Feature: Fun and Frights on Nintendo - Part 2

Moments of gaming horror

Mark Reece

Scary games offer fascinating experiences for many. Some relish that foreboding sense of terror as they tentatively wander through a corridor drenched in an eerie silence, waiting for that inevitable moment in which the creature formerly lurking in shadow will surely lunge in their direction. Some enjoy being backed into a corner — ammunition running low, comrades wounded — while hordes of unimaginable horrors (probably with pronged tentacles; I think that might actually be a law of some kind) swarm their position hell-bent on rending them limb from limb.

Some relish that foreboding sense of terror as they tentatively wander through a corridor drenched in an eerie silence

But what about me? Well, there is a sequence of events that transpires whenever I play a scary game and that sequence is as follows:

1. Start game.
2. Play game for 20 minutes.
3. Get the willies.
4. Turn game off for a few days.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 a handful of times.
6. Admit defeat and trade game in, while undergoing copious amounts of mockery from my wife.

This occurrence is so inevitable that it appears to be bound by some universal law. Resisting its force is as futile, for me, as trying to make the sun rise in the west. Physicists the world over have worked around the clock for many years, crunching numbers, splitting atoms and doing other such scientific jiggery-pokery in an attempt to find out exactly why I end up a gibbering wreck whenever I sit down to play a game in the horror genre, whether it's Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem or Resident Evil: Code Veronica X on GameCube, F.E.A.R. or Condemned: Criminal Origins on other consoles. These findings will be published in scientific journals in the coming months. However, today we can exclusively reveal them ahead of time to you, the Nintendo Life readers.

I'm a wimp.

There are many of us out there. We drink in the same bars, we lurk in the same supermarkets, we pee in the same urinals. But we will not venture into the cinema and watch the latest horror movie, or purchase that cheap second-hand copy of Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition that's clearly an absolute steal and been quietly whispering our name every time we pass it by.

No, while innumerable people around the globe find much enjoyment in the adrenaline rushes and edge-of-your-seat tension that horror games provide, the wimps among us — myself included — find no such pleasure in watching that silhouette slither around the corner ahead, or have some grotesque wall-crawling, spear-tongued abomination leap in our direction while we grapple with imprecise and impractical traditional survival-horror controls.

And it is for this very reason that I hold the other Nintendo Life staff in such high esteem. They battle through zombie-infested mansions and abandoned space stations riddled with Necromorphs so that people like me don't have to. For their valiant efforts, I salute them on behalf of all gaming wimps around the world.

What about you? What do you think defines a quality horror gaming experience, or do you have specific memories of scary games? We'd love to hear all about it in the comments below.