PSM3's Resident Evil Week: Why it's not scary anymore.
9th Mar 2009 | 12:19
Hello, Owen here. It's Resident Evil week here on the PSM3 blog. That means more zombie talk, team confessionals, and some gentle surprises over the next few days. Why is Resident Evil no longer scary? I'll get to that after the jump, but I thought I'd open it up by talking about a few games that have scared me. A lot. But which has scared me more than any other?
Erm, to be honest, it's probably Nightbreed on the Amiga. Yes, it's probably because I was seven when it got released - at that age, the image shown here was more than enough to give me nightmares... literally.
Second on the list? Another World, similarly, this intro was enough to force an eight-year-old me into loading up the more family-friendly Monkey Island instead, even though, in retrospect, it's not even remotely creepy.
So how is any of this relevant? Well, the first Resident Evil comes in third on my list - a far greater achievement when you consider that I was 13 at the time, and therefore less vulnerable to slightly disturbing pixel art.
Of course, the infamous 'dog through the window' bit made me jump, but I think it was the creaky loading screens that really ramped up the tension. Those, the Moonlight Sonata, and the lack of unlimited saves - after all there's nothing like the possibility of a wasted few hours of gaming to keep players on their toes.
The thing is, I don't think Resi 5 is going to scare me. Yes, I might let out a yelp as a massive axe man chases me (Will you? Honestly? - Ed), and I'll probably jump a few times as I progress, but I don't think I'll actually get scared. Maybe that's because I've played/seen too many zombie games/movies and have developed immunity to their shock factor; maybe it's because I'll be jumping in and out of co-op with a friend - nothing like a bit of friendly banter to defuse a tense situation. It could be down to the oily sausage man looking more weird-looking than fear-inducing.
The most annoying thing about all this? I want to get scared by Resi 5 - I'd love to get tempted into ejecting the disk because It's just too much to carry on - I just don't think it's going to happen.
So what's changed? Is it just my age or have I got it all wrong - should Resi games be played alone in the dark with headphones to get the full experience? Are games even meant to be scary anymore?
Let us know in the comments...