opposite reasons The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is. Developed by Paul Clansey and released on the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC (Commodore version reviewed) in 1984 by Argus Press Software, Alien is an excellent adaptation of its source material, a complex title, and a satisfying game to play with a ton of intricacy.
We began last year with what was possibly the first horror game ever made in Haunted House for the Atari 2600. It’s a surprisingly competent little piece of software, given its age, and you can read my thoughts here. This year, we’re starting with what may well be the first licensed horror videogame in another Atari 2600 title: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. (An argument exists that Exidy’s Death Race could be the first, but while its designers claimed it was inspired by Paul Bartel’s Roger Corman produced film Death Race 2000, no license was secured and none of the cabinet or marketing art ties into the film.) In stark contrast to Haunted House, this game is not a competent little piece of software, and is, in fact, quite rancid. Not only in terms of mechanics, but in terms of content.
Yes, friends, once again it is that time. Tomorrow begins 31 More Days of Horror Games! We’ve got some really great contributions lined up this year, some of which from some great new contributors (a couple of staffers from Dojo Retro among them), not to mention some really great stuff from people you’ve heard/read before (including, but not limited to, Bryce, Alexis and some Action Cast! voices you know and love), so get ready to get a further education in horror gaming from all of us here On the Stick! If you want to do a little catch up, check out last year’s edition, and the previous year’s Twilight Zone feature! And if this kind of thing does it for you, check out Countdown to Halloween which will connect you to a ton of other great countdowns on the internet!
So, carve your Jack-o-Lantern, grab some candy, kick back, and check out some great horror games!