Press Play to Start: Horror video game genre revival

Can you believe that October is almost over?

By my next column, it’ll already be the first week of November. So, before we say goodbye to this month, I have to talk about one last topic before it’s no longer relevant: Halloween.

Now, Halloween was never a big deal in my country, but having watched a lot of American media, I grew up craving that trick-or-treating experience. So whenever Oct. 31 rolled around, I would don a costume and go door to door in my apartment building. And I’m happy to say that I’d usually come home with a total of … six M&Ms and one tablet of chocolate. I wish I was kidding. 

Maybe it’s because my trick-or-treating went so badly that I turned to the other quintessential Halloween activity: horror media. And even though I was (and sadly still am) easily scared and have a fear of basically anything, I still sat down and watched the newest horror movies. Sure, I had trouble sleeping for the next three days, but the feeling of having celebrated Halloween made all the nightmares worth it.

Of course, movies weren’t the only horror media that I interacted with. As I grew older, I slowly but surely began to dip my toes into horror games as well. I remember the first time I booted up “Resident Evil 4” on my PS2 and realized that, unlike movies, I had to be the one to deal with all the scary stuff, not just the protagonist. I had only ever played “Lego Star Wars II”, and as much as solving Lego puzzles is fun, it doesn’t teach you what to do when crazy chainsaw-wielding maniacs and mutating zombies are trying to kill you. Suffice to say, these games were more than what my child self could handle.

Still, in my efforts to feel like I truly got into the spirit of Halloween, I persevered through these games and beat them. Nowadays, even though I live in the United States and could celebrate Halloween, I still choose to forego any parties and keep up with my twisted tradition, submitting myself to hours of torture and fear as I play the newest horror games. 

But thanks to a recent trend in the industry, this might change. I’ll still be playing horror games, but they won’t necessarily be new. Thanks to studios deciding to remake their horror games, I’ll be playing the same titles I did when I was a kid, and I couldn’t be more excited.

To be fair, there’s certainly a big element of nostalgia involved in all of my happiness here, but we’ve also been in a rough patch for mainstream horror games. Sure, there may have been a couple of great games released in the past decade, but it’s rare to see any of them reach the level of popularity and lasting impact that titles like “Dead Space” and “Silent Hill 2” reached. Even if we look at indie games, which had an explosion of popularity and access over the past years, most of them act more as incomplete “walking simulators” rather than horror games, let alone good ones. So, for those of us who have been craving a genuinely great horror experience, seeing these reliable titles coming back obviously puts a smile on our faces again, especially since it shows that the companies are finally paying attention to the genre once more.

Now, as excited as I am to relive all my childhood memories (read: trauma), I am also not dumb enough to think that this new wave of remake announcements is all sunshine and rainbows. Ideally, we wouldn’t have to be this excited about old games making a comeback, because the new games that are coming out are equally as good, if not better than the classics. And if we aren’t careful as consumers, the success of this venture might indicate to the companies that all we want is more remakes of the same old games instead of moving forward and exploring new possibilities within horror. 

The recent remake announcements came with the announcement of new installments of long-running franchises (such as the new “Silent Hill f”), or similar games that take inspiration from these classics (such as “The Callisto Protocol”). And, as much as the success of the remakes is important, new titles like these are the ones that will truly determine where this genre is headed in the future. As long as the money is there, big studios will probably do it. This isn’t a commentary on corporate greed or anything of the sort; more like financing and business 101. Because studios see that there is a high demand for games like these, they will work to fulfill it and earn profit. 

If these new games are a massive success, incorporating a mixture of return to form and new interesting mechanics, they could dictate a new wave of investment and development of horror in big gaming companies. But if they fail, offering the same lazy game design we have recently so often seen, we will probably have to wait another 10 years before they try again.

Personally, as an unwilling fan of the genre, I’m hoping that these new games that come out are good. And even though their success may eventually lead to another creative slump, just like the great 2000s psychological horror games eventually paved the way for the “walking simulator” hell that we are currently in, I still think it’s worth a shot. Because even after all these years, nothing has come close to scaring me as much as that chainsaw maniac in “Resident Evil 4.” And, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m in desperate need of new nightmare fuel. 

This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here

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