I haven’t posted on this site for a while, so I’ve decided to once again begin doing so as it is a really great religious forum, perhaps the best one on the internet that I’ve experienced. This post will probably be quite long as it is an issue I feel quite passionate about from a hobby perspective.
I have a Nintendo Wii at the moment and I am and have always been an avid gamer. This is however my first Nintendo Console ever(as I was previously a Sony fan with a PS2, then previously “a Sega Man”). I have quite a few games now, several of which are exclusively Adult(Scareface, Dead Space Extraction, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil Darkside chronicles) and I’m sure not to everyone’s liking from that point of view. I do also have several G games which I play though ranging from Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy, Zelda, Smash Bros Brawl, Top Spin 3, and the usual Wii Sport and Wii Play.
I am particularly fond of survival horror games, which is odd because Nintendo’s console, while containing numerically the most Horror games of the current generation of video game systems(and that is not a generalization, it is an IGN confirmed fact), is the console that is aimed at appealing to the whole family, especially the “fitness” crowd.
But I have noticed a trend away from the traditional and truly terrifying Survival Horror(which was of a psychological sort) to a viscerally violent type of horror video game. No where is this more evident than in Capcom’s marquee Resident Evil series. It shifted from a cinematic type of horror, relying on the employing of a Video game version of “survival strategem”, to a Run and gun, over the shoulder camera
(with little to no thought of needing to “Survive”) technique. I’m not sure this is a good “genre drift” as the games are more violent but increasingly less scary and quite predictable.
Resident Evil 4, some would say is the epitome of the “new” type of survival horror games(and I would agree with them) as it successfully employed game-play elements from a game which I had and liked on the PS2 which was Sony’s self developed “Extinction” game(which was not a horror game, but actually a science fiction thriller game with the occasional scary moment) and added horror to it and a Resident Evil storyline(complete with a predictable “Countdown to destruction” finale). I have not played RE5 as it is not available on my fav current generation system.
I am not a fan of Konami’s Silent Hill series. I previously played and enjoyed Silent Hill 2 in 2002, but I cannot play games that are too horrifically occultist anymore. It was a horribly scary gaming experience though and one I do not want to repeat ever again.I am aware there is a new title for the Nintendo Wii coming out. I am interested in it, but do not believe I will buy it unless I research into it first and make a decision to try it. I know it is significantly different from the second game in the series and appears to be much less violent.
I even struggled getting through RE4 on my Nintendo because the thematic was noticeably slightly more occult based than even was usual for those games, which mostly employ a more “I am Legend” science-fiction horror theme(to appeal to a more mainstream audience).
I thoroughly enjoyed Dead Space Extraction. It is also a science fiction Survival horror and a prequel to the XBOX/PS3 “Dead Space” game, but also a unique Light Gun on rails shooter, perhaps my fav since Sega’s “The Lost World” Arcade film tie in. I thought it was graphically beautiful, one of the best games I’ve played on any system from the graphics and gameplay point of view. The graphics pushed the system so hard at one or two points that the frame-rate noticably jumps on one or two occasions. It really looked great on my 37" FullHD LCD tv set despite not being in FullHD itself(a design limitation of the Wii system). To it’s credit it wasn’t too “Realistic” which I believe is a problem with gaming these days as gamers do indeed struggle to separate reality from non-reality. But it was brilliant and beautifully realized, especially the level where you have to man the space gun and shoot asteroids in the spaceship’s path, or the several sections you go on “space walks”. And for once it was genuinely scary and thrilling, consistently creating an atmosphere that reminded me of the relentless last 20 minutes of the movie “Aliens”. This was a great Wii game and thoroughly deserving of IGN’s award of “Wii Game of the Year”. I actually thought the Australian MA rating was actually overrating the game from a censorship point of view, I thought that the violence rating should have been M instead as there are deliberately many tension increasing moments where you go a few minutes at a time(mostly in dark corridors or sewer pipes) without seeing any enemies, especially almost the entire “Asteroid” level. I thought the MA rating may have been a selling point gimmick to appeal to gamers who liked the PS3 game(which i have never played). This game proved to me that overt visceral violence does not make a horror game scary and fun, It drew it genuine scares from the “Aliens” inspired atmosphere it successfully creates.
Anyway who do you think about the Survival horror video game genre? do you agree that it has tended to become more about Visceral Violence than genuine horror and that this has resulted in a sullying of the genre itself?