This morning I posed a question on The Arcade’s Facebook page: ‘What scares you while playing a game?’ Not everyone was forthcoming with their fears, though I probably shouldn’t have asked the question at 8:30am! I can’t be the only person who is constantly thinking of their very real and perfectly logical and rational fears at that hour of the morning, can I?
Although you weren’t keen on sharing, I’ve decided to list my three with you because there is a lot to be said for group therapy (first person to post actual pictures of spiders/heights/darkness gets the insta-ban hammer!).
I hate these things so much! This piece is actually inspired by them; I was happily minding my own business last night, screaming politely at my team for forgetting the objective in the new Heroes of the Storm map when I noticed a tickle on my ankle. I looked down to see that Shelob had somehow escaped the pages of Lord of the Rings and was clawing her way up my leg. The macho and completely rational adult that I am, I shooed her away with barely a whimper before crunching her beneath an unopened pack of A4 paper. I loathe spiders. I dread them and the inclusion of these mass legged behemoths in video games has been the worst decision since the cancellation of the Dreamcast.
Plenty of games use them now and have used them in the past, whether they’re low level cave-dwelling beasts designed for new players to grind levels with or ferocious arachnid deities preying on mortal souls, every incarnation of them in a video game is a bad idea. The two worst offenders for using spiders have to be the Resident Evil and Dragon Age games.
For those of us who are intelligent enough to recognise the imminent threat these hell-beasts present to our society, I’ve taken the liberty to minimise the images so please click to enlarge at your own peril.
In Dragon Age it’s the sheer size and speed that bothers me – if it’s big enough to be used as a small pony, it warrants you dropping a nuke-grade spell on its disgusting head. The spiders in the Resident Evil series take the prize (the prize is anti-spider pills), though. Not only are they fast, not only do they scale walls and drop from ceilings, the developers at RE also thought their monsters needed terrifying sound effects. It’s the rustling and scurrying that makes me want to hurl. To this day, I still need someone to clear the area of them before I can progress through the game… and brings me to my next fear which is also a spider’s fault!
I’m actually not afraid of heights in real life. I get nervous flying and, like any normal person, staring over the edge of a tall building or landmark makes me dizzy but in video games it’s a completely different story (am I sounding like a lunatic yet?).
I first realised I was afraid of heights in video games (yeah, definitely a lunatic) while playing Spider-Man on the Nintendo Gamecube. The game afforded you the ability to web swing within a sandbox environment, which is great until I started thinking about how high up I was and that below the concrete, tarmac and rushing traffic were eager for us to meet. I get dizzy thinking about it and even while watching the following clip I have to double check that there is support at my back for fear… I fall… to my death!
I’m aware that darkness isn’t something to be afraid of – the sun goes down, the lights go out and we all go to sleep for a few hours. My issue with the dark, and for anyone else afraid of it, is that we’re just worried about the stuff we can’t see coming at us, like a psycho with a rusty axe! Darkness and shadows are a real horror master’s tool and, as simple as it is, the best games to use it in are Fatal Frame III and Slender (Luigi’s Mansion was pretty good too though!).
In Slender you run around some dark woods using a flashlight (with limited battery life) to help you stay on a path (for all of two seconds). You can’t use it to club the gangly gentleman in the suit or yourself; your only hope is that it lasts long enough to collect those bloody pages. I’ve never been able to finish the game and I don’t like thinking about it much either, so if you’d like to see how I got on when I last attempted to play (nearly three years ago) here’s my ‘Let’s Play’:
In both games, light is your only real weapon and even though it doesn’t actually do much, it just gives you a quick look at the hellspawn about to gnarl on your entrails seconds before it begins gnawing on your… entrails.
Now let’s begin the sharing/healing! What video game has scared you the most? Do any of your phobias creep up in video games?
Let us know in the comments below!
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!