• Larry

An Expansion on What Makes a Horror Game

I hope you all really enjoyed yesterday’s podcast. My final score for the “how scary” category review on “The Last of Us” was so incredibly difficult for me. When we got the email from James so many months ago, I promised him that we would not betray the horror genre in favor of playing games that we wanted to play or that were popular. Having never fully played this game, I had no idea going in whether or not it would be a horror title. I don’t even really blame Justin, because what stuck out to him the most when he played this game was the story (which was very good) and almost all sites claim that TLOU is a survival horror title. So as I played the game, it became clearer and clearer to me that this was NOT survival horror and I knew that the podcast had come to a crossroads.

I am writing this to give you guys a peak behind the scenes. Justin and I talk almost everyday even though we are in different time zones and different countries. It was a Saturday afternoon when I got out of the bus depot section of the game when I messaged Justin to tell him that it had become very clear that this was not a horror game. He agreed, and asked if we should switch to another title (something like “Left 4 Dead” or “Dead Island”). We had two weeks before the review and both of those games would not have been all that hard to complete before the recording. But Justin and I came to a decision then that we fleshed out even more during this week’s episode. We did not go into this game knowing it wasn’t a horror game, we found that out as we played it. To cancel the review would set a terrible precedent. I know that for a fact there are several “horror” movies out there that are just not horror movies, and at best are thrillers. One that comes to mind, and it is one I used on the show as an example, is “Disturbia” starring Shia LeBeouf. Although marketed as a horror film, anyone going to see that movie knows when they walk out that it was absolutely not a horror film. Just because it has jump scares and kept you on the edge of your seat does not make it horror. Otherwise “The Departed” would be the greatest horror film of all time!

It is why going forward, Justin and I may end up inadvertently reviewing games and films that are not horror. We will try our best to avoid this, but if we end up starting to review something (one game in particular I think may be the first to test us in Castlevania…) and it ends up not being a horror game it will still be reviewed on the podcast. We will score it during “how scary” as to how afraid we were at time during our review. But, these films and games will have the same asterisk that now sits above TLOU on the ‘Scores’ Google doc on the web page. And, if that is not enough we will make it abundantly clear during the review that we feel this game or movie was misrepresented as a horror title.

Now, some of you have been inquiring where my weekly blog posts have been. Not to get too much into it, but since starting my new job I have had less time to commit to writing. Also, the last few weeks I really haven’t found anything that I wanted to write about. I have three or four drafts of blogs that I started to write that I just could not bring myself to finish. I also think a lot was poured out during our Women in Horror series, trying my best to make sure that we brought great, insightful content to our listeners. So what is the future of the blog posts? I think the easiest answer is that I will write when I have something that I want to say. And like that age old maxim, if I have nothing to say then I will just keep my mouth shut. Until next time, stay scary my friends...

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