Feature: The Prehistory of Survival Horror

I have posted a new feature article: The Prehistory of Survival Horror. This article examines some early horror games and how they influenced the genre that we know and love today. Here’s an excerpt:

Alone in the Dark in particular seems to be the direct parent of the Resident Evil game design: fixed cameras, static backgrounds, a character-centric control scheme, pivot-in-place combat mechanics, Victorian mansions, rationing of ammunition and health, and two playable characters (one male, one female), just to name a few obvious similarities. The direct line of influence on Resident Evil from Sweet Home is also clear: both Capcom games take a hard line approach to item management (though the blow was slightly softened in Resident Evil, as the player was granted more inventory space and inter-connected item boxes). Even Uninvited seems to have left its mark in the way that every area in Resident Evil must be throughly ransacked for items, clues, and notebooks.

This article ended up being way more interesting to write than I expected. As I got into looking at the similarities between popular modern games and their predecessors, I realized that the relationship between these games on several game design axes is quite clear. Check it out and let me know what you think.

2 thoughts on “Feature: The Prehistory of Survival Horror

  1. Hey, just want to say thanks for this. I like the retro stuff like Clock Tower, but I’ve never heard of Univited. I really wanna play it now, sounds aweome!

    Article’s great too. Especially the start…I felt the same with an Amstrad CPC 464. Happy days!

  2. Yea I went and beat Sweet Home after hearing of this stuff awhile back. You’re right, the similarities are certainly there. It was a really fun play, esp for a NES game.

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