Happy Halloween + Notes

It’s just not the same.

As you’ve probably noticed I’ve had a hard time lately keeping up with this blog. Actually, the problem is that I just haven’t had much time to play games, and without games as input it’s pretty hard to generate consistent output. Right now I’m sitting in a hotel in Sapporo on the end of a business trip; work has been so hectic lately that by the time I get home, eat dinner, put the kid to bed, and am ready to play games, my first inclination is to sleep.

But it’s Halloween for crying out loud. I can’t pass up a post on Halloween. Plus, there’s a ton of info that’s come up in the last several months that I meant to post about and just never got to it. So, in lieu of real content, here’s a summary of some of the noteworthy horror-goings-on that have happened lately.

  • Frictional Games, the awesome guys behind the Penumbra series, have been blogging about horror games since June. Readers of this site will find a lot to enjoy there, so check it out.
  • The Saw game is out. Though the reviewers panned it it’s certainly a horror game and I should add it to the database.
  • If you’ve never played the Crimson Room series you are missing out. And now you can play them on PSP or DS. Since I think I committed to including handheld games this year, that makes these candidates for the Quest. The horror aspect of these games is probably debatable, as it’s all discreet and suggestive, but I think that they’re probably a good fit.
  • Speaking of hand-held horror, Nanashi no Geemu: Me has been out here in Japan for a few months and looks pretty good. Goddamn I need to find some time to play all these games.
  • McFarland Publishing was kind enough to send me a free copy of a new book on horror games, Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play to review. I was somewhat surprised to see myself listed as a source for a couple of the articles. The editor, Bernard Perron, is the same guy who organized the Thinking After Dark conference that I attended earlier this year in Montreal. The text looks pretty good but I haven’t had a chance to sit down and read it carefully. I’ll post a full review when I have had more time to read it.
  • Dead Space: Extraction is out and got pretty good reviews. It’s a light gun game so it’s not a fit for the Quest, but it looks like a lot of fun nonetheless. I also have a copy of Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles that I need to get to at some point.

Here in Japan Halloween pretty much means lots of orange and black decorations on store windows and a sudden abundance of jack-o-lantern flower pots for sale. Horror is a summer genre here, so while this country loves horror media and produces a lot of highly scary stuff, Halloween just isn’t the same. So here’s hoping that you guys are enjoying the holiday.

10 thoughts on “Happy Halloween + Notes

  1. Looking forward to the review of the book, even though I suppose it doesn’t present any new views on the genre anyone here doesn’t know about. It’s most likely aimed at the general public, not gamers.

  2. I just played two of the Crimson Room games and they’re pretty good.
    The only thing that bothers me is that to get to certain views or discover certain items you have to be so precise in the location you click, or even click many times before you’re able to discover it.
    That makes it a little more frustrating than challenging
    at times and you can become stuck easily, but still they’re very good games.

  3. I’m interested in that new rail shooter Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles game coming out. They are actually attempting to make it scary, something I haven’t see any rail shooters do.

  4. I’m waiting for Darkside Chronicles as well, it looks like it will be pretty good.
    But I’m just so tired of all the Wii Horror being rail shooting..

  5. Chris, have you played Demon’s Souls? I know it’s been out in Japan for a while, and although I know it’s not technically a horror game, it hits more buttons I feel a survival horror game should hit than any *actual* survival horror game that’s come out in the last several years.

    The fear and tension in the game is unbelievable, as is the sense of reflection, planning, and caution. The atmosphere is Gothic, desolate, and often terrifying. The backstory could almost be described as “what if what happened to Silent Hill happened to an entire medieval country?”

    Survival fantasy, then? Whatever you call it, it will make you feel the way survival horror games used to… or at least it did for me.

  6. > Matthew

    I’ve not played Demon’s Souls. Now that you’ve mentioned it I’ll have to check it out (or it least, add it to the queue of games I need to play). Thanks!

  7. Hey there Chris, I’m a real, real long time lurker. I love your blog. And for some reason I decided to post here for the first time today out of nowhere(actually now that I think about it, this might be my second time….whatever).

    I guess first thing I wanna say is, I really miss your in-depth game reviews.
    I know life gets in the way, but I hope you can get more time to write some real reviews soon(when I heard the Saw game came out, I immediately came here to see if you’ve written anything about it, but well…obviously that didn’t happen).

    Anyway when I’ve read about you mentioning hand held games, I’ve been wondering if you’ve heard of this game called “Theresia: Dear Emile”. It’s a game for a DS, and it falls right in the novel/puzzle genre. I have to admit, that it drags on in some places, and it can become rather frustrating in some places, which is why I haven’t finished it yet, but it has a great amount of atmosphere, and the story keeps me going even with the slightly frustrating game design. I also think that the little special effects they threw in there and the art really sets the mood.

    So those were my (very) random 2 cents.

    So I hope you can find some more free time soon, and happy belated Halloween~

    (also sorry for the ridiculously long post;;)

  8. Crimson Room: Reverse (the 4 room games, plus reversed remixed versions of each) just showed up on the US Playstation store. $8. 114MB download.

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