The Problem with Dark Souls

It took me a long time, but I finally figured out why I can’t play Dark Souls. I tried to play it–put a good 15 hours into it, which is longer than it takes me to complete most of the games I play. I even played a bit of Demon Souls before that, so I […]

Let’s fund some indie horror games

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that the best horror games in the last few years have not come from traditional console game developers. They’ve come from independent developers, run on PCs rather than consoles, and are scarier than anything we’ve seen from the console space in years. Amnesia and its predecessors, […]

Year Walk

Given the tremendous glut of mobile games available today, it surprises me that there aren’t more horror games. There are a number of zombie shooters, a bunch of Halloween-themed games, and some interesting text adventures, but very little designed to actually scare you. Other than End Night and amateur-hour Slenderman knock-offs, serious attempts at horror […]

Dark Escape 3D

Every once in a while I get an angry message asking me why I omit PC games from this site, or why I fail to include visual novels and light gun shooters. The reason is mostly logistic: I have a limited capacity to buy and play games and so I need to contain my research […]

The Value of Uncertainty Part 2: Negative Space

In the last post I wrote a little bit about the value of uncertainty in the mechanics of horror games. The idea is that the game may obfuscate certain game play systems (health, remaining ammunition, the location of enemies, etc) in order to keep the player off balance. A key trait of effective horror is […]

The Value of Uncertainty

My TV was hissing. It was a small set, 15 inches across, set on a short table in one corner of my ten-tatami-mat room in Kyoto. It was 1998, the middle of the night, and though my hosts were two floors below me, I worried that the sound would reach through the thin walls and […]

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

I had heard something about a new Alan Wake game, released as a short XBLA downloadable title, way back in February of this year. I jotted the game down in my mental list of titles to look up later and then promptly forgot about it. The game came and went without much of a murmur, […]

The Walking Dead Isn’t Horror

A couple of years ago my brother, a comic fanatic (and indie comic artist/author/publisher), gave me a copy of The Walking Dead for my birthday. A few years later he gave me a DVD of the first season of the show based on that comic. And that is why, when I read that Telltale had […]