There has never been a better time to love horror games. At least, that is what an article published by gaming website Kotaku proposed in an October article. Not only are there several upcoming releases that have the potential to scare us out of our wits, including Visage, Ghost Theory and Allison Road, but there’s also a robust back catalogue for us to play through.
If you are an avid horror-lover who has played many of these past horror games, chances are you’ve noticed how often they take inspiration from classic horror movies. This even includes newer releases, which often tend to draw from multiple old films rather than just one.
Horror games first became popular in the 1990s, when series including Resident Evil and Silent Hill first hit the market allowing keen gamers to explore the horrific worlds portrayed in the games’ respective cinematic releases. Sure, the graphics were primitive at best and the gameplay was anything but perfect, and still gamers loved the titles of this horror game era. The rudimentary graphics actually added to the overall creepy ambience the games developers were looking for, while even the dodgy controls added to the panic one might experience if they were really being haunted or chased.
Of course, over the years the power behind horror games evolved and so too did the games that were placed on the market. For instance, Resident Evil 4 (2005) opened up an entire new world for developers and players alike as it combined the classic horror tropes with action, all within a landscape that actually sort of looked like the real world. The success of Resident Evil allowed other aspiring developers to build their own titles, and yet it is still easy to see the movie influences within many of these titles. For example, Dead Space (2008) features many of the same plot points as movies like Event Horizon (1997) and Alien (1979), while F.E.A.R (2005) often alludes to Japanese horror movies.
Alas, not every gaming genre moves from strength to strength continuously and when publishers began to focus on the action rather than the horror, players soon became bored. After all, why would you play a “scary shooter” like Resident Evil 6 (2012) or Dead Space 3 (2013) when you could just as easily watch the movies they’re based on and be actually scared?
Fortunately, indie developers took up the horror game mantle and true horror game fans were able to play titles like Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010) – arguably inspired by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft – and Outlast (2013), which just took inspiration from real world horror asylums. These games truly epitomised what horror games could be, ensuring that the genre didn’t become a fad of the late 20th century. Horror games were also helped by YouTube gamers, a group of individuals who dedicate their online presences to playing various games. Playing horror games is particularly popular as the YouTuber and their audience can experience the terror together, while people who may be too scared to play themselves get to see what horror games have to offer.
Now, gamers looking for more than a scary shooter can play incredibly popular series such as Five Nights at Freddy’s (2014), while others are still playing the teaser for P.T, Hideo Kojima’s scrapped Silent Hill game, hoping that it will come to fruition. Even the iGaming industry has embraced horror games and has created slots based on classic horror movies that attract plenty of thrill-seeking players. Some even feature the original soundtrack from those eerie movies according to the 32Red Halloween slot review, while bonus features are bound to make you jump.
In fact, it would be difficult to find a gaming industry that has more horror themes than iGaming, as numerous slots and table game renditions feature typical horror tropes like vampires and other undead creatures. For instance, there’s Immortal Romance at Spin and Win or IGT’s Day of the Dead, which can be found at Kozmo Casino. Clearly, iGaming fans are looking for more than luck to get their hearts racing.
Even in online slot games it is sometimes easy to see the influence of old school horror, though it remains far more obvious in newer console and PC releases. It is perhaps most clear in Until Dawn (2015), which draws inspiration from almost every horror movie genre you can think of. Within the game, you’ll find elements of many old-school horror classics including The Thing (1982), Deer Hunter (1978) and even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).
Of course, the fact that video games like Resident Evil or 32Red’s slot use plot points, stereotypical characters and tropes from horror movies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, horror movies existed long before games became mainstream and it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with new ideas, especially ones that would scare just about anyone. In fact, if you think about it it’s actually a great idea that games are adopting horror movie stunts, as fans get to experience them all over again in an entirely new, immersive way.
If we are indeed experiencing the golden age of horror games, we hope that there will be many more games in the future that allow us to relive horror classics. Meanwhile, if you can think of any horror games that were clearly inspired by movies, let us know in the comments below.