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Hello, my name is Joey, and I can’t play scary video games

by Joey Davidson | January 24, 2017January 24, 2017 7:00 am PDT

“Hi, Joey!”

That’s what you should be saying here in this internet support group. You definitely shouldn’t be pointing and laughing at my inability to deal with horror video games. Horror films? I’m all good. Alien is one of my favorite films of all-time, and I have no problem with gore-filled slashers.

Alien Ripley

Video games? I just can’t deal. Good thing we have Eric and Ron here at TechnoBuffalo to handle the stuff that’s too much for me. Those guys don’t mind horror games.

Me? I’m practically a baby.

It actually really sucks because I feel like I’m missing out on some seriously great video games. I mention Alien above is one of my favorite flicks of all time. That’s totally true. I love that movie. I love the series. I even enjoy Alien 3 for what it is, though that’s certainly not horror.

As much as I love the franchise, I had to skip Alien: Isolation. I have the game. I downloaded it after I bought it during a sale. It’s sitting on my computer, just sort of staring at me as this thing that I’ll never play. And that bugs me out. I’ve heard from so many people, people who love Alien and people who love video games, who all say that this thing is the best the franchise has seen in the video game world. And here I am, unable to play it. Why?

It started all the way back with DOOM. You have to remember, while it looks ridiculous now, the graphics of the original DOOM were cutting edge. Back when we were playing stuff on 2D-capable consoles, DOOM came along and showed us exactly how awesome video games could look in motion. The hellspawn scared the crap out of me. Fast-forward to today and video games look practically real. It’s more than I can handle.

For me, I think it boils down to the interactivity of video games. The fact that it’s happening to “me.” I know it’s fake. I know it’s not real, and I get that I could just turn it off and walk away without any of the stuff in the game actually affecting my life. But my lizard brain, the part of me that just sort of reacts to things, can’t handle the interactivity of video games.

When it’s on film, I’m able to distance myself as a third-party viewer. I don’t get wrapped up in it in the same way. Sure, jump-scares work on me, and I’ll leave a film feeling really weird. But it doesn’t affect me the same way. With games where I play the central character, and this especially goes for first person games, the pressure feels way too real. It freaks me out.

Go ahead, make fun of me all you want. But as I read about how great Resident Evil 7 is, I sit here thinking about how I’d love to play the game. I was able to separate myself from the player experience enough with Resident Evil 4, I was able to get through that and experience one of the best games ever made. It really wasn’t all that scary. But the first person perspective of the new Resident Evil? It’s just too much for me. I might try it down the line, but I know I won’t get far. I’ll freak out.

Am I alone? Is there anyone else out there that feels the same way I do about horror games? Go ahead, give me your best joke. I’m waiting.


Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...

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