When I look back at the past few years, while it may not be accurate to say that I have come a long way in that time, I can notice a few baby steps in my progression as a human being.
A few years ago, pepper was too spicy for me. Today spicy foods still do not top my list. However, I now enjoy a wider variety of dishes on account of not auto-refusing anything claiming to be a little spicy.
A few years ago, it would have taken a lot of money (or doughnuts or moose or whatever we Canadians take as bribes) to ever get me to watch a movie even halfway into any sort of “scary” genre. Today, I still do not clamour to see the newest horror movie, but I have recently allowed myself to at least watch classics such as Alien or John Carpenter’s The Thing, and I feel I am richer for the experiences.
My barely-bravery combined with the most recent Humble Bundle inspired me to try a few games that I never would have before. Although it is important to note that I played both of these games with a companion.
Remember: baby steps.
The first was Limbo. The game is not a horror game, but it is certainly creepy. However, it is the unsettling and creepy things that frighten me far more than gore or cheap scares. While the second half of the game trades in thoroughly unnerving images for more advanced puzzles and more dull surroundings, the title overall works very well as a short story. It packs themes and an open-ended plot with a thick mood into a few hours.
Other people who have played the game will likely agree that it loses most of its scares after a certain enemy is taken out. This happens before the game is half-over. A younger Ethos would probably have been happy to have the scares over with. This time – although I still would not describe being scared as being “fun” – I did feel the experience was lacking when it lost its spooks.
With Limbo completed, there was still some time in the weekend to try out Amnesia: The Dark Descent. This game was a far greater test of my nerves and even playing with someone else and not even glimpsing anything that would threaten the main character’s health, I was still ready to exit the title after a very short time.
Still, despite my fraidypants quittiness, I was able to have an appreciation and fascination for the game that I may not have had a few years ago. While I still might not be able to stomach being too scared for too long, I now understand the unique place the genre has in media. There is a mood and a connection in suspense and horror that cannot exist elsewhere.
I am not eager to go back to Amnesia, dear readers, but I am curious to go back.
What games do you find yourself playing now that you may have never played a few years ago?