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September 4, 2011 9:55 PM   Subscribe

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a truly terrifying game.
posted by Lord_Pall (80 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite

 
He's behind me, he's behind me, he's behiiiinndddmeeeeeeeee...
posted by gemmy at 10:03 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought about playing this game. I got a hold of myself.
posted by ZaneJ. at 10:06 PM on September 4, 2011


Yes, it really is a scary game. Also quite sad and depressing.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:09 PM on September 4, 2011


I clocked an hour or 2, but honestly think it's too scary of a game to play. Amazing piece of work though.
posted by Lord_Pall at 10:09 PM on September 4, 2011


Never heard of this game, and the video doesn't really make it appealing, as there is so little context to why they are freaking out (it's dark, they are running, okay). Looking up the game, it seems to have a 'sanity' thing, but if it's not as good as Eternal Darkness (which really messed with my sanity, that's for sure,heh), or Illbleed (less sanity, more just messing with you and scaring you to death in game), then i don't know.

That said, "i'm leaving, i'm leaving, i'm leaving!!"
posted by usagizero at 10:11 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's significantly better than Eternal Darkness. Didn't play Illbleed though. It's not an action game. Closest approximation would probably be a few sections in Dark Corners of the Earth, but that was unfinished and unplayable, so don't hold me to that.

I'd recommend giving it a try if you can, really a fine piece of work. PC though, so that might be problematic.
posted by Lord_Pall at 10:16 PM on September 4, 2011


Actually, These guys said it way more eloquently than I could.
posted by Lord_Pall at 10:18 PM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Eternal Darkness vs Amnesia is apples and oranges. I enjoyed both games immensely.

This video is a great compilation of the many amnesia "reaction" vids.
I jumped more than a few times when I played through Amnesia. And while I only vocalized my fear once with a small "ah!" when one part really took me by surprise, my internal monologue was exactly like this video, and I was mentally gibbering away the whole time.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:32 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have to say, one of the most crazy batshit scary moments I've had gaming was in the original Bioshock. There's a part nearish the beginning where you walk into this morgue type place. I entered the front part and remembered thinking "shit, something's not right here, something really bad is going to happen." (I was also playing alone, at night, with barely any lights on. Really dumb.) Sure enough, right as I crossed into the back part the lights (in game) all turned off, but I could hear movement in the pitch darkness. I swear, I jumped straight off the couch screaming and frantically twisting and turning both my character and myself trying to blindly shoot into the dark. Somehow I survived, and I think I actually got a nice powerup from a body in the morgue, but still. Freaked me the fuck out.

One of the reasons I still haven't gone back to the game after some fucking assholes stole our 360 and therefore all the savefiles too. I'm pretty creeped out just thinking back on it.
posted by kmz at 10:33 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Amnesia: The Dark Descent in Real Life
posted by Rhaomi at 10:47 PM on September 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


My problem is that living alone and being of a nervous disposition even non-scary games scare me if I play them too long. So I miss out on Bioshock, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, etc... I even have a copy of Bioshock I won't play.

I enjoyed Eternal Darkness.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:47 PM on September 4, 2011


OH SHIT i have a bag of milky ways
posted by louche mustachio at 10:53 PM on September 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


oh shit louche mustachio beat me to it.
posted by kenko at 10:56 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm - I played the demo and kind of got stuck and just wasn't feeling it. The splashy water was kind of cool and freaky, but... am I missing something?
posted by symbioid at 10:57 PM on September 4, 2011


Also, I never finished the game (it was too sluggish on my laptop -- honest!), but it felt like a bit of a cop out in some ways. The occurrences in the game are kind of scary on their own, but the way it keeps you on a knife's edge with the sputtering lantern and the "darkness = insanity" mechanic artificially bumps up the tension. It's like playing a soccer game in your bare feet where the field is randomly scattered with burning coal-beds -- of course you're going to be on the edge of your seat when you're rushing from one narrow slice of relative safety to another, knowing you'll lose if you simply stand in one place for too long.

A better-looking game, in my view, is Nightmare House 2, which seems to draw its scares from unique and cinematic interactive puzzles that are genuinely creepy. Check out the mannequin sequence, for example.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:02 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I normally hate scary things --- like, hate hate HATE scary movies --- but I almost feel compelled to recommend this games. Not as, like, 'if you like scary games, you'll LOVE this,' because that's not quite it. Basically, I would recommend this game to anybody because it is far and away one of the most visceral pieces of human art I have ever experienced.

You know the expression 'my blood ran cold'? I never really quite understood that expression until I played this game; and then it happened multiple times, over and over and over again. It is so scary that at certain times my arms froze and I literally felt a cold chill running through my body, as though my blood had actually, for real, run cold.

Usually, in games and movies like this, they try to scare you by startling you. Like, something jumps out and makes a loud noise. I am a very easily startled person, so I hate it. I HATE THAT MORE THAN ANYTHING. That's why I don't like horror movies: to me, there are few less pleasant experiences that being scared out of your seat. It's like going to the dentist, except that the dentist is a movie and somehow it's supposed to be entertainment and you're supposed to enjoy it.

Amnesia doesn't do jump scares. What it does is: it does immersion, it does atmosphere, and it does intensity. It fully, completely immerses you in an atmosphere of almost overwhelming dread and paranoia. Games are big on 'immersion', selling it like some kind of escapist Valhalla; well, this is far and away the most 'immersive' game I've ever played and perhapsone of the most immersive experiences I've ever had. Unfortunately, that immersion is immersion in a fucking nightmare.

This game is so scary that it's hard to describe. It's not scary in the sense of, like, you have to run around from creepy monsters. You almost never encounter the monsters. You certainly almost never see them. Rather, it lets you know that the monsters are there, they are terrible and there is nothing you can do to stop them. And then it makes you do things you don't want to do. You are crawling around in a cold sweat, terrified, and then it makes you crawl into a pitch black morgue. There is a monster locked in a room, your heart is pounding, you want nothing more than to run away...and then it makes you sneak INTO THE ROOM WITH THE FUCKING MONSTER.

This game is just crazy, and while it isn't exactly...pleasant...it does offer one of the most intense experiences you can have in front of your computer (I'm assuming you're playing in the dark, with headphones on. This is the only way to play.) From what I've written, it doesn't sound like it, but coming from a guy who hates scary shit --- I fully recommend this game. I fully recommend sitting alone in a room with the lights off, headphones on, ostensibly entertaining yourself by doing something that is so terrifying that it made me, a fully grown man, literally wimper in fear. This game is just, it's just NUTS. It's BANANAS scary.
posted by Tiresias at 11:03 PM on September 4, 2011 [74 favorites]


Oh my God I can't wait to try this.
posted by flippant at 11:03 PM on September 4, 2011


Where's the chain fire minigun?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:07 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Looking up the game, it seems to have a 'sanity' thing, but if it's not as good as Eternal Darkness (which really messed with my sanity, that's for sure,heh), or Illbleed (less sanity, more just messing with you and scaring you to death in game), then i don't know.

I hear Nintendo actually patented the sanity mechanism in Eternal Darkness, a move that did not endear them to me.
posted by JHarris at 11:25 PM on September 4, 2011


Also, if you want to get into the nitty-gritty gamer bullshit about it, the way the physics are implemented is just brilliant. To open a drawer, for example, you click on the drawer and then pull the mouse back. To close it, push the mouse forward. How fast or hard you jerk the mouse determines how fast the drawer opens. In practical terms, this means you can slowly open doors a crack or, more likely, slam them shut in a blind terror. To turn a wheel, you grab the wheel and then move your mouse in a circle, as though you were actually turning a wheel. To pull a lever, click the frigging lever and pull it down. It sounds like a small thing, but it's so intuitive and so immersive that something in my brain assigns the virtual objects a real physicality. It's such a brilliant system that it's almost destined to be adopted by more mainstream games.

(P.S. I'm not professionally into games or anything, so maybe some other game uses this system. It's the first time I encountered it, though, and I think it is totally fantastic. It's so intuitive, surely somebody MUST have thought of it like 20 years ago.)

Also, it was made by a small team of 5 people. Who coded their own engine. Who somehow produced this game. Everything about this Amnesia is just completely insane.
posted by Tiresias at 11:25 PM on September 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't play games that don't have a BFG somewhere.
posted by vidur at 11:27 PM on September 4, 2011


Tiresias: "To open a drawer, for example, you click on the drawer and then pull the mouse back. To close it, push the mouse forward."

Fatal Frame 4 does something similar: to pick up any object in the world you hold a button on the joypad to make your character reach towards it. Hold for long enough and you get the item, but some items are event triggers, and some are just there to fuck with you, and after a while, if you've allowed yourself to be absorbed by the atmosphere, you find yourself letting go too early, trying to snatch up the item as quickly as possible without being "spotted".

It's a shame that Fatal Frame 4, while it is the most technically accomplished of the series and has by far the least irritating controls, is probably the least scary, too. The earlier games had wandering ghosts which meant that the longer you spent in any room, the more likely it was that you would be chased (although this did lead to a level of scare-dampening familiarity with some ghosts -- hi again, Broken Neck!). Plus it's a pain in the arse to play without a modded Wii, since it was never released outside Japan so you have to have a way of loading foreign discs and use a special fansub file.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:38 PM on September 4, 2011


I played about an hour's worth of the first Penumbra. The problem is I get motion sickness in games where I'm wheeling about trying to work out where to go, so I stopped. Really, really good for a scare, though.

Same awesome interaction-physics that Amnesia apparently has.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:39 PM on September 4, 2011


Amnesia doesn't do jump scares. What it does is: it does immersion, it does atmosphere, and it does intensity. It fully, completely immerses you in an atmosphere of almost overwhelming dread and paranoia.

This game is so scary that it's hard to describe. It's not scary in the sense of, like, you have to run around from creepy monsters. You almost never encounter the monsters. You certainly almost never see them. Rather, it lets you know that the monsters are there, they are terrible and there is nothing you can do to stop them. And then it makes you do things you don't want to do. You are crawling around in a cold sweat, terrified, and then it makes you crawl into a pitch black morgue. There is a monster locked in a room, your heart is pounding, you want nothing more than to run away...and then it makes you sneak INTO THE ROOM WITH THE FUCKING MONSTER.


Keiichiro Toyama's games are exactly like this. The first Silent Hill wraps you up in an atmosphere of inevitability and total dread but still more or less plays like a survival horror game. The Siren series, though, really goes above and beyond in putting you in bad, deeply uncomfortable situations and prodding you forward. Making the shibito characters in their own right is one of the most interesting and disturbing things about the first game; the moment when they start talking to you is the most nerve wracking thing I've ever experienced in a videogame. The sense of wrongness deserves a whole essay written about it. Here are these subhuman things that have been mumbling gibberish to themselves and stalking you with rifles and handguns for several hours while you've been completely helpless and then as soon as you're put into the shoes of a (but you don't know this yet) murderer, they--run away crying and groveling? I...? As soon as you almost get used to how clearly pitiful and frightened they are, they start calling your character's name; they don't seem to understand what they're saying. They've just figured out that you'll respond to it.

God, they're so thoughtfully creepy.
posted by byanyothername at 11:45 PM on September 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


One thing you don't get from this video is the sound design. The entire time you're hearing the sounds of people screaming and moaning in the background, and as you lose sanity, you also have this sound like bugs crawling around the inside of your head. It's the most unnerving thing and hover over this this for spoilers
posted by empath at 11:56 PM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also -- i also highly recommend Nightmare House 2. That game made me jump out of my chair more than once -- and it DOES do cheap jump scares of the best kind.
posted by empath at 11:56 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Should I play Nightmare House 1 first?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:58 PM on September 4, 2011


No. It's kinda like Evil Dead 2.. it's a stand alone that includes a lot of content from the first game.
posted by empath at 11:59 PM on September 4, 2011


Marvellous, ta.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:59 PM on September 4, 2011


Oh God, that bug sound. I just instinctively shivered when you mentioned it, empath.
posted by Tiresias at 12:05 AM on September 5, 2011


I've been working up my courage to play this for months. I should have done when I had a friend staying with me. Moral support and all that.

I hadn't read that RPS take on it, Lord_Pall, thanks for linking.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:05 AM on September 5, 2011


byanyothername: "The Siren series"

Oh dear lord, yes. If you have a PS3, you can probably grab Blood Curse cheap on disc since it's been out for a few years. You can also get it on PSN if you can't find a boxed copy. In the best traditions of Japanese survival horror, it's creepy, malevolent, a bit clunky to control, and an absolute master at forcing you to go places you really don't want to go.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:08 AM on September 5, 2011


That video was kind of annoying.

Tiresias and the Rock Paper Shotgun guy are what you need to understand the game. It is probably the most intense game I ever played. It's a phenomenal achievement.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:29 AM on September 5, 2011


Evoking Emotions and Achieving Success By Breaking All The Rules - a GDC talk about Amnesia
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:43 AM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I liked Amnesia a lot. And I love horror games. Without getting into too many specifics, as I see there are tons of people in here who are intending to give it a go at some point, I thought the first half of it was up with the Siren/Fatal Frame/Silent Hill best-of-genre stuff. Scary, mysterious, varied, surprising, tense, intriguing.

I just thought the second half (or maybe final third) completely lost its way, relied on too-sparse re-use of scares I'd already seen, was set in environments that felt half-finished and reminiscent of someone's first bsp map (particularly in that they're slightly too big for the player and enemies, and not in a creepy way), and focused on fiddly puzzles to the exclusion of the horrible, tense sneaking around. I wouldn't be so down on it - it's still enjoyable at that point, compared to a lot of other games - if the first half weren't so stinking good.
posted by emmtee at 12:46 AM on September 5, 2011


Just started the game and I can already see that my character is insane. He is wasting tinderboxes to light candles when he could easily pick one up and use it to light the others. The madness chills my soul.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:07 AM on September 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


Oh yeah, it's worth mentioning the Justine expansion/side-story thing, too. I think a lot of people who played and loved the original Amnesia aren't aware it's there.

It was added as part of the Portal 2 ARG a few months ago, but it's still available, and while it's very (very) loosely thematically linked to Portal (mainly in that you're guided along by pre-recorded messages on gramophones), it's much more just... a couple more hours of Amnesia, with a new protagonist and story. Except that you can't save, which is irritating and kind of saps the horror when it unexpectedly up and kills you and you're forced to repeat the first half-hour. Still, that aside it's short, sharp and neat. If you have Amnesia on Steam you should already have Justine installed (just open the launcher and hit the button at the bottom-right rather than 'launch game'), and for non-Steam people there's an update on the official site that includes it.
posted by emmtee at 1:30 AM on September 5, 2011


The door is locked.

|
+@░░░░░░░░░░░░░░L+
|

Hacker the Conjurer St:11 Dx:13 Co:12 In:11 Wi:18 Ch:11 Neutral
Dlvl:3 $:120 HP:39(41) Pw:36(36) AC:6 Exp:5 T:1073
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:52 AM on September 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


I have no doubt the game is immersive and entrancing and haunting, but I would gather that the biggest source for the fear is the inability to fight and lack of weapons. What other games that do that? Besides the quite scary Clock Tower series.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:53 AM on September 5, 2011


Well, don't forget the "don't look, whatever you do don't LOOK AT IT OH GODDDDDH̝̳̠̭̝ͨ͒͆ͮ̾̂E̶̜̬͇̭̖͔̜ͫ̚ͅ ͉̝̒̑ͦ͆͢͞C̣̭̜̞̣̫̗̏̅̒̏ͅO̖̹̠̠̟͖ͫ̊̂ͦͧ̾̎́M̢̑̌̇̽҉̦̯̜̟E̶͕̜̺͍̝̱̾̆̍͊̀̔ͅŜ̵̭͎̰̹̤͙ͩͩͣ́̉ͅ
posted by naju at 2:01 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aw crap, Lovecraft, I came here to post that GDC talk. Very insightful. I'm impressed with their ability to synthesize the results of their playtests with their goal for the game's purpose.

Here is another link about the development of the game, this one focusing more on the business and production side of things.
posted by breath at 2:48 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apocryphon: "I would gather that the biggest source for the fear is the inability to fight and lack of weapons. What other games that do that? Besides the quite scary Clock Tower series."

Fatal Frame (also known as Zero in Japan and Project Zero in Europe) doesn't exactly leave you weaponless, but your weapon is extremely cumbersome. The games are played from the third person perspective, but to fight ghosts off you must take pictures of them with your special camera, requiring you to go into first-person. You can only move at a fraction of your normal speed when you're looking through the viewfinder, and in order to hurt the ghost enough to dissipate it or drive it off you need to wait for it to get close; ideally, you need to wait for it to be lunging at you. You can't just snap away at them from a distance because in most of the games the specially-treated film is in limited supply. It's a marvellously creepy way of forcing you to stop, face the ghost and let it get right in your face.

It'd be more effective if you could turn off the scrolling combat text, though.

SHUTTER CHANCE ZERO SHOT 1467 DAMAGE
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:58 AM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Protip: In Amnesia, carry a barrel around with you. If there's a monster, manoeuvre the barrel between yourself and it. No more sanity-deprived death! Also they can't get you when you are on top of things. A bad dude followed me into a kitchen so I jumped on some old turnips and held up a bucket so my avatar couldn't "see" him. Eventually the monster got pissed and left.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:47 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's play: Amnesia - Dark Descent by JohnnyKnodoff

I hope you have about 18 hours.
posted by Decimask at 5:51 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


What other games that do that?

You can fight the enemies in the Forbidden Siren games, but you can't kill them. After a while they get back up. And on one level in the first game, you play a small girl locked in a house with a dead family, still going through their daily routine except for when they see you and try to kill you.
posted by permafrost at 5:55 AM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Heh, how about that?

Let's Play! Forbidden Siren.
posted by Decimask at 6:06 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone is really impressed that a crew of 5 people built Amnesia (AND it scares the living crap out of everyone) and yes, it's a really good game.
But am I the only person still alive who played Dark Fall? That was made by ONE person (AND scared the living crap out me) but has been unfairly forgotten/never noticed in the first place.
(No, not the MMO. How dare they name a new game Darkfall and confuse searching for this old gem?)
So worth checking out and now he's made 2 more, I see. Yes, the first was point+click and very very low-tech, but it was impressive back then due to doing it's job of setting the mood and making me freak out fairly regularly throughout.
If you enjoy being creeped out and like the nostalgic feel of really old games, read more here.

First time I pluck up courage to comment, be gentle?!
posted by Zorsha at 7:55 AM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Zorsha, I opened your link in a tab to read later and just about crapped my pants when the sound started, so you've already made quite an impression on me. I think the rest of the thread primed me tho.
posted by Iteki at 9:18 AM on September 5, 2011


tumid dahlia: Protip: In Amnesia, carry a barrel around with you. If there's a monster, manoeuvre the barrel between yourself and it. No more sanity-deprived death! Also they can't get you when you are on top of things. A bad dude followed me into a kitchen so I jumped on some old turnips and held up a bucket so my avatar couldn't "see" him. Eventually the monster got pissed and left.

So the mechanism here is covering one's eyes and hoping the scary goes away?

Just like in real life.
posted by notyou at 9:22 AM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


What is he going to do with that bag of Milky ways? Are we sure it's Milky Ways in that bag?
posted by dabitch at 9:37 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I’ve been reading about this game for a while, and everyone loves it. It seems to be one of those things that just doesn’t come across well in previews, because it just doesn’t look that scary or interesting in the videos I’ve seen. I don’t play games much on the computer, but I’d still have to check it out if it was on a last generation console.

I was just thinking about playing Eternal Darkness again the other day. I’m going to have to break down and get an Xbox 360 at some point because there’s a new Silent Hill coming out.
posted by bongo_x at 10:29 AM on September 5, 2011


+1: On Steam you can buy Amnesia for both PC and Mac!
posted by shino-boy at 10:34 AM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm never going to play this, sadly. I absolutely adore horror movies and literature, and it's been years since anything in those media has scared me at all. Games? Jesus Christ, I just can't do it.

After multiple playthroughs, it's become "Gravity Gun Playground" to me, but I had a hard time getting through Ravenholm in Half-Life 2. The totally dark sections of Ep. 2 are nearly unplayable to me. The closest I came to "playing" Penumbra was curled up on the bed, clutching my girlfriend's arm while she played it.

I really want to support neat stuff like Amnesia, but I just... can't...
posted by brundlefly at 10:50 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't really havethe stomach for it either. Many moons ago I made it to the second to last level of Silent Hill basically whimpering the whole time because that fog just engulfed me and in it were ....AAAAAAAAHAHHH! *quits game, breathes heavily, listens to own heartbeat*
posted by dabitch at 10:54 AM on September 5, 2011


I think the scariest part of Silent Hill 2is near the end, when you can listen to a recording of you talking to your character's wife while she was dying of cancer. The game pulls away from the room you are in to what looks like the set of a play about her death, and you just watch it reenacted until you can't listen anymore. I ha to quit a minute in because it was so depressing. A great way to play with mood.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:14 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Protip: In Amnesia, carry a barrel around with you. If there's a monster, manoeuvre the barrel between yourself and it. No more sanity-deprived death! Also they can't get you when you are on top of things.

And if you really can't deal with the actively-being-chased scary, some enterprising cheaters found during the potato ARG that if you hide the enemy script/model files from the game (you have to do it while it's running, apparently - open it, then tab out and rename the 'enemies' folder), the game shows a heroic level of resilience and just carries right on as if everything was fine. But completely sans monsters. Which I'd imagine makes it into a fairly gentle-if-creepy physical puzzle and mansion-exploration game.

I can think of a couple of places where you interact with enemies as part of essential scripted bits, and I've no idea if those just play out surreally with no monsters present or don't work at all. It's still weird and impressive that the engine doesn't just choke on errors and crash when you do this, though.
posted by emmtee at 11:28 AM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


So unless I miss my guess (And I admit to playing most of the game with my eyes tight closed,) there is actually only one monster in the game - you just meet him in a bunch of places. Am I mistaken?
posted by Jofus at 12:01 PM on September 5, 2011


Jofus: So unless I miss my guess (And I admit to playing most of the game with my eyes tight closed,) there is actually only one monster in the game - you just meet him in a bunch of places. Am I mistaken?

I haven't played it, but I watched that Let's Play! playthrough. There are 2 distinct models for the monster that chases you, plus another invisible monster who is only found in semi-flooded areas.

All you see of it is the enormous splashes its feet make in the water, and the snapping and tearing of flesh as it devours what's left of human beings.

Of course, as with all horror games, there's also that other common evil. [Hooray for hoverspoilers!]
posted by Decimask at 12:16 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone tried the Linux version of this? I'm intrigued by the game, but I switched to Linux-only for my PC a while back (plus an XBOX for games).
posted by madmethods at 12:20 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I tried playing this game, but I actually found myself becoming physically nauseous and clammy it freaked me out so badly. I think it boils down to how comfortable you are with risk taking: this game forces you to take risks, it leaves you exposed and helpless, it expects you to die (it even says so in the instructions). Basically, it's like being cast in a virtual snuff film and struggling to survive while your tormentors watch. You find yourself fearing every decision, jumping at every noise. If you are the kind of person who can detach themselves from the experience or if you are very comfortable with taking risks, you might not be as terrified by this game as us mere mortals ;p

I was in the wine cellar once, and I turned to see an ominous shadow standing across the room where I had just come from. It just stood there, doing nothing but watching me. I literally started to shake, my heart started pounding, I felt faint, and I kept thinking "was that there before? did I walk right past that thing? omg what does it WANT?!" I was responding mentally and physically like I had just had a near-miss on the freeway.

That was the point when I decided I wasn't suited for this game and turned it off.
posted by evilcupcakes at 12:44 PM on September 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Decimask - thanks for that. Is it only me who calls the invisible-basement-monster Captain Splashy?
posted by Jofus at 1:17 PM on September 5, 2011


There are at least two different visual forms of monsters, as well as "Captain Splashy". On a narrative level, the monsters are the servants of Baron Alexander and there are an unspecified number of them. Daniel's real enemy, though, is a sort of lurking menace that has been pursuing him since before he arrived at the castle. He calls it "the Shadow" and he doesn't ever really see it. Mind you, you don't really see the other monsters either - looking at them drives you insane and attracts them to you, and when they find you they kill you.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:05 PM on September 5, 2011


Is it only me who calls the invisible-basement-monster Captain Splashy?

Not anymore.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:04 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mister Splashypants also works.
posted by Decimask at 3:16 PM on September 5, 2011


There are videos of the monster character models if you would like to check them out. May be spoilery, although there is no gameplay. I was intrigued by the quick views I saw in the video and wanted to see how they were designed.






Grunt
Brute
Captain Splashy; or rather, the object used to represent an invisible monster that is much scarier than a blue ball would suggest.
Alois
Alexander
posted by louche mustachio at 4:31 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


The game designers really loved penises. It's not just the monsters; parts of the game are filled with corpses and everywhere you look it's dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.

Not homophobic.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:51 PM on September 5, 2011


Whoah, I'm there. Loved the first Silent Hill.

Though I do PC game with headphones, playing a scary game on the Xbox 360 on the couch in my living room, lights off, at night, is the new pinnacle. The surround sound has started to fool my ears and even my dog's ears, so that I'm often confusing what's in the game with what's in the room...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:50 PM on September 5, 2011


Oh how I long for Leisure Suit Larry.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 7:14 PM on September 5, 2011


..playing a scary game on the Xbox 360 on the couch in my living room, lights off, at night, is the new pinnacle. The surround sound has started to fool my ears and even my dog's ears, so that I'm often confusing what's in the game with what's in the room...

Oh, see, this is actually how I played Amnesia for the first time. It was all fun and games, let me tell you.

And by fun and games I mean 'sleeping with the light on for a week'.
posted by pseudonymph at 7:49 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, thanks for the "scary" tag. I've now read enough unsettling MeFi to keep me up half the night. (usually a good thing but work tomorrow...)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:22 PM on September 5, 2011


Metafilter: everywhere you look it's dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:05 PM on September 5, 2011


I just watched the Zero Punctuation review of this earlier today. Totally wish I had a computer that would play this game except not really. And I love being scared!
posted by Eideteker at 9:26 PM on September 5, 2011


P.S. if you are at all on the fence about this game, the Zero Punctuation review will explain to you exactly why you are an idiot as well as the precise extent of your idiocy. He's Yatzee. That's what he does. (Aside from hating on games, and this was one he actually liked.)

It apparently really nails that *actual* horror, not the startle! stuff that passes for horror sometimes. Really looking forward to being scared shitless by this one.
posted by Eideteker at 9:29 PM on September 5, 2011


Eideteker: "Totally wish I had a computer that would play this game except not really. And I love being scared!"

There appears to be a demo, just in case it turns out to run okay on your computer.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:49 AM on September 6, 2011


I played the demo some months ago — scared the crap out of me! Even the demo really sets up the whole, "Oh crap I really need some light in here but I don't want to waste my oil—what's that splashing AAAAAARRRGRH!!" vibe really well. So yeah, I've been meaning to buy the full version and go total white-knuckle crazy.
posted by Mister_A at 9:43 AM on September 6, 2011


It should be noted that this game almost bankrupted the developers, and it was only sales through word of mouth that kept them afloat after initially weak sales (no marketing budget)
posted by empath at 10:20 AM on September 6, 2011


The game designers really loved penises. It's not just the monsters; parts of the game are filled with corpses and everywhere you look it's dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.

I suspect that if the designers had done the usual and made all the naked corpses women, it wouldn't have had the same horrifying impact to the male audience.

I watched the entire Let's Play, and it was interesting to me how the guy who did it, who tried to impart this whole 'I'm a brah, brah' air got sucked into the horror and in different parts of the game his voice reflected his level of horror and unease. But even then, he was still all about calling people 'faggots' and 'bitches'.

If the corpses had been female, a lot of the players might not have even noticed them.
posted by winna at 10:44 AM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


This game scares the living shit out of me. I can't play it for more than 10 minutes at a time before I'm so jumped out of my skin that I have to shut it down and curl up in a corner or something for a while.
posted by perilous at 6:11 PM on September 6, 2011


If you like this game, you owe it to yourself to check out the Penumbra Series (by the same team), especially Black Plague.
posted by treepour at 8:13 PM on September 6, 2011


Oh for fuck's sake, I can't even think about Black Plague. The part where you finally "meet" Dr. Swanson… I should have seen it coming. It's obvious, in retrospect; almost insultingly so. But I was so immersed in the game, so focused, and then suddenly—and I panicked, and that room had a bug that fucked up my framerate, so it was like I was panicking and running around on two broken ankles under a strobe light, and I had to keep cranking that goddamn wheel, and then—

I've never had a video game do that to me. I was nearly sick.
posted by Zozo at 8:37 AM on September 10, 2011


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