Day #276: Horror Month

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How in the blue hell have I lasted 9 months?

If you’ve been following me for this long, first of all, thank you. It should also be more than a little obvious at this point just how large of a role variety has played in my ability to continue doing this, so it may come as a surprise that I’m completely abandoning that for an entire month. For all of October, here and on the Youtube channel, I’ll be covering nothing but horror games. Yes, it’s a tad cliche, but mostly depriving myself the rest of the year has allowed me to build up an appetite for those experiences that I would typically digest without much consideration.

The horror genre is something that had been ingrained in me at a far too young age. I essentially taught myself how to read from issues of Fangoria and Gamepro, exposing myself to bloody corpses and deformed monsters at a point where my imagination didn’t need the extra help. Like my game fandom, this doesn’t make me particularly special. There are millions of horror fans out there and the point in time where mine started doesn’t make it any more “legitimate”, but it does mean that my ability to be shocked and surprised is lesser because of it. Fear of the unknown is what all good horror is based around, and accumulated familiarity with those things… well, it eliminates that fear. It’s why Freddy Krueger went from a monster that scared me as a child to an action figure on my desk. Once he became a known entity, I wasn’t afraid of him anymore.

This has been an issue of the horror genre forever. Because of its need to incite that very specific emotion, it constantly needs to be reinvented, since old tricks wear off quickly. More often than not, that innovation doesn’t come nearly as fast as we’d like, which is why it feels like the genre, in both film and gaming, constantly stagnates. Five Nights at Freddy’s sort of tainted what the next five years of horror was going to look and feel like in games, not helped by the fact that they seemed to be released at a rate of one every few months. To look at the current landscape of PC horror is to dive head-first into an early access jump scare factory.

So making the schedule for this month has been a process. At the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon, most modern horror games don’t hold the same sensibilities that I tend to look for, mostly designed now to shown off in Youtube webcam reactions. Personally, I prefer a quiet dread that builds over time, to a point of unbearable tension from which you are practically begging for a release. I like unseen horrors where your mind is required to fill in the blanks. Like with any other genres I’ve covered, the indie scene is going to provide a lot of the things I can’t find elsewhere, though I’ll certainly make a point to hit a lot of the classics. That’s the grand irony at work here. I’m going to confine myself to one genre for 30 days, but within that restriction can be found a surprising variety.

Join me, won’t you?

That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. You’re already here. You have officially joined. Doors are locked from the outside.  Praise Cthulhu.

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