I am a MASSIVE video game horror fan. My first foray into the genre was an old PC game called Seventh Guest. You play in first-person as “Ego” and explore the haunted mansion of Henry Stauf, a drifter and murderer who gains success as a doll maker and then retreats into his creepy mansion under mysterious circumstances.
This game absolutely terrified me. Until I started playing Doom, which messed with me even more.
Doom was my first shooter experience, as well as the first time I came across such blatant Satanism and gore on a computer monitor. I had to get my Satanic Nazi hunting in on the sly, because I knew I would be in serious trouble if my mother discovered how many afternoons I was dedicating to over-the-top violence. Like with any good horror movie, I both loved and hated Doom all at the same time. I was scared out of my wits over what I was witnessing on screen, nervous about getting caught by my parents, and thrilled with how much the game freaked me out.
The next horror title that really stoked my fire was Konami’s Silent Hill. My love for Silent Hill was overshadowed only by my obsession for Silent Hill 2 (a title I still place within my personal Top Games of All Time list). In fact, I was so engrossed by the Silent Hill mythos I soaked up as as much info on it as I could, scouring both official and non-official posts with theories on where Silent Hill was actually located (this was before Konami came out with any official comment) and how each of the different Silent Hills were tied together.
To this day, if a particular game title captures my attention enough, I usually go above and beyond to find out more about what lies at the center of the game play and storyline. The creepier, the better! I’ve got a few faves that I’ve searched for and read about over the years and now, I share that list with you:
Silent Hill: Depending on your Google search, Silent Hill’s actual location is given as a town within West Virginia (the movie) to Maine to Pennsylvania. The official word is that Silent Hill is a fictional town and doesn’t technically live in any one place (or one mind). Interesting Fact: Silent Hills (P.T.) is going to RRRRRAAAAWWWWWKKK!!!!! I hope.
Tomb Raider (2013): Although not really “horror” per se, the newest installment to the Tomb Raider franchise takes place on Yamatai island, an island believed to be located within the Dragon’s Triangle. The Dragon’s Triangle (also known as The Devil’s Sea) is the Asian version of the Bermuda triangle. Located off of Japan’s East coast, the Dragon’s Triangle has been accused of swallowing up boats, planes and the humans aboard with no trace. Interesting fact: Miyake Island (one of the islands within the Dragon’s Triangle vicinity) requires its citizens to carry a gas mask with them AT ALL TIMES. The island is at constant risk of volcanic activity and alarms go off regularly depending upon the amount of sulfur within the air.
Fatal Frame: Rumored to be based on the Himuro Mansion murders. The Himuro Mansion itself is a bit of a Japanese urban legend. Located “somewhere outside of Tokyo,” it is said to be the location of a variety of gruesome and cruel murders revolving around an ancient Shinto ritual known as “The Strangling Ritual.” However, the producer of the series said the game’s storyline was based on a variety of Japanese ghost stories and legends and did not mention Himuro Mansion specifically. This, combined with the fact that I wasn’t able to come across any research regarding the Himuro Mansion murders directly that did not reference the Fatal Frame game as the source of its article, leads me to believe that this urban myth is one designed by Tecmo’s PR company. Still.. you never know. I’ve seen weirder things come out of Japan revolving around death.
DAYLIGHT: (Full disclosure – this is the title I worked on with Zombie Studios.) We based our story’s location on North Brother Island, found just off of New York City. Located on the island was Riverside Hospital, a smallpox treatment and recovery center. In addition to the creepy isolation of the hospital itself, there was the General Slocum disaster which led to a death toll of over 1,000 people (many women and children) either by burning to death or drowning before the Slocum crashed up onto North Brother Island’s shores. Interesting Fact: After infecting countless people, Typhoid Mary was sent and confined to reside at Riverside Hospital for two decades until her death in 1938.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl: Chernobyl is not exactly a secret to anyone: a once idyllic city in the Ukraine that was evacuated in an instant when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant went AWOL. The area is still uninhabitable (although a few elderly people have refused to move), however there are occasional day time tours for the curious.
What are some of your favorite horror games? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @JessicaChobot!