The last time I played a horror game I was 18 years old and living in my mom’s unfinished basement.  Spiders, centipedes and other varieties of insects skittered up and down the walls while the stench of cat urine assaulted my nostrils.  The dim glow of my monitor surrounded me with a few feet of visibility in each direction of the otherwise pitch black cellar.

I had somehow acquired a copy of “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” on steam, probably through a sale accompanied by 10 other games I bought and had forgotten about.  I had no better way to spend a Friday night then in my mother’s cat piss, insect infested and possibly haunted basement at 3 AM.  My only chance at a date getting my pants off was with a mean old broad named Amnesia who would do so through scaring them straight off my pelvis.

The date went poorly.  I did have my pants scared off but that left nowhere for my feces to go other than all over my nice leather computer chair.  I couldn’t handle Amnesia, she was a bad bitch.  I couldn’t have fun with the game because it was far too stressful.  I wondered why people thought having video game induced panic attacks was fun.

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Gentleman scared and unable to finish the first ever horror game featuring two circular ghosts trapped in limbo

It wasn’t until a few nights ago when I was being peer pressured into playing Outlast did I even think about playing another horror game.  Peer pressure is a powerful tool and I didn’t want my friends to think I was a square, so I did what I thought any cool guy would do – I said “haha I ain’t even scared BRO” and I played the game.  Things started off slow enough after entering the insane asylum where the prisoners had broken free and murdered nearly everyone inside, leaving their corpses littered across the floor and their heads neatly packed into jars on shelves.  No big deal, I could handle it.  I’ve seen enough violence in games by now that this had no effect on me.  Goodluck scaring me now, idiot game.

As I completed that thought a ghost flew toward me at 80 MPH hanging from it’s neck and screaming to the tune of a piano being exploded.  I threw myself back in my chair and screamed.  Suddenly all 15 viewers of the Multitoad stream knew I was a bitch.  The haunting sound of a violin being molested by the devil picked up in volume and my character began breathing heavily as I scurried through the dark room ahead of me.

Flashes of lightning illuminated the only window in the room that wasn’t boarded shut to reveal a man impaled on a spike, still alive, with a few words to say to me.  “Get the fuck out of here,” or something to that effect.  I got the idea and was already one step ahead of this unfortunate man.  Time to go.

My journalistic integrity got the better of me. There was a story there and it was my job as a superstar Hollywood reporter to get the scoop. It wasn’t long before before my ambition bit me square on the ass.  Upon entering a new room religious fanatic and bonafide creep “Father Martin” injected me with some of Bill Cosby’s home formula and threw me into a cell.  He called me “the witness” and told me I was meant for big things.  It was nice to have some positive reinforcement in an otherwise hostile and unforgiving environment.

bill-cosby

Bill Cosby is innocent until proven guilty

As I progressed through the Asylum I began to notice that Outlast’s scare tactics had less of an effect on me.  I was building up an immunity.  The fear that once crippled me had now made me stronger.  Pop up scares became somewhat expected, the enemy AI was easier to navigate around and Outlast’s bag of spook tricks became shallow.  While it was still scary to encounter any hostile enemy, it wasn’t the “oh shit, better hide in a closet!” kind of scary anymore.  It was more like the “bring it on, I’ve got a job to do” kind of scary.

I found that the enemy encounters began to become slightly repetitive where I would avoid enemies in the same way each time, just in different areas.  The truly frightening element of the game was being chased without knowing where the hell I was going.  The next corner I turned could be a dead end where I had no tools to defend myself except fancy jukes and slick footwork, often enough for me but not always.

Perhaps the most successful aspect of Outlast was it’s sound design.  The best way to scare a person is not by showing them something, it’s by allowing them to imagine what horrors are responsible for the sounds.  Sound is a great tool for creating suspense and fear even without anything visible on the screen.  I always found myself more scared of what I was hearing as opposed to what I was seeing, especially when I was seeing things through a crappy camcorder for most of the game.

I’ve very little bad to say about my experience with Outlast other than I’d like to have seen more of it without having a camcorder taped to my face.  While I realize the value it added to the game, it also took away from the game’s visuals rather substantially.  There was almost always a white square in the center of my screen as well as a distortion effect created by looking through the camera’s lense.  Though, a minor complaint that surely won’t be enough to stop me from picking up the Whistleblower DLC while it’s still on sale.

I can proudly say I played Outlast on nightmare difficulty and did not crap my pants, but it’s not too late.  Make sure you tune into twitch.tv/multitoad to catch a live playthrough of Whistleblower to be announced soon. Grab a snack and buckle your seat-belts, Yogzula may crap his pants yet.

 

About The Author

Luke

I'm into massive multiplayer online gaming communities. My online alter ego is 18 feet tall and has wings like an angels, but also like a demons. His name is Yogzula. Yogzula can fuck anything and he will and has. Women. Devils. Angels. Animals. If you meet me online by Grub's tavern, I will show you where the treasure is hidden.

One Response

  1. Mechko
    Mechko

    This was fun to watch! You did great, although I could only watch for ~5 minutes at a time before having to tab out and recover from the spookiness.

    Reply

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