Well Played 3.0: Siren

You might have heard of Well Played before. It’s CMU’s series of books on game design, authored by a wide range of critics, journalists, and armchair game anthropologists like myself. The third book in the series, Well Played 3.0, is now out, and I’m happy to report that it contains an article I wrote about Siren. Here’s a snippet:

Described this way, as just the sum of its various parts, Siren sounds like a pretty good horror game.

But it’s not a pretty good horror game; it’s not even a great horror game. It’s the Scariest Video Game Ever Made. And to understand why it is the Scariest Game Ever Made, we need to look at how Siren works at a much more fundamental level.

You can read the whole article online if you want. I reread it for the first time in almost a year this evening and I was sort of surprised to find that I open the piece with a little history of this site. And yes, one year later,

Siren is still the scariest game I’ve played.

There’s a lot of good stuff in this edition of Well Played. You might also be interested in articles about The Path and Heavy Rain.

8 thoughts on “Well Played 3.0: Siren

  1. I’ve never brought myself to finish Siren, though I think I got quite far in once. It was a mix of the difficulty and repetition that always put me off, I think.

    Siren 2, however, was perfect for me. It was still challenging without being frustrating and it gave you just enough clues to make sure you knew what you were supposed to be doing. And it was still pretty damn scary too, with some enemies even being able to out-weird the ones in the first game.

  2. Good job mate.

    I bought Siren after reading the review on the games database page. I’ve still to begin playing it, and even if I never do, I’m glad it exists and throughly enjoyed reading about your love/hate relationship with this game. (and how this site came to be!)

  3. Great article, Chris.
    I agree that Siren must be the Scariest Video Game Ever Made.

    I had a conversation with a friend a few days ago about which SH game might be the scariest and that was my pick.

  4. Great article, makes me want to pick up Siren next. Also fun bit about the history of the site. I also really liked the article about The Path, it sounds like an interesting experience.

    Unrelated, Chris, what will you be speaking on in the conference in November? My lecture on Maps, Menus, HUDs, and Horror was accepted and I’m excited to be participating. I’ll definitely be going to check out your presentation.

  5. Bingo,

    Glad you will be there! I’m giving a keynote on the ingredients of successful horror games. It will hopefully be a sort of mega summary of the design posts on this site. Looking forward to giving it. See you there!

  6. Thanks for this! I totally agree. Not only is it the best survival horror game out there, I’d have to say it’s one of my favorite games of all time.

    Chris (or anyone…), do you know if there will be any more games in the series? (Aside from Siren 2 and Blood Curse, I mean.)

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