Useful Tips for Horror Game Designers

A few months ago I had a discussion on Twitter with Thomas Grip, the brains behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the Penumbra series, and now SOMA, about overused elements in horror games. Turns out there are a whole lot of trite, cliché, and downright dated design elements that show up again and again in horror […]

The Changing Utility of the Otherworld in the Silent Hill Series

One of the most distinctive traits of the Silent Hill series is its use of the Otherworld, a bleak industrial version of reality where night persists indefinitely and rusted metal and barbed wire are core components of most architecture. The Otherworld (sometimes referred to as nowhere) often reflects the layout and geometry of reality, but […]

HELL NIGHT (Dark Messiah) Walkthrough

By Rob Potter The only thing you can do is To run away and keep running Is it life? Is it death? An unimaginable horror is about to begin. Table of Contents Chris’ Introduction Notes and Tips Controls Characters Part 1: Hell Night 1.1 Maintenance Room 1.2 Underground Sewer Part 2: TokyoMesh 1F 2.1 Northwest […]

Designing Characters to be Scared For

In the May 2004 issue of Game Developer magazine, Richard Rouse III comments that his goal when designing The Suffering was to produce an “action horror” title, rather than a “survival horror” title (Rouse’s article is available online at Gamasutra, registration required). To Rouse, the difference between the two types of game design boils down […]

Chris’ Guide to Understanding Japanese Horror

The West has been awash in Japanese popular culture every since manga and anime began to take root with young people in the early 1990s. Within a decade, the import of Japanese media has gone from a tiny niche market to a full-blown pop culture phenomenon. Japanese comics are now available in translation at major […]

The Prehistory of Survival Horror

My parents purchased a computer when I was 11 years old. It was our first computer, a Macintosh SE, and it came with an amazingly noisy ImageWriter II dot-matrix printer. The Mac SE had an 8-inch screen, 2 mb of RAM, and ran Mac OS System 6.0.8 at a blistering 8 mhz. Its crisp black […]

When Pundits Attack: Game Sales vs Game Quality

If you keep up on the gaming press, you’ve probably read about various industry figures arguing about next gen costs and quality. There’s Midway marketing guy Steve Allison arguing that 93% of new IP games fail (followed by this retort), Blast Entertainment CEO Sean Brennan decrying next gen console development costs, and industry analysts divided […]

Chris’ E3 2006 Report

This year I was prepared for E3 to suck. E3 2005 was a horrific experience: not only was there a huge dearth of good games, developers seemed to make up for it by increasing their reliance on digital booty (and not-so-digital booth babes) to draw attention to their games. There was almost nothing interesting on […]

Chris’ E3 2005 Report

This year the buzz at E3 was predictably the next generation console lineup. The Xbox360 actually had playable demos, Sony showed some pre-rendered movies about the PS3, and Nintendo talked about hardcore backwards compatibility. The conversations in front of the $8 pretzel stand were invariably about whether or not Sony had out-hyped Microsoft, and whether […]