Honesty Hour is our column where we ask the community to confess some things about themselves and their gaming habits. Everyone has some embarrassing experiences and interesting opinions, so share ‘em!
As someone who scares relatively easily, the gaming world holds an abundance of opportunities for me to feel that spastic panic while absorbed in something. It doesn’t even have to be horror games, since my nerves and constitution can’t handle those in the first place. The terror I feel in games nowadays is usually regulated to one or two unexpected instances in an otherwise relatively scare-free experience, but that could very well be the choice of games I tend to make.
Horror as a genre is seeing a recent increase in popularity thanks to indie titles such as Amnesia, Outlast, and the Slender games (and the meme as a whole). The resurgence has found an audience in adult gamers looking for a certain kind of feeling and atmosphere, while the mainstay horror franchises like Resident Evil have branched off to become more of an action series.
Horror games are well and good for when you’re looking for a straight injection of terror into the bloodstream, but sometimes the unexpected leaves a more permanent scar on the psyche. I’m talking about those hidden, unnatural, or otherwise out-of-left-field moments in a game that take what you’ve been used to the whole time and turn it on it’s head, or ramp up the intensity as a whole.
As a child these are especially frightening. Kids growing up in this generation might have nightmares about the Endermen in Minecraft, or the zombies in Call of Duty, or maybe they’ll build nerves of steel because everything is super realistic and desensitizing anyways. Games in the modern age have an abundance of tools to scare the piss out of a person, with the advanced graphics, huge audio capabilities, and the like.
Speaking as someone who grew up during the SNES era onward, I remember games requiring a bit more effort to put that fear in the player, and sometimes it could be totally unexpected.
A game like Yoshi’s Island seemed perfectly tailored to the young impressionable gamer. It featured a cutesy art style, with delightful music and an always-positive vibe. The crayon graphics coupled with the animated nature of the characters and enemies presented an overall nonthreatening experience. It got hard sometimes, but it was okay because the game piled on lives like crazy.
And then you got to the final boss, and everything you’ve ever known about good feelings and happiness is forgotten in a flash of sweaty-palmed fear.
The boss, with the still-gives-me-goosebumps-to-this-day music, and the immense looming terror that is magicked Baby Bowser blitzing the TV screen, has never been forgotten in my mind. It’s so effective, and it’s an absolute ridiculous tonal shift from the entire rest of the game. I can’t complain, because shouldn’t every game’s goal be to not be forgotten?
So again I turn the question over to you: What childhood gaming experience scared the ever-loving crap out of you? What will you never forget? Sound off below!